Blogger Fantasy Movie League – Week Eight

What happens when you and your main rival both throw a “Hail Mary” pass?

My eventual picks for week eight were something of a risk, but I felt that risk was really the only way forward in catching up with Liore.

I started off the week’s picks the way I always do, without looking at any predictions or forecasts from the various movie industry pundits.  That led me to a lineup anchored on Dunkirk, which seemed very likely to be the top box office draw for the week.  That justified its top position on the week eight price list.

 Dunkirk            $667
 Girls Trip         $334
 Planet of the Apes $299
 Spider-Man         $266
 Valerian           $219
 Despicable Me 3    $148
 Baby Driver        $70
 Wonder Woman       $57
 The Big Sick       $54
 Wish Upon          $33
 Cars 3             $22
 Transformers       $14
 The House          $10
 47 Meters Down     $6
 The Beguiled       $5

However, its price meant you could only play it once which required loading up the other seven screens with cheaper items.

Then I started looking into what the industry watchers were saying.

The three new movies out this week were Dunkirk, Girls Trip, and Valerian.  Early in the week the estimates were strong for Dunkirk, at about $55 million, while Girls Trip and Valerian were both close to the $20 million mark for estimates.

Then as the week wore on, estimates began to vary.  At one point Variety was practically damning Dunkirk with faint praise, saying that it would make at least $35 million in the US weekend box office.  Mired in the sands, I sought to emulate the movie and get elsewhere.

I tinkered with four screens of Valerian since they were cheaper than any of the alternatives in that estimate range, but the review were soft and the estimates began to sag.

Meanwhile, Girls Trip was suddenly the hot item with excellent reviews.  I had said in last week’s post that it needed to bring in $30 million to justify the price on the list, and the estimates were heading that way while its rivals were shrinking.

I went back and forth on what to pick, not finalizing until Thursday morning with two screens of Girls Trip and six screens of The Big Sick.  The latter I picked because it seemed to be a shoe-in for best price/performance (and the accompanying $2 million per screen bonus) if only it could get to $5 million.  It seemed risky, but I figured that the only way I was ever going to catch Liore was to take a risk to get a big win.

And with the final numbers in, it looked like my picks paid off.

At least I kicked the Baby Driver habit

Alas, The Big Sick failed me, but Girls Trip won it the bonus instead.  Still, a winning combo as it added up to the perfect pick of the week, a win I shared with 655 other players.

Week 8 perfect pick

Unfortunately, it did not do me a bit of good because Liore was one of those 655 other players who got the perfect pick.  So I neither caught up nor fell further behind.  Instead, the gap between Ocho, in third place, and myself widened as nobody else doubled down on Girls Trip.  The left the scores for the week as:

  1. Dr Liore’s Evil House of Pancakes – $101,452,698
  2. Wilhelm’s Clockwork Lemon Multiplex – $101,452,698
  3. Murf’s Matinee Mania – $80,224,322
  4. Void’s Awesomeplex – $79,914,548
  5. Pasduil’s Popcorn Picturehouse – $79,879,251
  6. Bel’s House of Horrors – $79,690,570
  7. Moderate Peril’s Sleazy Porno Theatre – $78,720,086
  8. Ocho’s Octoplex – $78,477,848
  9. Syl’s Fantasy Galore Panopticum – $77,657,470
  10. Braxwolf’s Waffleplex – $76,164,575

Liore and I are over $20 million ahead of the pack, but after that less than $5 million separates third from tenth place.  And there were a variety of picks in that group, anchored off of four different movies.  None of them were Girls Trip however.

That leaves the overall standings at the end of week eight as:

  1. Dr Liore’s Evil House of Pancakes – $897,719,151
  2. Wilhelm’s Clockwork Lemon Multiplex – $859,233,803
  3. Ocho’s Octoplex – $783,974,744
  4. Void’s Awesomeplex – $754,934,995
  5. Moderate Peril’s Sleazy Porno Theatre – $737,576,296
  6. Pasduil’s Popcorn Picturehouse – $721,168,928
  7. Braxwolf’s Waffleplex – $698,641,677
  8. Murf’s Matinee Mania – $697,599,400
  9. Bel’s House of Horrors – $646,729,434
  10. Syl’s Fantasy Galore Panopticum – $645,737,926

The standings did not change much with this week’s results, save for Belghast overtaking Syl.  Liore remains solidly in first place, with me struggling to close the $38 million gap between her and myself in second place.  Then there is Ocho in third place, facing a $76 million gap between us, and $114 million barrier between him an first place.  But his own third place position is fairly secure as he himself is ahead of Void by a good $38 million.  Void in turn is $17 million in front of Moderate Peril.

