Monday, July 19, 2010

Predicting Inception's dailies this week

After a great internal multiplier for the weekend (3.18 without midnight, one of the highest we have seen for July in years), the attention now turns to how Inception will perform during the week. Two years ago,  The Dark Knight saw a couple of incredible holds when it fell a tiny 8.5% on its first Sunday and then dropped only 43.8% on Monday,  paving the way for the $500m+ total.  A similarly strong performance for Inception could be in store.

The key is that, besides having the same advantage of being in July, IMAX is playing an even more prominent role with Inception.  The weekend report showed 12% of the gross came from IMAX, and that would translate to a $7.5m total from the 197 theaters, or $2.5m per day.  As we have seen from Hubble 3D and other IMAX-exclusive films, the daily fluctuation for IMAX theaters during the summer is pretty minimal.   I expect another $2m from IMAX alone on Monday, and the number should continue to hold throughout the midweek.  For the $16.7m it got from 2D screens on Sunday, we should see a sub-50% decline given its appeal to the 18-25 crowd and the great word-of-mouth it is enjoying there.  Here are how some of the other summer non-3D WOM hits did on their first Monday: The Hangover - -41.9%, The Sixth Sense - -50%, Knocked Up - -53.9%.  I would put the drop from non-IMAX screens for Inception at 47%, leading to a 16.7*0.53 + 2 = $10.85m Monday, or -43.5% from Sunday.

From there, if we assume a 10% decline from its 2D screens each day before Friday and steady hold from IMAX, we will have $9.97m (16.7*0.53*0.9+2), $9.17m (16.7*0.53*0.9^2+2), and $8.45m (16.7*0.53*0.9^3+2) from Tuesday to Thursday respectively.

To summarize, here is my rough prediction for how Inception will perform this week before Friday:

Monday - 10.85 (-43.5%)
Tuesday - 9.97 (-8.1%)
Wednesday - 9.17 (-8.0%)
Thursday - 8.45 (-7.9%)

If it could stay at $8.5m or above on Thursday, a $12m Friday and $40m second weekend will be well within reach.  And if that does happen, $300m total will become a much more realistic target.

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