Over the last year, nostalgia has driven online trailer viewership

By Maureen Lee Lenker
August 30, 2017 at 04:43 PM EDT
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Trailers for Titanic, Ghostbusters, Toy Story, and The Little Mermaid are the most-viewed previews from movies of the 1980s and 1990s, according to YouTube.

Over the past 12 months, YouTube tracked global views of movie trailers for every film in the Google knowledge graph. The company’s study produced some interesting results.

For the 1980s, the three most popular trailers were Ghostbusters, The Little Mermaid, and The Shining, while Titanic, Toy Story, and The Lion King topped the ’90s list. Two Star Wars films (The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi), Beauty and the Beast, and Home Alone also made the lists.

While the enduring appeal of Titanic easily explains the staggering number of views for that movie trailer, YouTube noticed that reboots and sequels feed popularity.

Of the films in the top 10 lists for both decades, more than half of them have had recent reboots or sequels. For instance, Ghostbusters claimed its No. 1 spot through renewed interest via its 2016 reboot — in 2015, it averaged 70,000 views per month, which rose to 300,000 views/month with the release of last year’s movie starring Melissa McCarthy, Kristen Wiig, Kate McKinnon, and Leslie Jones.

Upcoming films seem to be on track for a similar boost to the original titles’ viewership. In advance of the December 2017 Jumanji reboot, views of the trailer for the original 1995 film increased 60 percent over the previous year.

Similarly, in the lead-up to the highly-anticipated Blade Runner 2049, the original film has received renewed interest online. Already No. 8 on the most-viewed trailers list of the 1980s, viewership of the original trailer has increased by 112 percent in 2017.

Blade Runner

  • Movie
  • R
  • 117 minutes
  • Ridley Scott