Category Archives: Fantasy Movie League

Winter Movie League – Slow Start

The Winter edition of the Fantasy Movie League kicked off this past weekend.

The TAGN League got a boost in numbers with the coming of the winter season, jumping from seven players to an even dozen.

It was, however, a bit of a mixed start for some of us.  Well, at least for me.

Of course, it was predestined to be a slow week, wedged in between the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays and with few new titles showing up.  And those new titles that made the list were all in limited release.  How big of a box office can a new Woody Allen film expect when it is only showing on five screens?

The lineup of options looked like this:

Coco                           $417 
Justice League                 $280 
Wonder                         $230 
Thor: Ragnarok                 $134 
Murder on the Orient Express   $132
Daddy's Home 2                 $126
Three Billboards               $74 
Lady Bird                      $66 
The Star                       $60 
Bad Moms Christmas             $44 
Roman J. Israel, Esq.          $36
The Man Who Invented Christmas $14 
The Disaster Artist            $13
Call Me By Your Name           $8
Wonder Wheel                   $6

The question was, as always, how to spend your budget, fill out your screens, and end up with the maximum revenue.  The options were many this week though, and the revenue projections a bit desultory.  It is like the industry doesn’t care so much about slow weeks.

I went around and around on what to anchor on, and I think I setup variations on all of the likely suspects.  Coco was expensive, but sure to lead the box office.  Justice League still had me doubting.  Seven screens of Thor and one filler seemed like an option.  And then there were those limited engagement titles, The Disaster Artist, Call Me By Your Name, and Wonder Wheel.  With low prices, small screen counts, and conservative revenue expectations any one of them might have popped up and become the price/performer of the week.

Then again, they might not.

In the end I decided to go with what felt like a somewhat conservative pick.  I didn’t gamble on any of the limited screen wild cards and stuck with titles in the middle of the pack.  I anchored on two screens of Wonder, which seemed like they would do at least as well as one screen of Coco, a screen of Thor, and five screens of Three Billboards, the latter expanding to more screens for the week and getting good reviews.

My Winter Week One Picks

Things did not roll my way however.  Two screens of Wonder ended up being worth less than a single screen of Coco, Thor fell just short of ten million, and Three Billboards did not deliver the five million I was hoping it might, and was nowhere close to being the best price/performer.

Instead the perfect pick for the week was Coco, four screens of Thor, and three screens of The Disaster Artist, the later being the best price/performer of the week, a selection worth $81,711,083.

Winter Week One Perfect Pick

359 people got the perfect pick this week.  Fortunately for me, none of them were in the Meta League.  The scores for the Meta League shook out as follows:

  1. Logan’s Luxurious Thaumatrope (M) – $75,519,870
  2. SynCaine’s Dark Room of Delights (T) – $73,279,975
  3. Ben’s X-Wing Express (M) – $72,587,036
  4. Biyondios! Kabuki & Cinema (T) – $67,129,287
  5. Vigo Grimborne’s Medieval Screening Complex (T) – $66,253,316
  6. Dan’s Decadent Decaplex (M) – $65,368,920
  7. Po Huit’s Sweet Movie Suite – (T) $63,798,462
  8. Corr’s Carefully Curated Cineplex (M) – $63,798,462
  9. Dr Liore’s Evil House of Pancakes (M) – $63,168,780
  10. Darren’s Unwatched Cineplex (T) – $62,974,020
  11. Joanie’s Joint (T) – $60,469,634
  12. Paks’ Pancakes & Pics (T) – $60,364,687
  13. Movies Movies Movies (T) – $58,309,063
  14. Elly’s Elemental E-Plex (M) – $58,309,063
  15. Aure’s Astonishingly Amateur Amphitheatre (M) – $58,309,063
  16. Wilhelm’s Broken Isles Bijou (T/M) – $56,162,985
  17. Kraut Screens (T) – $53,873,432
  18. The Filthy Fleapit (T) – $53,195,938
  19. I HAS BAD TASTE (T) – $53,195,938
  • TAGN Movie Obsession – players from it marked with a (T)
  • MCats Multiplex – players from it marked with an (M)

So the Meta League grew to 19, from 13 last season, with five new players in the TAGN League and Liore returning to MCats.  That is good, though it means I need to collate a longer list each week, so more room for mistakes.  Expect more mystery asterisks and such.

