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Tracking the Cantor Index Spread:
Week Seven

By Reagen Sulewski

September 6, 2001




I had been hoping to put off this update until a new US opening weekend movie bet appeared on the Cantor Index Web page, but it appears that they are sitting out the admittedly rather bland fall offerings so far. One intriguing development this week is the addition of UK box office spreads, which I will go into later in the column.

The last opening weekend bet that I made was on Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back. As you may recall, that bet was made with more than a little fan-boy enthusiasm, and I paid for it. With an opening weekend of $11.2 million, my long bets at both $15 and $16 million were left with losing positions, my first for an opening weekend since the start of this column. This is not something I'm too upset about, given recent successes. Betting short against the movie would have been to me like betting against my favorite sports team; you might win, but you're not happy about it. This is not, of course, the attitude that cold-hearted gamblers will have, and it probably will be the last time I take a position purely out of fun. My £10 bet long at $15 million loses four points, and my £15 bet long at $16 million loses five points, for a total of £90 lost.

Catching up with some of the older bets, Planet of the Apes finished its fourth week with a total of $164.25 million, giving a cash-out at $164.5 for the four-week bet. With a £25 bet short at $172 million, this returns a £187.5 profit to me, plus my original £25 bet. Rush Hour 2 finished its fourth week at $187.2 million, leading to a cash-out at $187. I had three bets on this at three different spreads; two showing a small profit, one showing a small loss. A £35 bet gained three points, a £65 bet gained one point and a £50 bet lost one point. The sum of these three bets is a £270 return on a £150 investment. American Pie 2 failed to get quite the boost I was hoping for over the Labor Day weekend and looks to end its four weeks at about $127 million. Because of this, my combined two bets on this spread will end up with a slight loss; one gains two points, the other loses five.

Captain Corelli's Mandolin now sits at a $17-21 million spread for its four-week take, and one week left to go. With $19.9 million in the bank as of Tuesday, it is sitting towards the upper portion of this spread. Barring a complete and total collapse this weekend, CCM should bring in at least 30% of its four-day Labor Day total of $4 million, bringing it to what should be a $22 million total. A very narrow margin, but the chance of it falling below the current 21 high-end seems slim to me. For this reason, I am reversing my short position on the four-week total, which brings in a healthy 13 point return, and putting back £100 long.

Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back suffered through a Labor Day weekend that saw its revenue drop in half when most films at least hold their ground. This drop is exaggerated by its heavily front-loaded first Friday, and a more reasoned analysis shows that compared to a 63% Friday-to-Friday drop, its Saturday dropped a reasonable 40%. Extrapolating from this new potential drop, I come up with a result of about $30 million for four weeks, which is at the very top of the current $26-30 million spread. I'm not going to place any bets on this spread at this time, as this is really a best-case scenario.

The latest addition to the Cantor Index is a line on the UK opening weekend of Moulin Rouge. A trickier prospect to analyze for me, since I'm not as familiar with the UK box office as I am with the North American one. The current line placed is £1.7-1.9 million, which, when compared to the North American box office based on typical venues numbers, converts to about a $14-16 million range. One point in this market is equivalent to £100,000, versus the $1 million in the North American market. Here I run into precisely the same situation as UK handicappers must deal with for the US box office; how do you judge the interest in a film without benefit of the marketing? I suspect that interest will run higher because of Ewan McGregor's and Nicole Kidman's higher name branding in the UK, and I also suspect that the musical aspect of the film will encounter less resistance there than in the US. Moulin Rouge opened in the US to $13.7 million, which is just below my extrapolation of the UK spread. I'm going to take a flyer on this one on the long end to the tune of £50.

Betting History - Settled Bets
Date
Film
Bet Type
Amount
Position
Spread at Bet
Current Spread
Notes
8/8/01Planet of the ApesFour week£25Short$172-177 million$164.5 millionCashout on 8/24 of £212.5.
8/8/01Rush Hour 2Four Week£35Long$179-184 million$187 millionCashout on 8/31 of £140.
8/15/01Rush Hour 2Four Week£65Long$181-186 million$187 millionCashout on 8/31 of £130.
8/15/01Captain Corelli's MandolinFour Week£25Short$34-38 million$17-21 millionRepurchased on 9/5 at $21 for 13 point profit. Total cashout of £350.
8/22/01Rush Hour 2Four Week£50Long$183-188 million$187 million1 point loss. Initial bet surrendered.
8/22/01Jay and Silent Bob Strike BackWeekend£10Long$13-15 million$11 million4-point loss. £30 total loss.
8/23/01Jay and Silent Bob Strike BackWeekend£15Long$14-16 million$11 million5-point loss. £60 total loss.

Betting History - Active Bets
Date
Film
Bet Type
Amount
Position
Spread at Bet
Current Spread
Notes
8/8/01American Pie 2Four week£25Long$120-125 million$125-130 millionExpected cashout at $127.
8/15/01American Pie 2Four Week£25Long$127-132 million$125-130 millionExpected cashout at $127.
9/5/01Captain Corelli's MandolinFour Week£100Long$17-21 million$17-21 million--
9/5/01Moulin Rouge (UK)Weekend£50Long£1.7-1.9 million£1.7-1.9 million--

Assets and Bets
Initial stake: £500
Cash on Hand: £2,587.50
Amount in Bets: £200
Unrealized Profits and Losses: (£675)


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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