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The Week in Review/The Week Ahead: The Universal Fund [UNIVX], Episode 16

Posted by: UNIVX (a.k.a UNIVXFund) on Jan 05, 15:43

Again a little late this week with holidays and traveling impacting my schedule, but I should be back to updating on Sunday next week.

We're back invested in Sisters since it's ARB, and should gain a few bucks between now and the delist.  Sisters just kept recapturing ground after its initial opening was so negatively affected by Star Wars.  The Forest has picked up some momentum, as has Ride Along 2; and Neighbors 2, which is a little farther out, continues to climb.  Suffragette is also slightly ARB, and that and The Danish Girl should continue to have a little upward movement as well.  With so little news over the past couple of weeks, the strategy has been to simply hold long rather than lose a lot of money to transaction fees trying to day trade on whims.  For the next couple of weeks we'll be primarly focused on our January openers, The Forest and Ride Along 2, including their derivatives, as well as the NominOptions that are about to cash out and the Award Options replacing them.

Hopefully the smart long plays, as well as a solid spring schedule, will keep the fund growing very comfortably.  We don't have any properties over the next several months that I expect to become huge cash cows, but most of our spring slate should function very solidly for themselves.

 

Girl on the Train

First let's cycle backward on the release calendar to look at Girl on the Train, which has been folded into the Universal umbrella as a result of the Spielberg/Dreamworks deal that was finalized over the holidays.  Based on the Paula Hawkins best-seller, Girl stars Emily Blunt in the lead role and a solid supporting cast includes Justin Theroux and Rebecca Ferguson, hot off of The Leftovers and Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation respectively, as well as Allison Janney, who director Tate Taylor worked with previously on The Help.  Taylor's films include Winter's Bone (HSX $5) and Get on Up (HSX $29), but as a lit adaptation Girl seems to fall more in line with The Help (HSX $124), as well as have some superficial similarities to another lit-thriller adaptation, Gone Girl (HSX $94).  I'm going to include Gone Girl in the estimate and give Taylor a pass on Winter's Bone, since it was his first film and released as a limited.  This would put at estiamate for Girl on the Train at HSX $82.  I'm comfortable with that number, and it's quite a bit higher than the current $47 trading price, but I also don't think $82 is a conservative number.  It's probably safe to say that Girl will cash out somewhere between $47 and $82.  I think this one is a solid investment with little downside, but how much upside there is remains in question.  It's definitely a coup for Universal to have picked up distribution of this one; it will likely be both a critical and financial success, and it's a great first tier in the foundation of their new alliance with Dreamworks.  This one releases in October of this year, so outside of our purview but still ahead of the other two releases on today's list.

 

Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas

Yet another iteration of the holiday story, it doesn't hit theatres until November 2017.  Between the still-classic animated special and the Jim Carrey vehicle, this may not necessarily be needed, but it will no doubt be ably handled by Illumination Entertainment, who has produced the Ice Age and Despicable Me franchises, as well as Dr. Seuss' The Lorax.  The Lorax is the easy comparative here, and that movie did $177 before cashout.  I think we're looking at a minimum of that here.  Carrey's film was 16 years ago now, and let's be honest-- it kind of sucked.  And as long as Illumination handles this as expertly as they did The Lorax, there's really no reason audiences shouldn't flock to it as a faithful and able re-telling of a beloved property, particularly when it releases during the holiday season.  It's a long, long way out, but at $40, the price is right if you want to park your cash that long.

 

Fifty Shades Freed

And then it's February 2018 for Fifty Shades 3.  The original did $156 before cashout here on HSX, and the sequel is currently up to $90.  Freed is currently at $64, and it's hard to say how much franchise atrophy will have set in by the time it releases.  People may simply realize that if they have any interest in seeing it, they're better off just waiting for streaming/rental.  I imagine it still has some room to move upward, but how much and the fact that it's going to be over 2+ years makes this a pretty crappy investment.  $64 is not a small chunk of change, and it's likely not going to outgross the first one; making the situation here and the one with the Grinch-- which would seem to have a floor above Freed's ceiling-- polar opposites.

 

And that wraps up another episode; check back in on Sunday for a peek at Jurassic World 2 and the first 2 stocks that will be in-development and not on the current release calendar.  Universal's next release remains The Forest this coming Friday.


Tag(s): UNIVX

The Week in Review/The Week Ahead: The Universal Fund [UNIVX], Episode 16   UNIVX on Jan 05, 15:43

forgot to mention last week from Sunday-Sat we had a 7.0% increase {nm}   UNIVX on Jan 05, 16:16





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