Fall Movie League – The Labor Day of Our Discontent

I got a request last week in the comments on the final post about the Blogger Fantasy Movie League asking to keep on keeping on with the Fantasy Movie League thing and the posts related there to.  Since I planned to carry on picking movies, and since that is one more request I get from an actual reader than I get for most topics, I decided to carry on.

And so we move into a new season with what I will call the Fall Movie League to distinguish it from the previous season.  I put out a call for people to join it, first in the comments on that final post from the previous season and then in the final section of the August in Review post.

That, I will admit, was only slightly more effective than buying a yellow pages ad for the whole thing as far as the number of people who might see it goes.  But there it is.  I did get two takers, SynCaine of Hardcore Casual and somebody who I believe is Isey from I HAS PC.  Maybe.

And facing the three of this past weekend was a series of options aging before us on the screen even as we made our choices.

 Hitman's Bodyguard   $252
 Annabelle: Creation  $154
 Leap!                $134
 Wind River           $126
 Logan Lucky          $115
 Dunkirk              $106
 Hazlo Como Hombre    $93
 Spider-Man           $79
 The Emoji Movie      $73
 The Nut Job 2        $66
 Girls Trip           $64
 Tulip Fever          $63
 Despicable Me 3      $51
 Birth of the Dragon  $47
 Wonder Woman         $44

The big new film of the week, Hazlo Como Hombre, didn’t even break into the top five of the choices, possibly because it is Spanish.  And then there was Tulip Fever, not the sort of contagion to set the box office alight.

So the choice of anchors seemed to be Hitman’s Bodyguard, a fine and funny film but entering its third week of box office dominance, and Annabelle: Creation, a horror flick which was has been hanging around at the the top of the list for a week more.

After some hemming and hawing, I decided that squeezing in five screens of Annabelle was better than two or three screens of Hitman as my base.  Then the question was what to fill in the next three screens with.  I ended up with Wind River and two screens of Despicable Me 3.

This turned out to be a reasonable set of picks.

Fall Movie League – Week One Picks

Of course, while those numbers don’t look bad for a four week old release, you have to remember that this was a holiday weekend, so Monday was counted in the totals as well.  That put another $1.5 million on Annabelle’s totals, in what has been described as the slowest Labor Day weekend box office in 20 years.

It wasn’t the perfect pick though.  Perfect was anchored on two screens of Hitman’s Bodyguard and one of Annabelle, with an extra helping of Despicable Me 3, which benefited from $2 million per screen boost that goes to the best price/performer of the week.  Only 7 people out of about 17 thousand got the perfect pick, which earned them $69,602,040.

Fall Movie League – The Week One Perfect Pickers

You can also see the second best pick at the end of that list, which was shared amongst five people and yielded $64,455,715.  My picks were the third most lucrative, which put me in a tie for 13th place overall for fall, a position I share with a lot of people.  I think I may have also chosen the most popular pick.

So at the end of the first week the standings in the TAGN Movie Obsession league were

  1. Wilhelm’s Films from New Eden – $64,309,390
  2. SynCaine’s Dark Room of Delights – $58,113,660
  3. I HAS MOVIES – $51,635,092

SynCaine went with four screens of Annabelle, but didn’t get DM3 into the mix, while… again, I think it is Isey… eschewed the obvious anchor films and bet heavily on Leap! and Wind River.

The slowness of the week means that the gap between first and last isn’t all that great.  It wasn’t like that time Liore skunked us all on the first week and took a lead never to be broken.  Yeah, nobody is going to let that go any time soon.

And speaking of Liore, apparently my 13th place overall finish in week one was enough to attract the attention of her hardcore movie fan league.  I was invited to join their ranks based on my performance on the worst movie weekend of the year.

