Total tweets for March 26th Openers

Hot Tub Time Machine remained relatively flat on Wednesday as it had the slightest of bumps to 1,834, up from 1,744 on Tuesday. This slowing down on Wednesday might drop its potential a bit since it will now struggle to hit 8,000 tweets for the week. I'm going to tone down my expected ratio to ~1,250 and go ahead and predict a $6 million Friday and $16.5 million for the weekend.

How to Train Your Dragon experienced the typical Wednesday slowdown of films in its genre as it dropped to 1,698 tweets, down from Tuesday's 1,701 tweets. By comparison, Diary of a Wimpy Kid had 494 its Wednesday before release, Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs had 524 and A Christmas Carol had 1,088. It seems to be on track for 6,750 tweets for the week thanks to its huge Tuesday bump. Its spam levels are definitely higher than most animated films I've tracked thanks to the added attention it has received which is going to push its ratio up a ways. I'm thinking Christmas Carol's 532 might be a solid benchmark here. As such I'll go ahead and predict a 550 ratio which should allow it to hit $12.75 million on Friday and $46 million for the full weekend.

Check back tomorrow to see the Thursday numbers and final weekend predictions. Follow @AlexBOXOFFICE on Twitter for additional updates.

Twitter tracking history. (For 2009's ratio history please check here.)

alltweets031910.jpgThe ratio is the number of tweets per $1 million of Friday Box Office gross. A film with 1,000 tweets and a $10 million Friday would therefore have a ratio of 100. In general, films that appeal to very young or older audiences have lower ratios since those audiences are not big users of Twitter. By comparison, films that appeal to younger audiences (18-35) have much higher ratios since those audiences are much more active users of Twitter.

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NEW YORK/ATLANTA/STAMFORD ‐‐ EFA Partners, an entertainment financial advisory firm that provides financing solutions for movie exhibitors, and Infuse Commercial Capital, a specialty finance company that creates tailored finance programs for small and middle market firms, announced that they have jointly created a program that offers favorable financing terms for smaller movie exhibitors seeking viable financing alternatives for their digital cinema conversion.

The program is highlighted by offering loans up to $2 million that can finance up to 100% of the digital cinema equipment cost. Loan repayment is over 10 years, much longer than terms typically offered in the current market, and interest rates are very competitive. In addition, loan processing is streamlined with an approval process that takes less than two weeks and a loan closing process of 30 to 45 days.

Such favorable terms are achievable via the program's utilization of loan guarantee programs offered by the U.S. Small Business Administration. The SBA provides these as inducements for lenders to offer loans that may not otherwise be available on terms favorable to smaller businesses.

As the EFA/Infuse team created the program, they worked closely with Cinedigm Digital Cinema Corp. (NASDAQ: CIDM), the leader in digital cinema services. "EFA and Infuse have created a financing solution that is excellent for the smaller movie exhibitors and the program fits well with our exhibitor self‐financing program," said Bud Mayo, President and CEO of Cinedigm. "With Cinedigm as the selected integrator of the National Association of Theatre Owners' Cinema Buying Group (CBG) which has hundreds of small and independent exhibitors representing approximately 7,000 screens, we believe that the EFA/Infuse program is an excellent opportunity for CBG members to access favorable financing for their digital cinema conversions."

EFA and Infuse understand that the larger movie exhibitors have more access to financing for their digital cinema conversions while such financing has been a struggle for the smaller exhibitors in the current economic environment. The EFA/Infuse program will allow these exhibitors the ability to convert to digital with favorable financing terms and take advantage of all that digital cinema offers including 3‐D movies and alternative content such as sporting events and concerts.

"It is vital for a healthy movie theater industry that digital cinema should be accessible for small, mid‐sized and large exhibitors," said John Fithian, President of the National Association of Theatre Owners. "The EFA/Infuse program allows the small exhibitors to obtain competitive financing terms that have not been readily available and we applaud this effort."

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LOS ANGELES--Phish 3D, a 3D concert experience, is opening nationwide on Friday, April 30th for an exclusive one week run. The more than two hour movie, presented by Action 3D Productions in association with Network LIVE and Cinedigm Digital Cinema Corp., highlights Phish's Festival 8, a three-day, eight-set, 16-hour concert in the Southern California desert.

