Tuesday, May 23, 2006

"OTH"? A Bloombergian Disappointment?

Bloomberg News reports that one analyst cut DreamWorks profit estimates because "Over the Hedge" posted "lower-than-expected" weekend sales in U.S./Canadian theatres... Apparently, "some analysts" were expecting box office in the $40-50 million range. But wait. Didn't box office mojo predict $35.5 million? And didn't "Hedge" actually deliver $38.5 million? (Sure it did. See below.) But we're to believe that a $1.5 million shortfall is a disappointment, and that Paramount's strategy of counter-programming "The Da Vinci Code" didn't pan out, more's the pity. Let's face it. The media is always looking for a story to wrap a theme-line around, and this is the song-and-dance of the moment. "Hedge" has a solid first weekend, will no doubt have a solid second weekend -- which has yet to happen -- but somehow it doesn't measure up to expectations. I'm always intrigued to know what those expectations are, and how the collective body of wisdom arrived at them. When a film that debuts at #2 against a live-action juggernaut that was ALWAYS going to open #1, and when it earns just over a million shy of $40 mill during its first two and a half days in general gets dubbed an under-performer...well, the expectations must have been sky-high to start with, no? And pretty well-hidden, yes?


Anonymous said...

I saw those reports, and I share your skepticism, Steve(thanks for writing this--too bad the news wires won't pick it up). One chart(was it on the Motley Fool site?)gave as eveidence of Hedge's opening being a "low" one--a comparison to--get ready for it--"Shrek 2"?! Excuse me...but how stupid are these guys? A sequel to a monster AA winning hit with a built-in audience and name recognition vs. an entirely unknown, new story/characters, released the same day as the most anticipated blockbuster of the year. Hmmm. Sounds like a fair comparison, no? No??
How about getting reports on per-screen averages, the rise from day to day, or taking an actual exit poll of whether audiences liked the film(as by all accounts they have)? Maybe it'll have word of mouth legs? Just another reason NOT to listen to these "analysts"--if they're so off the mark on a subject we know about--what about the other stuff?

Anonymous said...

financial analysts base their numbers on different things than places like Variety or Box Office Mojo.

Not to mention that they purposely mis-place their expectations to either make the stock sink or climb, depending on their needs at the time.

you can be sure that this sort manipulation is done purposefully to either buy or sell a stock.

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