Logan came out on top for the week, no doubt a good feeling after ending up last season in the back half of the pack, though SynCaine, who topped the TAGN League, was not far behind.  Logan anchored on two screens of Coco while SynCaine was all-in on Thor.

I was way down the list, coming in at 16th.  However, I take heart in the fact that it was something of a slow week and the gap between myself and Logan is under $20 million, not an unreasonable gap, and the overall gap between first and last was $27 million, not an insurmountable distance this early in the season.

Still, this is not a time for complacency.  The weeks roll by and if you don’t close the gap you’re done.

We have one more week to go before Star Wars: The Last Jedi and the holiday break brings down big box office numbers upon us.  The choices for week two are:

Coco                         $390
Justice League               $177 
Wonder                       $169
Just Getting Started         $152
The Disaster Artist          $150
Thor: Ragnarok               $126 
Daddy's Home 2               $95 
Murder on the Orient Express $88
Lady Bird                    $73
Three Billboards             $68
The Star                     $58
Bad Moms Christmas           $47
The Shape of Water           $34
Roman J. Israel, Esq.        $20
Darkest Hour                 $13

 

Pricing did not change dramatically in most cases.  Coco is still expected to be the top in the box office with Justice League and Wonder trailing behind.

Three films fell off the list, The Man Who Invented Christmas, Call Me By Your Name, and Wonder Wheel.  They were replaced by Just Getting Started, The Shape of Water, and Darkest Hour, the latter two in limited release.

That leaves a lot of options for the week, with any of the top six films potentially serving as an anchor, with the mix being anything from one screen of Coco to seven screens of Thor and everything in between.  Four of those six are probably predictable in their results, with The Disaster Artist, now in wider release and with good reviews, and Just Getting Started, with Morgan Freeman, Tommy Lee Jones, and Renee Russo on the poster, being the wild cards.

My gut says that The Disaster Artist, being a film about making another specific film, might be a bit too inside-baseball to be a runaway success, but at its price it is worth considering.

Meanwhile Just Getting Started sounds like another contentious buddy comedy where opposites have to put their differences aside in order to survive, ala The Hitman’s Bodyguard.  Basically  The Mob Lawyer’s Bodyguard, if I were to give it a new title.  Still, it is a formula that has worked over and over again.  The question is, are we talking Beverly Hills Cop or The Last Boy Scout here?

(I had to search for an action buddy movie that failed to gross more than budget for that comparison.  It is a very successful story structure.  Even some titles I remember being bad were modestly successful.)

Anyway, one last week before Star Wars: The Last Jedi dominates our picks.

Winter Movie League – Opening Options

As noted in the previous post, there will be a Winter Fanatsy Movie League and I will be posting about it weekly as I have before, combing the TAGN League and the MCats League into a single Meta League.  Maybe Liore’s League as well, as she is supposed to be back to play for Winter.

The Winter season (or the “Awards” season as FML refers to it) starts right now, as in you need to sign up and get your picks in by Friday at 9am PST (17:00 UTC) if you want to be in for all 13 weeks.  So if you’re dying to join the TAGN league and play, click link now and sign up.

I already see two new names on the list and I hope that all of those who came in late for Fall will stick around for Winter where they won’t be playing down a week or two (or four in one case).

