Study: Phase 4 of Marvel Cinematic Universe Least Favorite

Phase 4 of the Marvel Cinematic Universe is the least-favorite MCU phase so far, according to critical scores identified in a new study.

The findings come from the Critic Ratings Study, which analyzed the film ratings across three popular review platforms — Rotten Tomatoes, Metacritic and IMDb. 

The study found that films and TV shows featured in Phase 4 — starting with “WandaVision” and running through to Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness — are proving the least popular with fans so far, when compared with Phase 3, Phase 2 and Phase 1.

In fact, when compared to Phase 3 of the MCU (starting with Captain America: Civil War and ending with Spider-Man: Far From Home), Phase 4 has reported a 22% drop in ratings. 

Still, Phase 4 includes the highest-rated MCU film so far, Spider-Man: No Way Home (8.8/10), but it’s Eternals that pulls the average score down considerably as the lowest-rated film in the MCU to date (5.7/10). 

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Of the TV shows included in Phase 4, the highest-rated was “WandaVision,” while fans weren’t so keen on “The Falcon and the Winter Soldier” or “Hawkeye.”

MCU Phases, best to worst:

  1. Phase 3 (Captain America: Civil War to Spider-Man: Far From Home)
  2. Phase 2 (Iron Man 3 to Ant-Man)
  3. Phase 1 (Iron Man to Marvel’s The Avengers)
  4. Phase 4 (“WandaVision” to Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness)

 

Phase 3 was the highest-rated period of Marvel films, with each film featured reporting an impressive average critic score of 7.9/10. 

Highest-rated MCU films, by cumulative IMDb, Rotten Tomatoes and Metacritic scores:

  1. Spider-Man: No Way Home (8.8/10)
  2. Avengers: Endgame (8.6/10)
  3. Iron Man (8.6/10)
  4. Avengers: Infinity War (8.5/10)
  5. Guardians of the Galaxy (8.5/10)

Fandango Survey: Majority Plan to See Three or More Films on the Big Screen This Summer

A Fandango survey found 83% of respondents plan to see three or more films on the big screen this summer.

The second annual “Moviegoing Trends & Insights Study” was conducted by the movie ticketing service with more than 6,000 ticket buyers during the first quarter of 2022.

The study also saw an uptick in consumer satisfaction with the moviegoing experience over the past year, with 99% of moviegoers saying they are happy with their recent cinema visits, compared to 93 percent during the prior year. 

Survey respondents’ top 10 most anticipated summer movies were:

  1. Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness (May 6)
  2. Thor: Love and Thunder (July 8)
  3. Jurassic World: Dominion (June 10)
  4. Top Gun: Maverick (May 27)
  5. Minions: The Rise of Gru (July 1)
  6. Lightyear (June 17)
  7. Elvis (June 24)
  8. Nope (July 22)
  9. Bullet Train (July 29)
  10. Downton Abbey: A New Era (May 20)

 

Other key takeaways from Fandango’s study include:

  • 93% of respondents said they will see films across multiple genres in theaters (not just superhero/comic book movies);
  • 93% will purchase concessions at the theater (up from 84% the prior year), with popcorn and soda ranking as the most popular items;
  • 89% indicated that moviegoing is their favorite activity outside of the home (ranking higher than dining out, shopping or sporting activities);
  • 85% said they prefer films in immersive premium formats (like Imax and Dolby), feeling they make the moviegoing experience more enjoyable; and
  • 68% said they believe believe that only-in-theater movies are of a higher quality than straight-to-streaming titles.

 

In the study, moviegoers were asked about the top factors influencing their moviegoing decisions and:

  • 95% said they look for their favorite genres;
  • 93% said they select films based on the trailers;
  • 91% said they ask for recommendations from families or friends;
  • 90% said they want to see their favorite stars on the big screen;
  • 90% said they pick the latest installment of a favorite franchise; and
  • 88% said they search for positive ratings and reviews.

