Posts Tagged ‘Entertainment’

Weekend Movies: 3/30 – 4/1

March 30, 2012 Leave a comment

Well the whole country has gone mad with Mega Millions fever, which at last count was up to a staggering $640 million jackpot, but let’s not forget there are two new wide-releases in theaters this weekend.

“Mirror Mirror” hits 3,603 locations and stars Julia Roberts in an adaptation of the classic “Snow White.” It’s hovering right above 50% on Rotten Tomatoes and hasn’t had much buzz to speak of. I’ve only seen a few television ads for the film, but as a late-20’s guy, my TV channels are probably not on the film’s targeted list.

“Wrath of the Titans” invades 3,545 locations and features of a variety of Hollywood stars. The film is a follow-up to the 2010 movie “Clash of the Titans,” which actually fared quite well at the box office, netting $61 million in its opening weekend. “Wrath” is not expected to do anywhere near that number, but still could bring in $35m+ this weekend.

Here are what the major prognosticators are projecting for the two films.

Mirror Mirror
Box Office Follower – $24m
Box Office Guru – $20m
HSX Whisper Number – $21m
Weekend Warrior – $24.8m – $24m
FilmGo – $16m
Movie Critic Assassins – $21m

Wrath of the Titans
Box Office Follower – $32m
Box Office Guru – $36m
HSX Whisper Number – $35m
Weekend Warrior – $40.8m – $37.5m
FilmGo – $36m
Movie Critic Assassins – $41m

My personal predictions are $21.9m for “Mirror Mirror” and $37.7m for “Wrath of the Titans.”

My intrade positions are as follows:

$76 trading profit so far on positions I initiated then sold out of.

Mirror Mirror
$17.5m -5 @ 85.0
$20.0m -5 @ 72.5
$22.5m -5 @ 60.0
$25m -3 @ 55.2

$40.0m -2 @ 69.0
$45.0m -8 @ 55.8
$60.0m -5 @ 15.4


Who is Going Home on Idol Tonight?

April 21, 2011 Leave a comment

Intrade says Stefano. I don’t have an opinion, but after the “Pia debacle” a couple weeks back, it’s interesting to see that someone’s elimination contract is trading over 70…

Probably because DialIdol says Stefano is toast…

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1

November 18, 2010 1 comment


Guess who’s back…back again…

I figured it was finally time to start posting again after a near six-month hiatus, and what better topic to post about than betting on the box office! “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1” opens in about six hours here on the East Coast. Nikki Finke, THR, Fandango and numerous other outlets are already reporting massive pre-sale numbers for the midnight showings. Some theaters are already adding 3:00am showings in order to cope with the demand. It’s possible that HP7 will make a run at the all time midnight record of approximately $30 million set last year by “Twilight: Eclipse.”

So how much will HP7 gross at the box office this weekend? Comparisons to prior films are somewhat difficult as HP5 and HP6 both had five-day opening weekends. The best comparison film is “Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire,” which opened in November 2005 for a three-day weekend. That film grossed $102.7 million in 3,858 theaters. For this projection I am going to use a theater expansion inflater and a ticket price inflater. HP7 is debuting in 4,125 theaters, an increase of 6.9% over HP4. However, just because the movie is playing in 6.9% more theaters doesn’t automatically mean the gross will increase by 6.9%. I generally increase a projection by 2/3rds of the theater increase percentage. So for HP7, with a base of $102.7 million (HP4), I’ll increase my HP7 projection to $107.4 million. For ticket prices, in 2005 the average ticket price was approximately $6.41. This year, Box Office Mojo estimates the average ticket price will be $7.95. This is an increase of 24%. It should be noted that HP7 is NOT a 3D film, which would normally lead me to tack on an extra 5% to 10% on to the ticket price increase percentage. So, with a ticket price increase percentage of 24%, my projection for HP7 rises to $133.2m. Now, the ticker price inflater is somewhat inexact and uses an estimate for the average 2010 ticket price. Thus I’ll use a 3% down/up spread and project that “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1” will gross somewhere between $129.2 million and $137.2 million. If you held a gun to me though I’d say that HP7 has a decent chance at taking down “Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest” ($135.6 million) to become the 4th-highest all time opening weekend.

Despite aggressively bidding on the HP7 $105m, $110m, $115m, $120m, $125m, $130m contracts I was only able to come away with the following positions:

$115m contract – 20 shares at 40.0
$125m contract – 5 shares at 46.0
$130m contract – 2 shares at 36.0

Can “Iron Man 2” Take Down “The Dark Knight?”

April 25, 2010 3 comments

The “Summer Movie Season” is right around the corner, and the tent pole for 2010 looks to be Paramount’s “Iron Man 2,” opening May 7th and starring Robert Downey Jr. and most of the same cast from the original “Iron Man” that came out two years ago. There has been some buzz in the last couple weeks that “Iron Man 2” might take down the all-time opening weekend record that currently belongs to “The Dark Knight,” which raked in an astounding $158.4m in 4,366 theaters in the third weekend of July 2008.

