Only in the second week of our Spring Fantasy Movie League and there was already something of an upset.
The lineup for week two had some new titles, including A Wrinkle in Time, that was being discussed as possibly the film to take the number one weekend spot away from Black Panther. Certainly the pricing indicated that expectation.
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
I was skeptical of the strength of A Wrinkle in Time however. Last week I went over the hazards of taking on a beloved classic, especially one that had already been make into a film, if only of the “made for TV” variety.
I played with a lot of options over the course of the week. I avoided Wrinkle, but thought about everything else. Particularly sticky was that log jam of $47/$48 films in the middle when it came to filler for some test lineups.
I did, at one point, have seven screens of The Strangers with one screen of Peter Rabbit, but discarded that when Liore, resident expert on horror films, said it would be hot garbage. So I discarded that and thought no more of The Strangers. I lined up eight screens of Red Sparrow at one point, the lineup SynCaine took, but discarded it when my mental estimate simply didn’t add up to enough dollars given the ~$8 million estimated weekend box office for it.
Instead I went looking for what might go well with Black Panther as an anchor. Once you spend $575 on one screen, the search is for the right mix of filler.
In the end I settled on 1x Black Panther, 3x Game Night, 1x Jumanji, and 3x Greatest Showman.
It seemed reasonable at the time, though I might have been a bit too fixated on that $47/$48 title war. I picked the winner in that four horse race with Jumanji, … the others had low theater counts when it came down to it… it just didn’t matter.
When the screens locked on Friday, the MCats league seemed pretty solid anchoring on Black Panther, with only Liore bucking the trend with Wrinkle and seven screens of Gringo.
The TAGN league however was full of variety. Sure, there picks were mostly anchored on Black Panther, but there were also Wrinkle and Red Sparrow in the mix, as well as two players in on The Strangers. Po Huit was especially keen on The Strangers, with seven screens of that and one of Game Night.
When the Saturday morning estimates came Po’s lineup was the perfect pick. Historically, that changes with the final results almost every week, so having the perfect pick on Saturday is almost a guarantees you won’t have what ends up really being the perfect pick. I don’t call it the “Saturday of False Hopes” for nothing. I’ve had that happen to me multiple times.
But the Sunday morning estimates continued to show Po with the perfect pick. And it continued to hold right through until the final scores were released.
So Po, along with 320 other players, cashed in with $99,679,288 for the week. That left Po well out in front of the pack for the week as the scores shook out like this:
- Po Huit’s Sweet Movie Suite (T) – $99,679,288
- Kraut Screens (T) – $87,518,144
- Vigo Grimborne’s Medieval Screening Complex (T) – $73,452,542
- Biyondios! Kabuki & Cinema (T) – $73,452,542
- Wilhelm’s Broken Isles Bijou (T/M) – $72,892,467
- Corr’s Carefully Curated Cineplex (M) – $72,338,433
- I HAS BAD TASTE (T) – $71,814,131
- Miniature Giant Space Hamsterplex (T) – $68,973,320
- Goat Water Picture Palace (T) – $68,874,200
- Paks’ Pancakes & Pics (T) – $68,874,200
- Bean Movie Burrito (T) – $68,776,712
- SynCaine’s Dark Room of Delights (T) – $68,018,104
- Ben’s X-Wing Express (M) – $67,691,059
- Joanie’s Joint (T) – $67,305,834
- Skar’s Movies and Meat Pies (T) – $66,364,589
- Dan’s Decadent Decaplex (M) – $65,654,362
- Logan’s Luxurious Thaumatrope (M) – $64,046,761
- Darren’s Unwatched Cineplex (T) – $63,405,826
- DumCheese’s Cineplex (T) – $62,356,016
- Aure’s Astonishingly Amateur Amphitheatre (M) – $59,282,466
- JHW’s Cineplex (T) – $58,458,097
- Dr Liore’s Evil House of Pancakes (M) – $52,180,549
The Meta League Legend:
- TAGN Movie Obsession – players from it marked with a (T)
- MCats Multiplex – players from it marked with an (M)
The perfect pick put Po way out in front, while Kraut Screens, the only other person to bet heavily on The Strangers, secured second place. After that there is a $26 million gap between Po and the rest of the pack.
