Studios and their marketing partners are attempting to find methods to get viewers, particularly younger ones, back into theaters as the film industry works to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.

While it’s unlikely that box office revenues will ever reach their pre-pandemic levels again, this year saw some success for the sector thanks to films like “Top Gun: Maverick” and “Minions: The Rise of Gru.”

One method for the future? Make memes out of movies.

According to recent Morning Consult research, most Gen Zers learn about forthcoming films and television programs from commercials and posts on social media. A significant portion of them also learned about specific viral movie trends, such as those for “Smile” and “Minions: The Rise of Gru,” both of which, possibly by coincidence, ended up doing exceptionally well at the box office.

The #GentleMinions trend on TikTok urged moviegoers attending “Minions: The Rise of Gru” in theaters to record themselves dressed in suits and sunglasses. More than half (51%) of Gen Zers have seen, read, or heard about this trend. Only 24% of American individuals in that age group have heard of the trend.

In the meantime, 42% of Gen Zers are aware of Paramount Pictures’ “Smile” horror movie publicity stunt, which involved paying actors to pose for photos while grinning ominously during MLB games that were being broadcast. In general, 25% of people expressed the same opinion.

67% of the viewership for “Minions” material, according to Diesel Labs, a company that tracks audience engagement across entertainment, was made up of Gen Zers. Anjali Midha, CEO and co-founder of Diesel Labs, said: “Occasionally, a game will achieve what we internally refer to as ‘escape velocity,’ which is when a title hits a level of engagement that puts it on a whole other plane of attention and engagement.

Related: TikTok Is Providing More News To Americans, Bucking The Trend On Other Social Media Platforms

The movie “Minions: The Rise of Gru” was reportedly seen in theaters by one-third of Gen Zers. In response to the #GentleMinions trend, 45% of people said they saw the movie in cinemas, while 28% said they intended to see it once it came out of theaters.

Gen Z primarily hears about new movies on social media

The top three ways Gen Zers learned about new movies and TV series were social media commercials (77%), ads seen while watching TV, movies, or videos (74%), and individuals posting about them (72%), with chats with friends and family coming in second place (67%). The news (28%) and print commercials (28%) are more conventional movie marketing strategies that have a far less impact on the cohort.

Compared to the broader public, Gen Zers are considerably more likely to learn about new films and television shows through social media. In the past year, less than half (47%) of all adults in the United States claimed to have learned about movies from others who had posted about them on social media.

A little over one-third of Gen Zers (35%) claimed that they frequently enjoy when social media campaigns are utilized to promote a new film or television program and that these can increase their interest in watching that content. A roughly same percentage (36%) claimed that while they enjoy seeing TV or movie advertisements on social media, they are not more interested in the material itself.

Social media will drive movie marketing in the future.

Major studios have already set up accounts on TikTok particularly to connect with Gen Zers, including Universal Pictures and Lions Gate Entertainment Corp. They and other Hollywood businesses frequently make postings and comments that a younger audience could find amusing in an effort to replicate the sense of humor of the age. It will be interesting to see if they can do it honestly. However, their mere presence on these apps seems to be profitable.

With the upcoming horror-comedy “M3GAN” from Blumhouse Productions and Universal Pictures, Twitter Inc. has recently contributed to organic movie marketing. The movie is garnering a lot of traction on the app and is expected to do well at the box office thanks to its titular doll, which appears like it was created in a meme lab just to go viral.


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