Putting my money where the movies are: May 2015

Putting my money where the movies are: May 2015

The first widely released movies (for the USA) for May 2015 are about to hit the theatres, so I wanted to share with you my allocations in our

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 April game is closed, but the May game is now open:

The Measured Circle’s $100 million Box Office Challenge May 2015

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

This how I’ve allocated my $100 million for May (this will be updated with production budgets and dogroes, but I won’t know either when I make my “investments”):

Running total: N/A

It’s important to note that I can’t get back more than the movie makes, which helps explain some of these “investments”.

I wish this one was more complicated, but I’m going for a safe bet.

Marvel’s The Avengers in 2012 had a prodbud (production budget) reported at $220.0m. It’s domestic gross (dogro) was $623,357,910. It had a return of 353%.

I expect it will do as well or better, but let’s say the prodbud is $275m and it does 75% as well. We’ll even round down and say it has a return of 250%. I’d still clean up. 😉

That doesn’t mean that you couldn’t find a better bet spreading things around among the other movies…but that’s a higher risk. For one thing, I’m comfortable that the production budget will be reported for Avengers: Age of Ultron, but not as sure for some of the others.

Looking at the other Marvel Cinematic Universe movies, we wouldn’t expect this sequel to fall off dramatically.

Captain America? $177m for the first one, $260m for the second.

Thor? $181m for the first one, $206m for the second.

Iron Man did have a small drop from the first to the second (from $318m to $312m), but then jumped up to $409m on the third.

Even though someone could argue that Marvel being on TV might dissipate some fan support, I’m comfortable that this movie will do super well.

As to the other movies…

The Mad Max trailers have been super buzzy, and original George Miller is back to direct. It is R-rated, though, but Warner Brothers has shown it can make money with reboots, remakes, and franchises. I think this is a likely hit, but not at the level of The Avengers.

Hot Pursuit, a comedy starring Sofia Vergara and Reese Witherspoon, wants to be a highly profitable comedy like we’ve seen in recent years. I’m not positive on that. The director, Anne Fletcher, had a hit with The Proposal, and Step Up spawned a franchise…but 2012’s The Guilt Trip only did $37m. I’m guessing it’s relatively inexpensive, but a $150m dogro would impress me very much with this.

Pitch Perfect 2: the first one had a prodbud of $17m, and a dogro of $65m…that makes it Golden in our awards system (dogro triple the prodbud), but comedy striking twice can be tricky. Rebel Wilson was such a revelation in the first one, but has now had a TV show and isn’t going to have that same effect (even if she is equally funny). Can this make the jump from fresh concept to franchise? I’m not convinced.

Poltergeist should have a very solid cult following (Sam Rockwell helps with that), but ther ehasn’t been a hit in the series since the first one. I’m hoping they really kept the budget down, but I’d be surprised if this profits $50m (dogro v prodbud…might do pretty well internationally).

Tomorrowland…I quite underestimated Cinderella, despite having been a Disney fan for decades. Brad Bird is a big plus for me on its chances, but George Clooney does not a blockbuster make (see The Men Who Stare at Goats and Confessions of a Dangerous Mind…both books which I had read before they were made into movies, convincing me that George Clooney and both like some of the same books). I’m guessing this is quite an expensive movie…I’m afraid this could be more like The Lone Ranger than a Pixar movie for The Mouse House. I sincerely hope that’s wrong, but I’m not willing to take the chance on it over The Avengers.

San Andreas: yes, Dwayne Johnson is good for box office, and Paul Giamatti broadens the appeal. Brad Peyton doesn’t have much of a track record as a director, although Journey 2 broke $100m dogro (also with Dwayne Johnson). I’m guessing it does better overseas than at home.

Don’t agree with my assessments? It’s too late to play for this month, but don’t forget that you can play for May!

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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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