It’s finally here: Star Wars Week. A big part of me is puzzled because all the hype is about a Friday in December instead of a Wednesday in May, but this is clearly my daughter’s Star Wars and not mine since the title of this movie is not “Star Wars: Heir to the Empire” nor is it “Star Wars: Vector Prime”. However, I’ll suppress the full on nerd rant percolating within me on the topic of Expanded Universe material and instead discuss the facts of the rebooted week.
As you may know from Zachary Knight’s article a few weeks ago, the player formerly known as Multiplex 37 has the highest cumulative score in Fantasy Movie League history and he’s been kind enough to share some of his Star Wars research with me. M37’s collection of box office records that are at risk this week include:
An important report to note is the Forbes story from last week that stated “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” will only open on around 3,900 theaters. By comparison, “Jurassic World” opened on 4,274 theaters during its record opening weekend described above and “Avengers: Age of Ultron” opened on 4,276 during its $191.2M first weekend. Some players (I’m looking at you Phil’s Phun Phlicks) doubt the validity of the Forbes story, but we won’t know for sure until theater counts are announced sometime Thursday.
The biggest decision you’ll have to make this week involves the Friday/Saturday/Sunday splits for “Star Wars”. In fact, if you read one Chatter thread this week it should be this one, in which many top players discuss comparables at length. The FML statisticians split pricing with a 46.5%/29.4%/24.1% spread so that is your baseline when trying to pick one day over the others. Do you think “Star Wars” will split more like “Harry Potter” or “Twilight” with Friday being closer to 50% of the overall weekend box office? Or will it be more like “Jurassic Word” or “Age of Ultron” with a Friday that’s more like 39% of the weekend total?
You can play around with specific numbers yourself using my FML Comparator:
but let’s next look at what my variance automations have to say.
Week 3 Perfect Combo Probabilities
Usually when I run ProBoxOffice.com and ShowBuzzDaily forecasts through my FML prediction model, I simply average the professionals and run my simulator once. This week deserves some special attention, though, due to the wide set of potential outcomes given the variability of the daily splits.
So this week, I ran the model three times. First, assuming the same split percentages the FML pricing predicts (46.5%/29.4%/24.1%) (view full image):
Then with a Friday heavy version more like “Harry Potter” (54/25/21) (view full image):
And finally with a lighter Friday seen for “Jurassic World” (39/33/27)(view full image):
Think of the FML pricing split as the baseline and it favors Friday despite it having equal BP value with that split. The “Harry Potter” split also favors Friday as expected but actually predicts “Mockingjay” to be the BP. The “Jurassic World” split gives either Saturday or Sunday a better chance at toppling “Mockingjay” for the BP crown.
Really, this all comes down to whether or not you think the huge hype will cause for a Thursday/Friday heavy opening or whether the extremely good reviews (and the re-watchability that follows from them) causes a more evenly distributed weekend. My model typically struggles with unforecasted movies, “Peanuts” and “Brooklyn” this week, but if you look at either the “Avengers” big week or the “Jurassic World” big week, films more like “Brooklyn” did better so I like it as a small filler despite little data to go on there.
On my “stick to the model” account, I’ll be playing the first line of the first table but on my main account I’m going to wait to see what the theater counts are. If they are below that 3,900 I’m more inclined to go with one of the “Jurassic World” splits now that reviews are in with something like Saturday, Sunday, 6x “Brooklyn” but if they are above that, the model pick is looking pretty good with perhaps substituting a third “Brooklyn” for the “Peanuts”.