And week five of our Spring Fantasy Movie League has now come and gone.
The week five lineup was predicted to finally be able to dethrone Black Panther as Steven Spielberg’s Ready Player One stepped up to the plate.
Ready Player One $522 Tyler Perry's Acrimony $219 Pacific Rim $167 I Can Only Imagine $153 Black Panther $148 Sherlock Gnomes $91 God's Not Dead $75 Love Simon $71 Isle of Dogs $69 Tomb Raider $65 A Wrinkle in Time $54 Paul, Apostle of Christ $41 Game Night $41 Midnight Sun $28 Unsane $23
Ready Player One was expensive compared to the rest of the stack, a situation that always leaves me looking for alternatives.
The first option that came up was around Acrimony. While the long range forecast had it close to $10 million, estimates started coming in putting it in the $15-18 million range. At that level of box office it was a serious option, especially if Ready Player One stayed in the lower $30 million range.
Of course, what Ready Player One would do was another odd duck. Most big titles open up on Friday, with Thursday night previews that count as part of the Friday night take. That gets added into the FML box office count as well, which can be a serious boost and is why, when big movies get split up into three days, Friday tends to be the most costly to pick.
However, Ready Player One opened on Thursday night, with Wednesday night previews. That meant neither Friday, nor the weekend FML count, would not benefit at all from previews. It also meant that the industry watchers would throw around “weekend” estimates that sometimes would include Thursday and sometimes would not. So I would see a number like $50 million mentioned for Ready Player One, only to read deeper and find that was a total through the weekend rather than the three day take that matters to FML.
Still, as the week went on it seemed clear that Ready Player One would hit high 30s to low 40s and seemed like a safe anchor unless you believed strongly in Acrimony. That left the filler, where the best performer discussion lay.
Midnight Sun seemed the early candidate for that, a title priced to be a filler you could stick in many screens. Then the first forecasts came out and Paul, Apostle of Christ was suddenly the bright star for the best performer slot, though the high end estimates for Acrimony kept it in play as well. Four screens of that as an anchor looked very good if you could add $2 million per screen.
I still believed in Ready Player One though, and by Tuesday night I had slotted in 1x Ready Player One, 1x Acrimony, and 6x Paul, Apostle of Christ as my selection. However, in TAGN chatter and across the FML forums that pick began to shape up as the obvious go to selection. When it came down to it, it ended up being the most popular pick of the week and three people in the TAGN league and one (Liore) in MCats. I rode that pick until Friday morning, when I decided not to go along with that pick and swapped to my final pick, 1x Ready Player One, 1x Acrimony, 1x Sherlock Gnomes, and 5x Midnight Sun.
Midnight Sun didn’t have to do that much more than expected to contend. Unfortunately, it did not even meet forecasts, so was out of the best performer running by quite a margin.
Instead, the Saturday estimates showed A Wrinkle in Time as the likely best performer. Paul, Apostle of Christ was close in the estimates, with Acrimony not too far behind that, but when the final numbers landed on Monday Wrinkle did better than its weekend estimates, securing the best performer slot.
The perfect pick was 1x Ready Player One, 1x Black Panther, and 6x A Wrinkle in Time, a selection worth $99,306,709.
Black Panther lost its box office crown, but was in the winning lineup.
While 182 people got the perfect pick, none of them were in the Meta League this week, which kept most of us somewhat close together in score. The week’s scores looked like this:
- Goat Water Picture Palace (T) – $88,805,439
- Logan’s Luxurious Thaumatrope (M) – $82,606,738
- Dr Liore’s Evil House of Pancakes (M) – $79,681,941
- Po Huit’s Sweet Movie Suite (T) – $79,681,941
- Paks’ Pancakes & Pics (T) – $79,681,941
- Biyondios! Kabuki & Cinema (T) – $79,681,941
- Vigo Grimborne’s Medieval Screening Complex (T) – $78,335,761
- Corr’s Carefully Curated Cineplex (M) – $77,056,420
- Kraut Screens (T) – $76,381,507
- Ben’s X-Wing Express (M) – $76,350,834
- Bean Movie Burrito (T) – $76,244,256
- Dan’s Decadent Decaplex (M) – $75,972,080
- Aure’s Astonishingly Amateur Amphitheatre (M) – $75,972,080
- Wilhelm’s Broken Isles Bijou (T/M) – $75,047,892
- SynCaine’s Dark Room of Delights (T) – $74,970,498
- Joanie’s Joint (T) – $70,198,601
- Miniature Giant Space Hamsterplex (T) – $69,616,425
- DumCheese’s Cineplex (T) – $66,266,870
- Darren’s Unwatched Cineplex (T) – $61,935,922
- I HAS BAD TASTE (T) – $61,128,373
- Skar’s Movies and Meat Pies (T) – $50,864,216
- JHW’s Cineplex (T) – $41,673,527
The Meta League Legend:
- TAGN Movie Obsession – players from it marked with a (T)
- MCats Multiplex – players from it marked with an (M)
Goat Water Picture Palace took first place this week by going in with five screens of A Wrinkle in Time. Logan got second place by also having some screens of Wrinkle as a score boost. After that we’re into the most popular pick zone with the next four places. Going with my last minute “let’s be different” changes cost me about $4.5 million at the box office.
