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Judge David Ryan • Location: Natick, MA
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The HSX Report -- 6/6/07
June 6th, 2007 12:07PM

In honor of the anniversary of D-Day, we get.... a couple of Bret Easton Ellis-related IPOs. Huzzah.

The Girl from IPOnema

(1) The Frog King (FROGK) -- H$15
Darren Star (Beverly Hills 90210, Melrose Place) jumps from TV to movies, with a screenplay adapted by BEE. I had a random "hey" encounter with Joseph Gordon-Levitt one time in Hollywood (I think he was reading for a role in Herbie Fully Loaded) -- seems like a nice kid. I wish him well. Honestly, this film sounds kind of promising -- so I'll bite. Buy.

(2) The Informers (INFRM) -- H$15
A 1995 BEE book about 1983 Los Angeles, adapted by a first-timer, Nicholas Jarecki. (Who is not the ridiculously f---ing lucky bastard guy married to Alicia Silverstone, by the way...) I say let's have some fun and hire Jay McInerney to adapt it, eh? Ah, late-'80s New York literary circle humor -- I love it! Anyhow, this one's too speculative for H$15. Pass.

Also, we get the gaggle of derivatives for the June 15th openers. The interesting thing here is the $60 strike price for Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer. Not only doesn't the market agree right now, but money has been leaving FOUR2 so far today. Usually, a stock will adjust up or down to 2.9 times the strike price (or fairly close to it) on the day the options are issued -- unless the market feels the strike is unrealistic. Hmm.... Perhaps the underlying stock is the value purchase here, and not the options?

You might also want to look at the put for Nancy Drew. I just don't see a lot of marketing for this film going on, and question whether it's going to open at a (relatively strong, given the competition) $15M.

Today's Feature: So you like Judd Apatow, do you?
If you're a regular reader, you know of my fondness for Judd Apatow, of The Forty-Year-Old Virgin and Knocked Up fame. And hopefully you've made a little money on KNCKD, too. This is now two strong performers in a row for Apatow, so you might be interested in seeing what he's got in the pipeline. Well, let's take a look, shall we? (As always, prices are as of this posting.)

(a) Walk Hard (WHARD) -- H$19.37
Release date: 11/14/2007
The inimitable John C. Reilly in a spoof of Ray and Walk the Line-type biopics. Apatow's script is helmed and co-written by Orange County director Jake Kasdan. I can't wait for this one. Buy now while it's cheap.

(b) You Don't Mess With the Zohan (ZOHAN) -- H$37.11
Release date: unannounced
A Mossad agent (Adam Sandler) fakes his own death and becomes a hair stylist. Apatow co-writes the script with Sandler and Robert Smigel; Dennis Dugan (I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry) directs. VERY promising; could be one of the big 2008 summer blockbusters.

(c) The Pineapple Express (PNAPL) -- H$39.93
Release date: 8/8/2008
Two stoners -- Seth Rogan and James Franco -- go on the run after one witnesses a murder. Apatow's only involvement here is contributing the story (he didn't write the script)... but it's got all the usual Apatow suspects. I'm less interested in this one than in the others -- stoner comedies, if done wrong, wind up having very limited appeal -- but it could be another Knocked Up-level hit.

(d) Step Brothers (STEPB) -- H$73.88
Release date: 7/25/2008
It's Talladega Nights all over again, with a different script. Sure to be huge.

(e) Forgetting Sarah Marshall (no MovieStock yet)
Release date: unknown
Keep an eye out for this one. Apatow is producing; Nicholas Stoller (who co-wrote Fun with Dick and Jane with Apatow) takes his first turn behind the camera, directing star Jason Segel's script, with the atrociously cute Kristen "Veronica Mars" Bell as the eponymous Sarah. A guy goes to a resort to forget about his ex-girlfriend, when the girlfriend shows up at the same resort with her new man. Sounds like the kind of thoughtful romantic-ish comedy that's Apatow's bread and butter.

That's it for today. A tip for the future: start saving your dollars and cents now, because we're getting Pirates of the Caribbean 4 IPOed on June 16th. Excelsior!

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