Summer Movie League – No Chance for Ants

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

The week brought us into the post-blockbuster part of the summer, where the films expected to garner $100 million or more on their first weekend were in the rear view mirror and the league was going to have to duke it out in a battle between smaller new releases and the residual power of the big launches. The lineup for the week looked like this:

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

At the top of the anchor list was the new Hotel Transylvania 3, which was expected to top the box office over the weekend and vie for the kids market with The Increcibles 2. But it also came with a fairly steep price. You could have one screen of that. It wasn’t so expensive that your couldn’t mix and match, but you couldn’t depend on just it.

Next, trying to score on the action adventure from was Skyscraper, where Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson battles a burning building that has taken his family hostage… or something… I’m not sure, really. That is the impression the trailer left with me. Whatever it was, I wasn’t buying it.

Then there was Ant-Man and the Wasp. It did not do as well as hoped its first week out, but it still seemed a viable choice if only it could keep to about a fifty percent drop in revenue.

After that we have The Incredibles 2 and Jurassic World battling it out. Last week they were in nearly a dead heat, but The Incredibles 2 lower price point made them the pick. This week it looked like the situation could be reversed.

Then we get into the filler, which ranged from the expensive end with The First Purge was down to Deadpool 2.

For an anchor I went with four screens of Incredibles 2 for my Monday hot take pick, making it the fifth consecutive week I went with the film in at least one of my leagues. I couldn’t get behind Hotel Transylvania 3. I just don’t like the franchise, which makes me believe the worst when it comes to box office. Skyscraper seemed like a risky bet. The trailer was muddled, as noted, and not compelling at all, unless you have to see every picture The Rock makes.

I considered Ant-Man for a bit, but the buzz was that the movie was going to suffer a serious second week drop off. Which left me down with Jurassic World and The Incredibles 2.

In the end I wasn’t shaken from my streak when it came time for the TAGN League to lock. I went with 4x The Incredibles 2 and 4x Sicario 2, a double quad sequel pick.

Unfortunately for me, Jurassic World was the anchor to go with. For not much more than my 4 screens of The Incredibles 2 I could have gotten five screens of dinos. Again, when the estimates started coming in the two movies were neck in neck for revenue, which meant spoils for the cheaper of the two.

There was a stretch of time during the estimates when Three Identical Strangers had the best performer bonus, but in a no bonuses league that didn’t make much of a difference. In the end the league results for the week looked like this:

  1. SynCaine’s Dark Room of Delights – $89,719,218
  2. Corr’s Carefully Curated Cineplex – $86,544,778
  3. Goat Water Picture Palace – $86,217,724
  4. Paks’ Pancakes & Pics – $86,217,724
  5. Vigo Grimborne’s Medieval Screening Complex – $83,686,706
  6. Ben’s X-Wing Express – $83,625,423
  7. Darren’s Unwatched Cineplex – $81,544,984
  8. Wilhelm’s Abyssal Pocket Playhouse – $80,575,792
  9. Kraut Screens – $74,997,493
  10. Miniature Giant Space Hamsterplex – $72,506,522
  11. I HAS BAD TASTE – $72,506,522
  12. Po Huit’s Sweet Movie Suite – $72,169,038
  13. Biyondios! Kabuki & Cinema – $72,143,824
  14. aria82’s Cineplex – $66,907,804
  15. Joanie’s Joint – $64,160,163
  16. grannanj’s Cineplex – $61,162,190
  17. Too Orangey For Crows – $61,162,190

SynCaine was the only one to go with 5x Jurassic World, so he won the week. He didn’t have the perfect pick, but he was still out in front by over $3 million.

After SynCaine there was Corr, Goat, and Pak who all went with Hotel Transylvania 3 and three screens of Jurassic World. Then Vigo, Ben, and Darren were a step behind them, anchoring on Hotel Transylvania 3 but without dinos, so it seems like that franchise was a reasonable choice for anchor. After that, mid pack, came me and my four screens of The Incredibles 2, $9 million back from first.  I was the only one all-in on Pixar this week.

Behind me was a group who either anchored on Ant-Man or who went with Hotel Transylvania 3 but sank themselves by betting on Whitney. That got the worst performer nod this week, dragging down an otherwise solid anchor. Whitney was in 17th place in the overall box office rankings.

And, finally, there were the final four who bet on The Rock only to find that Skyscraper seriously under performed, the bottom two who also bet on Whitney, for a double whammy. Ouch.

