Summer Movie League – Still Incredible

Week six of our Summer Fantasy Movie League is in the books now.

This past week saw yet another film set in the Marvel Cinematic Universe hit the screens as Ant-Man and The Wasp opened up on Friday.  That left the weeks choices looking like this:

Ant-Man and the Wasp      $804
Jurassic World            $267
Incredibles 2             $229
The First Purge           $201
Sicario 2                 $89
Uncle Drew                $71 
Ocean's 8                 $48 
Tag                       $34
Won't You Be My Neighbor  $23
Deadpool 2                $20
Solo                      $13
Hereditary                $12
Sanju                     $11
Avengers: Infinity War    $11
Superfly                  $6

Ant-Man was clearly called to dominate the box office, something that was never in dispute.  But when you’re filling up eight screens and have a limited budget there are more factors in play.

Also on the list was The First Purge, the fourth installment in that franchise, which felt a bit over-priced to me.  Also, as I noted in last week’s post, it opened on Wednesday, so for FML purposes it wouldn’t even get a boost from Thursday night previews, as it previewed on Tuesday night.  Priced where it was, so close to The Incredibles 2, I felt it was a non-starter.

So the choice of anchor seemed to me to be between Ant-Man, Jurassic World, and The Incredibles 2.  Estimates for the latter two were pretty close, putting them near $30 million each, at which point my back of the envelope calculation indicated that Ant-Man would have to get close to $96 million to me a worthwhile anchor.  That was above the high estimate for the weekend, which was $88 million.  So unless somebody was really underestimating Ant-Man, it wasn’t a viable pick.

And in the match up between Jurassic World and The Incredibles 2 I felt that the price advantage of the latter, which would let me spend more on filler, overcame any box office advantage the former would present.  Estimates were far closer than the price difference on that chart.

Back on Monday night I was all-in on 4x The Incredibles 2 as my anchor.  Even after the Thursday night previews came out on Friday morning showing Ant-Man doing pretty well, I stuck to my picks in other leagues while many jumped onto Ant-Man at the last minute.  In the MCats league, which locks Friday morning, those who picked The Incredibles 2 in the TAGN league changed on the preview news.

On the filler front I wavered.  On Monday I was all for 4x Deadpool 2, not knowing that the film was facing a steep drop in theater count.  It disappeared from my local AMC multiplex for the weekend.  I guess I will wait for it to hit cable.

Eventually I settled on 4x The Incredibles 2, 1x Ocean’s 8, 3x Hereditary, a lineup that spent exactly $1,000, something that probably holds too much sway over me.

Summer Movie League – My Week Six Pick

And after the lock it was time to watch the weekend unfold.

Ant-Man did $11.5 million in Thursday night previews, which was pretty good.  It needed to do about 8.5x that to own the weekend.  Meanwhile the ticket pre-sales were being compared to Spider-Man: Homecoming, which did $117 million its opening weekend.

But Ant-Man ain’t no Spider-Man.  Arachnids own insects and after all of that Ant-Man managed a very respectable, but not exactly blockbuster, $76 million for the weekend.

Meanwhile, The Incredibles 2, which had been neck and neck with Jurassic World in the daily box office all week long/  They pulled ahead for while, but ended up in third place, just $250K behind the higher priced dinos.  That made The Incredibles 2 the anchor to have, with the perfect pick for the league looking like this.

Summer Movie League – Week Six Perfect Pick

The First Purge, having gotten its initial wave of fans earlier in the week, came in fourth with $17.3 million.

All of which left the scoring for this week at:

  1. Corr’s Carefully Curated Cineplex – $122,517,418
  2. Biyondios! Kabuki & Cinema – $122,410,754
  3. Wilhelm’s Abyssal Pocket Playhouse – $121,768,961
  4. Too Orangey For Crows – $121,369,556
  5. Kraut Screens – $106,794,508
  6. Miniature Giant Space Hamsterplex – $104,134,469
  7. grannanj’s Cineplex – $100,033,084
  8. aria82’s Cineplex – $96,458,682
  9. Darren’s Unwatched Cineplex – $95,301,183
  10. Po Huit’s Sweet Movie Suite – $94,323,075
  11. Ben’s X-Wing Express – $94,323,075
  12. Joanie’s Joint – $94,225,854
  13. Vigo Grimborne’s Medieval Screening Complex – $93,752,566
  14. I HAS BAD TASTE – $93,574,053
  15. SynCaine’s Dark Room of Delights – $86,308,838
  16. Goat Water Picture Palace – $86,308,838
  17. Paks’ Pancakes & Pics – $986,730 (did not pick)

The four at the top of the list were the four that went for four screens of The Incredibles 2 as their anchor.  Nobody got the perfect pick, but with the right anchor choice the four of us were not far off of that number.

The next four were people who favored dinos as an anchor.  Then there were the people who anchored on Ant-Man.  And, finally, Goat and SynCaine, who both went with four screens of The First Purge.

