Fall Movie League – I Should Just Let Tom Cruise

Week five of the Fall Fantasy Movie League had what seemed like several viable paths to success.

The pricing for week five showed the possible anchors.

 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.

My Fall Week Five Picks (not estimates, despite what it says)

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.

  1. Kingsman: The Golden Circle – $16,935,565
  2. It – $16,902,442
  3. 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:

  1. Ben’s X-Wing Express (M) – $90,006,078
  2. Logan’s Luxurious Thaumatrope (M) – $84,479,623
  3. The Filthy Fleapit (T) – $75,486,613
  4. Aure’s Astonishingly Amateur Amphitheatre (M) – $73,795,879
  5. SynCaine’s Dark Room of Delights (T) – $73,572,570
  6. Darren’s Unwatched Cineplex (T) – $72,964,624
  7. Corr’s Carefully Curated Cineplex (M) – $72,269,815
  8. Wilhelm’s Films from New Eden – $66,215,620
  9. Paks’ Pancakes & Pics (T) – $65,725,101
  10. Ocho’s Octoplex (L) – $65,135,309
  11. Dan’s Decadent Decaplex (M) – $62,535,831
  12. Elly’s Elemental E-Plex (M) – $62,283,727
  13. I HAS MOVIES (T) – $59,342,586
  14. 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.

Fall Week Five Perfect Pick

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:

  1. Corr’s Carefully Curated Cineplex (M) – $426,618,660
  2. Aure’s Astonishingly Amateur Amphitheatre (M) – $418,649,323
  3. Ben’s X-Wing Express (M) – $411,592,128
  4. Elly’s Elemental E-Plex (M) – $395,709,358
  5. Logan’s Luxurious Thaumatrope (M) – $394,629,434
  6. Ocho’s Octoplex (L) – $390,894,540
  7. Wilhelm’s Films from New Eden – $389,502,165
  8. SynCaine’s Dark Room of Delights (T) – $388,472,947
  9. Dan’s Decadent Decaplex (M) – $366,888,558
  10. Paks’ Pancakes & Pics (T) – $328,928,233
  11. I HAS MOVIES (T) – $317,583,158
  12. The Filthy Fleapit (T) – $307,814,023
  13. Kraut Screens (T) – $275,977,850
  14. 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?

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