Just for a quick reminder, the original “Iron Man” grossed $98.6m in 4,105 theaters in its opening weekend. The film also grossed an additional $3.5m in pre-midnight Thursday showings the day before its release. Paramount has already announced that in an effort to maximize the weekend number for the sequel, there will be no Thursday evening showings, and fans will have to wait until Friday 12:01am for the first screenings. Thus, for the purposes of projecting the “Iron Man 2” opening weekend box office total, we should use $102.1m ($98.6m + $3.5m) as the “effective” opening weekend tally for “Iron Man.”

The first two logical steps in projecting whether “Iron Man 2” can beat “The Dark Knight” are to factor in ticket price inflation and theater count increase. For ticket price inflation, using Box Office Mojo’s ticket price inflation data, we see that prices in 2010 are an estimated 6% higher than they were in 2008. So all other things being equal, using just ticket price inflation we can expect “Iron Man 2” to gross $6.1m (6% x $102.1m) more than “Iron Man.” With regards to theater count increase, the original “Iron Man” debuted in 4,105 theaters in its opening weekend. Due to expansion in the industry, “Iron Man 2” will debut in more theaters than the original. The question is “How many more?” As previously mentioned, “The Dark Knight” debuted in 4,366 theaters in July 2008. “Iron Man 2” should be able to duplicate that number, if not add to it. For argument’s sake let’s assume that “Iron Man 2” debuts in 4,400 theaters. That number would represent a 7.2% increase over the original “Iron Man.” Once again, all other things being equal, using just theater count increase, we can expect “Iron Man 2” to gross $7.3m (7.1% x $102.1m) more than “Iron Man.” BIG PICTURE (in case you’re falling asleep)…when factoring in just ticket price inflation and theater count increase, we can reasonably expect “Iron Man 2” to gross $115.5m ($102.1m + $7.3m + $6.1m) in its opening weekend. This number is of course $42.9m shy of “The Dark Knight’s” opening weekend record. So where is the rest going to come from? Organic growth.

Organic growth in movie audience size is kind of a sticky wicket. There is no hard and fast formula that says input X, Y and Z numbers from the first movie and boom, here’s how much the sequel will make. Case in point, take a look at some opening weekend box office figures for recent movie franchises. (The numbers in parentheses are year and theater count. And yes I am aware that these increases are already factoring in ticket price inflation and theater count increase, and thus the true organic growth increase is obscured, but these franchises do provide good comparisons nonetheless).

Spider-Man (2002, 3615) $114.8m
Spider-Man 2 (2004, 4152) $88.2m
Spider-Man 3 (2007, 4252) $151.1m

Pirates of the Caribbean 1 (2003, 3269) $46.6m
Pirates of the Caribbean 2 (2006, 4133) $135.6m
Pirates of the Caribbean 3 (2007, 4362) $114.7m

Batman Begins (2005, 3858) $48.8m
The Dark Knight (2008, 4366) $158.4m

Star Wars Episode I (1999, 2970) $64.8m
Star Wars Episode II (2002, 3161) $80.0m
Star Wars Episode III (2005, 3661) $108.4m

X-Men (2000, 3025) $54.4m
X-Men 2 (2003, 3741) $85.6m
X-Men 3 (2006, 3690) $102.8m

Twilight 1 (2008, 3,419) $69.6m
Twilight 2 (2009, 4,024) $142.8m

The first thing that jumps out is that it can really go either way with a sequel. Tossing out the Spider-Man franchise (there are lots of reasons that I don’t have time to discuss here as to why the original trounced the sequel at the box office), you can see that a sequel either follows the moderate-growth scenario (approximately 25-50% increase) or the explosive-growth scenario (200%+ increase). Based on the popularity of the original “Iron Man,” it is highly unlikely that the sequel takes the explosive-growth scenario. But that doesn’t mean that it won’t have enough organic growth to beat “The Dark Knight.”

One decent indicator of organic movie audience growth is DVD sales of the original film. Some were surprised by the huge box office increase for “Transformers 2” over “Transformers” (not listed above because both were mid-week debuts). But “Transformers was actually the #2 top-selling DVD of 2007, a fact that was a good indication of the success of the sequel. “Iron Man” sold a princely 8.4 million DVD units in 2008, which is extremely strong considering that “The Dark Knight” sold only 2.5 million more units in the same year. Certainly the DVD sales number indicates that “Iron Man 2” will be able to significantly out-earn the original.

There is no question that “Iron Man 2” will be a massive four-quadrant (children, adult men, adult women, older folks) hit. I think that 20% organic growth is all but guaranteed. This would put the base gross at $122.5m, plus the $13.4m additions for ticket price inflation and theater count increase, giving a tally of $135.9m. However, I think “Iron Man 2” will do better than 20% organic growth. Why? My main argument is that “Iron Man” had good legs. No, not Heidi Klum legs, but legs as in staying power at the box office. The weekend gross for most action movies drops 50%+ in its second weekend and then 40%+ in every weekend beyond. “Iron Man” did drop 48% in its second weekend, but then managed to drop only 37%, 35% and 34% in its 3rd, 4th and 5th weekends. In fact, the movie made $100m in the 14 calendar days immediately following its opening weekend. What’s the point? There were a lot of people who skipped the opening weekend but then heard the buzz and the reviews and went to see the film shortly after it came out. I think that this time around, a good percentage of those same people will go during the opening weekend of “Iron Man 2” instead of waiting a week or two. Right now, my best guess is that the film could see approximately 35% organic growth, which would equate to an opening weekend of $151.2m, OH SO CLOSE to “The Dark Knight’s” record of $158.4m.

