Pro forecasts, not so pro

@kbar812 · Kbar812 (R)
Oct 29, 2016, 3:02pm PDT

I find it amazing that the "Pro" forecasts have been so far off on many films recently. I mean several of the websites even had Jack Reacher outgrossing Madea this weekend, so I completely understand so many people playing Reacher this week.

Having said this, I really have to commend the "Sharks" around here for consistently projecting better than the pros. If you ask me, I think many of you should think about seeking work in that field. You can, and certainly have been doing a better job than he "Pros.

Also curious if anyone is tracking the projections for Mojo, Deadline, or PBO to see how they are performing against FMLer's.

11 Replies

  • Reply #1

    There used to be a weekly thread where someone graded the websites against actual results. I remember SBD's average being particularly bad

    @digifreak · Digifreak
    Oct 29, 2016, 3:22pm PDT
  • Reply #2

    STEVE maintained some bot accounts for a while. I guess he still does?

    @phils_phun_phlicks · Phil's Phun Phlicks!
    Oct 29, 2016, 3:49pm PDT
  • Reply #3

    And it looks like SBD has just thrown in the towel..

    @kbar812 · Kbar812 (R)
    Oct 29, 2016, 3:51pm PDT
  • Reply #4

    It used to be there was an account set up to use the Pro Forecasts to see how they ended up doing here.... do those still exist?

    @user45rqrd · 1 Cent Cineplex
    Oct 29, 2016, 5:32pm PDT
  • Reply #5

    @KBAR812 - I'm so glad you brought this up as I think it's important to take a look at the motivation behind the pro forecasts every once in awhile. Go take a look around the PBO site a bit and ask yourself what their core business is. Their main revenue stream is selling to theater managers and the forecasts are there to help those folks plan staffing levels.

    Because of that, they tend to have a high bias. The comparison I've made before is the "wet bias" pro weather forecasters have. If you are told it won't rain and it does, you'll get a lot more upset than if you are told it will rain and it doesn't. The Weather Channel knows this and will bias there forecasts accordingly.

    PBO does the same thing since it is a bigger problem for a theater manager to have more people working concessions for a smaller audience than having movie goers get mad because the candy line is really long because there aren't enough workers.

    That said, they have indeed been having a tough time this Fall. It's a harder season than Summer because of where the attention of the public is at this time of year and I've heard they've had some personnel turnover there too they might be a contributing factor too.

    I like to think of the pro forecasts as a starting point for a conversation as opposed to an absolute set of facts each week and I try to reflect that in my picks articles for all the reasons stated above. Hence the "if/then" structure i tend to use.

    @fmlnerd · FML Nerd
    Oct 29, 2016, 6:10pm PDT
  • Reply #6

    Very well said, Nerd. ?

    I agree that pro forecasts should be used as more of a guide. If you have a bad week, and you blame it on the pros, you're using them too much as a crutch then. Keep in mind, that this is a game that's based on predicting future outcomes.... nobody is going to be perfect at it. Even the ones who get paid to do it.

    @garbs · The Garbera Redemption
    Oct 29, 2016, 6:21pm PDT
  • Reply #7

    @FML Nerd: I LOVE the Wet bias! That's such a great analogy. It reminds me of a great Curb Your Enthusiasm episode (ok, they're all great), where Larry suspects the weatherman is calling for rain so he can have the golf course all to himself.

    I think I'm going to pitch him on an episode where Larry figures out PBO is making ridiculous projections for the next Da Vinci Code movie so they can walk in last minute and get their popcorn right away, when just the week before Larry had to wait in line for an hour to get Jujubes for Jeff's wife and missed half of Money Monster 2.

    @20thcentury_flops · 20th Century Flops
    Oct 29, 2016, 6:38pm PDT
  • Reply #8

    Something else to keep in mind in the Pros vs Sharks debate is the timing - it's not quite a fair fight in some ways. ProBO's forecasts are issued on Wednesday afternoon, and while they certainly have access to more behind the scenes data than us average Joes, we have the luxury of having Theater Counts (and show times), an extra day of daily numbers, and for new releases, Thursday night grosses. All of those data points help fine tune projections by Friday morning.

    Also, from their perspective, the difference between say Storks making $2.0 or $2.5 million is negligible in the grand scheme of the box office, but in FML, it can make a world of difference, so there is often more attention paid to the mid to lower level films, which can only serve to increase accuracy in the Shark forecasts.

    With all of that being said, their projections for films entering week 2 over the past few months have been ... lacking.

    @user2rarz3 · M37: And like that *poof* he's gone ...
    Oct 29, 2016, 8:17pm PDT
  • Reply #9

    +1 Mem. Precision and extra data make a big difference indeed.

    @fmlnerd · FML Nerd
    Oct 29, 2016, 9:51pm PDT
  • Reply #10

    @Phil, I stopped posting on those

    @steve · STEVE
    Oct 29, 2016, 10:34pm PDTEdited
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