2011 Year in Review: Dow up 5%, Box Office down 4%

2011 will go down as the year nothing really happened but everyone was scared the worst was just around the next political speech or bond auction.  The Dow Jones was the only average to make it into the plus column, up 5.5% while the S&P was break-even and the Nasdaq ended down 1.8%.

As noted yesterday, the Hollywood domestic box office was the worst attendance in 16 years.  So, what have we learned in 2011, looking back?

1. The markets broke the bull trend and basically traded sideways for the year.  As you can see with the MarketBOB Long Wave, the trend broke with Unknown, tried to recover but Fast Five hammered it again and Captain America made it stay down.  So much for superheroes saving the day.  In general, the Long Wave Truth Rally which started with Watchmen has entered a correction and probably bear market, but it will take some time to confirm the topping action we’ve seen since March.

MarketBOB Long Wave 2011

MarketBOB Long Wave 2011

2. The MarketBOB Short Wave showed two main themes: the disconnect between the small investor and the market, as we’ve moved towards computerized trading and trends made by politics instead of fundamentals and the dismal performance of the DOW during the summer, matched by the terrible summer of sequels put out by Hollywood.  This summer session essentially corrected the Short Wave from being disconnected from this crazy market.  Nine straight weeks of Bear market movies in the summer avoided the worst of the summer correction.  Since then, the movies and the markets have been treading water except for the tumultuous three weekend run of the latest Twilight movie which was not the best sequel, a bear movie but the market was euro-twitchy and scored -3%, +7% and +1.3% for those three weeks.

MarketBOB Short Wave 2011

MarketBOB Short Wave 2011

With the dominance of bear movies since the summer, the MarketBOB Short Wave avoided the two volatile periods in weeks 31-39 and weeks 44-47, ending the year positive, like the DOW but ahead by almost 4%.

For more details of the MarketBOB short and long waves, please refer to my book, Movies We Love in Times of Depression, available for $2.99 as an Amazon Kindle ebook.

As always, you can keep coming back to MarketBOB.com for updates on movies and the mood of audiences in 2012.  It will be another crazy year of superheroes, vampires and fairy tales.  See this Yahoo preview of the most anticipated movies in 2012!

Happy New Year.



Nobody Wants to Go to the Movies

This weekend was a complete non-event, with the box office recording the lowest take since September, 2008, and we know the significance of that month for the markets.  The box office was down 15% from the same weekend last year.

Of course, the movies were dismal and completely forgettable as well.  New Years Eve and The Sitter?  Why bother?  These films scream for home viewing only.  Why shell out the cash for this derivative fare?  Been there, seen these flicks before.

So, we have no direction or emotion from the box office.  We’re at  the mercy of politicians in the markets and a vacuum of creativity in Hollywood.  It’s like the whole world is desperately trying to play it safe in a  dangerous time.

We have the Christmas holiday season coming and Hollywood hopes the big films draw in crowds or there will be lumps of coal in a lot of executive stockings come December 25th.

It's Customers, Stupid! The 1% Do Not Create Jobs!

Nick Hanauer, a venture capitalist from Seattle and billionaire many times over has just written an editorial on Bloomberg that sums up the consumer-driven economy from the point of view of the 1%:

“That’s why I can say with confidence that rich people don’t create jobs, nor do businesses, large or small. What does lead to more employment is the feedback loop between customers and businesses. And only consumers can set in motion a virtuous cycle that allows companies to survive and thrive and business owners to hire. An ordinary middle-class consumer is far more of a job creator than I ever have been or ever will be.”

It is the same with the Hollywood system and our infatuation with star power.  The box office rules, as CUSTOMERS choose what movie to watch and spend their own money.  The result is the creation of “hits” and “movie stars”, but these are impossible to predict in advance and quickly fall out of favor if people become turned off by a bad performance or a rip-off sequel.  And the money we channel to the rich and famous never gets circulated back to us from the top with the same economic drive to our economy if it remained in our pockets to spend.

