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Trailer for Jamal Khashoggi’s documentary ‘The Dissident’ outshines the competition

‘The Dissident’ took the top spot in this week’s YouGov trailer survey. The documentary, directed by Oscar winner Brad Fogley (“Icarus”), traces the story of the brutal murder of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi in 2018 at the Saudi consulate in Turkey.

Every week YouGov Direct studies the effectiveness of a collection of movie trailers in persuading people to consider seeing a movie, what they think of the trailer’s content, and how much they expect the movie either good or bad. Thousands of people provide immediate feedback on movie trailers using the YouGov Direct platform.

Learn more about YouGov Direct and find YouGov Direct on the App store and on google play.

“The Dissident” had the most effective and popular trailer this week. Before watching the trailer, 17% of YouGov Direct users said they were somewhat or very likely to watch this tale of corruption, concealment and courage. After users watched the trailer, that number jumped to more than half of all users (55%).

This revealing documentary was particularly appealing to millennial and Gen Z audiences. Almost two-thirds of respondents aged 18-39 said they were somewhat or very likely to see the film after the trailer. (64%).

So what sets ‘The Dissident’ apart from the competition this week? When we asked users what they liked most about the trailer, the overwhelming response was its powerful story (54%) about a murder that shook the world. Another 39% said they liked the CGI-enhanced look of the trailer.

YouGov Direct also asks respondents to tell us how much they think a movie will be based on the trailer. Of all the trailers we tested this week, “The Dissident” came out on top with a score of 4.0 out of a possible 5.0. This is compared to a median score of 3.5 for all trailers tested to date. The second-highest rating of the week went to Amazon’s home-building drama, “Herself” (3.8)

“Herself” follows a working-class mother from Dublin who becomes homeless when she leaves her abusive husband. Battling against a broken housing system, she decides to build her own home and in the process rebuilds her life and rediscovers herself.

The trailer for “Herself” was the second most effective in persuading viewers to consider seeing a movie this week, after “The Dissident.” Before seeing the trailer, 14% of YouGov Direct respondents said they were likely to see this Irish drama. But after watching the trailer on the YouGov Direct platform, more than two in five said they were now likely to see it (41%).

The trailer for this feminist film had a strong impact on female viewers: half of YouGov Direct users who viewed the trailer said they were somewhat or very likely to see “Herself” (50 %) – compared to 31% of men.

YouGov Direct also offers members the opportunity to learn more about a movie after watching the trailer. This week, “Herself” had the highest click-through rate of any movie released on streaming and video-on-demand services (12.4%). This is compared to an average click-through rate of 6.7% for all trailers tested to date. The second-highest click-through was for Netflix’s heartbreaking home birth drama “Pieces of a Woman” (7.7%).


Image: Getty

Methodology: Data is based on 4,000 interviews, including a minimum of 400 responses for each movie trailer tested. The polls were conducted online on January 7, 2021.