Week four of our Summer Fantasy Movie League saw me floating down the coast of Mexico on a cruise ship, so last week’s post covering week three had to be written before Saturday preview numbers were even posted. No scores listed.
Likewise, I had to make my picks for week four while at sail in the Pacific over a satellite WiFi option that cost daily what an MMO subscription generally costs monthly and which ran about as fast as a 1999 modem connection in the middle of the night when nobody else was using it, and barely ran at all during the day when everybody was trying to update their Facebook status.
Still, there was unlimited soft-serve ice cream, so it wasn’t all bad.
Late Monday night, when the internet was semi-usable I did manage to get onto FML and see the results for Week 3, where I managed to hold on to first place in the TAGN league despite not exactly hitting it out of the park. I did okay, but only in the defensive sense that I did not screw up badly. I made it to fifth while grannanj’s Cineplex took first place. So congrats go out for that.
I was also able to make my picks for week four. As I noted, I was not keen on dinos, a personal bias of mine. Generally I try to at least explore such a bias to see if I am cheating myself out of a good pick by “wishcasting” a future that comes out like I think it should rather than how I might actually.
But with my connectivity such as it was, there wasn’t a lot of opportunity for research. I couldn’t even make my picks with the FML app on my phone, I had to log into the web site, the latter seeming much more tolerant when it comes to timeouts. If the app can’t get the JSON payload in about 20 seconds it gives up, and nothing was happening over that connection in 20 seconds.
The choices I had to work with in my narrow window of active connection time were… um… I’m not ever sure I can recreate the list at this point. When the new week goes live a lot of the data on the last week disappears.
Anyway, Jurassic World was split in the usual three way across the weekend while The Incredibles 2 was an expensive ticket, ringing in at budget busting $725. But it also over-performed on its opening weekend and looked to be a strong contender again, so I went with it as my anchor.
That didn’t leave me much additional room for filler, so I loaded up on the filler that would fit, with three screens of Ocean’s 8 in the mix. Initially I had more and A Wrinkle in Time as my final filler, it running at only $6. Then I pulled back from that, wondering how A Wrinkle in Time was even on the list.
It turns out the distributor pushed it out with a discount rate to a bunch of dollar threaters and drive-ins in hopes of getting the film over the $100 million mark for the domestic box office. Somebody’s bonus was probably riding on that. However, the film did not deserve to be a pick this week. Hell, they were showing it on the cruise ship at the mid-deck pool one night along side a lot of films from last summer. (I finally saw Black Panther on the ship sitting by the pool.) There were at least a dozen films that deserved to make the cut ahead of A Wrinkle in Time, and it did poorly enough that I was glad to have avoided it. My final lineup ended up with 1x The Incredibles 2, 3x Ocean’s 8, 1x The Avengers, 3x Book Club.
I copied that to all my leagues, after which I was back to the cruise, hanging out with the family, and trying to drink my weight in Pacificos at every port of call, a venture helped along by the fact that it seemed impossible to order just one. They seemed only available in pairs or by the bucket.
We returned home Saturday afternoon to find the cats scolding us for being away and the weather considerably warmer than what we left in Mexico. It was in the high 80s south of the boarder but near 100 at home. But it was, as they say, a dry heat.
Then the folly of my disregard for dinos became apparent as Jurassic World did better than expected. Not as wildly as The Incredibles 2 did the week before, but sufficient to make all the best picks require an anchor on a pair of its days.
The TAGN league, without bonuses, ended up with a different perfect pick than the normal league. With bonuses 2x Sunday and 6x Ocean’s 8 was the perfect pick, the latter getting the best performer boost. Without bonuses though, the best best was 2x Saturday, 4x Ocean’s 8, and 2x Will You Be My Neighbor.
The week’s scores ended up looking like this:
- I HAS BAD TASTE – $149,011,139
- Darren’s Unwatched Cineplex – $148,790,862
- Vigo Grimborne’s Medieval Screening Complex – $145,559,483
- Miniature Giant Space Hamsterplex – $143,810,831
- Kraut Screens – $143,621,570
- Paks’ Pancakes & Pics – $142,299,162
- Biyondios! Kabuki & Cinema – $141,474,176
- Too Orangey For Crows – $139,293,799
- Skar’s Movies and Meat Pies – $138,485,522
- Po Huit’s Sweet Movie Suite – $132,639,108
- Ben’s X-Wing Express – $132,639,108
- Wilhelm’s Abyssal Pocket Playhouse – $120,433,130
- Goat Water Picture Palace – $118,288,783
- Corr’s Carefully Curated Cineplex – $117,948,704
- grannanj’s Cineplex – $112,270,121
- Joanie’s Joint – $109,582,467
- SynCaine’s Dark Room of Delights – $108,103,696
- aria82’s Cineplex – $106,527,489
- Bean Movie Burrito – $13,087,528 (did not pick)
- Aure’s Astonishingly Amateur Amphitheatre – $0 (did not copy picks)
Isey of I HAS BAD TASTE won the week and also got the best possible score for the league having grabbed the perfect pick.