At that point we get into people who anchored on Black Panther and things sort out by how well they did in picking their filler. I managed to get into fifth place overall, with Black Panther and 3x Game Night being the most solid mid-pack anchors.
Down towards the bottom you get into people who eschewed Game Night, bet on Gringo, or who went the full contrarian Monty.
And, in last place, for the second week running, is Liore with her Wrinkle and 7x Gringo lineup.
Needless to say, that shook up the overall Meta League rankings for the season so far.
- Po Huit’s Sweet Movie Suite (T) – $196,695,747
- Kraut Screens (T) – $175,839,546
- Biyondios! Kabuki & Cinema (T) – $174,128,564
- Wilhelm’s Broken Isles Bijou (T/M) – $173,568,489
- I HAS BAD TASTE (T) – $172,490,153
- Corr’s Carefully Curated Cineplex (M) – $168,520,253
- Ben’s X-Wing Express (M) – $168,477,075
- Goat Water Picture Palace (T) – $165,890,659
- Paks’ Pancakes & Pics (T) – $165,890,659
- Darren’s Unwatched Cineplex (T) – $163,874,451
- SynCaine’s Dark Room of Delights (T) – $159,444,463
- Dan’s Decadent Decaplex (M) – $157,435,657
- Joanie’s Joint (T) – $155,083,369
- Aure’s Astonishingly Amateur Amphitheatre (M) – $154,869,762
- Miniature Giant Space Hamsterplex (T) – $154,745,128
- Vigo Grimborne’s Medieval Screening Complex (T) – $154,668,668
- JHW’s Cineplex (T) – $151,557,010
- Skar’s Movies and Meat Pies (T) – $149,955,112
- Logan’s Luxurious Thaumatrope (M) – $147,478,402
- DumCheese’s Cineplex (T) – $146,308,332
- Dr Liore’s Evil House of Pancakes (M) – $132,207,713
- Bean Movie Burrito (T) – $68,776,712
Those who went with The Strangers rose to the top, though the gap between second and ninth place is less than $10 million. And even with a $20 million lead, Po isn’t safe. A bad week could change things and we are only two weeks in. Corr and Ben, who battled for first place last season, are only back in sixth and seventh place respectively.
Meanwhile Liore was saved from being at the bottom of the overall rankings by the return of Bean Movie Burrito. With only one week of scoring, he is behind the pack.
Which brings us to week three. Can Liore get out of the basement? Or is she just trolling us? She won the summer season across both leagues even though she missed a week. So I remain suspicious.
The lineup for week three looks like this:
Tomb Raider $407 Black Panther $391 A Wrinkle in Time $241 Love Simon $217 Game Night $82 The Strangers $78 Red Sparrow $67 Deathwish $54 I Can Only Imagine $41 7 Days in Entebbe $29 Annihilation $29 Jumanji $23 Gringo $21 The Hurricane Heist $19 Peter Rabbit $15
Gone from the list are The Greatest Showman, Fifty Shades Freed, The Shape of Water, and Thoroughbreds. Somehow though Jumanji carries on. It isn’t even at the bottom of the list yet.
While new this week are Tomb Raider, Love Simon, I Can Only Imagine, and 7 Days in Entebbe, with Tomb Raider in the unenviable “can it beat Black Panther” position this week.
I mean, Lara Croft has been going strong for almost 22 years now and has evolved from a character that looked like she could literally poke an eye out if you were not careful.
But the new film, already out overseas, has not drawn much in the way of praise, so I am wary of it as an anchor. I am not convinced it will beat Black Panther or, if it does, beat it by enough to offset the price difference.
Then there is A Wrinkle in Time. I am not feeling it for that unless it seems to be holding over the week in the daily box office numbers.
Finally in the anchor price range there is Love Simon, which Liore has already endorsed, a situation that brings me back to the questions about her strategy I asked above. Is she playing us?
And for filler… lots of choices. Once again I will have to wait until Thursday and the theater counts to commit. I do want to say something about 7 Days in Entebbe being the fourth movie on that subject, my personal favorite being the Charles Bronson version, which would put it on the list with Deathwish as another remake of his work.
At the moment though my gut is to go with two screens of Black Panther and fill in from there. Then again, there is a theory out there that, as a kids movie, Wrinkle might have a slower decline than one might otherwise expect. Wrinkle dropping 50% over last week doesn’t interest me. Wrinkle dropping 40% or less though, that could be something.