Not that we listen to SKYNET - Awards Week 3

@user2rarz3 · M37: And like that *poof* he's gone ...
Dec 16, 2016, 9:15am PST

As promised, here is your Friday post screen lock weekly update. What promise, you ask?

Obligatory Weekly Video:

I was going to lay down some general thoughts on some of the eyebrow raising comments that I've seen in the chatter this week in regards to Rogue One, specifically the lofty expectations for a Thursday number, the weekend overall, and what to expect as far as a breakdown. But someone beat me to the punch, and did it quite well, so read this post if you haven't already:

-Always separate Thursday from Friday when doing daily breakdowns
-If you are expecting R1 to follow the same daily pattern and % as SWFA, then you are mistaken.
-Most likely, it will be more in line with other MCU films, or my personal comp, Catching Fire, with a better hold from Saturday to Sunday due to schools being off on Monday:

My Official Projections:
Thur = $29.0. Fri = $43.0, Sat = $50.0, Sun = $41.0 = $163.0 weekend (17.7% Thursday)

For those that worship at the altar of #AlwaysFriday, that puts Friday at the worst value, by far. That doesn't mean you can't play it, provided a lower priced film takes BP. So on that note…

I log in to FML on Monday, see the pricing, put in my 'Coma Lineup', and was quite shocked by the Chatter love for La La Land as a BP contender, or in the eyes of some posters, the runaway BP choice. CCR set the Bonus Bar at $120K for the week, meaning La La Land would need about $5.2 million. Let's just look at it getting to $5.0 million - or more relevant here, $25,000 per theater. Here is a list of all of the films in the last 3 years that have averaged at least $25K per theater, in at least 150 theaters:

Suicide Squad, Finding Dory, Captain America: Civil War, Jungle Book, Batman vs Superman, Deadpool, Star Wars: The Force Awakens (twice), Minions, Jurassic World, Avengers Age of Ulton, Furious 7, American Sniper (wide expansion week), Mockingjay Part 1 (but not part 2).

That's the kind of packed theaters a film needs to break that $25K level. Here's why: the more theaters and markets a film plays in, the lower it's per theater take: always. A film can make more than $100K per theater in a handful of theaters in LA & NY, as the high ticket prices and population density allow for more revenue per theater.
Last week it was noted that there were 75 (!!!) showings for LLL in just the 3 LA theaters on just Sunday. Extrapolating that out for the 5 theaters over 3.5 days, and LLL averaged $2000 PER SHOW. Force Awakens didn't even hit $1000!

65 Replies

  • Reply #1

    Several films on that list, including Moonlight recently, have managed to hit $25K/theater in the second weekend /first expansion. So let's lower the threshold a bit to greater than 60 theaters, and see what else we can find in the last 3 years:
    Hateful 8, Grand Budapest Hotel. That's the list!

    Now Hateful 8's limited run was a 100 screen IMAX special edition, so that's not comparable, leaving just ONE film that would justify betting on La La Land for BP.

    So we have to ask, why is GBH the exception? The director, Wes Anderson. He has built up cache in the Art House film world, so while GBH was the high water mark, it was only an increase from prior openings:
    Not to mention the cast (, which I'm sorry, Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling just aren't on the same level.

    One other factor: competition. When GBH opened, it was just after the Oscars, so with the exception of people finally seeing the Best Picture winner 12 years a slave, it had the boutique cinema market all to itself:

    Right now, we have Manchester and Jackie on the Awards circuit, plus Nocturnal Animals all playing in the same markets as La La Land. Not to mention, a little Disney film opening that quite frankly, will pull business from every movie out in the market.

    SkyNet dissected LLL from 14 different angles, and the only item that gives pause is the daily grosses, higher than most films even in the 4-5 theater opening. But the expansion to 200 will likely water down the PTA to around or over $20K, but that will not be enough to take home the BP.

    If you combine the two items discussed, I'd be pretty nervous if I had the Friday/LLL/NA lineup...
    So what will take the BP? I have no idea, you can make a good case for several options, but probably one of these 6:

    Manchester by the Sea
    Office Christmas Party
    Fantastic Beasts
    Saturday Rogue One
    Dr Strange

    Personally, I took the safer route, betting on OCP for the BP but quite frankly more of a hedge lineup. And to think, this week is not even one of the 5 hardest this season!

    @user2rarz3 · M37: And like that *poof* he's gone ...
    Dec 16, 2016, 9:15am PSTEdited
  • Reply #2

    Hey M37 - while I wait for others to comment, I'll throw out the one board bet I've been wanting to make all week...


    @phils_phun_phlicks · Phil's Phun Phlicks!
    Dec 16, 2016, 9:32am PST
  • Reply #3

    I'm curious what the thinking behind Doctor Strange is. I noticed that its dailies are holding fabulously, but I feel like it's going to run into a buzzsaw in R1, much like Spectre did last year. Granted, Spectre last year lost way more theaters than Strange is. Same goes (to a lesser extent) for FB, but I at least have seen the comps for that one.

