Regardless of your personal preference as to which cinematic universe is putting out good movies, Marvel Studios is unquestionably the leader at the box office when compared to DC Films. DC recently released Justice League, which brought in a disappointing $654.4 million, and compared to the standalone Marvel Studios film Thor: Ragnarok and its $850 million haul, it speaks volumes as to how people feel about these films.
But why is this the case? How is it the Marvel Studios is able to get so many butts in seats compared to DC? Of course, the obvious answer from fans may have to do with the trust Marvel has built up over the past decade with quality films, and while that certainly has a role to play, the answer may be a bit more primal than that. According to a new study, the reason why may actually lie in the advertising for each film.
According to Adweek, a tech provider ZappiStore recently did a study involving these two universes. In the study, they had participants watch trailers for these films, and as they did so, a webcam studied their facial movements, aggregated them, and displayed them on a dashboard. They used this information to measure a viewer’s emotional engagement in the trailer, and find out how much they “loved” it, which elements in the trailer grabbed their attention, and finally, how likely they were to share it on social media.
What were their findings? Most of the positive reactions from the DC trailers came from special effects and action, whereas most of the positive reactions in the Marvel trailers came from character moments. Fans, it seems, are drawn more towards Marvel’s heroes, and react well to the humor in their trailers, which helps to drive higher levels of emotional engagement.
With Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, 78 percent of viewers “loved” it, and with Captain America: Civil War, 75 percent “loved” it. This is compared to Justice League and Batman v Superman, which 71 percent and 60 percent “loved,” respectively.
In short, it all comes down to these trailers, and how character-focused they are or aren’t. But of course, those aren’t the only factors. Marvel’s trailers also apparently indexed higher on their “brand linkage” score, which represents how well they matched someone’s image of the comics. Given that many have very strong opinions on how DC represents their characters, this may also have an effect (For example, if the second Flash pops up on screen, you’re like, “Grant Gustin is my one and only Flash — #NotMyFlash,” then chances are you’ll make a face that reflects that).
All in all, these results, ironically enough, seem to go against the idea that people go to the movies for pure spectacle, as ZappiStore research architect Ernie Collings said:
“We were surprised to see, across all trailers tested, that the emotional response was lower than expected for set pieces and special effects, particularly in the genre we were looking at. The results indicate the way DC can reboot and change characters across trilogies or between TV to film might be having a detrimental effect on how well the public connects with those characters.”
What do you think of these results? Do you agree? with them? Let us know your thoughts down below!
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