Rapid Insights: Hijack Pits Idris Elba Against Terrorists at 30,000 Feet

Later this month, Apple TV+ will be releasing a tense new thriller that’s sure to take viewers on an unforgettable ride. Taking place in real time, the seven-hour limited series stars Idris Elba as a skilled corporate negotiator who must broker a peaceful ending after his flight from Dubai to London is taken hostage by terrorists.

Here’s what you need to know about Hijack:

Vault AI uses index scores to describe the impact a given story/theme/element will have on specific KPIs: 
≤79 Disappointing  80-89 Challenging  90-109 Average  110-119 Promising  120+ Outstanding

Who will be adding Hijack to their queue?
Older men. We’re predicting a mostly male audience (62%) that leans heavily toward those 30+ (74%), a demo profile very similar to male-led, action-heavy thrillers like The Terminal ListCitadelJack RyanReacher, and The Old Man. In contrast, Elba’s arguably best-known TV role–as the titular detective in dark crime drama Luther–appealed more to women (54%).

What type of story will this series be telling?
An intense one. Based on the trailer, the show will include strong elements of Action (123) and War (121) as the passengers fight back against the hijackers, all underscored by an edge-of-your-seat Thriller (118) as the stakes become life-or-death for everyone on board.

Why will audiences want to tune in?
For the ticking clock. The show’s real-time Race Against Time (142) ratchets up the tension as Elba’s Sam Nelson embarks on a Dangerous Mission (140) to stop the hijackers, risking his own life in the process. Viewers will lean in for the heightened sense of heart-pounding Vigilance (126) and Aggressiveness (126) on display. Other recent thrillers have also paired these same drivers to great effect, including The Lost Symbol and Leverage: Redemption.

What will be appealing about Idris Elba’s protagonist?
His heroics. Sam’s Bravery (141) in swallowing his fears and Stepping Up (134) in a moment of crisis are also top ratings drivers, and the resulting Admiration (126)Awe (126)Amazement (126), and Optimism (126) that will spring up within the audience will add a twist of positivity to an otherwise heavy, scary story.

What will make this series bingeworthy?
The broader conspiracy. While Sam takes charge in the air, the British armed forces get involved on the ground (Military Operation, 138), aided by several Intelligence Agencies (114) who work to uncover exactly who the terrorists are, what they want (Terrorism, 113), and why there are five nonexistent people listed on the plane’s passenger manifest.

Introducing SEGMENTS

Break free from slow and expensive oversampling 

Create hyper-targeted fan groups and analyze every audience that matters to you.

Introducing SEGMENTS, the groundbreaking new feature revolutionizing how you analyze and target your audiences.

Get rich AI-powered audience insights at your fingertips with 5 Custom Segments included as standard. Define your own or choose from our library of 500+ ready made Segments. No extra costs, no time delays.

Learn More

*Publicly released trailers for series are evaluated using Vault AI’s algorithms – utilizing our proprietary 120K+ story element database alongside ratings performance and other datasets – to identify unique combinations of stories, themes, characters, and genre elements that will drive success.

Stay in the know

Subscribe to get Rapid Insights delivered to your inbox or follow us on LinkedIn

Past Rapid Insights: Miss one? Check out previous issues here

Thank you! Your subscription has been confirmed. You'll hear from us soon.
Sign up with your email address to receive news and updates.