Week five of the Fall Fantasy Movie League had what seemed like several viable paths to success.
Kingsman $256 American Made $225 It $214 LEGO Ninjago Movie $168 Flatliners $143 Battle of the Sexes $72 A Question of Faith $42 American Assassin $40 Home Again $28 Mother! $21 Stronger $20 Hitman's Bodyguard $12 Friend Request $11 Wind River $10 Spider-Man $9
With those numbers you could anchor your week’s picks on three screens of Kingsman, four screens of American Made or It, or, if you were feeling daring, five screens of LEGO Ninjago, with enough room left in your budget to fill out the remaining screens from the low end of the price list.
With last week’s post I left little doubt where my allegiances lay. Despite the pricing I was sure than All American action hero star Tom Cruise would be able to top a mediocre Bond film send-up (including an actual Bond film location) and a clown that lives in the sewers.
I was feeling it when I wrote that, and my picks were anchored on American Made.
And then I kept reading the entertainment news, which was pretty lukewarm on the movie, right up to Friday morning when the Thursday night preview numbers gave the film a solid “meh.” Estimates, which were not strong to start with, dropped from about $16 million to $12 million, slating it for third place for the week. So with less than an hour to go I jumped ship, leaving Tom for the Brits.
As it turned out, American Made did come in third place for the week. I don’t usually go into the box office numbers directly, but this week was interesting enough to go there for the top three at least.
- Kingsman: The Golden Circle – $16,935,565
- It – $16,902,442
- American Made – $16,776,390
So American Made did place third. But it still (barely) exceeded the initial estimate on which I based my Monday evening picks. Kingsman, despite coming in first, failed to meet the $19 million mark it was predicted to make. So, in a way, American Made won and Kingsman lost. Sort of.
Certainly Kingsman was a losing bet for me. Failing to stick with Tom Cruise cost me $12,838,225 for the week, a substantial amount in a tight race. The results for the week were:
- Ben’s X-Wing Express (M) – $90,006,078
- Logan’s Luxurious Thaumatrope (M) – $84,479,623
- The Filthy Fleapit (T) – $75,486,613
- Aure’s Astonishingly Amateur Amphitheatre (M) – $73,795,879
- SynCaine’s Dark Room of Delights (T) – $73,572,570
- Darren’s Unwatched Cineplex (T) – $72,964,624
- Corr’s Carefully Curated Cineplex (M) – $72,269,815
- Wilhelm’s Films from New Eden – $66,215,620
- Paks’ Pancakes & Pics (T) – $65,725,101
- Ocho’s Octoplex (L) – $65,135,309
- Dan’s Decadent Decaplex (M) – $62,535,831
- Elly’s Elemental E-Plex (M) – $62,283,727
- I HAS MOVIES (T) – $59,342,586
- Kraut Screens (T) – $45,107,607
Meta League legend:
- TAGN Movie Obsession – players from it marked with a (T)
- MCats Multiplex – players from it marked with an (M)
- Liore’s Summer League – players from it marked with an (L)
That is actually quite a spread, with first place almost double last place. Of course, it helps that Ben got the perfect pick for the week, something he shared with 432 other players.
And, in the final bit of irony for the week, the perfect pick was anchored on It, so I wasn’t going to take it going with either American Made or Kingsman.
One of the going theories for FML is that the fewer titles you have on your eight screens, the more likely you are to do well, coupled with never leaving more than $35 of your budget unspent. This week certainly fit the pattern. (One of the early tips I read was that if you have more than five titles in your line up, start over.)
So with week five behind us, the scores for the Meta League look like:
- Corr’s Carefully Curated Cineplex (M) – $426,618,660
- Aure’s Astonishingly Amateur Amphitheatre (M) – $418,649,323
- Ben’s X-Wing Express (M) – $411,592,128
- Elly’s Elemental E-Plex (M) – $395,709,358
- Logan’s Luxurious Thaumatrope (M) – $394,629,434
- Ocho’s Octoplex (L) – $390,894,540
- Wilhelm’s Films from New Eden – $389,502,165
- SynCaine’s Dark Room of Delights (T) – $388,472,947
- Dan’s Decadent Decaplex (M) – $366,888,558
- Paks’ Pancakes & Pics (T) – $328,928,233
- I HAS MOVIES (T) – $317,583,158
- The Filthy Fleapit (T) – $307,814,023
- Kraut Screens (T) – $275,977,850
- Darren’s Unwatched Cineplex (T) – $140,687,563
The lower end of the list is populated (mostly) by people who entered after the first week. (And Darren, who showed up on week four.)
So my last minute change meant me in 7th place overall rather than 4th. But there are still eight weeks to go, and week six looks interesting. The line up is:
Blade Runner 2049 $838 The Mountain Between Us $150 It $143 Kingsmen $133 American Made $131 My Little Pony $126 LEGO Ninjago Movie $109 Victoria & Abdul $56 Flatliners $44 Battle of the Sexes $32 American Assassin $26 The Stray $16 Home Again $14 Til Death Do Us Part $10 Mother! $9
Blade Runner 2049 is the obvious big release for the coming week.
However, at that price is needs to a lot better than the $50 million box office that has been currently projected. All else equal, my spreadsheet says it needs at least $65 million to be worth tying up your picks with a single screen of Blade Runner 2049.
So that leaves a range of suspects in the $100 to $150 range on which to build your picks. There are two new entries in that segment, The Mountain Between Us at $150 which seems a bit under-priced at the initial near $12 million estimate, and at the other end there is My Little Pony at $126, which seems a bit over-priced in that segment.
Still, My Little Pony intrigues me. On the one hand, My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic was hugely popular with its own serious fandom and such that, at its prime, would have driven something like this to a serious box office result.
On the other hand, My Little Pony and Bronies and whatnot was so five years ago that I haven’t seen MLP used in a meme in ages. The show’s creators have catered to the fan base, but there have been a few alleged “jumped the shark” moments while the less said about My Little Pony: Equestria Girls the better.
Right now I am not sure which way to jump. The Mountain Between Us seems primed as the early front runner, with My Little Pony as the dark horse candidate, but I still wouldn’t count out clowns, spies, and Tom Cruise as successful ventures this week. And what if Blade Runner 2049 is good for $65 million or more?