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The Week in Review/The Week Ahead: The Universal Fund [UNIVX], Episode 14

Posted by: UNIVX (a.k.a UNIVXFund) on Dec 20, 12:22

This has to have been our worst week since the IPO, and the blame obviously falls on Star Wars.  We made a little money on a Bastille Day bump, but with all eyes in the universe (and a lot of trader funds) focused squarely on The Force Awakens and its derivatives, there just weren't many news items relating to Universal, and almost no movement (up or down) in our stocks.  Sisters opened wide, and we made a little money guessing it wouldn't break out, but it was already very accurately in its opening weekend zone before the weekend.  Even the derivates halted in the right place, so the profits made are already in our stock price, and we'll simply see a cashout tomorrow that puts the cash back into play.

I keep hearing and reading that The Danish Girl goes wide Christmas Day, but this still hasn't been reflected yet on the HSX calendar.  I'm going to continue to hold the stock in the hopes that HSX does update and the stock price receives some kind of bump from good reviews and a wide expansion.  If that does not come to pass, I'll probably cash it out.  I'm guessing the next week or two may also be slow with the holidays and Hollywood's tendency not to make major decisions or moves during this period, but we shall see.  We'll probably continue to hold long stocks like Ride Along 2, Olympus Has Fallen, and Neighbors 2 while waiting for announcements and news items to hit.  And with that, let's look at 3 more Universal properties.


Fifty Shades Darker

I'm betting that this one will not do as well as the first, despite my usual sequel rule of sequels doing equal or better business.  The first one had the zeitgeist behind it, but even the bored housewives may have wised up and realized that there wasn't much erotic to this mainstream erotica, and that the leads were both pretty poorly cast and unable to maintain any kind of credible heat.  I'm sure it'll still perform well on streaming, but I think it'll take a hit during its theatre run.  Like the other two films profiled below, it's also going to hit release in 2017, far after the cashout of this interation of UNIVX.  Darker is currently trading at $92, and the original film cashout out at $156.  I'm going to guess this one does $100, maybe $125... but that means it has over a year to slowly climb $10-30 dollars, and isn't something it would benefit us to hold long-term.


The Mummy

This one has me excited simply because it's Universal relaunching their monster canon, and doing it as a franchise. It's still too early to say if the film will be any good, or if it will be able to capture the kind of success that translates to hundreds of millions of dollars.  And I think this new franchise's downfall could be Unviersal shooting to compete with Marvel and Star Wars and building a franchise with those kinds of expectations.  True monster movies aren't for everyone, and I'd be much happier as a movie fan if they shot for mid-range success, made a slate of quality films they could stand behind and that could represent that universe well, and slowly built the new re-branding up over time.  If they go in with too-overzealous expectations trying to make PG-13 blockbuster juggernauts that appeal to everyone, the IP may be at odds with itself and fall apart in the prrocess.  The Mummy is currently trading at a healthy $48 price that I think is on par with where the IP currently sits without major decisions being reported about how they're planning to steer the ship.  If they seem to make good, credible decisions, we may make some good money in the next 8 months on news items relating to this, the Van Helsing reboot, and whatever other properties like Dracula, Frankenstein, the Creature, the Wolfman, or the Invisible Man that Universal decides to fast track.


Ghost in the Shell

Another one with a sizeable enough current trading price for how long the property has been in development, how far out the release date is, and the current creative team.  Snow White and the Huntsman may have made some significant cash, but it certainly wasn't a well-handled property, and Sanders behavior with Kristen Stewart doesn't bode well for his professionalism, either.  Neither of them is involved with the soon-to-be-released sequel, but now Sanders has been put in charge of Ghost, and the initial cast includes Scarlet Johannson and Sam Riley.  The Americanization of the material has always sounded problematic throughout the long development period, and adding onto that a gender swap via the Johansson casting may cause even more problems.  Certainly a really talented director could make those kinds of changes, run with it, and produce a fantastic film... it just hasn't seemed from Sanders' past work that he's anywhere near being that guy.  So far, Sanders seems to be a not-very-talented studio gun-for-hire.  And Ghost could very well end up being another high-profile, big-budget disaster.  But it's currently just too far out to tell.  Sam Riley isn't exactly a household name or box office gold, so his presence in the cast doesn't affect anything one way or another.  I think it's likely this may eventually release and do V for Vendetta type numbers, let's say $50-75 million.  But there's certainly room for it to tank like the Fantastic Four reboot, or to reinvent its own wheel and find success in the $100-200 range.  But again, right now there's no reason to touch this stock until we have a better idea what path the production is headed down.


And that wraps up another week.  As I've already mentioned, the next week or two may be slower that usual, but I'm happy with the side we're holding our NominOptions on, and we should see a little activity with those and the resulting Academy Award Options as they IPO.  We'll play the news items if and when they hit over the holidays, and if nothing happens with The Danish Girl, our next wide release will be The Forest on January 8th.  As a post-holiday horror movie with Goyer involved and Natalie Dormer starring, I think it'll safely be able to hit it's current $22 trading price, and possibly double to triple it if the stars align.  The Visit did $57, and Krampus looks to cash out around $38, so that's not a bad range to expect The Forest to fall into-- if they've got a decent movie on their hands and spend some money marketing it smartly.

Happy Holidays to all, and I'll see you back here next week!

Tag(s): UNIVX

The Week in Review/The Week Ahead: The Universal Fund [UNIVX], Episode 14   UNIVX on Dec 20, 12:22

ERC says Danish Girl goes to 400+ on Xmas, still not wide. See movie forum for this morning ERCs. {nm}   Awards Fund on Dec 20, 13:51

So I can post the Top Movie Funds for the next couple of weeks? Thanks for letting me know :P {nm}   Awards Fund on Dec 20, 13:52

Yup! And I'll try to have a really strong run in the spring to give you as much time off as possible! :) {nm}   FranklynStreet on Dec 20, 14:01

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