I accepted and was immediately dismayed to discover that my first week score didn’t count for their league as I joined after the second week started.  That left me with a score of zero in a group that did fairly well for the week.  However, I am told that Ben asked the FML team to include my first week score in their league.  (Thanks Ben!)  Now I am king for the week with a slim lead of about $3.6 million.  We shall see how I fare in more expert company.  I’m not sure I should list out the rankings for that league though.  Not everybody appreciates publicity.  But there I am.

Which brings us to the the second week of the season, where the choices are:

It - Friday        $467
It - Saturday      $342
It- Sunday         $214
Home Again         $143
Hitman's Bodyguard $71
Wind River         $55
Annabelle          $45
Leap!              $38
Dunkirk            $31
Logan Lucky        $29
Spider-Man         $25
Despicable Me 3    $18
Girls Trip         $16
The Emoji Movie    $16
The Nut Job 2      $12

In the words of Bart Simpson, there are a lot of low cards in that hand.  Also, Wonder Woman has finally dropped off the list… thanks a lot Stephen King… after a 14 week run.

Basically, there is the release of another Stephen King movie and a Reese Witherspoon romantic comedy.  My hot take is to bet on Reese.

It is clearly expected to dominate the box office, so much so that it is the first film since Spider-Man to be split into three different days just to make the picks more interesting.  It est omnis divisa in partes tres and all that.

But I am just not feeling it for It.  Then again, I haven’t been much into horror movies since the 80s, so the whole “Make Clowns Evil Again” vibe doesn’t really thrill me.  Also, being just a pronoun means I keep losing the title in my typing. Where is it? Is this it, or is it this?

Then again, the reviews for It are good… better than Dark Tower… while the reviews for Home Again are not looking good, falling south of even Hitman’s Bodyguard.  But in a week when It is the only other new thing at the cineplex, will people opt for Reese just to see Reese?  I mean, I would.  Plus Reese is cheap this week.  I can have Reese on six screens, and nothing speaks to me like cheap Reese on six screens.  I may need a cold shower.

Anyway, I am going to have to mull this over, play with my spreadsheet, and maybe wait to see what Variety says.  This is what happens when I start paying attention to the box office, suddenly the movie section at Variety is in my RSS feed.

You can still join my league by finding the links in the posts indicated up at the top.  I’d link it here, but I figure if you really want in you can prove it by expending a little effort.  You can compete on a weekly basis or, if you’re hot shit, you can try to take me down from my current spot in first place.  My leaning towards Home Again might be an opportunity.

6 thoughts on “Fall Movie League – The Labor Day of Our Discontent

  1. Isey

    Great deduction based on the capitalized terrible grammar team name. It is me. I thought I responded in that post with a disclaimer that I am picking my week one picks in 5 minutes because I didn’t have time to research or do it properly. Before the 9am deadline.

    Convenient to say that now, isn’t it? I think so.

    I always do poorly in these things because my own opinion gets in the way of deductive reasoning. I took my niece to see Despicable ME 3 and it was pretty terrible. I refused to see how much the kids enjoyed it.. and as such, couldn’t dare show it at my theatre.

    Onto week 2


  2. bhagpuss

    Reese Witherspoon, she’s the prom queen – to quote Bowling For Soup.

    Add my vote in favor of you blogging the league. I find it both entertaining and instructive. Of course i could read Variety but you’re easier to understand.

    Also I would join in but I’m not actually sure I understand how it works…and there are forms to fill out. Plus I’d definitely try to run it like a real theater and I don’t think that’s a viable strategy.


  3. anypo8

    Thanks much for running with this again!

    I will reciprocate by adding ensemble forecasting to my FML tool (https://github.com/BartMassey/fml) so that you can try it out in the Big Leagues. I’ll start on it today. Let me know what other functionality might be useful in such a tool. I’ll get you to trade in your spreadsheets yet. :-)

    I missed your call to join somehow and I think it’s too late now. Also, I really don’t keep track of movies at all, and have my finger as far off the pulse of pop culture as one can imagine, so…yeah.


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