 

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“As film fans head back to theaters, we are starting to see growing signs of recovery as we make the turn towards a great summer of movies ahead,” Fandango VP of domestic ticketing Melissa Heller said in a statement. “Our study shows moviegoers are happier than ever to be back at the theater. With more in-theater releases on the horizon, film fans plan to see multiple movies in the cinema, enjoying all their favorite concessions throughout the summer season.” 

The demographic breakdown of respondents was 72% ages 18-54, with 58% identifying as female, 41% male and 1% non-binary. Sixty-one percent described themselves as Caucasian; 21% Latino/Hispanic; 8% Black/African American; 8% Asian/Pacific Islander; and 5% other. There were a few respondents who identified with multiple ethnicities.

Parks Survey: Consumer Purchases of Sony Smart-TVs Grow

Out of the top five brands, Sony showed clear growth among smart TVs purchased or received in the previous six months compared to 2020, pushing it past Vizio and into the top three for reported purchases in Q3 2021.

That’s according to Parks Associates’ latest update of its Consumer Insights Dashboard, an ongoing service that tracks adoption of consumer electronic devices and services through its quarterly surveys of 10,000 U.S. internet households.

“Samsung continues to lead smart TV adoption, and it currently comprises over one-fourth of all consumers’ primary smart-TVs in the U.S.,” Paul Erickson, director of research for Parks Associates, said in a statement. “While smart-TV adoption is at all-time highs, there may be short-term saturation and conservatism in effect while consumer smart-TV purchasing settles following dramatic increases in 2020. Sony still managed to grow in purchasing — despite downturns for the traditional top three brands — which may be related to its first-mover release of new Google TV Bravia models over 2021.”

Heightened entertainment consumption has driven sustained high purchase intent for connected entertainment devices, according to Parks. Smart-TVs have not only become the most-adopted streaming video device but also the most favored for video consumption. Among survey respondents, 56% own a smart-TV; 73% own a home network router; 39% own a gaming console; and 57% own a desktop computer.

Smart-TVs, along with smart speakers/displays and desktop PCs, experienced growth during the pandemic due to an increase in consumers’ perceived value of these devices, according to Parks. Smart-TVs and smart speakers/displays have shown durability in sustaining growth and are expected to maintain elevated adoption in years to come.

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“This is notable given that the aggregate trend across categories has been a very gradual decline in overall usage since 2017,” Erickson said in a statement. “Smart-TVs have become the most-important media centerpiece for the home, and their prominence offers the industry numerous integration opportunities for smart home and connected health ecosystems.”

Deloitte Digital Media Survey: Paid Streaming Service Churn Rate High, Especially Among Younger Generations

Paid streaming services are facing challenges. Churn is high, especially among younger people, and younger generations, especially Gen Z, actually prefer playing video games to watching video and spend a lot of time watching user-generated content rather than TV shows and movies.

That’s according to Deloitte’s 16th annual digital media trends survey. The U.S. survey was fielded by an independent research firm in December 2021 and employed an online methodology among 2,000 U.S. consumers. All data was weighted back to the most recent census data to give a representative view of consumer sentiment and behaviors. The survey was also fielded in the United Kingdom, Germany, Brazil and Japan in December 2021 and January 2022. All data from the global markets was weighted to be nationally representative.

The U.S. paid streaming service churn rate averaged 37%, with 33% of respondents both adding and canceling a service and 4% canceling a service in the past six months. The churn rate was even higher among Gen Z and Millennials, with more than half of those respondents either canceling or canceling and adding paid services in the past six months. The trend also held true globally, with average churn in the international territories surveyed at 30% and younger generations more likely to move in and out of services.

While access to original content (39%) and a broad range of content (38%) were the top two reasons U.S. consumers said they were subscribing to paid SVOD services, U.S. subscribers said they’re canceling paid SVOD services due to cost (41%), price increases (30%) and lack of new content (30%).

