First he ate some lettuces and some French beans; and then he ate some radishes…
-Tales of Peter Rabbit
Week eleven has come and gone for our Fantasy Movie League.
The week saw a boost in scores after the Super Bowl slump that was week ten. We saw three new titles show up on the big screen that all had potential as an anchor, Fifty Shades Freed, Peter Rabbit, and The 15:17 to Paris, which were expected, and priced to reflect, landing in the top three spots for the weekend box office.
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
The quest really was just how much each one would take in.
Early in the week there was a forecast post at Variety that predicted Peter Rabbit would pass Fifty Shades, which they suggested would only turn in a $21 million weekend, something that sealed my ongoing suspicion that they post trolling forecasts in order to get page views based on outrage.
As the week went on and literally nobody thought that Fifty Shades would bring in so little, it having an installed based invested in the story, even Variety allowed that it would probably exceed the studios mode modest $33 million prediction. I am not sure who this installed base actually is, never having run into somebody who has anything good to say about the books or the movies, but they are out there. It is a franchise on which Twilight fans look down and to which they seem to feel superior, yet it does okay at the box office, especially overseas.
Peter Rabbit, meanwhile, was the kids picture in a week when there wasn’t much in the way of competition on that front. As with Paddington, I can not recall ever being enchanted with the Beatrix Potter rabbit milieu as a child, the Hundred Acre wood being more my thing, but this Edwardian era bunny retained enough fame that I at least knew who he was sufficiently to mock a middle-school classmate who bore the same name. Still, this felt a bit like the sort of film you drag the kids to because you feel like you should as opposed to there being much in the way of literary merit to be explored.
Then there was The 15:17 to Paris, a Clint Eastwood film that featured the actual soldiers involved in the event reprising their actions from that day on the silver screen. There previews for the film didn’t do much to grab me.
And, finally, on the anchor front, there was the holiday season stalwart Jumanji, which seemed to defy gravity week after week, staying viable as an anchor long after the blockbuster of Star Wars, which came out only a week earlier, fell into the filler category and then off the list of picks altogether.
In the absence of forecasts I thought seven screens of Jumanji, filling the eighth with the similarly buoyant Greatest Showman, might be a viable pick. That was where I started on Monday night. And while I changed my lineup at least a dozen times over the course of the week… I can’t just look at a lineup on the screen, I have to pick it in the FML UI and eyeball it to make it feel real… I ended up back with that come Friday morning.
There were points when it seemed like 15:17 to Paris might be the anchor, or Peter Rabbit might be the key, and one forecast that had numbers that made one screen of Fifty Shades, two screens of 15:17 to Paris, and five empty screens look like a viable pick. But in the end nothing came in that made switch from my initial pick.
15:17 to Paris was under review embargo, which is never a good sign, and declined to have any Thursday night previews.
Peter Rabbit, being a kids film, also didn’t bother with Thursday night previews. I’m not sure what they would have told us in any case. Who brings a kid young enough for that sort of film out on a school night.
Which left Fifty Shades, which did have previews, which were good, but not great, and seemed to be indicative of it doing $38-40 million over the weekend. So my Monday pick stood.
A couple of other people went with my pick. In the MCats League there wasn’t a lot of love for Peter Rabbit, but in the TAGN league Peter Rabbit held greater sway, with five people anchoring on it.
Then came the Saturday estimates and Peter Rabbit seemed to be exceeding expectation and was being tagged as the best performer. Jumanji was still in the running for that, but 15:17 to Paris was falling behind expectations. On Saturday it looked like I HAS BAD TASTE might have the perfect pick and win the week.
Sunday estimates changed that up, with Peter Rabbit pulling further ahead, Jumanji holding, and 15:17 to Paris falling further back while SynCaine seemed slated for the perfect pick.
But when the final results came in I HAS BAD TASTE was back on top, winning the week in both the TAGN league and in the overall Meta league and getting the perfect pick.
Only 90 people ended up with the perfect pick this week, which makes it a fairly rare pick showing how many options there were for week eleven.
