We are getting close to the end of the thirteen week Fantasy Movie League summer season, so if anybody is going to change their place on the standings they need to do it soon. The last week will be too late, unless Liore just doesn’t pick that week. And I am not sure that would be enough.
I started out the week the way I generally do; I looked down the list of options and made my gut pick. The options were:
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
My gut favored Atomic Blonde at those prices. The Emoji Movie seemed likely to under perform, I wasn’t sure that Dunkirk was good for more than a week at the top, and Girls Trip seemed like a one-week wonder from which Atomic Blonde might steal viewers. So I was in with three screens of Atomic Blonde, two of The Big Sick, and three of Cars 3. That spent $997 of my $1,000 budget. I could have hit $1,000 if I had gone with Wish Upon, but that hasn’t lived up to an expectation so far.
The gut pick is always just that, my baseline. Then I start looking at reviews and update my spreadsheet to tinker with estimates and run “what if” scenarios. That is the reason I use the spreadsheet, so I can see what happens if something goes over or under estimate and where the line is when it comes to choosing.
My spreadsheet took the estimates out there and told me that I should be all-in on Girls Trip, supported by Wonder Woman, and Transformers to fill in the last screen. Never leave a screen empty if you can avoid it.
However, I kept seeing opinions that Atomic Blonde was going to out perform its estimates, that it was the only new action picture for the week and with a strong female protagonist it might be the R-rated Wonder Woman this week. You see enough of this and you start to believe it. So rather than going with what the spreadsheet told me I went with my gut.
Then, when the picks were locked on Friday, I saw Liore had gone with the same Girls Trip anchored set of picks my spreadsheet had been pointing at. Nothing to worry about yet. Maybe she was playing conservative. Atomic Blonde might out perform.
I followed up by checking the “All Week 1 Starters” league, which lists out everybody who has been playing for the full season. There I went through the first few pages and just about everybody there… the people winning, the people vying for first place overall on the site… was down with Girls Trip. There wasn’t an Atomic Blonde contrarian anywhere near the top. Not a good sign.
And then the Saturday estimates for the weekend showed up and I was in last place, just behind Belghast, who also anchored his picks on Atomic Blonde. The Sunday estimates did nothing to improve the situation as Girls Trip and Dunkirk seemed to be over performing, The Emoji Movie seemed to be doing better than expected, and Atomic Blonde was way under performing, running $8-10 million the estimates I was working with.
And so, when the official results hit, I had lost a lot of ground to Liore.
- Dr Liore’s Evil House of Pancakes – $91,164,740
- Ocho’s Octoplex – $79,717,900
- Braxwolf’s Waffleplex – $79,258,853
- Syl’s Fantasy Galore Panopticum – $79,097,410
- Pasduil’s Popcorn Picturehouse – $78,522,139
- Moderate Peril’s Sleazy Porno Theatre – $75,924,105
- Murf’s Matinee Mania – $74,889,695
- Void’s Awesomeplex – $74,626,920
- Bel’s House of Horrors – $64,311,729
- Wilhelm’s Clockwork Lemon Multiplex – $64,083,255
So yeah, bottom of the list are the two people who went with three screens of Atomic Blonde, while two ahead of us is the person who went with two screens of Atomic Blonde. Syl did better with one screen of Atomic Blonde, but she also had two screens of Girls Trip.
Still, it could have been worse. I could have run with The Emoji Movie.
Liore did well, winning the week, but at least she didn’t get the perfect pick of the week, which would have added another $7 million to her score. Transformers was the filler pick of the week.
Only 14 people got the perfect pick this week, the lowest count I have seen so far this season. But a lot of people got close and those going with four screens of Girls Trip still dominate overall.
So at the end of week nine the standings look like this.
- Dr Liore’s Evil House of Pancakes – $988,883,891
- Wilhelm’s Clockwork Lemon Multiplex – $923,317,058
- Ocho’s Octoplex – $863,692,644
- Void’s Awesomeplex – $829,561,915
- Moderate Peril’s Sleazy Porno Theatre – $813,500,401
- Pasduil’s Popcorn Picturehouse – $799,691,067
- Braxwolf’s Waffleplex – $777,900,530
- Murf’s Matinee Mania – $772,489,095
- Syl’s Fantasy Galore Panopticum – $724,835,336
- Bel’s House of Horrors – $711,041,163
Aside from Syl and Bel changing positions again, the rankings stayed pretty much the same though, as noted, Liore is even more solidly in first. I am now $65 million behind Liore… more than my score for this week… and Ocho is $125 million back. That is a long way to go with just four weeks left to go.
So now we are looking at the picks for week ten.
The Dark Tower $343 Dunkirk $201 Girls Trip $176 The Emoji Movie $171 Detroit $167 Atomic Blonde $127 Spider-Man $100 Planet of the Apes $70 Kidnap $63 Despicable Me 3 $62 Valerian $38 Baby Driver $33 Wonder Woman $32 The Big Sick $27 An Inconvenient Sequel $13
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 is off the list again, one would think for good at this point. I’d ask who was still even showing it, but a couple of our local multiplexes have a couple shows running in evening still.
There are four movies opening this week that made the list.
At the top is The Dark Tower, based off of a Stephen King novel that is part of a series that I may have read some of ages ago… or maybe not. I might be confusing it in my head with The Talisman, but I couldn’t say for sure. Some of it sounds vaguely familiar.
Anyway, The Dark Tower is at the top of the chart as the only big opener this week. Stephen King has a huge following, but movies adaptations of his works haven’t always translated well to the screen. It is cheap enough that you can anchor your lineup with two screens of it and still have enough budget to get a few more solid titles in behind it.
Then there is Detroit, which depicts the events that sparked the 1967 riots in the city of Detroit. Being long, rated R, and depicting unhappy events will probably limit its box office appeal, though I expect it will fare well in Oscar nominations.
Third on the list is Kidnap. It stars Halle Berry, which ought to be something of a draw. However, the movie wrapped up filming three years ago and the team has been trying to salvage something watchable out of it ever since. Unlikely to find a spot on any of my screens.
Finally, Al Gore is back with An Inconvenient Sequel which has reviewed well and seems likely to outperform based on the current political climate, as it doing well at the box office can be spun as a rebuke of the current administration. Also, it is the cheapest flick on the list, so I expect it will round off many a pick.
Looking at all of that, my early week gut is that the standard pick will be two screens of The Dark Tower at one end, a screen or two of An Inconvenient Sequel at the other, and then figuring out what to sandwich in between. There are a lot of paths forward from there. Of course, The Dark Tower doesn’t have to slip much to make four screens of Dunkirk an attractive proposition. And how the hell do you get a Stephen King novel to fit into 95 minutes?
So the options for the week seem more varied that usual.