The Summer Fantasy Movie League Season starts this week, so it is time to get going on our picks.
As I noted in the post last week, there are a few special rules for this league that differentiate it from the standard league. They are:
- Thursday night lock – Get your picks in by 11pm Pacific
- No empty screen penalty
- $2 million bonus for the worst performing film
The first is to remove the insight that comes from being able to see the Thursday night preview numbers, which tend to come out right before the Friday morning lock time.
The other two are just meant to stir things up a bit. I wasn’t sure I was going to go with them both, but then I forgot about them until the new season unlocked on Monday night, and at that point I was stuck with them.
Of the two, I think the lack of penalty for an empty screen… by default an empty screen deducts $2 million from your score… will be the more interesting. It may end up distorting the league, but my hope is that it will lead to tension between piling on for the obvious winners of the week and filling out all the screens in the hope of getting that best performer boost that often goes to middle or low priced titles.
And the $2 million bonus per screen to worst performing title picks is just a wild card, something I hope will boost some scores by surprise.
As I said, at this point we’re stuck with those changes, so we’ll see how they go. I will definitely try to compare what the perfect pick for this league is with what the standard rule set gets.
Here in the first week we have the following lineup:
- The Secret Life of Pets 2 – $664
- Dark Phoenix – $540
- Aladdin – $277
- Godzilla – $251
- Rocketman $209
- Ma – $128
- John Wick 3 – $77
- Avengers: Endgame – $54
- Detective Pikachu – $49
- Bharat – $27
- Booksmart – $25
- Brightburn – $12
- The Hustle – $8
- A Dog’s Journey – $6
- The Intruder – $5
The big opening this week is The Secret Life of Pets 2. I feel like we’re getting a bit cheated on the opening week with a title that isn’t big enough to get chopped up into Fri/Sat/Sun. Still, school is out already some places and is wrapping up for summer this week where I live, so throwing out a kids movie seems like a good bet. Louis C.K., persona non grata at the moment, is out as the lead voice talent, but Patton Oswalt is in to replace him. I’m not sure kids care about that.
The original grossed $104 million its opening weekend in 2016, landing on the Independence Day holiday week in the US. Long range forecasts have this in around $65-70 million, which feels a bit conservative to me. The studio has been advertising the hell out of this release. When I have played Words with Friends over the last week I was seeing ads for SLP2 constantly… like 6-10 times in a row before seeing a different ad… then back to it again. So it seems like a strong pick.
Also opening this week is Dark Phoenix, which was being called X-Men: Dark Phoenix at one point, to emphasize its lineage. However, at some point that stopped and now I have to get reminded every time I see the title that it is a super hero movie.
Anyway, summer super hero movie. Seems like a safe bet. I am not sure how strong/popular the X-Men franchise is at the moment, but it has Jennifer Lawrence as Mystique and Sophie Turner (Sansa Stark) as Jean Grey, who is the titular role as the Dark Phoenix and is being turned out by Disney who seems to own every property these days. But the long range forecast only has it at $50 million… ONLY $50 million… so something is amiss here.
The other new opener this week is Bharat, an Indian film, which will have some draw in the US.
Against those three are past strong releases now a few weeks in, including Aladdin, Avengers: Endgame, Detective Pikachu, John Wick 3, and Rocketman. There are a lot of strong possible picks without getting down into filler. And without the empty screen penalty you can eschew the low end if you so desire.
My initial, use all the screens pick was 1x SLP2, 1x Aladdin, 1x Bharat, 1x Brightburn, and 4x The Intruder, the latter which I suspect might be the worst performer. That is a conventional lineup that works for the standard league rules as well. But with no empty screen penalty I am considering 1x SLP2, 1x Aladdin, 1x Avengers: Endgame, 1x The Intruder, and 4x empty.
The lack of an empty screen penalty might be a mistake. We shall see.
Anyway, get your picks in by tomorrow evening. For those wishing to join in this season I will put another link to the league in the comments. You will need to create an account on the Fantasy Movie League site in order to join.
Also, I said something about a TAGN Discord, so we have that here now. As those who joined the Blaguast Discord last August will know, I do tend to be on Discord when I am home. We’ll see if having that will be useful. If you want to join in on that, the link is here.