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Tracking the Cantor Index Spread:
Revisited

By Reagen Sulewski

October 31, 2001




It's been far too long between updates on my Cantor "fund," but what with no new bets on the American box office side of things and UK box office not really being my thing, there was precious little about which to write. Now, all appears to be back on track with the start of the fall movie season. Potentially (and more to the point, expected) huge opening weekends abound! Spreads with more than half a million of play in them! Bettors...wait, let me get back in the spirit... punters, rejoice!

The biggest new line this week is the opening weekend for Monsters, Inc. with the line coming in at $54-56 million. This line is obviously a reaction to the tremendous success of Toy Story 2, which took in an astounding $80 million over Thanksgiving weekend in 1999. Closer inspection of this number, however, shows that the three day total was $57.4 million. This number itself should be viewed as inflated since the days on that weekend don't behave like regular weekends, with Friday being equal (or better, in this case) to Saturday, something that almost never happens on regular weekends. I would expect that you could take at least $6 million off this total if Toy Story 2 had opened on a regular weekend. This is not to say that animation has not been building over the past few years. In 1998, Pixar's second feature film, A Bug's Life, also opened on Thanksgiving weekend with a $32.8 million three-day total, outpacing the original Toy Story by a few million. This spring, Dreamworks established itself as an able competitor in the CGI-animation film sweepstakes with Shrek, opening it to $42 million. However, a quick look at the 50-100% jump in several sequels proves TS2 to have more in common with Rush Hour 2 or The Mummy Returns than Monsters, Inc. The Pixar name goes a long way towards an easy sell, but I think Cantor has outreached themselves with this spread, and I'm making a strong bet short, for £50. I don't see must of a breakout on the top side of this spread. I'm also going to place a £50 bet short on the four-week total spread, which is currently situated at $170-175 million.

After sitting out pretty much all of the UK opening weekend spreads, I'm ready to take a stab again with the line for the UK release of The Others. It comes out with a line of £1.7-1.9 million. The UK box office has tended to pick up somewhat on the buzz from US releases, and of course has its own regional quirks and preferences (those wa-acky Brits). Moulin Rouge built on the US release to open at £2.2 million, A.I. and America's Sweethearts both stumble, to £2.0 and £1.6 million each, and something like Driven fails miserably, barely even registering at a quarter million pounds. From information I have gathered, The Others appears to be following a somewhat similar release strategy as it did in North America, appearing on a not-quite-as-wide number of screens as most films. This could be some cause for concern except for the fact this is the little horror film that could and has exceeded most expectations wherever it goes. Because of these factors, I'm placing a £50 bet long on The Others opening weekend (with £0.1 million representing a 'point' as opposed to $1 million for NA box office).

Now, blowing the dust off a few bets still hanging around at my last update; American Pie 2 finished its four week run in North America at a settlement price of $127.5 million; the two bets I placed long here at the values of $125 and $132 million combine to wipe out the two £25 amounts laid on this movie. Captain Corelli's Mandolin finished four weeks with $22.35 million, which rounds up to $22.5 million for Cantor's purposes. Nicely dancing around the spread on this one, I was able to grab back £150 from a 1.5 point profit. As well, a £50 bet on the UK spread of Moulin Rouge paid off well, with three points of profit on a £50 bet. I feel like Mr. Monopoly.

Betting History - Settled Bets
Date
Film
Bet Type
Amount
Position
Spread at Bet
Current Spread
Notes
8/8/01American Pie 2Four week£25Long$120-125 million$127.5 millionCashout at £87.5.
8/15/01American Pie 2Four Week£25Long$127-132 million$127.5 million4.5 point loss.Total loss of £87.5.
9/5/01Captain Corelli's MandolinFour Week£100Long$17-21 million$22.5 million1.5 point profit. Cashout at £250.
9/5/01Moulin Rouge (UK)Weekend£50Long£1.7-1.9 million£2.2 million3 point profit. Cashout at £200.

Betting History - Active Bets
Date
Film
Bet Type
Amount
Position
Spread at Bet
Current Spread
Notes
10/31/01Monsters, Inc.Weekend£50Short$54-56 million$54-56 million--
10/31/01Monsters, Inc.Four Week£50Short$170-175 million$170-175 million--
10/31/01The Others (UK)Weekend£50Long£1.7-1.9 million£1.7-1.9 million--

Assets and Bets
Initial stake: £500
Cash on Hand: £2,887.50
Amount in Bets: £150
Unrealized Profits and Losses: (£450)


The information in this article is for entertainment purposes only and does not constitute any form of advice or recommendation in making any specific investment or betting decisions. Nothing in this article is intended to encourage or facilitate any activity that is prohibited by the laws of any governmental authority.


     


 
 

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