Let’s paint a picture. A studio has a $165 million movie gearing up for release. It’s part of an enormous franchise that originated in the 90s and was successfully rebooted in 2015 after being dormant for more than a decade. The 2015 film ended up being the 2nd highest grossing film of the year.
A follow-up arrived in theaters three years later, and though it still made over $400M domestically, it was down 36% from its predecessor. Uh oh. No one likes to see a franchise go backward.
Fast forward to 2022, and the studio is launching the third film in the reboot with hopes of returning to the box office heights of the 2015 film.
The marketing department decides on key art for the new film. In their presentation to the studio brass, they reveal that their strategy for box office success is to release a series of posters without the film’s title. It’s a no brainer. How can it fail?
By all appearances, that’s the strategy the Universal seems to be taking with JURASSIC WORLD DOMINION. Universal is leaning heavy into the amber hued logo and, well, a bunch of dinosaurs. The title is nowhere to be found.
It could certainly be argued that there is enough brand equity in these assets. How many blockbusters featuring dinosaurs can you name? And yet, when we look at the numbers, awareness for the film has stalled.
When we look at awareness over time for JURASSIC versus the two pandemic-era films with the largest openings, it has yet to match the heights of SPIDER-MAN: NO WAY HOME (dark yellow) or DOCTOR STRANGE IN THE MULTIVERSE OF MADNESS.
By the time SPIDER-MAN opened, it had 73% awareness, and STRANGE was at 70%. Meanwhile, JURASSIC has been stuck in the low 60s for over a month.
To be fair, you can see that both SPIDER-MAN and STRANGE had significant 11th-hour gains in awareness. That’s not uncommon. And it’s certainly possible that JURASSIC will do the same this week, but the lack of upward movement since March is rather odd.
Could it be because the title isn’t on any of the artwork? Maybe? Will the film still have a huge opening? Yes. But it’s interesting to speculate about how much is being left on the table by Universal’s decision to leave the title off.