That left the weekly scores as:
- I HAS BAD TASTE (T) – $97,045,535
- Paks’ Pancakes & Pics (T) – $91,912,175
- SynCaine’s Dark Room of Delights (T) – $91,846,527
- Dan’s Decadent Decaplex (M) – $89,389,439
- Kraut Screens (T) – $87,509,505
- Biyondios! Kabuki & Cinema (T) – $86,804,702
- Darren’s Unwatched Cineplex (T) – $76,606,751
- Logan’s Luxurious Thaumatrope (M) – $76,606,751
- Wilhelm’s Broken Isles Bijou (T/M) – $76,606,751
- Elly’s Elemental E-Plex (M) – $72,652,251
- Corr’s Carefully Curated Cineplex (M) – $71,954,746
- Ben’s X-Wing Express (M) – $70,375,527
- Vigo Grimborne’s Medieval Screening Complex (T) – $65,171,127
- Po Huit’s Sweet Movie Suite (T) – $58,581,726
- Joanie’s Joint (T) – $56,637,124
- Aure’s Astonishingly Amateur Amphitheatre (M) – $56,637,124
- Dr Liore’s Evil House of Pancakes (M) – $30,440,880 (forgot to pick)
- The Filthy Fleapit (T) – $19,310,684 (forgot to pick)
The Meta League Legend:
- TAGN Movie Obsession – players from it marked with a (T)
- MCats Multiplex – players from it marked with an (M)
Those heavy on Peter Rabbit ruled the roost… or the hutch I suppose… while those who were betting on 15:17 to Paris were way down the list. Both Liore and The Filthy Fleapit failed to pick in time, which is reflected in their scores.
Those scores shook up the season ranks a bit.
- Ben’s X-Wing Express (M) – $1,124,983,276
- Corr’s Carefully Curated Cineplex (M) – $1,114,066,616
- Biyondios! Kabuki & Cinema (T) – $1,067,518,310
- Wilhelm’s Broken Isles Bijou (T/M) – $1,065,683,840
- Paks’ Pancakes & Pics (T) – $1,051,523,024
- Aure’s Astonishingly Amateur Amphitheatre (M) – $1,027,231,052
- Dan’s Decadent Decaplex (M) – $1,023,513,057
- SynCaine’s Dark Room of Delights (T) – $968,253,693
- Darren’s Unwatched Cineplex (T) – $958,483,040
- Po Huit’s Sweet Movie Suite (T) – $957,397,767
- Vigo Grimborne’s Medieval Screening Complex (T) – $897,760,744
- I HAS BAD TASTE (T) – $895,665,650
- Kraut Screens (T) – $886,694,023
- Logan’s Luxurious Thaumatrope (M) – $854,601,986
- Elly’s Elemental E-Plex (M) – $851,343,686
- Joanie’s Joint (T) – $824,196,552
- Dr Liore’s Evil House of Pancakes (M) – $814,111,429
- The Filthy Fleapit (T) – $803,855,526
Ben and Corr stayed locked in their fight for first place, with Corr gaining a little on Ben. However, both are still far enough out in front of everybody else that unless they forget to pick or blow their pick badly they will remain the top two in the Meta league.
Biyondios pass me and took third place overall and first place in the TAGN league, though we are close enough that those positions could easily change. Pak also moved up a place and is within striking range of Biyondios and myself while Aure fell back to a distant 6th place.
I HAS BAD TASTE was up one position while SynCaine popped up two spots. Logan jumped up three spots and Joanie went up two largely thanks to those who forgot to pick.
So with two weeks left the battle for first place continues while third place could go to three or four different people depending on how optimistic you tend to be.
Which leads us into week twelve, the penultimate week of the season, and a bit one at that. Black Panther opens up this week and is expected to have a very strong box office. It expected to dominate, so it has been chopped up into individual days. But this is also the four day Presidents Day holiday in the US, so it is a four day box office as well. So the price list looks like this:
Black Panther (FRI) $501 Black Panther (SAT) $451 Black Panther (SUN) $348 Black Panther (MON) $220 Peter Rabbit $186 Fifty Shades Freed $155 Jumanji $87 The 15:17 to Paris $68 The Greatest Showman $51 Early Man $49 The Maze Runner $39 Samson $32 Winchester $31 The Post $26 The Shape of Water $25
In addition to four slots going to Black Panther there are two new features, the Old Testament epic of Samson and the Nick Park (of Wallace and Grommet fame) stop motion animated Early Man.
That knocked out some of those Oscar nominees that had been hanging about Three Billboards, I, Tonya, and Darkest Hour, as well as the more recent Hostiles, 12 Strong, and Den of Thieves.
So the question this week is probably just which day of Black Panther do you anchor on? Friday will be huge, all the more so with the Thursday night previews, but it is priced accordingly. Saturday will also be big, but like Friday you can only have one unless you want some empty screens. Sunday and Monday will be more modest, but you can have a couple and still fill out a lineup.
Or, if you’re still feeling it for Beatrix Potter, it is possible to get a lineup with Peter Rabbit as your anchor. But how many rabbits will you need to beat a panther? Likewise, you can get a lot of screens of Fifty Shades, but who will beat whom?
And, of course, finding estimates to help you out will be problematic. Most estimates will likely be a three day weekend total, which will give an idea but not a number you can bank on. And this is a big enough week that blowing it or getting the perfect pick could change your standings dramatically.