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While older generations said they prefer watching TV and movies at home, Gen Z respondents preferred video games as their favorite form of digital entertainment. About four in 10 (41%) U.S. consumers said they spend more time watching user-generated video content than they do TV shows and movies on video streaming services — a sentiment that increased to around 60% for Gen Zs and Millennials.

In the United States, 81% of social media users said they use social media services at least daily and 59% said they use these services several times a day, with younger generations (including Gen Z, Millennial, and Gen X) leading the pack on social media usage.

In the United States, 80% of both men and women said they play video games, and half of smartphone owners said they play on a smartphone daily. Gen Z and Millennials said they play video games an average of 11 and 13 hours per week, respectively. Gen X gamers followed closely behind with around 10 hours of game play every week.

“While streaming video on-demand business models look much the same as they did when they were created 15 years ago, social media and gaming companies have quickly evolved their offerings, leveraging technology, and capitalizing on behaviors,” Jana Arbanas, vice chair, Deloitte LLP and U.S. telecom, media and entertainment sector leader, said in a statement. “Social media is free and available anywhere, anytime, offering both passive and interactive experiences with endless streams of personalized content, without the cost of a subscription. And more people are interacting and socializing in game worlds that host millions of users, brands and franchises, and major non-gaming events. SVOD companies aren’t just competing with each other for audiences, they are also competing with different, more social and immersive forms of entertainment.” 

Fandango Survey: ‘Dune’ Top Best Picture Pick

Warner Bros.’ Dune was the top pick for Best Picture and for Best Adapted Screenplay in a Fandango consumer survey taken in anticipation of the 94th Academy Awards taking place March 27.

Fandango and Vudu surveyed more than 2,000 film fans, asking them which movies and performers are most deserving of Oscar’s top honors this year. Many of the awards contenders can be found on Fandango’s transactional VOD service Vudu at its curated awards section.

Among the other picks of those surveyed, “Spider-Man” vets Andrew Garfield (tick, tick … BOOM!), Kirsten Dunst (The Power of the Dog), and J.K. Simmons (Being the Ricardos) were chosen for Best Actor, Best Supporting Actress and Best Supporting Actor, respectively, while Kristen Stewart (Spencer) was chosen as Best Actress.

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Steven Spielberg (West Side Story) was chosen as Best Director, Kenneth Branagh’s Belfast led for Best Original Screenplay, and Disney’s Encanto was the top choice for Best Animated Feature and Best Original Song (Lin-Manuel Miranda’s “Dos Oruguitas”).

Dune is grand-scale entertainment that marvelously transports you to another place and another time, introducing characters who are instantly memorable and a story that is unforgettable,” said Fandango managing editor Erik Davis in a statement. “Fans love Dune the most because of its big ideas and its incredible visuals. This was very much a film that reminded audiences of the power of big-screen moviemaking, and deserves top honors.”

The Academy Awards air March 27 at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT on ABC.

TV Time App Study: Half of Viewers Binge Most or All of Their Shows

Binge viewing is popular among global content viewers, with half saying they binge watch most or all of their shows, according to a new study from Whip Media’s TV Time app and Kauser Kanji.

Viewers don’t like to wait for episodes to roll out. More than three quarters of respondents (78%) said they prefer a simultaneous — rather than weekly — release of all episodes.

Serialized drama was the top binge genre with 87% of respondents saying they like to binge those type of shows; 40% said they like to binge sitcoms. Meanwhile, lifestyle/food/travel/home and garden shows, at 7%, and game shows, at 6%, were the-least liked genres to binge.

A large majority (81%) of respondents said that bingeable content was an important factor when thinking about subscribing to OTT services, with about one-third (31%) saying they had churned from a service because of lack of bingeable content.

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The definition of binging watching in a single viewing session varied from only 2% saying it was two episodes at once, to 24% saying it was three to 43% saying it was four, and 31% saying it was five or more.

