January movie releases: Which title is most likely to draw a crowd to the theater?
January 4th, 2022, Graeme Bruce

January movie releases: Which title is most likely to draw a crowd to the theater?

January is seen as a “dump month” for the movie theaters, a time when expectations for releases are low because of – among other reasons – the holiday spending hangover has set in. This year, COVID-19 has yet again added to the forces working against major theater releases, as renewed concern spreads because of the omicron variant.

Despite all that, a healthy proportion of Americans are keen to see the biggest releases of January. In fact, America’s intentions to see the upcoming release of the 355 is on par with Spider-Man: No Way Home, one of the major December theatrical releases.

YouGov Direct asks a group of its members to watch movie trailers. We then report on what they say. YouGov Direct’s surveys investigate how effective movie trailers are in persuading people to consider seeing a film and provides insight into which releases are most likely to get Americans to the theaters, rather than wait to stream later.

The 355, the action/spy blockbuster starring Jessica Chastain, Penélope Cruz, Fan Bingbing, Diane Kruger and Lupita Nyong'o, appears to be the biggest theatrical draw for January, with 19% of respondents indicating they’d prefer to watch the movie immediately in a theater after watching the trailer. The all-female-led spy flick was initially scheduled to be released last year but was delayed because of the pandemic.

Morbius, another COVID-delayed title, is also getting Americans excited with 17% of respondents voicing interest in seeing it in theaters. The latest theatrical release in the Spider-Man universe stars Jared Leto and will eventually land on Netflix and Disney+.

Paramount hopes to capitalize on America’s nostalgia for the 90s with a 2022 reboot of the classic Wes Craven title Scream. Many of the original (and surviving) cast is back, including Neve Campbell, David Arquette, and Courney Cox. Our survey data shows 9% are keen to get themselves to a theater to watch the latest entry in the franchise, while 18% say they’re willing to wait until it lands on a streaming service.

January is shaping up to be a challenging month that will be tough to predict as the omicron variant takes hold around the country. In the latest example of last-minute strategy changes, the Ben Afleck-led thriller Deep Water was pulled from its January theatrical release in mid-December after several delays.

Receive monthly topical insights about the Leisure and entertainment industry, straight to your inbox. Sign up today.

Discover more leisure and entertainment content here

Want to run your own research? Start building a survey now

Methodology: For each film referenced, YouGov polled 400 US adults online on December 16 – 17, 2021. The survey was carried out through YouGov Direct. Data is weighted by age, gender, education level, political affiliation, and ethnicity. Learn more about YouGov Direct.

Image: Universal