While one of the aspects of this season will be trying to figure out how Star Wars – The Last Jedi will do, we still have two weeks to noodle around before that is a thing.  So, for the opening week of Winter the choices are:

Coco                           $417 
Justice League                 $280 
Wonder                         $230 
Thor: Ragnarok                 $134 
Murder on the Orient Express   $132
Daddy's Home 2                 $126
Three Billboards               $74 
Lady Bird                      $66 
The Star                       $60 
Bad Moms Christmas             $44 
Roman J. Israel, Esq.          $36
The Man Who Invented Christmas $14 
The Disaster Artist            $13
Call Me By Your Name           $8
Wonder Wheel                   $6

Coco again looks to win the box office this week, but even a conservative week over week decline still puts it under $30 million under normal circumstances.  Otherwise there is mostly a collection of retreads from past weeks, with three new titles popping up, The Disaster Artists, Call Me By Your Name, and Wonder Wheel, all of which are coming in at the bottom end of the pricing.

My early week, haven’t seen any forecasts, inclination is that some mix of Justice League or Wonder as anchor is the way to go, though the fact that you can get seven screens of Thor or Daddy’s Home 2 is still tempting should they pop a bit this week.

Of course, it is the “most wonderful time of the year,” as the song goes, so there is a chance that people will go full on into “Nutcracker” mode and feel the need to see Christmas related movies.  That might give a boost to The Man Who Invented Christmas, The Star, or even Bad Moms Christmas I suppose.

However, while we’re in that season, school is still in session and there is holiday shopping to get done.  Does that make it more or less likely for people to see movies over the weekend?

Anyway, welcome to the new season!

 

Fall Movie League – Winners Edition

Here we are at the last post for the Fall 2017 run of our Fantasy Movie League.

This, the thirteenth and final week of the Fall season, was the last chance for people to jockey for position, and with a new Disney Pixar title hitting theaters, there was the possibility of some movement in the final ranking.  The lineup for the week was:

Coco                           $716 
Justice League                 $534
Wonder                         $298
Thor: Ragnarok                 $206
Daddy's Home 2                 $143
Murder on the Orient Express   $128
Roman J. Israel, Esq.          $102
The Star                       $96
Bad Moms Christmas             $70
The Man Who Invented Christmas $68
Three Billboards               $51
Lady Bird                      $49
Jigsaw                         $7
Loving Vincent                 $6
Blade Runner 2049              $6

Projections for the Pixar title Coco seemed decent, but not enough to support that price in light of other options.  So after that mad minute first Monday pick, where I always anchor on the film that is going to top the box office, I spent my time exploring other options and “what if” scenarios.  Justice League and Wonder played out in some of my plans.

Then on Wednesday I saw a couple of articles projecting Coco to run past $70 million.  At that run rate Coco was suddenly very viable and I went back to building a line up anchored on that, deciding to also bet heavily on Lady Bird due to the positive social media buzz it seemed to be getting.

Then in the FML Slack channel Ben curbed my enthusiasm by pointing out that those $70 million and up projections were for the entire week, as Coco opened up in the US on Tuesday, and not for the Friday, Saturday, and Sunday time frame that would count for the FML league.  Damn press not taking my needs into account.

Anyway, that put Coco back down at maybe $50 million again and I told myself I needed to go back and redo my lineup.  And then Thanksgiving came, which we host at our house, and all of the fun and work that goes with that and the next time I thought about FML was on Friday morning at about a quarter to ten, less than an hour after the picks were locked, but it might as well have been forever since I was stuck with where I had left things on Wednesday.

My Fall Week Thirteen Picks

So my hope was that Coco would do much better than expected.

It did not, just passing the $50 million mark expected of it.

Meanwhile, the winning bet of the week was Murder on the Orient Express, which got the best price/performance nod and was the anchor film for the perfect pick of the week.

Fall Week Thirteen Perfect Pick

542 players got the perfect pick this week, which is a sizable number and makes me wonder why I didn’t at least see that as an option.

