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.
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!
Audiences voted with their money this weekend to watch a feel-good family tale about a dolphin without a tail. Rejected at the box officer were new movies: 50/50, a cancer dramedy, R-rated comedy What’s Your Number? and the horror flick Dream House.
The movie mood seems to be searching for comfort and the familiar, retreating into family fare. A good animal movie reminds us of the honesty and affection we have for cute critters who do not judge us, but share the same core values we think we all share. Unlike our economic animals who prey on our emotions, these cuddly dolphins and lions which have topped the box office personify the great qualities of loyalty and community; reminding us that we’re all sharing this world and need to feel compassion for those less fortunate than ourselves. Everyone needs help and we should be offering it to all, even if they aren’t all as cute and innocent as a dolphin or share the qualities we most admire in a charming lion cub destined to be king.
The Dow Jones squeaked out a 1.3% gain for the week but ended September with a drop of over 2% after starting out with two gains on optimism over European “action” on their sovereign debt issues. If we are entering an era of world-wide debt contagion, what does the average person do? Retreat to the movies and ignore all this political ineptness and obscure financial problems. Go swim with the dolphins. Embrace the circle of life. Hug you family. What else can you do if we’re facing a worldwide depression? Don’t worry, we’ve seen it before and the movies helped us in the 1930s. Hollywood makes money matching movies to our moods and they will again, once they stop making useless crap like What’s Your Number?
August, for all the ups and downs, tossed the Dow Jones up and down with weekly gains and drops of over 4% for two of the weeks in this usually hazy, lazy month. The Dow ended down about a thousand points from where it started. As for the Box Office, August shared the top spot with only two movies: Rise of the Planet of the Apes and The Help. Both movies had class warfare as the central theme, one set in the future and the other in the past. However, both spoke to audiences about their concerns for the present state of our society and our leadership.
Do we really care about those less fortunate than ourselves? Is our economy geared to reward the few at the expense of the many? Is this the greatest success of capitalism? There may be a theme resonating with audiences now, as we move from super heroes and wizards to the fall dramas ramping-up to Oscar nominations. What will audiences respond to now?
Next week’s box office champ will probably be Contagion about a world-wide airborne epidemic. Is this our financial system making everyone sick? The next week marks the release of the Straw Dogs remake, another fable about the housing market under assault. Then we have Abduction on September 23rd, about a kid who finds out his whole life has been a lie – hell, the metaphors just keep coming and coming…Hard to imagine September being a strong month for audiences changing their mood and feeling better about their future. Stay tuned to a theater near you.
The market volatility went crazy last week, starting with the steep drop after S&P downgraded the AAA rating on the US debt. Then up, then down and we end this week only down 1.5% on the Dow Jones. But is anyone comfortable that the worst is over? Not acccording to the Hollywood box office. Rise of the Planet of the Apes held strong for the second week, only dropping 50% in ticket sales. This story of greedy corporate ambition and the power of intelligence to raise the quality of life for the beasts we enslave (could these be the poor individual investors who have finally gotten smart about who and what is controlling these markets?) has resonated with audiences around the world.
MarketBOB has correctly called this a BEAR movie. We are now off over 11% and firmly through the support line from March of 2008. The market is correcting and if we fall 20% we’ll be officially in a bear market again. The box office doesn’t have any positive, uplifting movies in the pipeline anytime soon. There are no new ideas coming out next week, with two re-makes and one sequel: Conan the Barbarian along with a re-make of Same Time Next Year and the sequel is Spy Kids 4.
Here is the chart for the MarketBOB Long Wave, clearly showing the breakdown in our long rally off the reversal from Watchmen.
We've broken our trend line big time!
The Dow Jones has turned down 1.4% last week after a strong rebound. The last Harry Potter dominated the box office as fans lined up to watch the conclusion of this epic saga between good and evil. Now that Harry Potter has graduated from Hogwarts and is moving on with his life, is this going to be the same message for the markets? Is the bull run over? Time to move on? We shall see.
The MarketBOB long wave shows the long term support remains intact, with the latest bounce off the line with Cars 2. Will Harry Potter bring more bull magic or mark the top of this market and the expected correction everyone seems to think we need?
Another Top forming?
As you can see from the MarketBOB Movie Mood trendline which started with the reversal after the opening weekend of Watchmen, the recent 6-week consecutive drop starting with Fast Five has now threatened to break through support and make a significant correction. Is there any relief on the horizon? Harry Potter arrives in July and next week is Green Lantern. Maybe these movies will make people feel better? Hard to say. Perhaps the last Harry Potter will really signal the end of an era and the start of darker times ahead…