The upper rankings are spaced well enough that they seem unlikely to change due to the cumulative nature of the contest.  Unlike more traditional sports standings, where a win has a constant set value, here the bigger your win the bigger your lead in the season.  It doesn’t mean people cannot catch up, but it requires both a big win for the person behind and a bad week… or weeks… for the person up front.  So for Syl to catch Liore, as an example, she has to close a $252 million gap, which means beating Liore for the remaining five weeks of the competition by at least $50 million every single week.

That seems unlikely in the extreme.

Even my $38 million gap means beating her by almost $8 million a week for the remainder of the season which, considering I have beaten her twice so far, seems beyond my grasp.

But we carry.  I, for one, have enjoyed the season so far which, in part, explains why it has gotten about a thousand words a week on the site.

Moving on, for Week Nine we have the following options:

The Emoji Movie          $400
 Dunkirk                 $373
 Atomic Blonde           $289
 Girls Trip              $219
 Spider-Man              $151
 Planet of the Apes      $126
 Despicable Me 3         $100
 Valerian                $99
 Baby Driver             $52
 The Big Sick            $44
 Wonder Woman            $39
 Wish Upon               $15
 Cars 3                  $14
 Transformers            $6
 Guardians of the Galaxy $4

It is a sad weekend in summer when the estimated king of the box office is The Emoji Movie, featuring Patrick Stewart as the poop emoji.

The other big release for the week is Atomic Blonde.  I plan to see it.  However, it is rated R in the US, which limits its audience as the summer movie season favors kids and families, which is why it opens behind both The Emoji Movie and Dunkirk this week.

Meanwhile, the perennial filler pick of the summer, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, made its way back onto the list again, having been pushed off last week.  Not bad for a movie that released in early May.  Take that The Mummy and Captain Underpants!

And a week with no clear champions offers some potential for interesting picks, or so I hope.  The FML research vault already shows Atomic Blonde as the most picked movie for week nine so far, while Valerian is at the bottom of the list, so an early pattern is developing.  Can I fine a lineup that will help me catch up to Liore?

3 thoughts on “Blogger Fantasy Movie League – Week Eight

  1. SynCaine

    It seems the major flaw is its too easy to pick the perfect lineup, in large part because the perfect lineup is often just 1-2 movies. The rules should be adjusted to have a stacking penalty for putting the same movie on multiple screens, forcing people to consider other options and leading to more lineup variety.

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  2. Wilhelm Arcturus Post author

    @SynCaine – Yes, I have been looking at the problems in the system. Theoretically price is the stacking penalty, but in reality not so much. Each week turns into picking the right anchor and then stuffing the remaining screens with the best leftover, usually the one that looks to exceed its estimates. It becomes a classic min/max scenario, which is why I built a spreadsheet to play.

    I am also dubious about the best performer and perfect pick bonuses. One of the complaints Roger of Contains Moderate Peril has voiced is that catching up is difficult once you are behind. The weight of the perfect pick, supplemented by bonuses, makes the gap even wider. It did not help that Liore got the perfect pick the first week out while the rest of us were still figuring out what worked. Her lead has been broad since week one.

    Of course, it is easier to argue that line about catching up if you’re winning weeks but still not making progress. As it is, Liore wins most weeks, 5 out of 8, so realistically we should not be catching up.

    Finally, the box office predictions you can find online are pretty good. I watch a few sites, make my final picks Thursday night or Friday morning when the early opening results are in and reviews are out and have won two weeks and tied Liore on two more. My gut is inevitably wrong, or mid-pack at best, but the online predictions are good. I used them for this week’s pick, which was a gamble when I did it, and which turned out to be the perfect pick and the same pick Liore went with.

    Basically, there isn’t enough variety each week for perfect picks to be a rare beast, and the bonus compounds the “winners keep winning” scenario.

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  3. Liore

    … nice sports analogy.

    I was mediocre at this last season, but waiting until Thursday to make my picks (instead of doing it right away on Monday) made a huge difference in results.

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