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Projector predictions: Many hits, some misses

September 05, 2008|Josh Friedman | Times Staff Writer

Projector has always looked forward, but this seems like the time to rewind.

After getting kudos and brickbats in varying measure from readers, Hollywood studio executives and trade papers for his weekly box-office predictions, Projector crunched the numbers from the just-completed summer movie season to see whether he was in focus or working with a dim bulb.

Projector rounded up his predictions from the last 18 weeks, from early May through Labor Day, along with those of seven film websites that also offer regular weekend box-office forecasts. The accompanying chart shows the average percentage miss (either high or low) for each individual movie prediction in the prognosticator's archive, including holdovers as well as new releases.

Box Office Report looks like the valedictorian of this summer's class, with an average miss of only 13.3%. Now Projector knows whose shoulder to peek over.

Projector's own error rate of 15% earned him a self-grade of B-plus. He shows promise but must continue to apply himself. In other words: Little has changed since high school.

Projector's big whiffs began with "Iron Man" (36.9% low . . . ouch) and included "Sex and the City" (83.9% low . . . where's a cosmopolitan when you need one?) and "Kit Kittredge: An American Girl" (51.5% high . . . thanks for nothing, soccer moms).

But he pretty much nailed "You Don't Mess With the Zohan" (4.5% high . . . love that wacky Adam Sandler) and "Babylon A.D." (dead-on . . . Fox had to be good for something this summer).

Entertainment Weekly, meanwhile, shows plenty of room for improvement after notching the highest miss rate, 22%. Apparently, having a corporate sibling such as Warner Bros. in the movie business is no advantage.

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