Putting my money where the movies are: April 2015

Putting my money where the movies are: April 2015

We’re still weeks away from April, but I thought I’d go ahead and show you my “investments” in

The $100 Million Box Office Challenge

That’s a new game we are playing, and you can participate! There is no charge, and there we play for that most valuable of human possessions: braggin’ rights. 😉

The March game is closed, but the April game is open.

The basic idea is that you have $100 million in imaginary money. You “invest” that in the movies, and you “win” imaginary money based on how well the movies do.

This how I’ve allocated my $100 million for April, and my reasoning:
Furious 7 (April 3)

There aren’t a lot of precedents in the modern era for a seventh movie in a series. If we keep it to this century, we have the Saw series and X-Men (and later this year, Star Wars) as two examples. In both cases, the seventh movie succeeded at the box office.

If we look at the six previous movies:



  • The Fast and the Furious (2001)
  • 2 Fast 2 Furious (2003)
  • The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift (2006)
  • Fast & Furious (2009)
  • Fast Five (2011)
  • Fast & Furious 6 (2013)

they’ve been on a roll, so to speak, since 2009.

When we look at the return (which is how this game works), that’s also been doing very well:

Title Dogro ProdBud Profit Return
The Fast and the Furious (2001) 145 38 107 136%
2 Fast 2 Furious (2003) 127 76 51 249%
The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift (2006) 63
Fast & Furious (2009) 155 85 70 221%
Fast Five (2011) 210 125 85 247%
Fast & Furious 6 (2013) 238 160 78 305%

I don’t have a production budget report for Tokyo Drift, which does appear to be an anomaly here.

I’d say a 200% return may be a safe bet, given also that this movie may be boosted by the fan reaction to the loss of Paul Walker (who does appear in this movie, with the actor’s brothers having helped out with some appearances…the fans may appreciate that).

The production budget (prodbud) is also likely to be high here, and  none of the movies have profited (dogro…domestic gross vs. prodbud…production budget) $100m.

I’m going with $20 million on this one, although that may be a risk.

The Longest Ride (April 10)

Sorry, director George Tillman, Jr., and Scott Eastwood, Melissa Benoist, and all the others…this is going to be judged as a Nicholas Sparks movie.

The Notebook, now more than a decade ago, has had a lot more pop cultural influence than it did box office…although the latter was certainly fine.

On a prodbud of $29m, it dogroed $81…a 280% return. Not enough to be Golden in our scale, but still good. However, last year’s The Best of Me barely beat the prodbud.

Safe Haven in 2013 was closer to The Notebook: $71m dogro on a $28m prodbud…254%.

I’m not comfortable with this one…I’m going to pass on “investing” my imaginary money.

The Moon and the Sun (April 10)

King Louis XIV…and a mermaid?

Yes, it’s based on a Vonda McIntyre novel, and it has big name stars (Pierce Brosnan, William Hurt, Bingbing Fan as the mermaid), but the latter is a negative to me in this case. I think the prodbud will have to be too high on this quirky a movie for the domestic gross (might do well later on streaming video).

I’ll pass.

Child 44 (April 17)

R-rated movies have been doing well lately. This one has Tom Hardy, Noomi Rapace, and Gary Oldman. Hardy and Oldman have worked together (Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy), and Hardy has really been on the rise. Pace has also been in hit movies.

I’m hoping the budget is low enough on this, and Lionsgate has been pretty smart about that (look at The Hunger Games, Divergent, Now You See Me…).

I don’t think this is a blockbuster, but I’ll invest $15m.

Monkey Kingdom

A Disney nature documentary…and a Buena Vista nature documentary hasn’t broken $40m, I think. Arguably, 2012’s Chimpanzee is a decent comparison, and it did $29m on an unknown budget.

The DisneyNature movies have been trending upwards…this one might get close to $40m.

I suspect we won’t get the budget on this one either. If I invest money in this one and we don’t find out the prodbud, it’s a wash for me…no win, no loss. I might put my “leftover” money in this one for that reason, but that would likely result in a loss for me if we do get a budget. However, that seems like gaming the system…if I can find worthwhile investments for my whole $100m, I’ll do that.

Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2 (April 17)

There may not be a lot of competition in this genre when this is released. The last movie had a very nice return ($146m on a $26m prodbud…562%).

I don’t think they’ve overspent on this…yes, they are in a new location, but it’s Las Vegas, not Monte Carlo.

Let’s say that the movie costs $50m (we don’t know yet). Could it do $100m? Yeah, maybe…while it is making me antsy to do it, I’ll put $20m into this one.

Unfriended (April 17)

A low budget horror movie, it might have a big opening (these tend to be frontloaded). I’m guessing the budget is well under $20m, and that it could do something like $60m. I’m going to risk $25m on this one…I can’t see it losing money (although those could be famous last words). 😉

The Age of Adaline (April 24)

A Lionsgate movie with romantic appeal…and Harrison Ford and Blake Lively.

I think this one has an interesting premise, and may hit the right chord with a certain audience. I like that there are some older actors as well. which spreads the demographic appeal.

I’m thinking this could get to the slot on our charts between $40m and $80m…

Hoping the budget is low enough (under $50m), I’ll put in $10m.

Little Boy (April 24)

Likely to be fairly low budget and to appeal to the faith-based audience, I’m feeling pretty good about this one. It has a child star, and is a Mexican-US co-production…I think both of those are pluses.

I’m going with $10m on this…and that might be my best investment of the month.


  • Furious 7: $20m | prodbud: $190.0m | dogro to date: $326.5m | % return: 172% |  $34.4 return to me
  • The Longest Ride: none (prodbud: $34.0m | dogro to date: $32.2m | % return: N/A% |  no investment
  • (scratch) The Moon and the Sun: none (prodbud: $ | dogro to date: $ | % return: % |  $) NOTE: this release was delayed, so no win or loss
  • Child 44: $15m (prodbud: N/A | dogro to date: $1.2m | % return: N/A% |  Looks like I’d better hope this one doesn’t get a prodbud reported!)
  • Monkey Kingdom: none (prodbud: $N/A | dogro to date: $7.8m | % return: N/A% |  no win or loss)
  • Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2: $20m (prodbud: $30.0m | dogro to date: $47.4m | % return: 158% |  $31.6 million gain to me so far)
  • Unfriended: $25m (prodbud: $1.0m | dogro to date: $27.3m | % return: 2730% |  $27.3m gain)
  • The Age of Adaline: $10m (prodbud: $ | dogro to date: $19.4 | % return: 50% |
  • Little Boy: $10m (prodbud: N/a | dogro to date: $3.4m | % return: %N/A |  No prodbud, so no win or loss for me at this point)

Think I’m way off? You can play the game at

The $100 Million Box Office Challenge

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This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the  The Measured Circle blog. To support this or other blogs/organizations, buy  Amazon Gift Cards from a link on the site, then use those to buy your items. There will be no cost to you, and a benefit to them.

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