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The Week in Review/The Week Ahead: The Universal Fund [UNIVX], Episode 21

Posted by: UNIVX (a.k.a UNIVXFund) on Feb 10, 15:35

Apologies for the late update this week.  Next week's update should still come out on Sunday on schedule.

So this past week we were actually down by 1.1%, making it a bad 3 weeks in a row.  Mostly because I overanticipated Hail, Caesar!'s performance, which I thought would duplicate the Coen's most recent comedy with Clooney, Burn After Reading.  However, we're already up 4% half-way into this week, and I think UNIVX has finally shaken off our recent slump.  I don't think we have any major upsets in front of us now... with a lot more easily predictable films on deck.

We've been making our cash on Purge 3 with the launch of the new trailer, Battlestar Galactica with news on its development, and I've just bought into Focus' limited release Mr. Right with Rockwell and Kendrick, as well as The Invisible Man, now starring Depp.  We also made some cash back when I shorted Hail, Caesar! after the adjust, and now I've flipped it to long again considering it still has 3 weekends left and is already half-way to its current trading price.

This week we'll start things off doubling back and profiling a couple of films that now have release dates.

Mr. Right

It's got Sam Rockwell and Anna Kendrick, and that could help the box office.  But it's still only a limited release, and it's yet another hitman rom com, this time with a script from Max Landis, who bombed big time last year with last summer's American Ultra.  Still, with a $3 price tag, it's not a bad gamble.  It's very possible it will end up making somewhere in the $10 range, and the possible losses are minimal.  Mr. Right hits theatres April 8th.

Fast 8

Not sure how I missed this one the first time around, but it's too far out with too steep of a price tag to do the fund any good.  Fast 8 doesn't hit theatres until early 2017, and it's currently trading at $239.  The previous three sequels did $186, $220, and $320.  I think the latest installment is a bid of a wild card, because Justin Lin is gone.  Furious 7 had the controvery around Paul Walker's death, and the way that was handled within the film by James Wan probably boosted some ticket sales.  With 8, director F. Gary Gray comes on board hot off of Straight Outta Compton.  He's not a bad match for the material, and he's worked with Diesel before on A Man Apart.  He also did The Italian Job back in 2003.  But he's unproven with this franchise, and I don't know if there will also be a bit of a slump with Walker no longer featured.  I think it's likely the film will still do in the low to mid $200's, and if that's where it lands then the ticket price is already riding the high part of that range.  Obviously if it duplicates the success of Fast 7 then there's a good deal of money to be made, but I think that's a question mark right now, and one that requires a sizeable chunk of parked cash while waiting for more signals.  I'd wait on this one.

On Chesil Beach

And that brings us back to the in-development slate.  On Chesil Beach has Mike Newell attached to direct an adaptation of Ian McEwan's novel, starring Carey Mulligan.  It's still listed in development over at imdb, but it's not the next thing for Newell.  Pretty sure we'll eventually be looking at a limited release, and something that will land in the $5-7 range.  Not a ton of money to be made, and it's still uncertain if the film will ever go, but on the other hand, the stock is currently trading at 4 cents so there's really no reason not to buy it and see.

That wraps up another edition.  See you in a few days for Episode 22.  Our next release is Race, which hits wide on February 19th.




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