New-title halo effect: quantifying the boost to older franchise movies

Each year, a significant proportion of films that are released are either sequels or reboots. This approach allows film-makers to piggyback on plotlines and characters that are already tried and tested. Over the course of 2016, a number of sequels were released to originals that came out over 10 years ago. Whilst the release of a sequel in such a situation often aims to take advantage of consumers’ nostalgia by drawing them back to the cinema, it also offers retailers an opportunity to capitalise by pushing sales of the original title. As such, we often observe a surge in the average chart ranking of a film around the time of release of its sequel. This is, in part, due to vendors dropping the price of the original film. The improvement in chart position, however, usually precedes the price drop. This indicates that a significant portion of customers are not swayed by the change in price, but by the new release acting as a reminder of the existence of the original.

The size of the film determines how sustained the improvement in chart position is. This is illustrated by the comparison of the chart positions of Bridget Jones’s Diary and Cloverfield; Bridget Jones’s Diary, being a much bigger film, displays a more prolonged improvement in chart position, whereas Cloverfield’s improvement is relatively short-lived.