Down at the bottom of the pack this week were people who bet heavily on Isle of Dogs. While I applaud the support of Wes Anderson, and the film did pretty well on a per screen basis, it was not on enough screens to be a player this week.
That left the Meta League scores for the season at:
- Po Huit’s Sweet Movie Suite (T) – $503,465,372
- Biyondios! Kabuki & Cinema (T) – $481,185,464
- Ben’s X-Wing Express (M) – $477,756,057
- Paks’ Pancakes & Pics (T) – $471,679,266
- Dr Liore’s Evil House of Pancakes (M) – $457,166,355
- Corr’s Carefully Curated Cineplex (M) – $451,436,538
- Goat Water Picture Palace (T) – $450,297,835
- Wilhelm’s Broken Isles Bijou (T/M) – $441,234,517
- Logan’s Luxurious Thaumatrope (M) – $438,515,148
- Dan’s Decadent Decaplex (M) – $429,536,646
- Vigo Grimborne’s Medieval Screening Complex (T) – $427,190,290
- Joanie’s Joint (T) – $427,059,478
- Aure’s Astonishingly Amateur Amphitheatre (M) – $425,990,721
- Kraut Screens (T) – $392,181,689
- SynCaine’s Dark Room of Delights (T) – $368,140,969
- I HAS BAD TASTE (T) – $368,034,017
- Darren’s Unwatched Cineplex (T) – $364,974,424
- Miniature Giant Space Hamsterplex (T) – $352,142,604
- DumCheese’s Cineplex (T) – $323,656,549
- Skar’s Movies and Meat Pies (T) – $322,771,818
- Bean Movie Burrito (T) – $267,204,033
- JHW’s Cineplex (T) – $254,685,317
The small gaps in the high end meant that there wasn’t much of a change at the top, with the first six staying the same. I got bumped down to 8th place by Goat Water Picture Palace and am now pretty close to being passed by Logan if he continues to do well.
Which leaves us looking at the options for Week Six:
A Quiet Place $460 Ready Player One $334 Blockers $217 Black Panther $108 Tyler Perry's Acrimony $103 I Can Only Imagine $96 Isle of Dogs $62 Pacific Rim $58 Sherlock Gnomes $57 The Miracle Season $53 Chappaquiddick $50 Love Simon $39 A Wrinkle in Time $39 Tomb Raider $34 Paul, Apostle of Christ $26
This week Game Night, Midnight Sun, Unsane, and God’s Not Dead fell off the list.
Coming in to the mix are A Quiet Place, Blockers, The Miracle Season, and Chappaquiddick. That the latter made it to the theaters seems to prove the diminished power of the Kennedy clan these days. I imagine it will play best in red states, though I imagine few know or remember the name Mary Jo Kopechne.
What to pick? There are three anchor choices, A Quiet Place, Ready Player One, and Blockers.
A Quiet Place is a horror film, a genre I tend to discount, so I don’t trust myself here. It does star Emily Blunt and was praised after a preview at SWSX. I just don’t know how that will translate at the box office.
At the other end is Blockers, a teen sex comedy produced by Seth Rogen. The only recognizable name in it for me is John Cena. No idea how this will do.
And in the middle is Ready Player One in for its second week at what seems like a reasonable price, even expecting a 50% drop over week five. So my Monday evening gut pick was 2x Ready Player One and 6x The Miracle Season, the latter also being an unknown for me at this point, but we’ll see. It is a feel good movie.