The survey tallied 32,000 responses among active users of Whip Media’s TV Time app from seven countries — the United States, the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Italy, Spain and Sweden — Sept. 17-20, 2021. The TV Time app is used by 19 million global TV fans to track shows and movies. Download the study here

Deloitte Report: 84% of U.S. Consumers Spending More Time With Online, Rather Than In-Person Entertainment

The vast majority of U.S. consumers (84%) are spending more time with online, rather than in-person entertainment, according to Deloitte’s just released Digital Media Trends Fall Pulse Survey.

Meanwhile, more than 80% of U.S. respondents in the survey conducted in August 2021 said they remain concerned about COVID-19 variants, and about half (48%) said they spend more time on online entertainment versus six months ago.

Among other findings in the survey:

  • Both Boomers and Gen X still rank “watching TV shows or movies at home” as their favorite entertainment activity; “playing video games” is still ranked as Gen Z’s preferred form of entertainment.
  • “Churn and return” behavior is most common with younger generations, with almost half of millennials (47%) and 34% of Gen Z canceling and then re-subscribing to the same service later.
  • High cost and completing a TV show they signed up to watch are the top two reasons consumers canceled an SVOD service.
  • 65% of consumers are engaging with at least one social media service several times a day.
  • 65% of respondents are frequent gamers, playing at least once a week; on average, these frequent gamers play for around 12 hours a week.

 

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The survey revealed that consumers are getting better at developing strategies to access online content while keeping their costs low. Among the findings:

  • 84% of respondents now pay for an SVOD service; the average household has four subscriptions — largely unchanged during the past year.
  • The churn rate — the number of people who have cancelled, or both added and cancelled, a paid SVOD service — has remained stable at about 38%, although it varies from service to service.
  • Many streaming video subscribers say they actively manage costs in some way, either by looking for deals or promotions, bundles, using friends’ or family members’ accounts, and other strategies.
  • Led by cost-sensitive and savvy millennials and Gen Zs, 65% of respondents reported using free ad-supported video services.

‘A Quiet Place,’ Classic ‘Twilight Zone’ Top Horror Movie and TV Franchises in Vudu Survey

“A Quiet Place” ranked as fans’ top horror movie franchise and the original “The Twilight Zone” was fans’ favorite horror TV series in a survey by Fandango’s transactional digital service Vudu.

The service polled more than 2,500 entertainment fans during the last two weeks of September.

Almost three-quarters (73%) of consumers surveyed said they will stream more horror films and TV shows during this year’s Halloween season than in previous years.

“According to our survey, many horror-hungry entertainment fans will experience their favorite cinematic scares and TV shows at home on Halloween weekend,” Fandango managing editor Erik Davis said in a statement. “It’s impressive to see ‘A Quiet Place’ taking over as the fan-favorite horror franchise, while the original ‘Twilight Zone’ ranks as the top horror TV series. There’s no shortage of creepy content to suit every taste this season, from recent hits to cult classics, many of which are on sale in Vudu’s Horror Store starting today.”

Top 10 Horror Movie Franchises:

  1. A Quiet Place                                           
  2. Halloween
  3. It
  4. A Nightmare on Elm Street
  5. Friday the 13th
  6. The Conjuring
  7. Saw                                
  8. The Purge
  9. Child’s Play (Chucky)
  10. Scream

 

Top 10 Horror TV Series:

  1. “The Twilight Zone” (1959-63)
  2. “The X Files”
  3. “Buffy the Vampire Slayer”
  4. “American Horror Story”
  5. “The Walking Dead”
  6. “What We Do in the Shadows”
  7. “Hannibal”
  8. “Penny Dreadful”
  9. “Bates Motel”
  10. “Lovecraft Country”

 

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More Vudu survey results will be announced each week leading up to Halloween on Fandango’s social channels Twitter, Instagram and Facebook. 