Oh, and Pak, who didn’t get home in time to pick.  That has been a problem this season.  While I have seen a change in picks from people, based on what they pick in other leagues that lock on Friday, the Thursday morning lock, along with the new multi-league picking interface, is causing people to miss picking.  I dropped a couple more people off the board as they had missed three weeks in the season.  And so it goes. (If you got dropped and want back on, let me know.  I just don’t want anybody to feel set upon because their score is way down the standings.)

This left the season totals looking like this:

  1. Wilhelm’s Abyssal Pocket Playhouse – $603,065,595
  2. Corr’s Carefully Curated Cineplex – $590,348,451
  3. I HAS BAD TASTE – $587,819,013
  4. Vigo Grimborne’s Medieval Screening Complex – $579,764,517
  5. Miniature Giant Space Hamsterplex – $579,222,560
  6. Kraut Screens – $568,801,026
  7. Goat Water Picture Palace – $567,210,010
  8. Ben’s X-Wing Express – $554,031,284
  9. Po Huit’s Sweet Movie Suite – $551,941,723
  10. Darren’s Unwatched Cineplex – $547,327,977
  11. grannanj’s Cineplex – $533,347,159
  12. SynCaine’s Dark Room of Delights – $532,241,910
  13. aria82’s Cineplex – $512,780,141
  14. Biyondios! Kabuki & Cinema – $495,971,483
  15. Too Orangey For Crows – $489,786,891
  16. Joanie’s Joint – $478,589,151
  17. Paks’ Pancakes & Pics – $477,878,801

As I noted last week, you don’t have to be number one for the week to get ahead, you just have to do better that those ahead of you. Corr and I both managed that and, while he got the win for the week, I managed to jump into first place overall.

With that over, we are now looking at week seven and some new choices.

Hotel Transylvania 3        $523
Skyscraper                 $394
Ant-Man and the Wasp       $387
Incredibles 2              $201
Jurassic World             $174
The First Purge            $111
Sorry to Bother You        $74
Sicario 2                  $45
Ocean's 8                  $40
Uncle Drew                 $38
Won't You Be My Neighbor   $30
Tag                        $21
Three Identical Strangers  $16
Whitney                    $14
Deadpool 2                 $11

After a few static weeks where we didn’t lose many films, this week saw a purge of a third of last weeks options. The Avengers: Infinity War, Solo, Hereditary, Superfly, and Sanju all got the chop.

Replacing them are Hotel Transylvania 3, Skyscraper, Sorry to Bother You, Three Identical Strangers, and Whitney.

Hotel Transylvania 3 is the big opening this week. Summer time is big for kids movies, as we have seen with The Incredibles 2. But as a franchise, Transylvania doesn’t have the clout of Pixar. In a weak week, at least as far as the summer so far goes, its projected $45 million-ish opening makes it the big dog. If you run with it as your main anchor you can only have a single screen, but you’ll have lots of room for filler.

I suppose is says something that a film featuring Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson is playing second fiddle to Transylvania. Skyscraper, the previews for which give me a Die Hard vibe for some reason, doesn’t have horrible reviews. It is in the zone with Tag and Transylvania. But I don’t think anybody is going to be fooled into thinking it is anything for than a vehicle to show The Rock doing crazy things on an exploding building. I’m pretty sure I’ll watch it when it hits cable. But for its launch tracking has it at $35 million or so, not a blockbuster, but well into the “good for just normal movies” zone.

Sorry to Bother You, as with the next two pictures, has already been available in limited release and is making the list due to an expansion of their theater count. Sorry brought in $725K last week across just 16 theaters, making it the top per screen earner. While critically acclaimed it does strike me as a bit of a blue state feature, and its pricing seems to indicate that FML does not see it going past $7 million for the weekend. Still, a lot of good buzz makes me wonder if it might exceed expectations.

Three Identical Strangers is a documentary… a strike against any Summer film right there most days of the week… about triplets separated at birth who later are reunited. Again, out for a couple weeks now in limited release, it is expanding.

Whitney, the Whitney Houston biopic, should have been on the list last week, as its earnings would have put it ahead of Solo, The Avengers, Hereditary, and Superfly. (There should have at least been a Best of the Rest option last week, though that is hindsight speaking.) This week it is down in the 14th slot and its value depends a lot on whether or not it will see an expansion in its theater count. Still, it is ahead of Deadpool 2, which I expect will see a further collapse in its theater numbers this week.

So what do you go with? Is Ant-Man really going to drop more than 50% in its second week, as the pricing seems to indicate? Is Hotel Transylvania 3 going to be able to stake out enough of the kids market to make The Incredibles 2 tumble this week? Does The Rock have more draw than forecasts allow?

My Monday Hot Takes league pick this week was 4x The Incredibles 2, 1x Sorry to Bother You, 3x Ocean’s 8. I strongly suspect I will change that before Thursday.

And, as I always say this season, picks lock in less than 24 hours from when this post goes live, so go make them now!

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