In advance of the nationwide roll-out, exclusive preview screenings will be shown in nine cities -- Boston; Burlington, VT; Chicago; Denver; Houston; Los Angeles; New York; Raleigh/Durham, NC; and Washington, D.C. -- on April 20th. In addition to experiencing this special screening, fans in attendance will take home a Phish 3D movie poster. The fully immersive music and visual experience, featuring state-of-the-art 3D technology, gives viewers the sense that they are not only at the event, but on stage with the band that Entertainment Weekly has called "the biggest cult band in America." Phish 3D features fan favorites, never before seen cover songs, and intimate footage of the band backstage and in rehearsals.

Filmed in October 2009 at the band's Festival 8, more than 40,000 devoted fans watched as Phish combined two of their most beloved traditions - the multi-day festival and the Halloween album "costume." The band's highly anticipated "musical costumes" are concerts involving the performance of an entire album by another artist-in this case, Phish covered the Rolling Stones' album Exile on Main St. Phish 3D also features songs from the band's first ever full-length acoustic set, as well as performances taken from the six additional sets.

Tickets for the Tuesday, April 20th screenings will be available for purchase on Friday, March 26 (individual theater on-sale dates may be subject to change). Ticketing information is available at www.phish3dmovie.com or with the following theaters.

Boston: National Amusements Revere, 565 Squire Rd., Revere, MA 02151
Burlington, VT: Majestic 10, 190 Boxwood St. Tafts Corner, Williston, VT 05495
Chicago: Rosemont Theatre, 9701 Bryn Mawr Ave., Rosemont, IL 60018
Denver: Aurora Movie Tavern 10, 18605 East Hampden Ave., Aurora, CO 80013
Houston: Studio Movie Grill, 805 Town & Country Way Bldg.,Houston, TX 77024
Los Angeles:Rave Motion Pictures 18, Los Angeles, The Promenade at Howard Hughes Center, Los Angeles, CA 90045
New York: Pavilion Theatre, 188 Prospect Park West, Brooklyn, NY 11215
Raleigh/Durham, NC: Wynnsong 15, 1807 Martin Luther King Jr. Pkwy., Durham, NC 27707
Washington, D.C./Fairfax, VA: Fairfax Corner 14, 11900 Palace Way, Fairfax, VA 22030

Ticketing information for the Friday, April 30th opening of Phish 3D will be made available here. Fans are encouraged to check the site for ticketing and event news frequently, as there are a very limited number of seats available for this one week run.

Phish will kick off an extensive summer tour on June 11th at Toyota Park in Chicago, IL. An online ticket request period is currently underway here and will end on Friday, March 26th, at 11:59 p.m. ET. Tickets will go on sale to the general public beginning Friday, April 2nd. For full details, visit the official Phish site.

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Total tweets for March 26th Openers

Hot Tub Time Machine increased its tweet volume to 1,744 on Tuesday, up from 1,299 tweets on Monday. A very solid increase which is right in line with my week projection of ~8,000. There really is no great direct comparison here for this film because of its combination of genre, advertising and cultural contagion for its title. That having been said it is a lock for a ~1,500 ratio based on those above facts. Today's tally will be very indicative of both its final tweet count and Box Office potential but right now a weekend in the teens appears likely.

How to Train Your Dragon really soared on Tuesday with 1,701 tweets, up from 1,167 tweets on Monday. By comparison Diary Of A Wimpy Kid had 347 its Tuesday before release, Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs had 542 and A Christmas Carol had 1,110. That Tuesday bump was one of the strongest I have seen in the genre which definitely bodes well for its potential. I did some digging and its spam levels are pretty high for the genre which will definitely ensure a higher ratio than Wimpy Kid and Cloudy, Carol might be a better comparison or slightly less. At this point a low to mid teen opening Friday appears likely.

Also, for anyone that is interested about how I gauge spam levels, basically I discount tweets which have a link in them. Now not all tweets with links are spam, but almost all spam tweets contain a link. By looking at the ratio of total tweets to tweets with links gives a good quick snapshot on spam.

Check back tomorrow to see the Wednesday numbers and more comparisons. Follow @AlexBOXOFFICE on Twitter for additional updates.

Twitter tracking history. (For 2009's ratio history please check here.)

alltweets031910.jpgThe ratio is the number of tweets per $1 million of Friday Box Office gross. A film with 1,000 tweets and a $10 million Friday would therefore have a ratio of 100. In general, films that appeal to very young or older audiences have lower ratios since those audiences are not big users of Twitter. By comparison, films that appeal to younger audiences (18-35) have much higher ratios since those audiences are much more active users of Twitter.

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