Winter Movie League – Hog-whimperingly Silly

 There’s a hogwhimperingly silly performance from Helen Mirren…

-The Guardian, Winchester Review

Week ten of our Winter Fantasy Movie League has come and gone with low numbers due to the Super Bowl and no big new films arriving on the big screen.

Sure, there was Winchester, which featured Dame Helen Mirren.  But when a film causes our English cousins to abuse the English language to describe it, one cannot expect it to be a break out in the box office.  And yet, there it was at the top of the price list, an indication that somebody, somewhere felt it was going to carry the week at number one.

Winchester           $274
Jumanji              $261
The Maze Runner      $230 
The Greatest Showman $167
The Post             $126
The Shape of Water   $114
Hostiles             $113
Den of Thieves       $90
12 Strong            $89
Paddington 2         $75
Three Billboards     $71
I, Tonya             $61
Phantom Thread       $56
Star Wars            $46
Forever My Girl      $45

However even at the optimist end of the scale of forecasts it wasn’t going to be dominant, and as the week wore on enthusiasm sagged.  Even the Thursday night preview count, which wasn’t that bad really, failed to carry it forward and it ended up in third place overall for the weekend box office, failing to cross the $10 million mark.

But back at the early end of the week I based my first lineup around it, less because I thought the movie was going to be stellar than because I chronically underestimate the attraction of the horror genre.  My FML picks over time show a disdain for such films and, after having been burned enough time on that front, I decided to start with Winchester as an anchor and work from there.

However, once I found out there was an embargo on reviews… The Guardian published the review I quoted at the top, then had to remove it citing said press embargo… I left Winchester behind and never looked back.  Stopping the press from writing about a movie is tantamount to declaring it bad yourself, a generally futile effort to contain negative buzz.

With that out of the way the toss up for anchor was between Jumanji and The Maze Runner.  The general expectation was that The Maze Runner would hold first for another week, if only by a small margin, and since it was the cheapest of the pair, I ran with that.

I decided to go with three screens of that and then fill in from the lower end of the picks.  Star Wars was tempting, seemingly priced low enough to maybe take the best performer slot, but it hasn’t sustained as well as its big opening might make one think it should.  So I filled up five screens with I, Tonya as it was getting a boost in theater count and it was a film I wanted to see.  That left my pick looking like this:

My Winter Week Ten Picks

As it turned out my thoughts on anchor weren’t bad.  While Jumanji eked out a win in the box office, The Maze Runner’s lower price allowed better additional picks.  However, the best performer was higher up the price list.  12 Strong took that honor, the perfect pick for the week being two screens of The Maze Runner and six screens of 12 Strong.

Winter Week Ten Perfect Pick

217 players managed to get the perfect pick, none of them in the Meta League however.  And, compared to previous weeks, the payout for perfect was somewhat paltry.

In the Meta League the only one who was at all big on 12 Strong was SynCaine, so he won the week.

  1. SynCaine’s Dark Room of Delights (T) – $52,944,678
  2. Ben’s X-Wing Express (M) – $48,256,768
  3. Vigo Grimborne’s Medieval Screening Complex (T) – $48,256,768
  4. Elly’s Elemental E-Plex (M) – $48,256,768
  5. Dr Liore’s Evil House of Pancakes (M) – $48,256,768
  6. Kraut Screens (T) – $47,571,678
  7. Corr’s Carefully Curated Cineplex (M) – $45,995,775
  8. Paks’ Pancakes & Pics (T) – $45,803,359
  9. I HAS BAD TASTE (T) – $45,693,465
  10. Biyondios! Kabuki & Cinema (T) – $45,675,426
  11. Dan’s Decadent Decaplex (M) – $45,492,946
  12. Wilhelm’s Broken Isles Bijou (T/M) – $43,773,305
  13. The Filthy Fleapit (T) – $42,379,780
  14. Aure’s Astonishingly Amateur Amphitheatre (M) – $40,975,374
  15. Logan’s Luxurious Thaumatrope (M) – $38,835,284
  16. Darren’s Unwatched Cineplex (T) – $38,835,284
  17. Joanie’s Joint (T) – $37,840,701
  18. Po Huit’s Sweet Movie Suite (T) – $36,028,912

The Meta League Legend:

  • TAGN Movie Obsession – players from it marked with a (T)
  • MCats Multiplex – players from it marked with an (M)

The most popular pick was two screens of The Maze Runner and six screens of Den of Thieves which four people in the Meta League ran with.  That was good enough for a solid second place, but not enough to change the lineup drastically.

That left the overall Meta League score looking like this:

  1. Ben’s X-Wing Express (M) – $1,054,607,749
  2. Corr’s Carefully Curated Cineplex (M) – $1,042,111,870
  3. Wilhelm’s Broken Isles Bijou (T/M) – $989,077,089
  4. Biyondios! Kabuki & Cinema (T) – $980,713,608
  5. Aure’s Astonishingly Amateur Amphitheatre (M) – $970,593,928
  6. Paks’ Pancakes & Pics (T) – $959,610,849
  7. Dan’s Decadent Decaplex (M) – $934,123,618
  8. Po Huit’s Sweet Movie Suite (T) – $898,816,041
  9. Darren’s Unwatched Cineplex (T) – $881,876,289
  10. SynCaine’s Dark Room of Delights (T) – $876,407,166
  11. Vigo Grimborne’s Medieval Screening Complex (T) – $832,589,617
  12. Kraut Screens (T) – $799,184,518
  13. I HAS BAD TASTE (T) – $798,620,115
  14. The Filthy Fleapit (T) – $784,544,842
  15. Dr Liore’s Evil House of Pancakes (M) – $783,670,549
  16. Elly’s Elemental E-Plex (M) – $778,691,435
  17. Logan’s Luxurious Thaumatrope (M) – $777,995,235
  18. Joanie’s Joint (T) – $767,559,428

There was a little bit of shifting positions in the back half of the pack and Liore continued her climb up from last place in the pack, but at the top end Ben extended his lead over Corr by a couple million while the race for third place seems yet up in the air.

Now there are only three weeks left in the season, but with the Super Bowl behind us and a couple of big releases headed our way there is still the possibility of a shake-up in the ranks.  Week eleven offers the following choices:

Fifty Shades Freed    $556
Peter Rabbit          $276
The 15:17 to Paris    $221
Jumanji               $126
The Greatest Showman  $101
The Maze Runner       $83
Winchester            $66
The Shape of Water    $51
The Post              $50
Hostiles              $46
12 Strong             $43 
Den of Thieves        $40
Three Billboards      $35
I, Tonya              $30
Darkest Hour          $29

For week eleven Star Wars, Paddington 2, Phantom Thread, and Forever My Girl dropped from the list.

Replacing those are three new films, Fifty Shades Freed, Peter Rabbit, and The 15:17 to Paris along with Darkest Hour returning to the list, likely due to an expansion of theaters showing it.

The big release is Fifty Shades Freed, the final film in the trilogy that started off as Twilight fan fic if I recall right.  It will no doubt top the box office, but will it be worth double the next film in line, Peter Rabbit?  I’d hazard a guess that those films serve different demographics, while Clint Eastwood’s The 15:17 to Paris caters to a third.

Meanwhile Jumanji is still in play… why not 7x Jumanji and a screen of the also surprisingly persistent The Greatest Showman as a pick… and mixing and matching the new comers with some of the low priced options seems viable as well.

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