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Gruca Comments on Box Office Expectations

Clocking in at $62.6 million at the domestic box office last weekend, a new movie "The Hulk" took in less than "The Matrix Reloaded," "Finding Nemo," "X2: X-Men United" and "Bruce Almighty" did in their debuts this year. But even as late as last week, people expected Hulk to be a smash. Last week on the Hollywood Stock Exchange, where players trade (using play money) domestic box office expectations, "The Hulk" went for as much as $202.45, meaning the market expected it to bring in $202.45 million in its first four weeks. According to University of Iowa business school professor TOM GRUCA, Hollywood Stock Exchange traders tend to be off on their box office bets by about 60 percent. Nor are private forecasters any more reliable. "There are just so many things that can affect how a movie does," said Gruca. "Everything from the weather to who is in the NBA finals on a Friday night can make a movie go in the tank." He added that forecasting movies isn't going to get any easier. "Everybody is competing for the same core audience," he said. "That's making it harder and harder to do the forecasting."

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