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.


Football Outsiders Writer Answers Questions on Freakonomics

It’s no secret here on WG that we’re fans of both the NFL and longwinded blogging.  So this is a real treat for me, and hopefully for you.  Football Outsiders is a team of NFL analysts that act more like baseball die-hards, digging OH SO DEEP into the numbers behind the gridiron.  So recently, FO’s Bill Barnwell took some questions from the readers at the Freakonomics blog, and the answers are sure to please mental masturbation enthusiasts the world over.  Although the NFL’s overtime rules were modified this year to exempt first-possession field goals from ending the game, it’s still an obligatory topic, and FO offers a suggestion that you likely haven’t heard before.

In my improved overtime format, the team captains would meet at midfield for a coin toss, just as they did on Sunday when the Ravens played the Seahawks.  But the captain of the Seahawks wouldn’t decide to kick or receive when he won the toss.  Instead, he would have to name a yard line where the overtime kickoff would be placed.  Then the Ravens’ captain would say whether he wanted to kick or receive.  So Mike Holmgren might instruct his captain to have the kickoff spotted at the 43-yard line.  Brian Billick would tell his captain, “If they put it anywhere inside the 40, we’ll receive.  Otherwise, we’ll kick.”  Losing the toss really wouldn’t be any disadvantage, because both teams can determine what they think is a fair spot for the opening kickoff.

Splitting the Overtime Pizza by Michael David Smith

So Smith takes a game-theory approach and lets competitive decision-making trump a 50/50 coinflip.  Smart.  I like.  Other topics include, drastic team turnarounds, unconventional play-calling, and the randomness of field goal kicking, so head on over to Freakonomics to check out the Q&A.

More Movies: Freakonomics Trailer Released

It’s no secret here at WG that I’m a big fan of Freakonomics.  Two words: monkey prostitution.  How can you not love that?  So they’re making a movie? I’m game.  It’s being directed by the guy who made Donkey Kong as intense as “the abortion issue?”  Let’s do this.  Check out the trailer.

P.S. Speaking of The King of Kong, that title once again belongs to Billy Mitchell and his American Flag tie.

Freakonomics Blog