We are now past week five of our Fall Fantasy Movie League and it was an odd week.
The lineup for the week looked like this:
Venom $799 A Star is Born $546 Smallfoot $190 Night School $170 The House with a Clock $92 A Simple Favor $46 The Nun $34 Crazy Rich Asians $30 Hellfest $26 The Predator $20 White Boy Rick $15 Peppermint $10 The Hate U Give $8 Free Solo $7 The Meg $6
Unlike with week four, there did not appear to be an obvious anchor candidate. There was no badly priced Smallfoot sticking out like a sore thumb.
Instead, there was a toss up between Venom and A Star is Born. Or it sure seemed like a toss up, even when the Thursday night previews showed up. Smallfoot was a potential anchor, and there was an argument to be made that, as a kids film, it was unlikely to be affected by the other two, but I wasn’t buying into that. In my mind there were only two choices.
The argument for Venom was basically that it was another Marvel superhero movie, something that the box office over the last couple of years says we are not totally sick of yet. That was about it.
The argument against Venom was that it was not in the Marvel cinematic universe with the other marvel movies of late, such as Black Panther and Avenger: Infinity War. Instead it was a Sony Marvel movie, and the Sony side of Marvel movies is basically the X-men, some part of Spider-Man, and this Spider-Man spin-off. That is still pretty popular and all, but not main MCU popular.
Also, Venom is about a somewhat icky second tier anti-hero that managed to get a 35% score on MetaCritic. (Up from 33% last week.) So yeah.
For A Star is Born the highlights were good reviews (see above) and the fact that it stars Lady Gaga. What else do you need?
The only things going against it were an R rating, which keeps out the kids, and the fact that it was the third remake of the same movie. But being a remake isn’t necessarily a bad thing. The Judy Garland version of The Wizard of Oz was something like the seventh or eighth attempt to put that story on screen, and that is the one most of us know.
So even when the Thursday night previews came out showing Venom at $10 million and A Star is Born at $4.55 million, the choice was not obvious. Venom was pre-loaded with fans who were going to see it no matter what, but for a strong weekend some word of mouth was going to have to be in play. Bad word of mouth could have stifled the film.
With less than 10 minutes to go and competing lineups anchored on both films ready to be copied across, I decided to bet on Marvel. I filled in with Hell Fest which, with Halloween in the offing, seemed like it might be good for best performer. So I was 1x Venom 7x Hell Fest.
Come Saturday morning estimates it seemed like Venom was the safe choice, though a lineup with Free Solo, which then had the best performer nod, would keep you in the running if you anchored on A Star is Born.
Then Sunday rolled around and the estimate for Venom jumped up, giving it the best performer nod, leaving A Star is Born in the dust as an anchor. And then the estimate jumped up again, landing at $83 million on Monday morning, before the final numbers dropped it back to $80 million.
The perfect pick run was so tight that it changed with about every new final number that came on Monday. In the end it was 1x Venom 1x House With a Clock, 1x The Nun 2x Hell Fest and 3x Free Solo.
Nobody in the TAGN league got the perfect pick, and the results for the week shook out like this:
- I HAS BAD TASTE – $96,886,446
- Wilhelm’s Kul Tiras Kino – $96,842,069
- Skar’s Movies and Meat Pies – $96,842,069
- Ben’s X-Wing Express – $96,202,870
- Darren’s Unwatched Cineplex – $96,202,870
- Corr’s Carefully Curated Cineplex – $77,389,267
- Cyanbane’s Neuticles Viewing Party – $77,389,267
- Po Huit’s Sweet Movie Suite – $76,746,743
- Vigo Grimborne’s Medieval Screening Complex – $76,694,291
- Paks’ Pancakes & Pics – $76,678,834
Out of the sixteen people who picked, five went with Venom, ten went with A Star is Born, and one went with Smallfoot. The results were stratified by anchor, though the Smallfoot pick was better than one A Star is Born lineup. Isey got the top spot by a mere $44K, followed by three pairs of identical picks, with ties decided by the FML tie breaker option.
That left the overall season scores looking like this:
- Wilhelm’s Kul Tiras Kino – $364,940,448
- Corr’s Carefully Curated Cineplex – $341,242,583
- I HAS BAD TASTE – $333,407,717
- Cyanbane’s Neuticles Viewing Party – $331,163,002
- Too Orangey For Crows – $330,236,294
- Darren’s Unwatched Cineplex – $330,213,456
- Goat Water Picture Palace – $329,582,823
- Ben’s X-Wing Express – $317,341,987
- Po Huit’s Sweet Movie Suite – $316,998,683
- Vigo Grimborne’s Medieval Screening Complex – $312,521,699
Corr and I are battling for first place while everybody else on the list is pretty much in a close race for third and anybody on that list could reach first place with a strong week.
The alternate scoring ended up like this:
- Wilhelm’s Kul Tiras Kino 33
- Corr’s Carefully Curated Cineplex 32
- I HAS BAD TASTE 27
- Too Orangey For Crows 24
- Goat Water Picture Palace 23
- Vigo Grimborne’s Medieval Screening Complex 22
- Cyanbane’s Neuticles Viewing Party 21
- Darren’s Unwatched Cineplex 19
- Po Huit’s Sweet Movie Suite 19
- Ben’s X-Wing Express 13
Only one tie this week in the top ten. While Corr and I are at the top, a bad week for one of us or a first place win for most of the rest could change that.
And so it goes. Week five is gone and now we must look forward to week six and the new options it brings.
Venom $501 A Star is Born $412 First Man $371 Goosebumps 2 $265 Smallfoot $150 Bad Times $149 Night School $109 The House with a Clock $57 A Simple Favor $27 The Nun $21 Colette $21 The Hate U Give $21 Crazy Rich Asians $19 Free Solo $14 Best of the Rest $12
This time around we lose The Meg, Hellfest, The Predator, White Boy Rick, and Peppermint.
Coming in to replace them are First Man, Bad Times, Goosebumps 2, Colette, and Best of the Rest.
First Man is a biopic about Neil Armstrong, the first man to walk on the moon. It stars Ryan Gosling and has strong reviews, but is probably limited by the topic at hand. How exciting is three guys traveling a quarter million miles to a barren moon when we’re getting like two Star Wars movies every year lately? Estimates put it in the $20 million range.
Goosebumps 2 is a sequel so we’ll apply the 85% rule to it. The original opened at $23 million, so the sequel should be good for just under $20 million. Long range tracking is calling it at about $17 million, give or take.
Bad Times at the El Royal, to give it its full title, has an ensemble cast and is some sort of mystery set in 1969. The early estimates are all over, but the floor seems to be about $10 million for it given the decent reviews and the cast.
Colette is a biopic about a French author of the same name who penned the novella Gigi. It stars Keira Knightley, but otherwise my insights are limited. Pricing is likely due to a limited scope of release.
And finally our old friend Best of the Rest is back in play, which means that anything that fell off the list this week, or never made it to the list in the first place, is in play. Best of the Rest often has a good chance at the best performer spot, though only if FML doesn’t mess up the pricing elsewhere on the list.
So I am in my usual state of not having a lineup I feel strong about. My Monday Hot Takes pick ended up being 1x First Man, 1x Goosebumps 2, 2x Bad Times, 1x A Simple Favor, and 3x Best of the Rest. But that feels like a bet on red, trying to be safe at a time of limited information. Certainly how well Venom seems to hold will play into my picks. I suspect my lineup will change a lot between now and when the league locks on Friday.