Darren was close behind having gone with what ended up being the perfect pick for leagues with bonuses.
After that, down to 11th place, are the people who anchored on two days of Jurassic World. There there is a $12 million gap and the start of the people who anchored on The Incredibles 2, or who did not pick or forgot to copy. I guess, sitting there at 12th place, I can take solace in the fact that I had the best Incredibles 2 lineup.
The sad trombone for the week goes to SynCaine who forgot that I left the empty screen penalty on for the league when I removed the bonuses. His two screen lineup of The Incredibles 2 and Friday Jurassic World scored pretty well, but eight empty screens pulls $16 million off of his total.
That left the league standings looking like this after week four:
- Vigo Grimborne’s Medieval Screening Complex – $413,420,828
- I HAS BAD TASTE – $407,058,524
- Paks’ Pancakes & Pics – $403,218,563
- Wilhelm’s Abyssal Pocket Playhouse – $397,307,676
- Kraut Screens – $390,019,856
- Miniature Giant Space Hamsterplex – $389,940,553
- Goat Water Picture Palace – $387,113,020
- Corr’s Carefully Curated Cineplex – $383,706,911
- Po Huit’s Sweet Movie Suite – $382,929,377
- Ben’s X-Wing Express – $376,737,891
- Darren’s Unwatched Cineplex – $374,008,116
- SynCaine’s Dark Room of Delights – $368,319,886
- grannanj’s Cineplex – $366,567,247
- aria82’s Cineplex – $323,895,524
- Joanie’s Joint – $306,167,311
- Biyondios! Kabuki & Cinema – $299,887,221
- Too Orangey For Crows – $296,721,502
- Skar’s Movies and Meat Pies – $221,482,730
- Aure’s Astonishingly Amateur Amphitheatre – $208,549,279
- Bean Movie Burrito – $168,373,959
This week saw some shifting in the standings, but I still think my working theory/plan for the season, that the removal of bonuses would keep the pack tighter and the competition closer, seems to be working out… sort of. The changes with how FML works with the whole need to copy picks across leagues, plus the early lock time, plus the not clearly indicated rule set have all hampered the league, and there is no change of rules that will help somebody bounce back after they miss a week. Only Liore seems to have that power, as she missed a week last summer and still won the season.
I did drop a couple of people from the standings who have missed a few weeks already, so we are down to 20 players in the league.
And that brings us to week five.
Incredibles 2 $591 Jurassic World SAT $356 Jurassic World SUN $278 Uncle Drew $275 Jurassic World FRI $266 Sicario 2 $201 Ocean's 8 $97 Tag $64 Deadpool 2 $41 Solo $31 Sanju $30 Won't You Be My Neighbor $24 Hereditary $24 Superfly $22 Avengers: Infinity War $18
It is an odd week. After two successive blockbuster opening weekends we have a bit of a quiet week for new features. There are three new titles on the list this week, Uncle Drew, Sicario 2, and Sanju, none of which are expected to break any records or threaten the current big titles in play.
Uncle Drew is a basketball… Comedy? Parody? Homage? I’ve read the Wikipedia article and I am still not sure. My getting anything isn’t a requirement for success, but it might be a measure of messaging I suppose. Also I am not sure if it showing up after the annual Warriors/Cavaliers tournament… I mean the NBA championship… is good positioning or not. The long range forecast puts it somewhere between $15 and $18 million, but I have no gut on this one.
Sicario: Day of the Soldado, to give it its full name, is a sequel to 2015 film of the same base name about drugs, smuggling, and violence on the US/Mexican boarder. The original has a slow September opening, only widening to 2,600 theaters on its third week when it brought in $12 million based on the positive buzz it created.
The sequel is going straight for the big opening, but has been referred to as a “hot mess,” while the long range forecast from last week pegs it under $15 million for the weekend. While I liked the original, it is a bit niche and the follow on seems like an unnecessary appendage to the story. But in Hollywood they figure a sequel is worth 85% of the original, and the first one did $84 million at the box office.
And then there is Sanju, a Hindi language biopic about Bollywood actor Sanjay Dutt. There was some controversy about a scene in the film to which the government of India objected, but I am not sure that is enough to propel a foreign language film high enough onto the US box office list to make the cut for 11th spot on the list. Theater count is estimated at 350, which is about what Won’t You Be My Neighbor? had for week four, and it did $1.8 million… but it isn’t in Hindi and is about a US cultural icon.
The modest means of those three titles meant that Jurassic World stays split over three days again this week while The Incredibles 2 stays at the top of the price list. Meanwhile there is some close prices filler from which to choose.
So there we go. As usual, I will put my Monday Hot Takes league picks here. I went with 2x Saturday, 1x Ocean’s 8, 4x Deadpool 2, and 1x Hereditary. That is a pretty research free lineup, but I feared to avoid dinos for a second week running lest they surprise and bit me in the ass yet again. Won’t You Be My Neighbor? might end up a better bet than Hereditary, depending on what the eventual screen count is for the week.
Get your picks in now, or copy them over. The league locks in less than 24 hours from when this post goes live.