Amongst those with the perfect pick was Corr, thus cementing his win in the MCats League and the overall Meta League.  The scores for the week for the Meta League were:

  1. Corr’s Carefully Curated Cineplex (M) – $118,127,443
  2. Dan’s Decadent Decaplex (M) – $110,643,594
  3. Logan’s Luxurious Thaumatrope (M) – $110,643,594
  4. Po Huit’s Sweet Movie Suite (T) – $110,643,594
  5. The Filthy Fleapit (T) – $89,095,650
  6. Darren’s Unwatched Cineplex (T) – $89,095,650
  7. Ben’s X-Wing Express (M) – $82,679,441
  8. Elly’s Elemental E-Plex (M) – $78,853,690
  9. Aure’s Astonishingly Amateur Amphitheatre (M) – $78,853,690
  10. Kraut Screens (T) – $77,042,620
  11. SynCaine’s Dark Room of Delights (T) – $76,819,285
  12. Wilhelm’s Films from New Eden – $71,832,620
  13. Paks’ Pancakes & Pics (T) – $70,520,361
  14. I HAS MOVIES (T) – $69,468,295
  • TAGN Movie Obsession – players from it marked with a (T)
  • MCats Multiplex – players from it marked with an (M)

There is a new name on the list, Po Huit, who joined in for the next season, but got in a pick for week thirteen and won the week in the TAGN league, so I figured I had better mention him.

Meanwhile, the bottom three on the list are all people who anchored on Coco.  That was clearly the bad pick of the week.

With week thirteen complete, the final scores for the Fall Meta League are:

  1. Corr’s Carefully Curated Cineplex (M) – $1,241,295,127
  2. Aure’s Astonishingly Amateur Amphitheatre (M) – $1,181,566,118
  3. Elly’s Elemental E-Plex (M) – $1,150,719,925
  4. Ben’s X-Wing Express (M) – $1,149,644,649
  5. Dan’s Decadent Decaplex (M) – $1,122,285,136
  6. Wilhelm’s Films from New Eden – $1,113,910,654
  7. Paks’ Pancakes & Pics (T) – $1,084,359,341
  8. SynCaine’s Dark Room of Delights (T) – $1,011,733,999
  9. Logan’s Luxurious Thaumatrope (M) – $995,906,854
  10. Kraut Screens (T) – $871,754,429
  11. The Filthy Fleapit (T) – $871,715,649
  12. I HAS MOVIES (T) – $842,656,155
  13. Darren’s Unwatched Cineplex (T) – $717,236,170

As expected for the last few weeks, Corr came out on top for the overall Meta League and also won 5 of 13 weeks in the MCats League.

Despite being down in 6th place I managed to eke out a win in the TAGN League after weeks of battling for the first spot with SynCaine.  However, I only came out as the league winner once during the season, while SynCaine took the top spot five times.  Wonder week and the huge win for me there sank him.

And I doubt I would have been in first place had Pak not started a week late.  He won 4 of 13 weeks in the TAGN League and would have no doubt come in first in the league if he had been there for the initial week.  The gap between us was a mere $29 million and he surely would have done better than that on week one.  I feel like there should be a Roger Marris asterisk next to my win.

So that is the end of the Fall season.  Congrats to Corr, the overall winner, and everybody who managed to win a week or even managed to play every week.  Just remembering to get in and make your picks is half the battle sometimes.

There will be a Winter league.  My plans are to do weekly posts for that as well.  And, after Pak and Po Huit soundly thrash me in that venture, to take the Spring season off in order to feel fresh for another run at the Summer blockbuster season.

In order to keep the season separated there will be a second post today with the initial movie lineup and some comments about what is to come.  Thank you for playing!

Fall Movie League – Week of Wonder

The penultimate week for our Fantasy Movie League fall season has passed.

Also, “penultimate” is one of those words I use whenever I have the opportunity.

With one final set of picks for week 13 yet to go, now would be a good time to think about joining our league for the winter season.  Clicking on this link will send you on your way.  I was wondering whether or not to keep going with this, but we have Star Wars: The Last Jedi coming up, which should be a wonderfully budget distorting venture.  Pricing for a weekend when the top movie is expected to bring in $250 million should be interesting.

