Sunday, December 30, 2012

Thoughts on Jan 4th Openers

Texas Chainsaw 3D


Pros
1.  The horror movies have consistently enjoyed good openings for the early January frame in the last decade:

2012: The Devil Inside - $33.7m in 2,285 theaters
2009: The Unborn - $19.8m in 2,357
2008: One Missed Call - $12.5m in 2,240
2006: Hostel - $19.6m in 2,195
2005: White Noise - $24.1m in 2,261

The five films averaged $21.9m for the opening weekend and $9,665 per-theater-average. If we removed the two extremes, the other three averaged $21.2m and $9,326 PTA, not much different.

2. The last Texas Chainsaw Massacre movie opened to $18.5m in 2006, which would adjust to $22.4m today.

Cons
1. The last TCM movie was more than 6 years ago, and it did see 39.3% decline in attendance from the previous one in 2003.

2. Steep decline in admissions happened to other horror franchises as well: Halloween II (2009) from Halloween (2007) - -42.8%; Paranormal Activites 4 from 3 - -44.5%; Saw VI from V - -55.7%.

My thoughts: It will see a decline in attendance again from the 2006 film, but 3D will alleviate the drop some. A 40% decline in admissions will put the opening weekend at around $16m, although $20m is not out of the question given the past performance of Jan horror films.

HSX analysis: TXCM3.OW is currently priced at $10.86, and TXCM3's price would translate to a $10.1m opening. Both seem way too low to me, with minimal risk on the downside. A $10m start would mean an over 60% loss in admissions, an extremely unlikely scenario.

The Impossible and Promised Land


Both are expanding to nationwide this weekend, and although I do not expect either to make much noise, between the two, The Impossible is in a little better state after their respective returns so far in limited release. On its second weekend, The Impossible averaged $12,333 per theater in 15 locations, while Promised Land opened to a $7,600 PTA in 25 theaters. If Promised Land indeed expands to 1,500 locations as The Hollywood Reporter suggested, I cannot see a per-theater-average higher than $2,500 given how PTA generally behaves with respect to theater count change in the past. An opening in the $2-3m range will be where I put it.

HSX Analysis: With PRMSD.OW at $7.46 and PRMSD at $16.95 (translating to a $5.57m OW), both are surely overpriced and will continue to come down in the next few days. Without knowing where the theater count for The Impossible will land, it is hard to pin down its exact potential this weekend, but with IMPSB at $8.47, the upside and downside potentials are both small.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Some Update on China Box Office

First Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all!

The last several weeks have been quite exciting in China on the box office front. First it's Life of Pi. In 32 days, it had grossed 567.8m yuan, or $90.8m, 19% more than what it has earned so far in the U.S. Then there is the even more jaw-dropping performance from Lost in Thailand, the sequel to the word-of-mouth hit Lost on Journey from 2010. It set a new opening record for a domestic release with 310m yuan ($49.6m) in 5 days, then on the second week, it saw a 20.8% uptick for the weekly gross, a very difficult task when a film opened on Wednesday. In fact, its second week of 374.4m yuan is the highest ever for a sophomore frame, beating Transformers 362m. It also set an all-time record for admissions in a week with 11.75m, surpassing Titanic 3D's previous mark of 10.5m. After just 12 days, its total stood at 684.4m yuan, or $109.5m, inches away from breaking Painted Skin 2's record. With holidays coming up, 1b yuan ($160m) is for certain, and there is no telling how high the film may go.

Between the releases of those two films, we also have Feng Xiaogang's new film Back to 1942, which was the overwhelming favorite to win December. It still grossed a very respectable 364.4m yuan ($58.3m), but is completely overshadowed by the other performances. Last week Jackie Chan released his latest film CZ12 and set a personal best with a 225.6m yuan ($36.1m) start in 4 days. It is also the first Chinese non-sequel to break 200m yuan in the opening week. It could be looking at a $100m+ total as well.

Here is the current top 10 list for 2012 (CZ12 and Back to 1942 should bump Journey 2 out of the top 10 in the end):

1. Titanic 3D - 975.9m yuan ($154.8m)
2. Painted Skin 2 - 726.4m ($115.5m)
3. Lost in Thailand (*) - 684.4m ($109.5m)
4. Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol - 646.3m ($102.5m)
5. The Avengers - 576.0m ($91.6m)
6. Life of Pi (*) - 567.8m ($90.8m)
7. Men in Black III - 519.2m ($82.6m)
8. Ice Age: Continental Drift - 457.8m ($72.8m)
9. Journey 2: The Mysterious Island - 376.5m ($60.0m)
10. Back to 1942 (*) - 364.4m ($58.3m)