We are done with what I referred to as the penultimate penultimate week of our Summer Fantasy Movie league. The way the calendar worked out this season has 14 weeks, so people who thought we only had one more week to go are going to have to suffer a bit longer than expected.
Meanwhile, this week 12 was another example of how you don’t need a big blockbuster release to get ahead, you just need to believe in a title that exceeds expectations and pricing. The options were as follows:
Crazy Rich Asians $358 The Meg $356 Mile 22 $296 Mission: Impossible $193 BlacKkKlansman $129 Christopher Robin $128 Alpha $89 Slender Man $84 The Spy who Dumped Me $61 Mamma Mia 2 $56 Hotel Transylvania 3 $55 The Equalizer 2 $51 Ant-Man and the Wasp $43 Incredibles 2 $39 Dog Days $23
Despite having been let down by long range forecasts for week 11 I chose to pay attention to them yet again for week 12. Unfortunately, despite the concept of “once burned, twice shy,” there are not a lot of other options when trying to figure out what a film is going to do. And the long range forecasts for the week 12 releases was pretty bearish, relative to the pricing.
The best of the lot, when viewed through that lens, might have been Mile 22, and I wasn’t keen on betting heavily on Mark Wahlberg. Just a personal preference. Alpha seemed okay. The range of estimates was pretty wide for it, and it didn’t seem to have much media presence.
And then there was Crazy Rich Asians which got a lot of press and had a lot of people talking, but estimates were all over the map and it was opening on Wednesday, so there would be no Thursday night previews to boost its weekend take. The Meg would have to drop a lot for CRA to be worth the extra two bucks in pricing.
For my Monday Hot Takes pick I wasn’t buying in on any of the new releases, going with 2x The Meg, 1x The Spy Who Dumped Me, and 5x Ant-Man and the Wasp.
I wasn’t wed to that lineup, but I couldn’t think of anything better on Monday night. And so I swapped my picks around a lot more than usual over the course of the week, including a couple of times going with the winning pick of the week, 1x CRA and 7x Alpha.
But then CRA only did $6 million on its opening night, which didn’t seem like much relative to the buzz, while The Meg did $5 million the night before. $5 million on a Tuesday night seemed like a sign of strength, so I started making lineups with enough slack in them that I could swap out CRA and The Meg. But I wasn’t believing in Alpha at all and, by the Thursday morning lock I had to decide between CRA and The Meg and went with The Meg mostly because I knew Corr was going with CRA and I wasn’t going to catch up with him going with the same pick.
I ended up with 2x The Meg, 1x Alpha, 5x The Incredibles 2.
Friday morning, before the other leagues closed, the Thursday night previews for Mile 22 and Alpha showed up, $1 million for the former and half that for the latter. Those were low numbers for the anticipated box office, so I swapped out Alpha for Slender Man in the remaining lineups while Corr ditched his Alpha heavy lineup.
That was a bust. As priced Alpha needed to do about $5-6 million to be worthwhile and the previews made $4-5 million seem more likely, and then it went an did $10 million for the weekend, making it the best performer and a necessary addition to any competing lineup.
That put it ahead of the more expensive BlacKkKlansman and Christopher Robin and up with the twice as costly Mission: Impossible. The only redeeming virtue of my lineup this week was that at least I had one screen of Alpha in it. The perfect lineup for both leagues with and without bonuses was 1x CRA and 7x Alpha.
That left the week’s scores looking like this.
- Corr’s Carefully Curated Cineplex – $98,977,724
- Ben’s X-Wing Express – $98,977,724
- Goat Water Picture Palace – $98,977,724
- Too Orangey For Crows – $80,239,775
- Darren’s Unwatched Cineplex – $72,383,222
- Po Huit’s Sweet Movie Suite – $70,569,026
- Wilhelm’s Abyssal Pocket Playhouse – $64,164,636
- Joanie’s Joint – $62,948,980
- grannanj’s Cineplex – $60,011,452
- Skar’s Movies and Meat Pies – $59,303,508
- SynCaine’s Dark Room of Delights – $57,488,433
- Vigo Grimborne’s Medieval Screening Complex – $55,077,460
- Miniature Giant Space Hamsterplex – $45,600,034
At least 13 people remembered to pick this week, up from 10 last week.