But that is all in the future.  First we need to review what happened on week twelve, the week of Justice League’s launch, which saw the pricing as follows:

 Justice League - FRI         $636
 Justice League - SAT         $434
 Justice League - SUN         $334
 Thor: Ragnarok               $269
 Daddy's Home 2               $175
 Murder on the Orient Express $152
 Wonder                       $140
 The Star                     $120
 Bad Moms Christmas           $77
 Lady Bird                    $30
 Jigsaw                       $16
 Boo! 2                       $9
 Geostorm                     $8
 Blade Runner 2049            $8
 Three Billboards             $8

Monday evening, when the new week is unlocked, I immediately do a quick, gut level pick without doing any research whatsoever on the theory that it will get one of my bad ideas of of my head quickly.

This time around I anchored on two screens of Justice League Sunday and filled in from there.  Then I started poking around and decided that Justice League was not going to be the pick for the week.  Pricing was based on it doing something close to $150 million but by Tuesday there were already murmurs about that being optimistic.

Based on the pricing and initial predictions, The Star looked to be a good bet for the best price-performer for the week, but I wasn’t buying that either.  Stuck for choice I redid my picks anchored on three screens of Thor: Ragnarok and then played with options for the back fill as the week went on.

By late on Thursday projections for The Star had begun to wane, Justice League was under $125 million, and I was sitting there with Thor and Blade Runner 2049 wondering if I should stick with that.  Box Office Pro, one of the sites I watch… in part because they do weekly projections and in part because they don’t post a hundred things a day like the Variety movie section can… popped up with their forecast, which had Wonder at $17 million, up from a modest $12 million earlier in the week.

I put that in my spreadsheet and it looked to be the clear pick for best price performer.  I took that as a sign and went in with seven screens of Wonder, leaving a screen of Blade Runner 2049 there, more a pick from the heart than from logic.  After that I was busy and didn’t have time to follow up until after the picks were locked on Friday morning.

My Fall Week Twelve Picks

Looking at the MCats league, I was clearly not the only one who saw the swell Wonder was getting.  Of seven active players, six of us went heavy on Wonder.  Over on the TAGN league however, only Pak and I were in on Wonder, with Justice League taking the anchor spots for four players and Thor for another.

And then Saturday rolled in and, for once it was not the Saturday of false hope, as Wonder was projected to hit $27 million.  At that level nothing else was poised to touch it and the only real question was what film was required in that eighth screen for the perfect pick of the week.

Well, it wasn’t going to be Blade Runner 2049, which was running at about half of the best estimate I could find for it.  Three Billboards was the right filler instead, giving a perfect pick worth just shy of $213 million.  906 people got that, including four of the MCats league.

Fall Week Twelve Perfect Pick

Still, even without the perfect pick, anchoring on Wonder was going to lift me up against SynCaine.  Last week his Daddy’s Home 2 lineup killed, a situation helped by my bad-in-hindsight Geostorm heavy lineup.  That put him $23 million ahead of me.  Then we got the results for week twelve.

  1. Corr’s Carefully Curated Cineplex (M) – $212,937,228
  2. Aure’s Astonishingly Amateur Amphitheatre (M) – $212,937,228
  3. Elly’s Elemental E-Plex (M) – $212,937,228
  4. Ben’s X-Wing Express (M) – $212,937,228
  5. Paks’ Pancakes & Pics (T) – $207,916,834
  6. Wilhelm’s Films from New Eden – $207,461,101
  7. Dan’s Decadent Decaplex (M) – $192,196,924
  8. Logan’s Luxurious Thaumatrope (M) – $90,471,789
  9. The Filthy Fleapit (T) – $80,640,147
  10. SynCaine’s Dark Room of Delights (T) – $77,851,048
  11. I HAS MOVIES (T) – $75,091,163
  12. Darren’s Unwatched Cineplex (T) – $72,529,183
  13. Kraut Screens (T) – $66,355,138
  • TAGN Movie Obsession – players from it marked with a (T)
  • MCats Multiplex – players from it marked with an (M)

There was a four-way tie for first this week, which meant not a lot of movement.  The only one assailing Corr was Aure and they maintained their gap.

