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Cracking the Case: Who to target when marketing A Haunting in Venice

With Kenneth Branagh on the case to solve A Haunting in Venice this September as the famous Hercule Poirot, we examined the evidence to identify which moviegoing audiences make for the most likely suspects to see the detective’s latest mystery.

Despite the fittingly more-haunting-than-usual feeling of A Haunting in Venice’s trailers and previews compared to previous entries in Hercule Poirot’s series, the film sits very strongly in the Crime and Thriller genres as Death on the Nile and Murder on the Orient Express did—just with a supernatural twist added.

Finding comparative titles

Taking similarities of genre, storyline, and casting—such as the ethnicities and ages of leading actors and actresses—as well as other commonalities, we found three key comparative titles worth examining ahead of A Haunting in Venice’s release: Death on the Nile (2022), The Little Things (2021), and The Honest Thief (2020).

With Death on the Nile as both the most recent comparative title and a direct relation, let’s take a closer look at last year’s instalment of the franchise to see how its audiences in the US looked both prior to release and during its theatrical run.

Death on the Nile drew effectively on both Frequent* and Infrequent* moviegoers, particularly over-indexing with Infrequent moviegoers as the industry saw the resurgence of moviegoers returning to cinemas following the pandemic.

Pre-release audiences

Looking at pre-release ticket sales, Death on the Nile saw ticket purchases reach their highest one week before release (40% of ticket purchases) and leading up to the opening weekend itself (34% of ticket purchases).

Additionally, of those moviegoers who purchased pre-release tickets, 40% were specifically purchasing tickets for either IMAX or Premium Large Format (PLF) sessions, indicating that moviegoers who purchase tickets ahead of release are far more likely to purchase tickets to IMAX and PLF screenings than those who purchase tickets post-release.

The divide between audiences: Age

Examining film genres in Movio’s Research Console, Crime films have an older-skewing audience than the average film. The benchmark for all movies is for moviegoers aged 45 and older to make up 42% of the total audience, but for the Crime genre, titles see this same group of moviegoers make up 60% of their audience.

Post-release age.pngDeath on the Nile post-release age breakdown

Death on the Nile followed this trend, over-indexing with moviegoers aged 45+, who represented 63% of the total audience for the film.

However, while this is the case for a film’s overall theatrical run after release, the audience of moviegoers who purchase tickets during pre-release skews much younger, with 24-35 year olds representing the majority of pre-release ticket purchases.

Pre-release and post-release audiences are their own distinct sections of moviegoers to target, and ensuring the right audience is targeted ahead of a film’s release is key to maximising that pre-release period’s potential.

Pre-release age.pngDeath on the Nile pre-release age breakdown

Our marketing recommendations

For pre-release campaigns for A Haunting in Venice, we recommend targeting moviegoers under 35, who are most likely to engage with purchasing tickets early, attending opening weekends, and first week sessions. Highlighting your IMAX and PLF sessions to these members will help to maximise their attendance and upsell that pre-release audience, as the overlap between pre-release purchasers and PLF ticket purchasers is much higher.

When looking at A Haunting in Venice’s post-release marketing campaigns, the largest expected audience segment of moviegoers aged 45+ will prove most effective to market to from the film’s second week onwards. Moviegoers aged 45+ have historically shown a preference to wait until after the opening weekend or first week to visit the cinemas for a title. But this audience comprised the majority of Hercule Poirot’s previous instalments, and should prove a reliable demographic to market to for his latest mystery.

For all audiences, target Infrequent moviegoers who attended any of our listed comp titles—The Honest Thief, The Little Things, or Death on the Nile—as these have the greatest overlap of expected interest.

Looking to solve more marketing mysteries?

These insights and marketing recommendations come from our analysis of historical audience data using Movio Research, which provides the industry’s most comprehensive audience data to help you understand moviegoing audiences and plan the best ways to market to them.

To take your movie marketing to the next level, you need to have rich data analysis and mastery of your marketing campaigns. Movio Cinema EQ, Movio's new intelligent data analytics and campaign management solution, provides more opportunities for you to improve the way you market movies to moviegoers.

If you are interested in learning more about Movio Research, Movio Cinema EQ, or seeking to discover additional moviegoer insights and ways you can use data to plan your movie marketing, contact us, or see the latest audience overview every week with Movio’s Weekend Insights.

*Frequency is based on moviegoers’ six-month session count. Infrequent moviegoers have < 2 sessions in the past six months, Occasional moviegoers have 2-5 sessions, Frequent have 6-25, and those with 26+ sessions are considered Very Frequent.

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