Groupthink AWARDS 5 - NOT THAT YOU LISTEN TO SKYNET
Everyone be escaping.
Pricing gave us a very interesting set of options this week so kudos to them.
With no new releases to steal IMAX or 3D screens we felt that Aquaman, Bumblebee and Spiderman should all have strong holds. Poppins has not PLF's to surrender but should also keep its volume. Using 2008 and 2013 as comps none of these, bar maybe Spiderman, had a chance of troubling the 85k Bonus Bar, but all had a legitimate chance of coming into play with a low end bonus. Throughout the week some in Skynet had Spiderman ahead of Bumblebee, this pushed the Transformer further out of conversation. The Fandango report was the final nail in its coffin as it seems to have lost a large amount of PLF's, with Aquaman scooping up extra. New release Escape Room was priced for an enticing 4x play. Tracking at the start of the week indicated it was about where Slender Man was. However it is worth noting that PBO do not really know how to deal with horror (see Possession of Hannah Grace, Bye Bye Man ect) and with their LRF at a steady $13m Pricing were wise to set this much higher than its LRF. There is strong history of January horror blowing Pro expectations out of the water (see Bonus Bar for a list), this leads nicely onto…
So early on there were six stand out options, with a seventh in Green Book being a potential question mark if it got a sneaky expansion. Of those six candidates one was the aforementioned Escape Room. By Wednesday it became clear from tracking that it's Thursday number was coming in north of $1m with my money on $1.5m. However I had been using a lower $/ticket number, Escape Room swung in with a higher $/ticket than Slender Man and a monster $2.35m Thursday. Given just how front loaded Escape Rooms looks, as well as it having previews starting at 4pm and some schools being still out we were very hesitant using a multiplier over 10x. Escape Room is certainly a contender for bonus but also is the smart anchor 4x play.
Second Act and Ralph Breaks the Internet were the two options from the middle of the pack which jumped out as candidates. Second Act has flirted with bonus the last two weeks and in her third act J-Lo has retained volume and been posting strong dailies. With Grinch dying Ralph reigns as the animated kids film. It has posted very strong dailies, but note that some schools are still out so be careful with the weekend multiplier.
Mary Queen of Scots, Bohemian Rhapsody and The Favourite all looked like very strong candidates down at the bottom of the slate. "Oscar bait" films tend to hold extremely well this weekend and with Globes coming up we were expecting some expansions. Mary obliged with a nice +25.1% pushing it beyond the 85k bar. Bohemian Rhapsody and The Favourite were more tricky as Fox still have not provided theatre count information. Using Phil's Fandango Report we could see that The Favourite was likely to shed theatres which pushed it to third best here. Bohemian Rhapsody looks to have expanded to approx 1000 theatres and has had a significant screens expansion. However with no info from BOM you were flying in semi blind.
The Mule and Vice were priced too high to be relevant as bonus candidates but either have strong PC potential behind quad Escape Room. Vice should get a Globes boost and Mule saw a
+15.2% theatre expansion.
Holmes and Watson, and The Mean one are trash and needed to be avoided.
Skynet were firmly on board with playing 4x Escape Room (although some really liked 6x Spider Man for a fun alternative). However we were not entirely convinced it would run away with BP. Some have played a line-up with the intention of maximising bux behind the 4x play, others have gone down the path of hunting for a PC down two paths. Both Mary Queen of Scots and Bohemian Rhapsody featured as 3x plays.
Best of luck everyone, lets hear your arguments as we wait for Anthony to crap on our weekends.
Very well put together.Jan 4, 2019, 9:34am PST
Nice write up. Not too long, not too short, easy to follow.Jan 4, 2019, 9:47am PST
The Knights has serious hesitancy using a traditional multiplier this weekend for ER. With many schools still out, the 4pm preview starts, and the extreme frontloaded ticket sales led many (well the smart ones, not me) to question if even an 8x is possible. Arguments were made in the 7-9x range and a few of our Knights will not be surprised come Monday if that multiplier starts with a 7 or even less....
The 2A vs Ralph battle this weekend along with B.B. vs Spidey raw dollar will also make this weekend very interesting regardless of Bp!Jan 4, 2019, 9:49am PST
*had. Stupid autocorrect.Jan 4, 2019, 9:50am PST
The Knights has serious hesitancy using a traditional multiplier this weekend for ER. With many schools still out, the 4pm preview starts, and the extreme frontloaded ticket sales led many (well the smart ones, not me) to question if even an 8x is possible. Arguments were made in the 7-9x range and a few of our Knights will not be surprised come Monday if that multiplier starts with a 7 or even less....The 2A vs Ralph battle this weekend along with B.B. vs Spidey raw dollar will also make this weekend very interesting regardless of Bp!
The thing is, if schools being out is going to nerf Escape Rooms multiplier, what effect will it have on Ralph and Spider Man.....Jan 4, 2019, 9:51am PST
@guyett Eggggsactly! MQOS FTW!!!!Jan 4, 2019, 9:55am PST
I used July mults...so...Jan 4, 2019, 10:21am PST
@backseatdirecting - you have Spidey doing +10% today?!? Please explain.Jan 4, 2019, 10:41am PST
Insidious: The Last Key opened the same weekend last year and had a much greater multiplier than 10x (I believe about 15x?), and since it was a sequel, wouldn't you expect it to be relatively frontloaded? Not saying I have Escape Room at 15x, but 7-9x seems extremely conservative.Jan 4, 2019, 11:32am PST
@americangriper its really not cut and dry to compare this weekend (or the past 2!) to previous years. Where Christmas/NYD falls during the week has an impact on people's work and school schedule. The last time this week played out with NYD being a Tuesday was 2013. Using multipliers based on any other year requires more than a little uncertainty.Jan 4, 2019, 11:39am PST