Otherwise, people who bet heavy on Wonder had a six figure week and those that did not were stuck in the five figure zone, leaving Meta League season totals looking like this:

  1. Corr’s Carefully Curated Cineplex (M) – $1,123,167,684
  2. Aure’s Astonishingly Amateur Amphitheatre (M) – $1,102,712,428
  3. Elly’s Elemental E-Plex (M) – $1,071,866,235
  4. Ben’s X-Wing Express (M) – $1,066,965,208
  5. Wilhelm’s Films from New Eden – $1,042,078,034
  6. Dan’s Decadent Decaplex (M) – $1,011,641,542
  7. Paks’ Pancakes & Pics (T) – $1,013,838,980
  8. SynCaine’s Dark Room of Delights (T) – $934,914,714
  9. Logan’s Luxurious Thaumatrope (M) – $885,263,260
  10. Kraut Screens (T) – $794,711,809
  11. The Filthy Fleapit (T) – $782,619,999
  12. I HAS MOVIES (T) – $773,187,860
  13. Darren’s Unwatched Cineplex (T) – $628,140,520

So Corr seems pretty secure in first place, and Aure in second.  The third place battle is now between Elly and Ben, while I seem to be in the gap between fourth and sixth.  And SynCaine, who was in the race for third spot last week fell back to eighth place due to Wonder paying off so big.

That leaves us with once week left in the fall season, with the following choices:

Coco                           $716 
Justice League                 $534
Wonder                         $298
Thor: Ragnarok                 $206
Daddy's Home 2                 $143
Murder on the Orient Express   $128
Roman J. Israel, Esq.          $102
The Star                       $96
Bad Moms Christmas             $70
The Man Who Invented Christmas $68
Three Billboards               $51
Lady Bird                      $49
Jigsaw                         $7
Loving Vincent                 $6
Blade Runner 2049              $6

Leading the pack is Coco, from Disney/Pixar.  It already had a huge opening in Mexico, we shall see if Pixar magic continues north of the boarder.  Justice League is here for its second week and ought to be worth north of $40 million.  Thor is still in play as well. Then there is the week 12 ringer, Wonder, now priced more appropriately.  Also new to the list this week are Roman J. Israel, Esq., The Man Who Invented Christmas, and Loving Vincent.  And I still have one more week to put Blade Runner 2049 in my picks.

As I write this on Monday night, I couldn’t tell you which way to jump, but my current anchor is Coco.

Finally, as noted above, I will be carrying on for the Winter season.  Click here to join.  We shall see what Star Wars does to the league.

 

Fall Movie League – Who’s Your Daddy?

Our Fall Fantasy Movie League run is now eleven weeks in, leaving only two more to go.

The week eleven box office was clearly going to go to Thor: Ragnarok again, and the goat-driving god of Asgard was priced appropriately for that.  The week’s picks were.

 Thor: Ragnarok               $659
 Murder on the Orient Express $284
 Daddy's Home 2               $266
 Bad Moms Christmas           $105
 Jigsaw                       $34
 Boo! 2                       $25
 Geostorm                     $19
 Thank You for Your Service   $18
 Happy Death Day              $16
 Blade Runner 2049            $14
 Only the Brave               $13
 Victoria & Abdul             $10
 The Foreigner                $9
 It                           $6
 Subrubicon                   $6

Competing with Thor for anchor position in people’s lineups were two new entries, Murder on the Orient Express and Daddy’s Home 2.

Estimates on both of the new films were somewhat soft, with those willing to commit to a number sticking below $25 million on each while those giving a range allowed that either might go past that and close to $30 million.  But nobody strayed much beyond that.

Meanwhile Thor was a pretty solid bet for $55-65 million.  Having wrested the lead of the TAGN league from SynCaine last week, I felt that the conservative track might be best.  So I anchored on Thor, put on a pair of Bad Moms Christmas, and then filled in with Geostorm.

My Fall Week Eleven Picks

Going with Geostorm was mostly based on it exceeding estimates every week despite being critically panned as a disaster of a disaster movie.

Thor came in a little low, but still in the range I expected.  But Daddy’s Home 2 seemed to be doing better than expected and was pulling up close to $30 million in the Saturday estimates.  That was giving SynCaine, who went in with three screens of Daddy’s Home 2 a lead for the week.  The only redeeming factor was that Bad Moms was the best price/performer and the $4 million extra that was giving me helped mitigate the strong Daddy’s Home 2 showing.