Buy a Ticket, Buy a Star

Again, from Hanauer’s editorial:

“The annual earnings of people like me are hundreds, if not thousands, of times greater than those of the average American, but we don’t buy hundreds or thousands of times more stuff. My family owns three cars, not 3,000. I buy a few pairs of pants and a few shirts a year, just like most American men. Like everyone else, I go out to eat with friends and family only occasionally.”

So the great concentration of wealth in the top 1% is a sad fact of life today, but the more we lose to them the less we have to spend on their enterprises and Wall Street’s collective “Giant Vampire Squid” clamped onto the face of consumer America.

Consider the power you have when you but a ticket to watch a movie.  You are the real star-maker and thus, choose wisely.

Top ten Box Office Bombs from the Hollywood Reporter

Read the full Bloomberg editorial by Nick Hanauer Here. 



Twilight Breaking Dawn makes #1 three weekends in a row!

Ho hum, no action at the box office, just the same old, same old.  Twilight Breaking Dawn Part I topped a weak box office, after a huge week in the markets as traders interpreted news of a coordinated Central Bank move to supply dollars to Europe’s banking system as a big plus to debt stability.

In reality, it solves nothing, like all the other moves before it.  But hey, who can figure out the weekly gyrations?  This week is full of high-powered Europe leaders meeting to set a new direction for the future of the Euro.  We have no real box office trend to help us gauge the mood out there.  Expect another interesting and unpredictable week ahead!

Dow Drops as Undead Rise

The DOW Jones dropped almost 5% last week as the latest Twilight sequel dominated the box office.  It remains the top movie over Thanksgiving, beating out three highly-rated family movies, taking in $62.3 million and beating The Muppets by $20 million.

Meanwhile, the state of Europe’s sovereign debt problems remain the real horror show around the world as markets hate uncertainty and when the economic future is in the hands of politicians, we have a very uncertain future.

We can expect more of the same this week until we either fall off the cliff as confidence evaporates (and this can happen faster than you think) or another rumour of a miracle solution spreads across the news wires and traders take advantage of these false hopes (especially if they’re the ones starting the rumours…)

The undead live forever in vampire movies and right now, this debt that will never die is sucking the lifeblood out of our future hopes and dreams.

The MarketBOB Long Wave has turned decidedly negative as the correction takes hold:

Long wave for end of november

Correction Continues with possible Bear Market Ahead

Box Office a Bizarre Market Indicator?


Could she be an indicator of the future prosperity of your wallet?

In the Business Insider today, there is a list of “bizarre” stock market indicators, including the movie box office.  Now, I like BI for their fantastic headlines and quirky takes on practically everything, but to lump in a perfectly good emotional indicator of the social mood of a large number of people with crazy indicators like Latvian hookers and baked beans strikes me as absurd. Their box office indicator is labelled a “popcorn” index, but basically it ties in peaks in movie attendance with down markets. MarketBOB fans know there is much more to movies than just attendance, as in the types of movies and stars we pay money to see in times of hope and fear. However, the more we keep labeling emotional indicators as bizarre, we will have the edge over the traditional mindset that thinks the future can be predicted by statistics and charts. In fact, no one can predict the future but if you want to try, at least have fun.



Bear Movie Mood to Continue Next Week

The record $283.5 million worldwide box office gross for The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn I confirms the drawing power of vampire love around the world.  The horror of undead romance, living forever with your cold-hearted spouse seems to attract the young female movie fan in droves, with 80% of the audience being female and 50% over the age of 25.

The movie itself is dull and slow, with very little happening unless you have been waiting years to see Bella’s wedding dress.  The movie mood remains bearish (continuing the Immortals low quality rating) and the losses last week in the DOW Jones as it dropped -2.9%.  With the current risks in the market all focused on the bond market and the political leadership unwilling to make the hard choices, we face more uncertainty and continued bouncing around in correction territory with the latest rumors and economic statistics.  We will eventually break out one way or another, but the movie mood indicates the move will be to the downside.