Market Research

How Surveys Helped Rename Hollywood Blockbusters

Written by SurveyPolice

You may wonder about how your answers are used once you’ve completed an online survey. Think your opinions ultimately don’t matter and get lost in a sea of other people’s feedback? Think again!

A Catchy Movie Title is Always Important

By conducting market research studies during movie test screenings, the following movie titles were revised:

  • Shoeless Joe became Field of Dreams. The reason? Panelists thought Kevin Costner was playing a homeless person!
  • Teenie Weenies became Honey, I Shrunk the Kids. The reason? Viewers couldn’t relate to the original movie title after seeing the movie.
  • 3000 became Pretty Woman. The reason? Nobody could figure out what the number meant, even after seeing the movie. (“3000” is actually the amount of money it cost in the movie to spend a night with Julia Roberts).

Choosing a good, catchy movie title is imperative in the film industry. Conducting market research studies during test screenings of movies can reduce the risk of selecting a bad title, which can lead to millions of dollars in losses for a studio.

The Titanic Didn’t Totally Sink!

Another real life test-screening example is when James Cameron (writer-director of Titanic) had a test screening for Titanic and the audience went wild. His relief came from this, as months of bad vibes plagued his eventual blockbuster.

Typical Test Screening Questions:

Point When Asked Question Value of Question
Before the screening What is your age? Determines if age fits profile of target audience.
What is your sex? Same as above.
How often do you go to the movie theatre? Same as above.
After the screening What do you think of the movie title? Keep, or revise.
Which scenes didn’t you enjoy? Why? Change scenes.
Would you want to watch the movie again? Indicator of satisfaction with movie.

From this we can see that market research plays an incredibly important role in our lives, and can influence the types of entertainment we ultimately see.

So the next time you take an online survey and become skeptical that the way you answer impacts anything, remember that Julia Robert’s success in the film industry may have been affected had her big role been in a movie entitled, 3000!

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Berkowitz, Crane, Kerin, Hartley, Rudelius. Marketing. Canada: McGraw-Hill Ryerson Limited, 2000.

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