As part of Vudu’s Horror Store, the service is offering “$4.99 Killer Deals” on more than 100 titles for purchase including the 2007 Halloween reboot, Mandy (starring Nicolas Cage), Legion (Paul Bettany), Wes Craven’s Red Eye (Rachel McAdams), Warm Bodies (Nicholas Hoult and Teresa Palmer), Stephen King’s Cujo and the international horror film The Wailing. On Oct. 5, Vudu will launch a classic TV bundle sale, plus a “Mix & Match” sale on classic horror (purchase two films in HDX for $11.99) and modern horror (purchase two films in HDX for $14.99).

Moviegoer Poll: 96% Plan to See Multiple Movies in Theaters This Summer

In a recent poll of moviegoers, 96% of those surveyed said they plan to see multiple movies in theaters this summer, with 64% specifying they will see five movies or more in theaters, 91% feeling that blockbusters must be seen on the big screen, and 87% saying the moviegoing experience cannot be duplicated at home.

That’s according to a Fandango poll of more than 4,000 of its ticket buyers May 3-23, 2021. Among the study’s participants, all had purchased movie tickets at least one time in the past 12 months on Fandango, with 85% having gone to the movies within the last three months.

The top five summer movies respondents most wanted to see on the big screen were:

  1. Black Widow — opening July 9
  2. A Quiet Place Part II — opening May 28
  3. F9 (Fast & Furious 9) — opening June 25
  4. The Suicide Squad— opening Aug. 6
  5. Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings — opening Sept 3

 

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Respondents were overwhelmingly positive about their theatrical experiences, with 93% saying they were satisfied with their return to theaters and 87% saying the theaters did a great job making them feel safe.

Among those polled, 70% said they were vaccinated, with another 13% saying they were planning to get vaccinated. Also, 78% found their fellow moviegoers were more attentive than usual, with a decreased amount of texting and talking in the theater.

“Moviegoing has taken a hard hit during the pandemic, but theater chains have done an excellent job implementing new safety features so that moviegoers can return to the cinema with confidence,” Fandango chief commercial officer Kevin Shepela, said in a statement. “Our study shows that exhibitors’ hard work has paid off, with moviegoers thrilled to be back in theaters and excited for summer movie season.”

According to the Fandango study, 76% of moviegoers said theater safety policies, such as social distance seating, enhanced cleaning measures and contactless ticketing, made their experience more enjoyable, with 86% saying they were also comfortable ordering concessions. More than three-fourths (77%) said they would be comfortable inside the auditorium when capacity increases to 100%.

Report: Increased TV Services Consumption Straining Household Budgets

The proliferation of high-profile subscription streaming services is straining household budgets, according to a new consumer survey from Antennas Direct — prompting an overwhelming majority of subscribers to say that once the COVID-19 pandemic is over, they will likely cut back on the number of services.

The survey found that 50% of respondents signed up for one to two new SVOD services in 2020, bringing their monthly subscription costs above $100. Another 25% acquired three or more new services, bringing their monthly costs above $130.

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As a result, about 40% respondents said they had to limit spending elsewhere to afford TV subscriptions; 82% said they’ll cut back on TV services post-pandemic to pay bills; 33% are already planning to cut TV services post-COVID; and 39% plan to cut more than one type of service.

To cut costs, the report found that 60% of respondents currently share their streaming services with friends and family; 73% share subscriptions to make streaming more affordable for friends and family; and 65% share subscriptions to reduce costs in their own budget.

“While Americans have tolerated the financial strain that has come with
subscribing and sharing services, this simply isn’t feasible in the post-COVID world,” the report said. “The research shows that many plan to cut services and lower costs to fund household expenses or experiences outside of the home. This doesn’t just hurt providers, it hurts consumers who are forced to choose between paying their electric billing and having access to their local news to stay informed.”

Antennas Direct surveyed 1,200 consumers who regularly use cable or streaming service on subscription preferences, costs and viewing expectations.

The report echoed other studies that found the COVID-19 pandemic triggered a significant uptick in TV viewership across the country. With the majority of Americans confined to their homes, 5.4 trillion minutes of streaming and cable television was consumed in 2020, according to the Antennas Direct study.