Daily Archives: June 12, 2019

Summer Movie League – Pets and Phoenix Falter

The first week of our summer Fantasy Movie League is in the books and was marked by the two big releases falling short of projections.

Both the Secret Lives of Pets 2 and Dark Phoenix opened up last week, projected to be $50+ million and $40+ million respectively, but neither made their mark.  Instead SLP2 was just past $46 million and Dark Phoenix only crossed the $32 million mark.

Instead, the anchor of the week for the perfect pick was 3x Aladdin, which ended up somewhat over the modest projections for it going into its third week.  The perfect pick of the week ended up being 3x Aladdin, 1x John Wick 3, 1x Avengers: End Game, and 3x A Dog’s Journey, the latter also being the best performer of the week.  That was worth $101 million.

Nobody in our league went with the perfect pick, or even anchored on 3x Aladdin, and the scores sorted out as follows:

  1. Goat Water Picture Palace – $91,105,328
  2. Vigo Grimborne’s Medieval Screening Complex – $80,360,143
  3. Wilhelm’s Qeynosian Kinetoscope – $79,555,422
  4. Miniature Giant Space Hamsterplex – $77,230,126
  5. Po Huit’s Sweet Movie Suite – $76,936,780
  6. Ben’s X-Wing Exp(r)ess – $75,985,803
  7. Too Orangey For Crows – $74,604,906
  8. SynCaine’s Dark Room of Delights – $69,881,816
  9. Joanie’s Joint – $65,313,730
  10. Cyanbane’s Neuticles Viewing Party – $62,588,778

Goat led the pack anchored on SLP2 and Aladdin, but was boosted by six screens of A Dog’s Journey, which earned an extra $2 million per screen by being the best performer.

I was apparently the only one who decided to see if the lack of penalty for empty screens would make it worthwhile to pile on higher priced features.  If you use the Cineplex Builder it will always give you a full lineup as it does not seem to adapt to the rules of individual leagues.

Different Rules are Different

But I went with 1x SLP2, 4x John Wick 3, and 1x Bharat.  Not a huge pick, but enough for third place, though that was in part because I got the $2 million bonus per screen for having picked the worst performer of the week, Bharat.   I was also the only one to do that.  Not suspicious at all.

And so it goes, one week in.  Being the first week, the one score list is all I need, but now we are on to week 2 and four new releases.  Here are the overall choices:

  1. Men in Black International – $536
  2. Secret Life of Pets 2 – $352
  3. Shaft – $334
  4. Aladdin – $271
  5. Dark Phoenix – $205
  6. Godzilla – $143
  7. Rocketman – $130
  8. Late Night – $96
  9. John Wick 3 – $80
  10. Avengers: Endgame – $56
  11. MA – $55
  12. The Dead Don’t Die – $28
  13. Detective Pikachu – $26
  14. Book Smart – $11
  15. A Dog’s Journey – $11

First up on the new titles is Men in Black International, which is expected to top the week, if only just.  Well, it is expected to get to nearly $40 million, but that doesn’t feel like much after the pre-summer blockbusters that have already launched.  Still, it is a soft week, so it will be king.

On the plus side, Men in Black is a well known franchise and people really liked the first one.  On the downside, the two sequels did not bring much new to the franchise, as the Honest Trailers review of the series points out.  And there is Will Smith playing the genie in Aladdin rather than wearing the dark suit.  Oh, and the reviews so far stink.  Still, if you’ve already seen Godzilla, John Wick 3, and Avengers: Endgame what other options do you have?

I guess there is Shaft.  They got apparently the only person worthy of playing John Shaft, Samuel L. Jackson, to take the starring role… and I say that because he was who they tapped for the Shaft reboot of the same name back in 2000 as well.  I believe this is actually a sequel to the film from 19 years ago, and takes place 20 years down the line in the story as well as in reality, so SLJ makes perfect sense.  But the original Shaft films were very much of their time back in the early 70s and I am not sure how well that translates to 2019.  That it took nearly 20 years to get a follow on doesn’t bode well.

Shaft is currently pegged at about $23 million, which would mark it for 3rd place in the box office this weekend.

Then there is Late Night, which stars Emma Thompson as the only female late night talk show host on the air who turns to Mindy Kaling when her ratings begin to drop off.  The film is being distributed by Amazon Studios, isn’t expected to be big enough to get make the long range tracking list, is priced into 8th place in between John Wick 3 and Rocketman, and will probably be on Amazon Prime in a month in any case.  Somebody projected $5 million for it.

And finally there is The Dead Don’t Die, which might seem like a Game of Thrones reference, but isn’t.  As a low budget zombie film, you might dismiss it, having seen it priced way down the list, just ahead of the aging Detective Pikachu.  It might not even crack $2 million.

But then you go and look at the cast… which includes Bill Murray, Adam Driver, Tilda Swinton, Steve Buscemi, Danny Glover, Rosie Perez, Carol Kane, Selena Gomez among others… and you wonder how this cannot simply make more than that.  Seriously, the name didn’t register with me, but once I looked it up I wanted to go see it, and zombie films are not really my thing.  Even with mixed reviews it feels like it is priced too low to me.

So with that in mind my early week lineup is 1x Men in Black, 1x Aladdin, and 6x The Dead Don’t Die.

Picks lock late night tomorrow, so get yours in soon.  Next week we will face the juggernaut of Toy Story 4, guaranteed to be a 3 day split.