That doesn't apply to all of the movies opening this Thursday, because some of them are clearly not in Oscar contention. Primary among those would be:
Bedtime Stories. Adam Sandler stars in this Disney comedy (BEDTM) about a man who tells stories to little kids. The stories start to come true. It's an interesting idea that could be very funny. Adam Sandler is very much a man-child, innocent yet raunchy, so there are possibilities. However, it's trading at H$104, down from a high of H$131. I shorted it. The strike price is $35 million, which sounds about right. The market mostly agrees with me. I'm long on the call and shorting the put.
In serious contention for Oscars, however, is:
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button. Brad Pitt and Cate Blanchett, directed by David Fincher (BBUTN). This should be good. I don't like the movies that David Fincher directs (Seven, Panic Room), but that's mostly because I'm just not a fan of the genre. However, I love his music videos (Madonna's Vogue, Paula Abdul's Cold Hearted Snake). Stylistically, we can expect this to be very interesting. It's also down, trading around H$55, down from H$73. I bought it at H$1.14, so I have a 4,700% profit. I'm somewhat optimistic, because this is a good cast, and it's a unique idea (based on an F. Scott Fitzgerald short story). Strike price is H$15, which actually sounds a little low. I'm long on the call and shorting the put; market is sending the same signal.
In the Very Serious Drama Department, we have:
Doubt. Meryl Streep and Philip Seymour Hoffman, in a drama about a priest and a nun; she thinks he is sexually abusing a young boy. Highly relevant these days, unfortunately. A little too heavy for me, particularly around the holidays. It's already been released; it's now going wide. It was sinking for a while, but it's been going up steadily for the last couple of weeks, and is now trading at its high, H$15.91. Looks like a good one to hold long, which is what I am doing. Since it's already been released, there are no options for the opening. Talk about Oscar bait.
In the heartwarming category, good for Xmas, we have:
Marley and Me. Jennifer Aniston and Owen Wilson (although she's been getting vastly more attention for this than him) (MARLY). This is moving up very consistently, and is up H$6 today, to H$82, which is a new high. The buzz must be great. Very strong signals to go long and stay there. Strike price is H$20, which sounds even better than the H$15 strike price for BBUTN. The call is at H$4.47, another strong signal. I am, of course, long the call and short the put.
For the fanboy crowd, we have:
The Spirit. Another movie based on a comic book (SPIRT). This is tanking badly. It's up H$4 today, to H$25.92, but that's a bounce from the rock bottom price it hit yesterday, and down from a high of H$60. That's about the worst possible sign imaginable. I have it short at H$24. Rarely have I seen a stock sink so badly. Yesterday was the low for the year. That's almost unheard of. Must be terrible. Which is too bad, because I like Scartlett Johansson, and I bet she plays great noir. Strike price is H$10, which might be a record low for a movie based on a famous comic book. I have the call long and the put short, which is against my position on the stock. The last thing I am going to do is check this on Christmas morning. I don't think it's going to matter much.
Last, and probably least, is:
Valkyrie. Tom Cruise plays a Nazi (VALKR). A good Nazi, one who tried to assassinate Hitler, but a Nazi nonetheless. I knew someone once whose father was part of this plot. I also have a friend who is familiar with the German press' take on this. They aren't happy. I shorted it a long time ago, at H$40. It then went to H$80, which means I would have lost a ton of money, but it has since dropped to H$46. I expect it to keep dropping. I just can't see an audience for this. Strike price is H$15, which is right in line with the recent price. Still, I'm shorting the call and going long on the put. That's against the market, but I am very cynical about this movie. I like Bryan Singer (USC grad) as a director, but I think Tom Cruise looks like an idiot in the Nazi uniform with the hat.
Way late update: I was mostly right about this week. I was wrong about the options for BEDTM and SPIRT, and wrong about VALKR generally. That's a surprise. Otherwise, tho, it was a pretty good week.