Corr, Ben, and Goat all had the perfect pick this week, while Bhagpuss got to fourth through packing in five screens of Alpha.
After that things start to fall off. Darren pulled off 5th place betting heavily on Christopher Robin plus a screen of Alpha. Meanwhile Po’s mixed luck continued to haunt him. While he got in four screens of Alpha, he anchored on two screens of the modestly performing 22 Mile and had two screens of the worst performer of the week, Dog Days. Dog Days was in 16th place, behind Jurassic World, which was dropped from the list for this week.
And then there is me holding the bag, anchored on two screens of The Meg. That 7th place finish, and my second poor week in a row, hurt my prospects for the season.
That left the overall scores looking like this:
- Corr’s Carefully Curated Cineplex – $1,112,991,590
- Goat Water Picture Palace – $1,066,052,257
- Wilhelm’s Abyssal Pocket Playhouse – $1,065,027,937
- Ben’s X-Wing Express – $973,854,397
- Darren’s Unwatched Cineplex – $947,174,542
- Miniature Giant Space Hamsterplex – $945,840,827
- SynCaine’s Dark Room of Delights – $943,521,942
- Po Huit’s Sweet Movie Suite – $934,766,374
- Vigo Grimborne’s Medieval Screening Complex – $929,641,294
- Too Orangey For Crows – $897,807,148
- I HAS BAD TASTE – $890,174,972
- Joanie’s Joint – $881,013,784
- grannanj’s Cineplex – $873,504,652
- Kraut Screens – $689,378,141
- Skar’s Movies and Meat Pies – $670,782,009
Corr is now solidly in first and pretty much has to forget to pick at least one of the two final weeks to be in jeopardy. Goat pulled into second place, though they are less than a million ahead of me, a gap narrow enough that either of us could end up in second.
Ben’s performance put him into a solid fourth place this week. I don’t think he can make it into second or third, nor do I think he is likely to be displaced from fourth unless he fails to pick. Fifth place however looks to be the hot spot, with possibly five people in contention.
So now we are on to week 13, the real, actual penultimate week of the season, and here are our choices.
Crazy Rich Asians $318 Happytime Murders $264 The Meg $201 Mile 22 $129 Mission: Impossible $127 Christopher Robin $106 Alpha $102 BlacKkKlansman $84 A.X.L. $58 Hotel Transylvania 3 $45 Slender Man $40 Mamma Mia 2 $35 Ant-Man and the Wasp $29 The Equalizer 2 $28 Incredibles 2 $27
Dropping from the list this week are the poorly performing Dog Days as well as The Spy who Dumped Me .
Replacing them on the list are The Happytime Murders and A.X.L., and for once of late I was actually aware of both movies before they showed up.
The Happytime Murders has been all over the web, especially in my Twitter feed. It comes in the vein of Who Framed Rodger Rabbit and Cool World where there is a crossover between humans and, in this case, the muppet-like puppets. (It is directed by Jim Henson’s son after all.) I assume it will use the darker side of the lives of puppets as its primary humor vector. After all, the tag line is “Sex. Murder. Puppets.”
While I like Meslissa McCarthy, who stars in the film, I’d have to see something a lot more appealing that has been shown so far to put it on my list of movies to see. The long range forecast… and those haven’t been treating me well of late… has this coming in at around $14 million, while the FML pricing this week says that somebody believes it will do less than CRA in its second week.
And then there is A.X.L., which I saw as a “coming soon” trailer before The Increadibles 2 earlier this season. My thought then was, “this is dumb.” The main plot, as the trailer presented it, was a teen finds a robot dog and decides to keep it, but the evil corporation that built it wants it back. Trite, silly, and dumb.
The last long range forecast for A.X.L. has it under $2 million. It being in 9th position at that forecast points to this likely being a fairly weak week for the box office.
Given all of that my Monday Hot Takes league pick was 2x CRA, 1x The Meg, 3x Mama Mia 2, and 2x The Incredibles 2, based largely on the fact that it spent $996 of my $1000 budget.
As usual, the league locks less than 24 hours after this post goes live, so make your picks soon.