The first week up with the spring season of our Fantasy Movie League!
The week had a couple of new attractions, but Black Panther was still expected to dominate the box office so hard that it was, once again, split into three days. The choices for the week were:
Black Panther (SAT) $351 Black Panther (SUN) $263 Black Panther (FRI) $205 Red Sparrow $176 Deathwish $167 Game Night $97 Peter Rabbit $94 Annihilation $53 Jumanji $42 Fifty Shades Freed $30 The Greatest Showman $25 Every Day $17 Three Billboards $17 The 15:17 to Paris $17 The Shape of Water $15
The pricing was such that, while Black Panther seemed like a safe bet… anchor on Saturday and back fill the rest… the two new titles, Deathwish and Red Sparrow, seemed possible bargains. It was a matter of figuring out which would stick.
Here, as sometimes happens, the forecasts of the various outlets I linked to last week offered up a pile of contradictory information. If you wanted to believe in Bruce Willis, you could find somebody calling Deathwish past the $20 million mark. If, like me, you thought Jennifer Lawrence having bangs was going to make all the difference, well somebody was calling Red Sparrow over $20 million as well.
The reviews for neither were selling them big, but the general feeling began to shift against Deathwish as Friday drew closer. For those in the “Thursday lockout” camp, you’ll be amused to know that while Thursday night previews were available in time Friday morning for Red Sparrow, the preview numbers for Deathwish were delayed, so there was nothing concrete to be gleaned there.
I played around with a few different lineups right down to the wire, but stuck with Red Sparrow as my anchor. Five Red Sparrow, one Annihilation, and two Fifty Shades was my final pick.
That turned out to be a pretty reasonable pick. And I was not alone in taking it.
When the Saturday estimates came in my pick wasn’t too far out of first place dollar wise. SynCaine was out in first with that, as Greatest Showman was trending as the best performer. However when the updates on Sunday hit Corr took a strong lead as Game Night then looked to be the best performer and he was heavy on that. Come the final numbers however, Fifty Shades moved into the best performer spot and, while I was only in for two screens of that, it was enough for a decent finish.
The perfect pick was Black Panther (Saturday), three Red Sparrow, and four Fifty Shades, worth a little over $107 million.
My pick… mine and several others… was good for $100 million which, when you consider that the perfect pick add $5 million on top, wasn’t too far out of the running. If Red Sparrow had done a little bit better…
That left the first week scores looking like this:
- Ben’s X-Wing Express (M) – $100,786,016
- Biyondios! Kabuki & Cinema (T) – $100,676,022
- I HAS BAD TASTE (T) – $100,676,022
- Wilhelm’s Broken Isles Bijou (T/M) – $100,676,022
- Darren’s Unwatched Cineplex (T) – $100,468,625
- Goat Water Picture Palace (T) – $97,016,459
- Po Huit’s Sweet Movie Suite (T) – $97,016,459
- Paks’ Pancakes & Pics (T) – $97,016,459
- Corr’s Carefully Curated Cineplex (M) – $96,181,820
- Aure’s Astonishingly Amateur Amphitheatre (M) – $95,587,296
- JHW’s Cineplex (T) – $93,098,913
- Dan’s Decadent Decaplex (M) – $91,781,295
- SynCaine’s Dark Room of Delights (T) – $91,426,359
- Kraut Screens (T) – $88,321,402
- Joanie’s Joint (T) – $87,777,535
- Miniature Giant Space Hamsterplex (T) – $85,771,808
- DumCheese’s Cineplex – (T) $83,952,316
- Skar’s Movies and Meat Pies – (T) $83,590,523
- Logan’s Luxurious Thaumatrope (M) – $83,431,641
- Vigo Grimborne’s Medieval Screening Complex (T) – $81,216,126
- Dr Liore’s Evil House of Pancakes (M) – $80,027,164
The Meta League Legend:
- TAGN Movie Obsession – players from it marked with a (T)
- MCats Multiplex – players from it marked with an (M)
As you can see, we have some new people on the list for this round, with the Meta League count up to 21 for spring.
Ben eked out an overall Meta League win, out pacing the pick I went with by just $109K, anchoring on Black Panther for Saturday, filling in with two screens of Red Sparrow, two of Game Night, and three of Fifty Shades.
At the bottom end Liore’s decision to bet on a Black Panther / Deathwish / Jumanji combo clearly did not serve her well.
Still, the distance between first and twenty-third place is under $21 million, a gap easily made up over the course of twelve more weeks if the right picks are made.
And, since this is week one, I don’t have to do an additional season standings list, because the above is that list as well right now.
But that leads us into week two, the lineup for which is:
A Wrinkle in Time $641 Black Panther $575 The Strangers $126 Red Sparrow $121 Peter Rabbit $107 Game Night $97 Deathwish $85 The Hurricane Heist $78 The Shape of Water $48 Gringo $48 Jumanji $47 Thoroughbreds $47 Annihilation $44 The Greatest Showman $29 Fifty Shades Freed $25
Black Panther has finally cooled down enough that it doesn’t need to be split into multiple days. In fact, there is a contender to the throne for this week in the form of A Wrinkle in Time.
Meanwhile, trimming back Black Panther to a single slot has allowed more room for alternate picks. In addition to A Wrinkle in Time this week sees the addition of The Strangers, Gringo, The Hurricane Heist, and Thoroughbreds, none of which I know thing one about.
With all of those, Every Day, The 15:17 to Paris, and Three Billboards and dropped off the list, the latter leaving only The Shape of Water from the Oscar season revivals.
As for what to pick… well…
Pricing indicates that somebody thinks A Wrinkle in Time will top the box office, but I’m not really feeling it. Yes, beloved childhood classic. I read it in 6th grade and have a copy on my bookshelf at home. On the other side, it has been so long since I read it that the only things I can conjure up from it in my mind is a scene with a bunch of kids standing in front of their home bouncing balls in unison and the word “tesseract.”
And, because brains are strange, when I think of “tesseract” I get an image from the Hot Lips Hannigan episode of The Flintstones where teens declared Fed uncool by drawing a square in the air.
Don’t ask me why my brain does this. Also, isn’t the internet a gem, that I could find that very scene when I needed it?
Anyway, while there is apparent excitement about the movie coming out, I haven’t seen any reviews yet and there is always a risk in converting beloved childhood classics to the big screen. Also Disney is involved, which is surprising because nobody’s mother is dead that I can recall, and Disney will do what Disney will do. Their involvement makes it both more likely that the film will do well and that it will make people angry. And, as a kids film it likely won’t even get a boost from Thursday night previews.
Meanwhile, looking at the weekday numbers, Black Panther still seems to have power enough to claim the top spot for another weekend, which would make it the better choice given the $66 price gap in its favor. But I may be totally wrong on that. We’ll see what the forecasts say when they show up.
Then there is a bunch of stuff mid-pack that could get best performer, including Jumanji, which is still hanging in there after almost three months on the list of picks. The $47-48 section of the list seems pretty crowded. And, as noted, I have no gut for how the new stuff will do, but the safe bet at the moment seems to be Black Panther with a mix of fill that catches your fancy. It seems like it will be a $70-80 million week, so even a full slate of Red Sparrow could get you there if it holds up well in its second week.