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June 10, 1998

In the Bear's Den

By BlackBear

Summer Box Office Predictions

With the strong showing of Truman Show (TRSHW) this past weekend, we have officially entered the summer season. New HSXers may not realize the difference between the summer and the rest of the year. Here is all you need to know:
Low Prices + Summer Box Office = Big profits.
More specifically, summer movies grow legs. Some are longer than others, but all legs are attractive. Many films will delist UP from their adjust price, so you won't see the adjust/dump/arb cycle (HRSWH, DPIMP) you see during the winter and spring. Stocks should continue to climb after adjust.

It may not seem like it, but prices are actually very low on many good stocks. The problem is that all of the attention (read: money) is going to the big blockbusters (GODZI, TRSHW), then their opening weekends are viewed as disappointments because they adjust down. This has led to the conclusion that stocks are overpriced. Another reason stocks are so low is that there is money to be made in the bond market, so many portfolios are concentrated there. However, smart investors can, and do, make money on both. To help traders maneuver through the summer season, I present The Summer Preview Part I: The Movies.
Part II: The Bonds will come out later this week.

A few caveats about these predictions:
These are estimates (read: guesses). If I really had the ability to see the future I wouldn't be writing this column, I'd be lounging on my private island in the Pacific paying a horde of accountants to tell me how rich I was.
The release dates are from the official movie web sites, when possible. I used IMDB when dates were not available through official sources. Some of these dates will probably change, thus affecting my projections.

And now, the weekend-by-weekend look at the movies.

June 12
CANTH: open: 17 Adjust: 49.3 Delist: 60
CANTH will open solidly with the teen crowd and gain some momentum. CANTH is the only teen movie out there and, as I said before, teens will go no matter how bad it is.
SXDAY: open: 15 Adjust: 43.5 Delist: 50
This doesn't look like anything special, except that HFORD is starring. Just remember that any movie with a star of 'Friends' (except JANIS) is bound to bomb.
DIRTY: open: 5 Adjust: 14.5 Delist: 18
I like Norm, I think the movie looks funny and it deserves better. DIRTY is killed because of its release date. (Maybe Ohlmeyer at NBC arranged it).

June 19
XFILE: open: 35 Adjust: 101.5 Delist: 130
The X-philes have driven this stock higher than it should be (see GANDE). Yes, it will be a blockbuster. Yes, people who hold DDUCH will make a ton of money. But until it adjusts, your money is better elsewhere. For example:
MULAN: open: 28 Adjust: 81.2 Delist: 95
I was down on this Disney production earlier this summer, but the effective ad campaign has convinced me this movie will do well. I still don't see Lion King numbers, but it should do better than what it is at now ($65).

June 26
DRDLT: open: 15 Adjust: 43.5 Delist: 50
Kids will be busy watching MULAN.
OUTOF: open: 13 Adjust: 37.7 Delist: 55
Previews look good. Good cast. Totally different audience than DRDLT/MULAN and XFILE. Should do well.

July 1
ARMAG: open: 60 Adjust: 144* Delist: 175+
I realize GODZI was a huge disappointment and DPIMP has already been a hit, but this movie launches on July 4th weekend with no competition. Hello MENIB. Hello ID4. The multiplier used for opening weekend adjustment will be 2.3 because of the long weekend.

July 10
SMALL: open: 25 Adjust: 72.5 Delist: 125
No, not a typo. SMALL is going to be one of the biggest hits of the summer. The product tie-ins will be enormous. The film looks like a very good comedy that will appeal to a mass audience. Cha-Ching!
LTHLW: open: 19 Adjust: 55.1 Delist: 65
The franchise is over, last one out turn off the light.
MADEL: open: 7 Adjust: 20.3 Delist: 25
The timing of this movie is excellent: Two weeks after MULAN, three before PAREN and BASEK. Won't do huge box office, but will probably be a bargain at HSX.

July 17
ZORRO: open: 20 Adjust: 58 Delist: 85
Zorro is a popular movie character historically, and AHOPK/ABAND will help draw crowds.

July 24
SVPRI: open: 45 Adjust: 130 Delist: 175+
The one movie I am truly looking forward to seeing this summer. Of course, I am a big WWII buff. But I also like the cast and the release date.
MAFIA: open: 15 Adjust: 43.5 Delist: 60
Yes, it opens against heavy competition, but I see this movie breaking out. The trailer looks good, and (more importantly) has received great reactions from the audience. Could surprise a lot of people.

July 29
MYFAV: open: 8 Adjust: 19.2 Delist: 26
Has a Wednesday opening which may help opening box office.

July 31
BASEK: open: 10 Adjust: 29 Delist: 33
Will people be tired of SOUTH by then, or will it be more popular than ever? This could be a huge bomb or a major success depending on the popularity of the show.
DMOC: open: 7 Adjust: 20.3 Delist: 23
May be a hit with the college crowd.

August 7
NEGOT: open: 22 Adjust: 63.8 Delist: 75
SLJAC in an action thriller. Sounds promising.
SNAKE: open: 20 Adjust: 58 Delist: 65
NCAGE in an action thriller. Sounds promising.
Note: The release dates for these two have been changing, and likely will again.
FFTY4: open: 13 Adjust: 37.7 Delist: 45
Club 54 comes back. Will the 90s movie-goer care?

August 14
VIRUS: open: 21 Adjust: 60.9 Delist: 75
Sci-fi fare for August. If its as good as it sounds, it'll do killer box office.
AVENG: open: 18 Adjust: 52.2 Delist: 65
UTHUR, SCONN, UTHUR, RFIEN and UTHUR. What a cast! Audiences love the trailer. Hopefully the late release date won't kill it. Did I mention Uma Thurman is in it?

And there you have it. The summer season in a nutshell. Of the 23 movies listed here, 15 are currently trading below their adjust price, 17 are below their delist price. So if I'm right, there are many money making opportunities in the stocks. Fill your portfolio appropriately.

There are a few stocks not listed here. I was unable to verify official release dates, and therefore did not include them in the mix.

If you have any questions, comments or observations, please mail
Flames may be sent here.