Attention New York/Bean Towners: Freakonomics Movie Sneak-Preview Tonight, Pay-What-You-Want Pricing

The freaks over at table 9 Freakonomics have decided to run (what else) a little pricing experiment, and are offering a screening of the new movie with a pay-what-you-want pricing scheme.  So if you’re looking for a way to get rid of all those pesky pennies and nickels, why not put on your finest mustache and go to a quasi-intellectual screening to see some entertaining research projects coming to life?  There’s hookers! And crack!

Interstingly enough, co-author Stephen J. Dubner has already fuxed with some of the early data and found that 18 people have already paid the maximum of $100; about 10x the average ticket (the movie can be rented on iTunes for $9.99).  He hasn’t said how many people paid the minimum of $0.01, but being just one-thousandth of the average $10 ticket, it only takes 1 purchase at that price to offset 10 at $100 and bring that average right back down to earth.  And knowing that the price of movie tickets is actually high enough to prevent me from going to see films that I’m interested in, I’m going to have to take the obvious answer and go with the under $9.99/ticket for this experiment.

I am guessing most of the $100 payees thought they would be the only person to do so, and would therefore show up in the data set as the sole high-roller. Sorry, folks.

It does remind me of something that happened in college. I had a brand-new girlfriend, Sandy, and we were planning to go to the movies one night, along with a friend of hers. Sandy told me that if you showed up at the movie theater in town (this was Boone, N.C., with only one theater) with a $100 bill, they’d let you in free because they never had enough cash on hand to make change.

How could you not be attracted to such a clever girl?

So I went to the bank, drained my account and walked out with a crisp $100 bill. That night at the movie theater, the cashier took my $100 bill without a second glance, gave me three tickets and gave me back the change. Sandy smiled. I did too. She wasn’t clever in exactly the way I thought, but she was clever nonetheless.

Freakonomics Blog

Cities that can check the movie out tonight are Boston, Cambridge, Mass., Chicago, Dallas, Denver, Los Angeles, New York, Philadelphia, San Francisco, and Washington, D.C.  No reason not to, people, YOU CAN PAY A PENNY.

Maybe the theater should try a pay-what-you-want plan for food.  That way I can enjoy a film without spending $30 on nachos.  Come on, you HAVE to get that extra cheese.


GM IPO Filing Tomorrow: Don’t We Own That?

GM is preparing to file the necessary paperwork for its IPO, in an attempt to raise about $16-20B.  And after announcing its best quarter since 2004, CEO Ed Whitacre decided to pull a Costanza and leave on a high note, announcing that he will step down as CEO as of Sept 1.

The Federal Gub’ment is also expected to unload some of it’s stake in the troubled auto company when the public offering is made, to reduce its interest to a sub-50% level.

GM turned a profit in the first quarter and Chief Executive Officer Ed Whitacre said next week’s second quarter results will be “impressive”. But investors will have to believe that a company that lost $88 billion from 2005 through the first quarter of 2009 and wiped out equity investors when it declared bankruptcy last spring is worthy of another bet.

“With the government’s involvement and the extremely unusual bankruptcy that it went through, there are a number of stakeholders who have very conflicting interests,” said Linda Killian, a portfolio manager at Connecticut-based Renaissance Capital.

“They need to be very clear about what the plans are for the company and who is going to be making the decisions,” Killian said.


Jim Cramer made some comments about how the Prez should step up with a plan to repay the taxpayers for saving GM by allowing them to participate in the appreciation he sees coming from the IPO; and he seems to have followers.  A CNBC poll showed 68% of respondents calling for an “Open IPO,” as opposed to the traditional procedure, wherein Erin Burnett points out that 80% of the stock is scooped up by institutions.

“This is a major opportunity for the president,” Cramer said. “I sure hope he doesn’t blow it.”

-CNBC via SeekingAlpha

Fed Announces it Will Buy Bonds, Disney Crushes Earnings, Mandy Drury Looks Good

3 stories to finish up the day:

1. After stating that the economic recovery is shaping up to be “more modest in the near term than had been anticipated,”Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke affirmed the same language we’ve been hearing for a couple years – that rates will “remain at exceptionally low levels for an extended period.”

As business hiring and household spending have slowed in recent months, there have been growing concerns that the economy is at risk of falling into a so-called double-dip recession, although the Fed did not raise that specific risk in its statement. As expected, the fed funds rate, the central bank’s key tool to spur the economy, remained near 0%, where it has been since December 2008. The rate is used as a benchmark for interest rates on a wide variety of consumer and business loans. A low rate typically spurs spending by making it cheaper to borrow money.


The Fed also announced that it will use proceeds from mortgage backed securities to purchase bonds in the open market.  After the DJIA slid nearly150 points off the session’s open, it recovered dramatically later in the day.

The markets were reassured by the move. Major stock indexes, which had been sharply lower before the Fed statement, recouped most of their losses on the news, with the Dow Jones industrial average briefly moving into positive territory on the day. Bond prices rose on the news, driving the yields on the benchmark 10-year Treasury down to 2.74%, the lowest level since December 2008.

2. Disney [DIS] reported earnings of $0.67/share and revenue of $10B, killing the $0.58/share and $9.38B analysts were looking for as  I convert all my US currency to Disney Dollars

3. Amanda Drury showed about as much cleavage as you’ve ever witnessed on a news network for several hours.