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The Week in Review/The Week Ahead: The Universal Fund [UNIVX], Episode 17

Posted by: UNIVX (a.k.a UNIVXFund) on Jan 11, 12:07

Another solid trading week for us with an 8% increase, but more on that in a bit.

First, I delayed posting a day, until after the 10th, so I could include the monthly tracking in this week's installment.  So here it is.

9/10  $10 IPO

10/10  $13.33     33.3% monthly increase

11/10  $21.61     62.1% monthly increase

12/10  $31.11     44.0% monthly increase

1/10    $37.60     20.9% monthly increase

                          40.0% average monthly increase

                          276% total season-to-date increase

This in turn creates the following projections for our stock price for the following months, assuming a 40.0% increase each month.  I've also included, each fourth month, a more streamlined estimate based on the 4-month increase figure of 276%.

2/10  $52.64

3/10  $73.70

4/10  $103.17

5/10  $144.44     $141.38

6/10  $202.22

7/10  $283.11

8/10  $396.35

8/31 cashout  $510.12     $531.57 less 1 week of August-September profits

As I said the last time I posted these projections, I don't expect us to hit those final numbers... but I do expect us to exceed my initial target of $200, which will beat last year's impressive fund finish of $199 and change.  These numbers will likely continue to adjust downward each month as our monthly increase totals and subsequent monthly projections become more and more grounded in actuals.  But it's still fun to look at, knowing that they are based on performance-to-date and are theoretically possible.  And finally, I expect next month's numbers to look even better because the fund was as limited as it was during December as a result of STAR7.  I don't expect any other film to command both HSX dollars and the HSX landscape that it sucks a lot of other stocks' momentum away from them.  That also happened during the holiday season, which can see some nice returns for released films (of which we had only one), but tends to put the kibosh on the frequency of news items.  So I theorize that our annual monthly increase will actually go UP after February 10th.


Onto the second section of this week's installment and a look at what's been happening for the fund.  Sisters continued to perform very, very well.  And even though I expected it to not do well, I saw what was happening after its initial opening weekend and covered the profitable short and flipped to a long position.  Sisters continued to make up for its opening-weekend losses the rest of the month, and the stock has almost doubled since.  We've also continued to make cash on Neighbors 2 and Ride Along 2, as well as Suffragette and The Danish Girl.  Both Suffragette and Sisters cash out today, so we may see a last bit of a jump on both of those, and it will free up a chunk of trading cash for us without having to pay transaction fees.

This week also saw the release of The Forest.  I hung in there expecting The Forest to have a decent opening despite some projections, and the fund was rewarded.  Genre films always do well in January, and The Forest was a modest success.  I had been a little nervous because many of the holiday and awards films are still going strong, and both The Hateful Eight and The Revenant have some crossover genre appeal.  We should see another bump later today as we reap the rewards of being on the right side of The Forest derivatives.  However, considering that reviews are SO bad (the film currently sits at 12% on the tomatometer over at Rotten Tomatoes), I've dumped it and expect that it's already done most of its business and may bleed until delist.

We also made money this week off of the announcement that The Veil will indeed cash out here at HSX at $0 after going straight to VOD.  And we're pulling in a little cash off del Toro's possible involvement with Fantastic Voyage causing the buried-in-development-hell PACR2 stock to further decline.  (Fantastic Voyage is with 20th Century Fox, so that one's out of our purview).

Ride Along 2 and its derivatives are on the near horizon, and should be profitable.  I'm also hungry to be fully invested in London Has Fallen (rule of sequels), Purge 3 (ditto), The Huntsman (ditto again), and Warcraft (which I believe has bottomed out and will only go up from here).  Hail Ceasar! I'm more wary of; I'm not sure if it wil break past its current trading price upon release, but I do plan to be long on it.  And Race seems a big question mark at this point.  I had initially expected it to do well, but it's been a bad year for biopics and no one else seems to share my expectations, keeping the trading price low at under $20.  I still plan on playing it long, and hope it catches some momentum in upcoming weeks.

Okay, so now let's head into the third section of the update and check out 3 more Universal releases.  The first is a monster and the last of our scheduled releases, and the second and third represent the beginning of our look at the in-development slate.


Jurassic World 2

Whatever they end up calling it, obviously this will be a monster hit.  The first one set records and overperformed, reinvigorating global interest in a sagging franchise that timed perfectly with nostalgia interest.  I don't know if the sequel can outperform the first one enormous success, but I think it's entirely appropriate to use that as an estimate.  It's currently trading at $404, and the JW did $557 in its first 4 weeks.  Not a bad investment, but it requires a big chunk of cash, and the release is currently 2.5 years out.  This will no doubt be a money-maker in the future, but right now it would be a terrible play.


The 39 Clues

In general, in-development stocks are terrible investments apart from their initial IPO.  My strategy is usually to get in and play the IPO, then short it until there's further news.  With 39 Clues, further news seems unlikely to happen.  The IPO was 7(!) years ago, and the last news item, about Universal picking it up, was 2.5 years ago.  The original script was by Jeff Nathanson (Catch Me If You Can), an adaptation of a YA adventure series, the first of which was written by Rick Riordan (Percy Jackson) before heading into the hands of lesser-known authors for most of the other installments.  The time has probably passed for this one, particularly as YA series no longer seem to be as surefire as they did 5 years ago.  Shawn Levy (the Night at the Museum series), the original director attached to the project, is not attached any longer and is currently off shooting television series Stranger Things and has about 40 projects in development.  As with every in-development project, all it takes is the right executive or creative to renew their interest and it could be fast-tracked, but there's no reason to expect that happening any time soon for this project.


6 Miranda Drive

A Blumhouse production starring Kevin Bacon, Radha Mitchell, and Jennifer Morrison from director Greg Mclean (Wolf Creek), this one would seem a much better investment if you're in the market for penny (ok, dollar) stocks.  Blumhouse has a great track record, and genre films usually do well at least to a certain mark; Bacon, Mitchell, and Morrison are all good actors; and Bacon has some box office clout (although not enough to inspire Cop Car to find a bigger audience) and Morrison now has the Once Upon a Time audience behind her.  This one IPO'd about 2 years ago, and unlike Clues, which is still in development, Miranda has actually wrapped.  IMDB has it listed for a general 2016 release, but there's no further information provided.  At this point in time, there's no saying for certain if it will get a theatrical or if it will head straight to VOD like a few other Blumhouse pictures including Curve, The Veil, and likely Visions.  Still, it's a small investment and probably not a bad one to place a bet on.


That wraps up for another week.  Our next release is Ride Along 2, which opens wide this Friday.

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