All of that left the season scoring looking like this:

  1. Wilhelm’s Abyssal Pocket Playhouse – $683,641,387
  2. Corr’s Carefully Curated Cineplex – $676,893,229
  3. Vigo Grimborne’s Medieval Screening Complex – $663,451,223
  4. I HAS BAD TASTE – $660,325,535
  5. Goat Water Picture Palace – $653,427,734
  6. Miniature Giant Space Hamsterplex – $651,729,082
  7. Kraut Screens – $643,798,519
  8. Ben’s X-Wing Express – $637,656,707
  9. Darren’s Unwatched Cineplex – $628,872,961
  10. Po Huit’s Sweet Movie Suite – $624,110,761
  11. SynCaine’s Dark Room of Delights – $621,961,128
  12. grannanj’s Cineplex – $594,509,349
  13. aria82’s Cineplex – $579.687,945
  14. Biyondios! Kabuki & Cinema – $568,115,307
  15. Paks’ Pancakes & Pics – $546,096,525
  16. Too Orangey For Crows – $550,949,081
  17. Joanie’s Joint – $542,749,314

I managed to hold on to the top spot despite a mid-pack finish, but Corr is closing in on me. SynCaine also benefitted from his clear victory this week, moving up a bit. But with a lower scoring week the ability to make drastic changes was diminished. That leads us to week eight and the choices we have.

Mamma Mia 2               $526
The Equalizer 2           $403
Hotel Transylvania 3      $334
Ant-Man and the Wasp      $210
Skyscraper                $167
Incredibles 2             $149
Jurassic World            $135
Unfriended 2              $103
The First Purge           $61
Sorry to Bother You       $42
Sicario 2                 $29
Ocean's 8                 $24
Leave No Trace            $23
Uncle Drew                $21
Won't You Be My Neighbor  $20

With four new films making the cut, four older ones are dropping off. Week eight says good-bye to Tag, Three Identical Strangers, Whitney, and Deadpool 2.

In their place we have Mamma Mia 2, The Equalizer 2, Unfriended 2, and Leave No Trace.

Mamma Mia 2, or Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again to give it the name on the title card, is the sequel to the 2008 movie which was based off of the 1999 musical that involved taking a bunch of ABBA songs from the 70s and early 80s, and trying to weave them into a story. The original movie made bank so it seemed likely that somebody in Hollywood would try to force a sequel, so here we are. They managed to secure most of the key cast and even have Cher on board. The long range forecasts for the new film have it hitting about $35 million for the opening weekend. The original only hit $27 million its opening weekend, but it was up against The Dark Knight, just to put into perspective how far back that was. Mamma Mia 2 doesn’t have to compete against Batman this time around, so I suppose the real question is whether or not there are any ABBA songs left that didn’t make it into the first movie.

Opening up against Mamma Mia 2 is The Equalizer 2, the sequel to The Equalizer from 2014, which itself was based off of the late 80s crime drama of the same name. But hey, it has Denzel Washington in it. The first movie opened to about $34 million four years back, but the current film is tracking closer to $27 million, putting it a little shy of the “85% rule” for sequels.

Unfriended 2 is down in the filler tier and is, of course, a sequel. Ten out of fifteen titles this week are. And people complain about video games being mired in sequels. Unfriended, a social media horror story (as if that isn’t reality every day now) was a Blumhouse production, a company that specializes in low budget films, hoping to strike it big with an occasional big success. (There was a Planet Money episode about how they work.) The original brought in over $60 million on a $1 million budget, so with name recognition a sequel was a natural. Unfriended 2 is not directly tied to the original and tracking puts it at just $7 million for the weekend. But as low budget films sometimes bring big returns, so do low priced FML picks.

Finally there is Leave No Trace, which should have been on the list last week since it did better than Deadpool 2 or Whitney. This will be its fourth week of release and I am not sure if it is expanding its theater count this week. In the bottom end $20 to $24 pack it feels like the least likely one to pick unless it has some card to play I am not seeing.

So there we go.

For my Monday night hot takes I went with 6x The Incredibles 2, because how often do you get to anchor on the same film six weeks running, mated with a screen each of The First Purge and Sicario 2. Still, by the time I need to finalize picks for week eight I might swap to Jurassic World because the two films have been so close in revenue the last couple of weeks and dinos are cheaper again this week.

Make your picks soon. The league locks in less than 24 hours after this post goes live.

Addendum: Or, since I accidentally published this early, you have more than 24 hours.  Once again I hit the publish button instead of the save button.

3 thoughts on “Summer Movie League – No Chance for Ants

  1. Bhagpuss

    If you can’t trust The Rock, who can you trust? I really thought that by now people would be glad to see an action movie whose star was neither a cartoon nor in costume but apparently not.

    Right old grab bag this week. First Purge was #1 at the UK Box Office on week of release, by the way, which I found astonishing. Leave No Trace is reputed to be excellent but I don’t see how it’s possible to make a reasonable assessment of the chances of anything if we don’t know how many screens they’re playing on. The lack of that information in time to pick seems to be a serious flaw in the system.

    Like

  2. Wilhelm Arcturus Post author

    @Bhagpuss – Well, one of the reasons this season we’re cutting a day early was because people were complaining about some people being able to find last minute information about how films were doing. A day earlier means working with less info, though if you want real minimal info picks join a league that cuts off Tuesday morning like the Monday Hot Takes league I am in.

    Box Office Mojo will have estimated theater counts for big releases coming up, and for any major release there is usually an contractual requirement to keep it on a given number of screens for 3 or 4 weeks, so you can count on Skyscraper and HT3 not dropping theaters this week. But little stuff and older stuff, that is a crap shoot until final numbers come in on Thursday night.

    Like

Voice your opinion... but be nice about it...

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s