'Power Rangers' Old Fans Power New Film

   March 27, 2017-The Lionsgate release Saban's Power Rangers outperformed audience tracking surveys by grossing $40 million in its three-day premiere weekend, bettering initial expectations of $30 million. That’s a 33% surprise on the positive side—and most box office surprises are unpleasant.
   In particular, Millennials—who are those born in the decade and a half before the year 2000 who are now in their 20s—bought tickets for the movie based on a TV series popular when they were
Marketing tie-ups included Krispy Kreme donuts, Hispanic TV's Univision and tech outfit Qualcomm

growing up. The new Power Rangers was crafted for an older office carrying a PG-13 audience classification, while two theatricals based on the classic TV property property in the 1990s carried a less-restrictive, kid friendly PG rating.
   “Lionsgate was correct in its hunch to target die-hard fans of the show, who are now full-grown millennials, a tech-obsessed demo that relies on a variety of entertainment platforms,” Pamela McClintock wrote in the Hollywood Reporter. “Also, Power Rangers, which skewed male (60 percent), served as an antidote to Beauty and the Beast, a female-skewing, family friendly film that powered to $88 million in its second weekend.”
   A Deadline journalist wrote that the audiences embraced racy, not-kid-stuff movie content online that indicated young adults were plugged in. “A viral event in February 2015 didn’t go unnoticed by Lionsgate,” wrote Deadline’s Anthony D’Alessandro. “That’s when director Joseph Kahn dropped an R-rated-like 15 minute fan-made version of the Power Rangers complete with sex, drugs, violence and James Van Der Beek. The video drew 12M views before [Power Rangers owner] Saban demanded it be taken down. But then the video returned to the internet with a disclaimer that it was a fan film. Nonetheless, Lionsgate saw that older fans had a deep well of nostalgia for the brand, and that there was elasticity in Power Rangers whereby it could take some sharp turns."
   As for the 33% box-office improvement over initial tracking, researchers say that a 15-20% margin of error is acceptable. The lower estimate came about six weeks out but tracking detected improvements as the March 24-26 premiere weekend drew closer.
   Says the third edition of Marketing To Moviegoers, “Although the industry follows tracking surveys very closely because they usually are correct, thus providing valuable marketing intelligence, instances where they are off are growing. Moviegoer habits are changing in this digital age, which makes recruiting survey participants difficult.”
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