For years, Gen Z has been a mystery to the entertainment industry. Now, we have more information about what Gen Z likes.
According to Morning Consult’s new data, the short answer is Minions and Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson.
The short answer is that Generation Z falls into the same moulds as other young generations. They love comedy and horror and are very conscious of how they spend their time. They also consume less news from traditional media.
This cohort, aged 13-25 years old, grew up using social media and the internet. They were set to inherit an economy strong with a low unemployment rate and a close record.
The pandemic struck.
Before Covid-19 closed movie theaters, studios were struggling to reach this tech-savvy audience. Instead, they pushed viewers towards streaming options and social media entertainment such as TikTok. Hollywood is now scrambling not only to increase production but also adapt to this new generation of viewers. It will be crucial for showbiz to learn the tastes of this generation as it matures.
“It may not surprise that Gen Z is all about social media,” said Saleah Blaflor, the Morning Consult business of entertainment reporter. “Our Morning Consult research revealed that Gen Z hear most about new releases via people who post about them on social networks.”
Blancaflor cited the “#GentleMinions”, a trend that gained popularity on TikTok with this year’s release of Universal, and Illumination’s “Minions The Rise of Gru” as an example of Gen Z’s ability to gather support to drive box-office ticket sales.
This trend saw young moviegoers wear formal clothes to see the film. According to PostTrak data by Comscore, the film earned $107 million domestically in its first weekend. People aged 13-24 accounted for 56% of box-office receipts.
“Minions: The Rise of Gru”, the sequel to 2015’s “Minions”, is a spin-off/prequel of the main “Despicable Me” film series.
According to Morning Consult, the Despicable Me franchise which includes “Rise of Gru”, has more American Gen Zers than any other entertainment properties.
Sony’s Jumanji franchise is second. This is due to Gen Z’s love for The Rock — Morning Consult reported that 73% of respondents had positive opinions of the action star.
Next up are Disney’s Marvel Cinematic Universe (and “Pirates of the Caribbean”), followed by Universal’s “Jurassic Park” and Netflix’s “Stranger Things” (both and Warner Bros. Discovery).
Gen Z has grown up alongside the Minions. It was just 12 years since the first “Despicable Me”, which was released.
Blancaflor said that a lot of properties mentioned in the survey are more popular among millennials. “Lord of the Rings, Star Wars and Jumanji were slightly lower on the list. These films, along with many of the Marvel movies were released a bit before Gen Z began to mature.
This means Universal is likely to approve more Minions content. “Despicable Me 4” is scheduled for release July 2024.
Morning Consult found that Gen Z enjoys horror movies more than the general population.
According to the firm, 1 in 3 Gen Z adults saw horror movies in theaters in fall. This is a remarkable turnout considering that Hollywood studios and theaters have struggled to attract new audiences since the pandemic.
Blancaflor stated that “Gen Z is becoming more reliable,” in her report about the cohort. “Especially for scary stuff.”
She pointed out that original horror films like “Barbarbian” by Sony Pictures and “Smile” by Paramount Pictures have exceeded expectations in domestic box office due to the younger audience.
Blancaflor wrote, “Message to studios”: More horror, comedy, and horror-comedy Gen Zers are open to all genres. They want TV and films to scare them as much as they want them make them laugh.
Morning Consult recommends that Hollywood spend marketing dollars on TikTok platforms where Gen Z is most likely to return to the theaters.
According to data, the majority of Gen Zers hear about new television and film shows via social media posts. Gen Zers saw, heard or read about #GentleMinions on TikTok. They were encouraged to go to cinemas and record themselves in suits and sunglasses.
Similar results were observed for “Smile”‘s social media marketing. This involved actors appearing at televised MLB games and making creepy smiles in front of cameras.
Morning Consult reported that apps such as TikTok have also influenced how Gen Z views TV and sits through films.
Prestige TV brought about the rise of long-running TV shows like “Game of Thrones” (an hour-plus episodes) on HBO. But Gen Z is sceptical of this trend.
Morning Consult reports that Gen Z prefers TV episodes to last 45 minutes or less. 35% of respondents consider this a good runtime, while 34% prefer 30-minute episodes. Gen Z prefers films to be between 2 and 2 and 1/2 hours long.
Blancaflor stated that while some streaming services like Netflix have tried different lengths, others have gone too far. She pointed out Quibi, a failed streaming service that attempted to create 10-minute episodes of television.
Blancaflor stated that Quibi understood that younger viewers prefer condensed content but its execution was poor, and the app was forced to close down after a few months.
She said, “How this generation spends its time is important and valuable to them.”