Thanks, everyone, for the positive feedback on the new format! If I get more explicit about the ideas behind it, it goes something like this:
– Start with the CCR bonus bar post
– Vary his top contenders to reasonable extremes to reveal possible lineups
– Remove what BSWhite1970 tells you to in his BSA
– Adjust based on Phil’s showtime report, theater counts, and Thursday previews
– Spend at least $950 FML bux and choose combinations with no more than 4 movies in them
There are plenty of other Sharks I’m forgetting and for that I apologize, but that’s the gist of it.
What Did We Learn From Last Week?
Theater counts matter, but so do Per Theater Average (PTA) drop patterns when it comes to small films that expand. As M37 laid out in his post-lock thread, when a smaller film adds locations you have to pay attention to its prior week PTAs. “Nocturnal Animals” had a larger than expected expansion, which is why the pricing for it was so out of whack and it cruised to Best Performer. Comps, especially those based on distributor, can be a huge help here but can be time consuming. How else could you have seen this coming?
Why, Phil’s Fandango check, of course. In particular, his commentary about comparing his per show projections to other films in his archive was super useful this week. His report on “Nocturnal Animals” revealed just how dense this expansion was given that it needed less than $200/showing to make the $70k/bux and that is what convinced me to go with it on six screens.
That post, along with your friendly neighborhood BSA (if you’re new, think Public Service Announcement, only by BSWhite1970 and about FML), made it pretty clear what your lineup should have been last week when “Office Christmas Party” was effectively eliminated. And that’s why Perfect Cinema was also Most Popular for the first time in awhile.
How about New Films this week?
Well, see, there’s this woman who has a really cool accent and she’s trying to not only destroy THE iconic superweapon of all time but also is redefining heroism so that it is no longer mutually exclusive of femininity and . . .
OK, what really matters this week isn’t the total box office, but how the days get split. Consider:
The Force Awakens (12/18/15)
Fri: $119.1M (includes $57M in Th Previews)
Total weekend: $248M
F/S/S Breakdown: 48%/27.6%/24.4%
Th-F Multiplier: 2.1
Th-FSS Multiplier: 4.35
Pricing-wise, the “Rogue One” breaks down similarly at 47.5%/27.7%/24.7%. What we’re not going to know until it’s too late is whether or not a big Thursday number is just fanboys who don’t care that this is a side story and the rest of the weekend will be down or if this film has legs for the whole weekend and it’ll follow a similar path for the full FSS like its predecessor. This is why I start the week in the #AlwaysFriday camp. If you play any day of this film at all, there’s more risk in playing Saturday or Sunday.
What about the latest Will Smith Oscar push, “Collateral Beauty”? Last year, “Concussion” was on dark and with a powerful corporate entity not happy about its subject matter. Subsequently, it underperformed its ProBoxOffice projection. This year, though, no such controversy exists and an argument can be made that it’ll do closer to 2008’s Will Smith Oscar push, “Seven Pounds” in the low-to-mid teens. Also, consider that the other films that opened against “Star Wars” last year did better than expected:
At FB$108, you are being Triple Dog Dared top play “Collateral Beauty” on multiple screens, although I think it’s too risky to play it 8x given the $864 total cineplex cost.
What are the Combos to Watch this week?
After being rendered useless by the unexpected expansion of our eventual BP last week, let’s nonetheless try the same approach this week. In his weekly Bonus Bar thread, CCR dislikes “Allied” and “Trolls”, so if you set those sliders down a far as they go but put his top contenders at his bonus bar of $120K, as well as “Rogue One: Friday” at even $85M, that gives a decent early week baseline, from which I started Tuesday tracking the following:
If you vary that baseline a bit you’ll find expected volatility in the “Collateral Beauty” anchored lineups given its lower floor of a “Concussion”-like $10M. CCR suggests that the Saturday pricing for “Rogue One” is the most attractive, but if I had to guess, the Friday, 4x “La La Land”, 3x “Nocturnal Animals” lineup will probably be the Most Popular this week and hedgers will go for the Saturday, 3x “Collateral Beauty”, “Moana”, 3x “La La Land”.
By Thursday, Phil’s Showtime Report and the BSA may shed some light here, but the first number you’re going to want to look at is the theater count for “La La Land”. It had a crazy high $176,221 Per Theater Average (PTA) in its 5 location opening, a set of Golden Globe nominations, and plenty of buzz as the first original live action Hollywood musical in awhile (make a mental note to remember Pasek and Paul, who wrote the lyrics, come Tony Nominations time for their new production, “Dear Evan Hansen”). But how far will that PTA come down and how large will the theater count be?
As guidance, “Moonlight” saw its $100K+ PTA fall 70% its second week when it went from four to 36 theaters. If “La La Land” did the same PTA drop, it would need 98 theaters to reach the $120K bonus bar that CCR set but beware that a larger rollout tends to make the PTA fall further, which makes this a murky choice even with full theater count data.
However, BoxOfficeMojo is now reporting that “Manchester by the Sea” will expand to 1,200 theaters, which give Friday plus 4x “Manchester” lineups a leg up. For FB$1 you get 1,000 more screens than “La La Land” with “Manchester” and an equal amount of Golden Globes enthusiasm. “The Martian” didn’t track well last year versus “Star Wars” so placing that same logic on “Arrival” would lean me towards two screens of “Dr. Strange”. But keep an eye on what Phil, BSWhite1970, and other Chatter posts say before making your final decision.