×

‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens,’ Final ‘Hunger Games’ Most Anticipated Fall Releases Ever (Survey)

Moviegoers can’t wait to see Katniss Everdeen lead the people of Panem to freedom or witness the Millennium Falcon roar across the screen after three decades in dry-dock, according to a recent survey by Piedmont Media Research.

The consumer tracking company polled 3,000 people about upcoming fall movies and found that “The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2” and “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” were the most hotly anticipated upcoming releases. In fact, both films scored some of the highest ratings Piedmont has recorded since it began polling audiences five years ago. The company rates consumer engagement on a scale of zero to 1,000, and the fourth and final “Hunger Games” had a 514 rating, beating last summer’s “Avengers: Age of Ultron” and its score of 509, as the best overall number it has ever recorded.

The “Star Wars” sequel posted a 495 rating, the third best figure since Piedmont began its surveys. It also had the best score among males that Piedmont has seen with 553. Females also are looking forward to the film, with their interest level hitting 383.

While “The Force Awakens” may seem to be more of a winter release — a previous Fandango survey excluded the film from its fall report — it hits theaters on Dec. 18, with winter technically starting on Dec. 21.

“Those are huge numbers,” said Joshua Lynn, president of Piedmont Media Research. “Every demographic is showing up for this.”

Other films that resonated strongly with audiences were “Hotel Transylvania 2” with 313 and “The Martian,” the Matt Damon and Ridley Scott sci-fi adventure, with 255. “Spectre,” James Bond’s latest martini-swilling outing, had a 282 rating, which represents an improvement over the 007 series’ last installment, “Skyfall,” with 231. Lynn said big-budget films need to score in the 250 range if they want to be successful.

On the lower end, fantasy epic “Pan” suffered a 205, biopic “Steve Jobs” logged a 162, Bradley Cooper kitchen dramedy “Burnt” clocked in at 144, horror comedy “Scouts Guide To The Zombie Apocalypse” had a 142, and “Jem And The Holograms,” an adaptation of the 1980s animated show, eked out a 127. Of course, most of these pictures are mid to low-budget offerings, with the exception of the $155 million budgeted “Pan,” so they aren’t as dependent on scoring massive openings in order to be successful.

The people surveyed were selected to be demographically representative of the movie-going public in terms of age, gender, ticket-buying behavior and ethnicity. Piedmont also tries to quantify the impact that a film’s cast has on audiences. It polls people to find out if their interest rises or falls when a particular concept is matched to an actor and filmmaking team.

Much has been written and many hands wrung over the diminution of star power, but Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie still seem to earn their paychecks. “By the Sea,” the off-screen couple’s dissection of a failing marriage, got a 43% bump in interest when Pitt and Jolie’s names were attached to the concept. “Daddy’s Home,” an upcoming comedy with Will Ferrell and Mark Wahlberg, enjoyed a 51.8% increase and “Rock the Kasbah,” a military comedy with Bill Murray and Bruce Willis, received a 39.7% surge in popularity when the cast was revealed.

Quentin Tarantino is the major attraction when it comes to “The Hateful Eight.” The revisionist western saw its rating jump 26.4% when the “Pulp Fiction” director’s involvement was emphasized. And “The Night Before,” a Christmas comedy with Seth Rogen and Joseph Gordon-Levitt, increased 36.5%, while “Bridge of Spies,” a historical drama from Steven Spielberg and Tom Hanks, climbed 28.3% when their talent was matched with a particular concept.

Not every film was so lucky. “MacBeth,” an adaptation of Shakespeare’s “Scottish Play” with Marion Cottilard and Michael Fassbender, saw it score plunge 23.5% when its stars were listed alongside the film. Likewise, “Victor Frankenstein,” a horror film with James McAvoy and Daniel Radcliffe stepping into Mary Shelley territory, dropped 14.2% when the actors were matched with the material. Nor was “MacBeth,” the only time Fassbender fell flat with fans. Interest in “Steve Jobs”dipped 7.9% when the Oscar-nominee’s casting as the Apple founder was mentioned alongside the film’s plot description.

Some films are cast proof. Enthusiasm for the new “Star Wars,” for example, neither rose nor fell when its cast of veterans like Harrison Ford and newcomers such as Daisy Ridley was matched to the latest story from a galaxy far, far away.

More Film

  • Apollo 11

    Film News Roundup: 'Apollo 11' Re-Release Set for Moon Landing Anniversary

    In today’s film news roundup, Neon is re-releasing “Apollo 11”; “Sesame Street” gets moved; “Supersize Me 2” is set for Sept. 13; Will Ropp gets a “Silk Road” deal; and Apple makes a movie deal. RE-LAUNCH Neon will re-release Todd Douglas Miller’s documentary “Apollo 11” in theaters on July 20, the 50th anniversary of the [...]

  • Michael B. JordanAFI Awards Luncheon, Los

    Michael B. Jordan's 'Just Mercy' Moves to Awards Season Slot

    Michael B. Jordan’s upcoming legal drama “Just Mercy” has been shifted forward three weeks from Jan. 17 to Dec. 25 for an Oscar-qualifying theatrical release. “Just Mercy” is based on the case of Walter McMillan, an African-American death-row prisoner who was exonerated in 1993 after being convicted five years earlier for a 1986 murder in [...]

  • Harry Styles to Play Prince Eric

    Harry Styles in Talks to Play Prince Eric in Disney's 'Little Mermaid'

    Harry Styles is going under the sea. The former One Direction frontman is in early negotiations to play Prince Eric in Disney’s live-action adaptation of “The Little Mermaid.” Halle Bailey will portray the Ariel, a mermaid princess who dreams of being a human, while Melissa McCarthy is playing her evil aunt Ursula. “The Little Mermaid” [...]

  • Stuber Movie

    Disney Left With a Slate of Film Flops After Fox Deal

    Is Disney having buyer’s remorse? The studio would be forgiven if it were having some regrets after absorbing 20th Century Fox, the company that once generated big box office with the likes of “Avatar,” “Life of Pi,” and “Bohemian Rhapsody.” After “Dark Phoenix” bombed earlier this summer, Kumail Nanjiani and Dave Bautista’s action comedy “Stuber” [...]

  • Taika Waititi Returning to Direct 'Thor

    Taika Waititi to Direct Marvel's 'Thor 4'

    Taika Waititi is returning to the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The filmmaker will write and direct the sequel to his 2017 blockbuster “Thor: Ragnarok.” Waititi’s take on the fourth “Thor” movie puts Warner Bros.’ long-in-development “Akira” adaptation on hold indefinitely. However, the studio hopes that “Akira” can get resume production with Waititi at the helm once [...]

  • Akira

    'Akira' Production Put on Hold by Warner Bros.

    Warner Bros. has put its long-in-development “Akira” adaptation on hold indefinitely, sources tell Variety. Sources indicate that after a brief delay, the studio has pulled the plug on production indefinitely for the classic anime adaptation, which was set to begin later this fall. “Thor: Ragnarok” helmer Taika Waititi was on board to direct, and the [...]

  • Sir Elton John, David Furnish. Sir

    New Elton John AIDS Foundation Gala to be Held in the South of France

    Elton John and David Furnish are launching a new gala for the Elton John AIDS Foundation. The two will host the inaugural A Midsummer Party benefit on July 24 in the south of France at the Johnny Pigozzi’s private estate, Villa Dorane, in Cap d’Antibes. A cocktail reception will be followed by dinner, a live [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content