UPDATE 10/1 ~2:30 Pacific BELOW
If you look at the screen selection picture for “The Martian” this week, Matt Damon’s eyes are lightened to the point that they look like Bill Bixby-era Dr. Bruce Banner about to Hulk out. While I think we can all agree that when a lead character rage-morphs into Lou Ferrigno it improves any story, I somehow doubt we’ll be treated to that in “The Martian” despite how cool that would be in 3D.
In addition to IMAX-heavy Matt Damon sci-fi, we have three other new movies available to us this week including Emily Blunt leading the war on drugs in “Sicario”, Tobey McGuire as chess legend Bobby Fischer in “Pawn Sacrifice”, and Lilly Tomlin tries to scrounge up $600 to keep a family member out of trouble in “Grandma”.
Estimate Comparator Improvements
This week I published data to the Estimate Comparator on Monday with forecasts based on historical information I wrote about earlier in the week so that players that roll their own forecasts could have more time to play around with combinations. That prompted a nice exchange in the forums that led me to changing the data a bit on Tuesday when these Deadline forecasts came out:
- The Martian: Low $40Ms
- Hotel Trans: $29M-$31.5M
- Intern: $8.9M
- Sicario: $8-$10M
I improved the data packing such that now the top 100,000 combinations based on the original estimates are now included instead of the previous 50,000 so fewer viable combinations should fall through the cracks. I have a few tricks up my sleeve there still that I’m hoping to push that number even further without sacrificing page load performance, which on my Internet connection is about 2.5 seconds.
There is now a button that lets you toggle whether or not the Best Performer bonus is applied to scoring the combinations as well.
Combinations Worth Considering
As always, this week comes down to what you think will achieve Best Performer and we have four candidates to consider. I have to admit that I was completely caught off guard by the success of “Hotel Transylvania 2” last week, as were many others. Kudos to you if you called that one and this week the Adam Sandler voiced kid friendly film is expected to have what Deadline called a “soft tumble”. Should it get up to $35M and others meet expectations, it would get Best Performer and a “Hotel Transylvania 2” x2 line up would make sense.
“The Martian”, on the other hand, would have to make closer to $58M-$60M to put it in the Best Performer conversation. That’s higher than even the ProBoxOffice.com forecast and they tend to be on the high side.
“Maze Runner” has a ProBoxOffice.com forecast of $8.5M, making it a strong Best Performer candidate with its FB$94 price point but that assumes roughly a 41% drop from last week and if it drops even to 46% instead that makes it less attractive.
Finally, “The Intern” has an outside shot if its $10.8M ProBoxOffice.com forecast is closer to reality than the $8.9M predicted by Deadline.
Some in the forums have talked about “Sicario” as a Best Performer candidate, but the differences in the professional forecasts there scare me a bit given how wrong ProBoxOffice.com has been when being higher than others lately. If it does get into the mid teens, it would be a possibly play but that seems unlikely given that Deadline put a $8M lower bound on its forecast.
With all that as background, here are some combinations to consider, with a slightly more open-ended approach than what I’ve used in the past.
Should “The Martian” get up in that $58M range, any “The Martian” + 3x “Maze Runner” would be the way to go.
If you think that “Hotel Transylvania 2” will have a bigger than expected weekend or “Maze Runner will fall off a bit, a “Hotel Transylvania 2” x2 + “Maze Runner” x2 is attractive although consider”Hotel Transylvania 2″ x2 + “The Perfect Guy” x6 if you think “Maze Runner” will tumble even further.
If nothing extraordinary happens and you think “Maze Runner” will hold on to the Best Performer bonus, any “Hotel Transylvania 2” + 6x “Maze Runner” combination does well.
Finally, if “The Intern” does better than expected, this lineup is the way to go.
So, what do you think will happen? Deadline and ProBoxOffice.com forecasts are linked above and the BoxOfficeMojo forecast should come out some time Thursday. Some combination of those should be your guide if you don’t roll your own forecasts.
If you like to look at Thursday numbers, keep an eye on “The Martian”. It’s closest comparison is “Gravity” which has a similar plot, similar star power, and came out at a similar date in 2013. The Sandra Bullock disaster film brought in $1.4M on its first Thursday on its way to a $55.7M opening weekend.
UPDATE 10/1 ~2:30p
In short, they think “Maze Runner” won’t do quite as well and “The Intern” will do better.
If you plug those numbers into http://compare.fmlnerd.com the 7x The Intern + 1x The Visit wins but even if “The Intern” is off by $1M then the 2x Hotel Transylvania 2 is a better lead, according to the Box Office Mojo forecast.