A Moonlight TC Analysis

@fmlnerd · FML Nerd
Nov 1, 2016, 8:12am PDT

I had some flight time today and used it to try to find some comps for Moonlight we could use to find some edges for the theater count (TC) to come on Thursday. This is by no means exhaustive, but my hope is that it starts some conversation.

I'm assuming here that it has to beat $2.6M to take BP from Doctor Strange, the early leader based on Long Range Forecasts, which might not be valid but go with it for now.

No comp is perfect, but I went looking for films that had a similar rollout in terms of it first two weeks or that matched the Week 2 Per Theater Average (PTA) of $23K and change. With that in mind, I found:

Title|Wk 1 TC|WK 1 PTA|Wk 2 TC|WK 2 PTA|Wk 3 TC|WK 3 PTA
While We Were Young|4|$56,922|34|$14,226|246|$4,927
A Place Beyond The Pines|4|$69,864|30|$23,446|514|$7,521
Inside Llewyn Davis|4|$101,353|15|$23,786|148|$7,307


Now, these aren't great matches in terms of genre, distributor, or even time of year, but I'd argue in this case the rollout is more important. From the above, let's assume the absolute floor PTA for Week 3 of Moonlight is $7K. If that were true, here are Box Office (BO) returns for different TC's at that PTA:


So, if it gets above 375 theaters by this conservative estimate, it gets BP. Obviously if you bump that minimum PTA, the TC drops.

What about the other end? If you assume it needs that $2.6M, what would the PTA be at different TC's:


Of the three comps I found, While We Were Young tracks at a similar line slope to the first two weeks of Moonlight. Week 1 of Moonlight is 1.77x that of While We Were Young and Week 2 is 1.66. If you average those two and apply it to Week 3 of While We Were Young, you get a PTA of $8.4K.

Combining that projection with the last table, I'm arguing that below 300 TC, Moonlight is a risky play.

So to sum up, above 375 you play it, below 300 you don't and in between is grey area.

What am I not thinking of here? What are better comps?

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