    @backseatdirecting · BackseatDirecting
    Dec 16, 2016, 9:34am PST
  • Reply #4

    Only a 16% Thursday?

    I would have taken this bet even if not for the winter weather that's going to keep numbers down overall.

    @user2rarz3 · M37: And like that *poof* he's gone ...
    Dec 16, 2016, 9:36am PST
  • Reply #5

    All SKYNET responses so far, probably because we're all just a bunch of players ranked near 1000th place, so who would want to listen to us??

    I see Arthouse Cannibalization this weekend, with NA getting gashed, while LLL and MBTS fight to a stalemate. Meanwhile, Jackie continues on the outskirts.

    @bswhite · BSwhite 1970's Discoplex
    Dec 16, 2016, 9:36am PST
  • Reply #6

    Thanks for the write-up. Good insights. I had a hard time buying LaLaLand as well due to the very few comps that got above $20k in around 200 theaters.

    In your comps though, aren't you missing Precious? That's the comp that gave me confidence it was possible. $33k in 174 theaters. Sure its not in the last 3 years, but it shows that the art house theater PTA getting that high is possible even without Wes, and in a number of theaters as wide as 174. Am I missing something about Precious that disqualifies it as an upper bound identifier?

    For myself, I assumed a slight drop with an additional 26 theaters and then another due to Star Wars, bringing my upper bound to 6 or 7MM. So at least some precedence. Or rather, 1 precedence..

    @henrythehedgehog · Henry the Hedgehog
    Dec 16, 2016, 9:37am PST
  • Reply #7

    I'm on the same page as M37 and Kint. OCP may sneak up and surprise, but if it doesn't, the lineup is still really safe in terms of value.

    @kal_el · Gus Bus ("T")
    Dec 16, 2016, 9:38am PST
  • Reply #8

    And BSW as bad as CB may look, its pulling the same Adult audience and WILL do at least $7M or better.

    I've got FB and DS both in my top 5 values this week. With the strong dailies and not getting crushed on TC's either could be a sneaky BP play. If we had a crazy preview number I would have had both in my lineup but I kept the faith in OCP and will be attending a SatMo Party!

    Can I get in on the Under? And like POUND IT. I'm looking at under $140M

    @hmg · Hoosier Movie Guy
    Dec 16, 2016, 9:42am PST
  • Reply #9

    Backseat - that's at the bottom of the list for a reason. I agree with your point, but given that it didn't lose nearly the theater or show volume I was expecting, it can't be ruled out. And if SW is selling out, that may be the second option for some.

    Henry - two arguments against Precious, the first being the time frame: 2009 is a long way away in terms of box office trends.
    But more importantly, the first weekend itself is a red flag, only $100K per theater? Two possible explanations, the first is that the demand came as a surprise, and so theaters were not running 25 shows a day like with LLL. So likely some demand got pushed to week 2, inflating the numbers there. You can see that a bit with the dailies

    Or, and both may be true, the word was not out on Precious right away, so like with NA's second week there wasn't much drop off as advertising picked up. LLL on the other hand, has been talked about for months as the Best Pic favorite.

    This is my best comp for LLL, and you can see the difference between a 50 theater run and one over 200

    @user2rarz3 · M37: And like that *poof* he's gone ...
    Dec 16, 2016, 9:46am PST
  • Reply #10

    Thanks Mem for the shout-out, and I really appreciate the write-up! Here are my post-lock thoughts:

    We actually ended up with quite similar splits for Rogue One. Mine:
    Th: 29.0M; Fri: 44.1M; Sat: 49.6M; Sun: 37.6M = 160.3M (5.5x or 18.1%)
    But I used totally different comps! I mostly ignored the Marvel movies because I think there's a huge difference between early May and mid December, as evidenced by the totally different preview numbers. My main comps were actually... The Hobbits! They lined up pretty well, and were actually quite similar to TFA with a lower Sunday, and so I followed those splits pretty closely.

    As for La La Land, I'm not sure I see your logic. Of course a $25K PTA on a 200-theater scale is an exception. Know what else is an exception? A $180K opening PTA, that's 2nd all time among arthouse films (excluding Disney and Kevin Smith), so yes I expect it to continue to play as such. My main analysis, as I outlined in love/hate, was trying to find comps with similar expansions, and the pattern I found was about a 1/6 PTA drop, which held up pretty well, except both Precious and Up In the Air which were even better. That makes sense to me as it still remains mostly in top markets with expensive tickets and big amphitheaters. So that gives me a $30K PTA and a pretty solid bonus lead. I'd take the field, but I find LLL to be by far the best bet, with some serious upside too if it keeps playing like a huge outlier.

    Finally, I really don't know what you see in OCP. It's going to get swamped this week, and probably drop 60%. I look at movies like ITHOTS or Keanu that dropped 60%+ in the face of a big opener and don't see how this will be any different.

    @ari · Ari's Amphitheater of Moving Pictures
    Dec 16, 2016, 9:49am PST
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