Stay tuned!

The Oscars!

February 16, 2009 1 comment

Intrade has a plethora of contracts for the upcoming Academy Awards next Sunday (2/22).  Let’s have a look to see if there’s anything overpriced, underpriced etc.

All prices current as of midnight EST Sunday 2/15.

Contract: Academy Award for Best Picture
Slumdog Millionaire – 83.5
Benjamin Button – 11.0
Milk – 4.0
Frost/Nixon – 1.5
The Reader – 1.5

Slumdog Millionaire is the big favorite in this category and for good reason. The film won both the Golden Globe and BAFTA (British Academy of Film and Television Arts) awards and has generated the most Oscar buzz in recent weeks and months. Expect Benjamin Button to win some of the less artistic Oscars, but Slumdog is a safe buy up to 90 in my opinion.

Contract: Academy Award for Best Actress

Kate Winslet – 66.5
Meryl Streep – 18.5
Anne Hathaway – 13.0
Angelina Jolie – 3.0
Melissa Leo – 2.0

Hathaway has generated little buzz, hasn’t snagged any awards in the 2009 season, and is thus overpriced at 13.0. I do see a lot of value in Streep at 18.5 compared to Winslet. Streep is up for her performance in “Doubt” while Winslet was nominated for her role in “The Reader.” Most of the popular press and buzz has been focused on Winslet simply because she’s been nominated for Oscars on multiple occasions over the last decade but has yet to win a golden statue. The reason I see a lot of value in Streep at her current price is because of the SAG (Screen Actors Guild) Award she snagged back on January 25th. The actors of SAG make up the majority of the Oscar voters, so it stands to reason that if Streep has already won an award from the largest Oscar voting block, she stands a decent chance of walking home with the best actress Oscar next Sunday. Ultimately, Winslet’s “Susan Lucci’esque” history at the Oscars may be too much for Oscar voters to ignore, but I would buy Streep up to somewhere in the 25-30 range.

Contract: Academy Award for Best Actor
Mickey Rourke – 59.0
Sean Penn – 35.0
Frank Langella – 6.0
Brad Pitt – 1.5
Richard Jenkins – 1.0

This year’s best actor Oscar is like a prize fight between two menacing contenders. Rourke and Penn both gave what critics deemed “the performance of a lifetime” but only one can go home with the award. So far this awards season Rourke captured the Golden Globe and BAFTA, while Penn won the arguably more important (see above) SAG award in January. These two were both trading around the 45 mark until Rourke’s BAFTA win two weeks ago. Both also have a compelling case for the award: the Academy loves a good comeback (Rourke), but the Academy has also felt pressure in recent years to recognize a straight actor in a gay role in the wake of the Brokeback Mountain snub three years ago and California’s passage of Prop 8 in November. Penn would certainly fit the bill with his excellent portrayal of gay politician Harvey Milk, but the older Oscar voters are notorious for going their own way and ignoring any overt social trends at work. I think Rourke may be a bit overpriced at 59.0; my fair value would be something closer to Rourke 52, Penn 42.

Contract: Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor
Heath Ledger – 95.0

I’m not going to waste much time or space here. The late Ledger’s win in this category is perhaps the biggest “lock” in Oscar history. If you have any spare funds, buy him up to 100 (well…98.6 for you actual Intrade traders out there, as you lose money on trading fees past that price).

Contract: Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress
Penelope Cruz – 60.0
Viola Davis – 17.0
Amy Adams – 6.0
Marisa Tomei – 15.0
Taraji Henson – 4.5

While Cruz’s bloated price may lead you to believe the contrary, in my opinion the best actress category is in fact a wide open race. Both the Golden Globe and SAG award for this category went to Kate Winslet, and the perception was she would be a shoe-in for a win come next Sunday, but then the Academy instead decided to nominate her for the best actress category. The popular press then piled on the Penelope Cruz bandwagon for her performance in “Vicky Cristina Barcelona” despite much acclaim for Davis’ and Adams’ respective performances in “Doubt” and Tomei’s role as a stripper in “The Wrestler.” To Cruz’s credit, she did pick up the BAFTA for best supporting actress, but it wouldn’t surprise me to see another name called on Oscar night. While definitely the favorite, I’d sell Cruz down to the high 40’s.

Contract: Academy Award for Best Animated Feature Film
Wall-e – 90.0
Kung-Fu Panda – 6.0
Bolt – 3.9

Another free money pick, Wall-e will win this award in a walk and I would buy the little guy up to 100.

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