But I always call those first estimates “the Saturday of False Hopes” because the usually change by Monday.  Sure enough, on Sunday the roles had flipped, Dads passing Moms, putting Daddy’s Home 2 as the best price/performer, sinking my own picks to the bottom of the list.

Corr, who pays closer attention to these things, and who was in for six screens of Bad Moms so was keenly interested in the outcome, said early Monday that the margin between the two was thin enough that it could go either way with even a small shift in the final numbers.

However, it was not to be.  When the numbers were finalized, Daddy’s Home 2 was the best price/performer and the anchor for the perfect pick.

Fall Week Eleven Perfect Pick

123 people got the perfect pick for week eleven.  Fortunately, SynCaine was not one of them.  However, his anchoring on three screens of Daddy’s Home the only person in our overall group to do so, gave him his fifth win in the TAGN league and a win in the overall Meta League, with the numbers shaking out as:

  1. SynCaine’s Dark Room of Delights (T) – $115,590,767
  2. Kraut Screens (T) – $104,712,521
  3. Corr’s Carefully Curated Cineplex (M) – $100,919,575
  4. The Filthy Fleapit (T) – $96,030,514
  5. Darren’s Unwatched Cineplex (T) – $95,384,287
  6. I HAS MOVIES (T) – $94,984,586
  7. Elly’s Elemental E-Plex (M) – $94,252,816
  8. Ben’s X-Wing Express (M) – $91,751,712
  9. Dan’s Decadent Decaplex (M) – $90,021,774
  10. Logan’s Luxurious Thaumatrope (M) – $89,618,203
  11. Paks’ Pancakes & Pics (T) – $89,093,184
  12. Aure’s Astonishingly Amateur Amphitheatre (M) – $88,224,634
  13. Wilhelm’s Films from New Eden – $88,224,634
  • TAGN Movie Obsession – players from it marked with a (T)
  • MCats Multiplex – players from it marked with an (M)

I was feeling pretty good when I saw that Aure and I had the same picks for week eleven, she having done much better than I overall.  Pity we were of like minds on the week when she chose poorly.

That left the overall Meta League looking like this:

  1. Corr’s Carefully Curated Cineplex (M) – $910,230,456
  2. Aure’s Astonishingly Amateur Amphitheatre (M) – $889,775,200
  3. Elly’s Elemental E-Plex (M) – $858,929,007
  4. SynCaine’s Dark Room of Delights (T) – $857,063,666
  5. Ben’s X-Wing Express (M) – $854,027,980
  6. Wilhelm’s Films from New Eden – $834,616,933
  7. Dan’s Decadent Decaplex (M) – $819,444,618
  8. Paks’ Pancakes & Pics (T)$805,922,146
  9. Logan’s Luxurious Thaumatrope (M) – $794,791,471
  10. Kraut Screens (T) – $728,356,671
  11. The Filthy Fleapit (T) – $701,979,852
  12. I HAS MOVIES (T) – $698,096,697
  13. Darren’s Unwatched Cineplex (T) – $555,611,337

Corr’s third place finish this week put him solidly out in front of Aure again.  Aure, likewise, has a pretty solid hold on second place.  The close fight is for third place where this week’s results put Elly and SynCaine past Ben, who went all-in with eight screens of Bad Moms this week.

Then I sit down in sixth place, not completely out of the running, but I need a big week or one of those three to stumble in order to move up a notch or two.

Which leads us to the options for week twelve, the penultimate week of the Fall season.

Justice League - FRI         $636
Justice League - SAT         $434
Justice League - SUN         $334
Thor: Ragnarok               $269
Daddy's Home 2               $175
Murder on the Orient Express $152
Wonder                       $140
The Star                     $120
Bad Moms Christmas           $77
Lady Bird                    $30
Jigsaw                       $16
Boo! 2                       $9
Geostorm                     $8
Blade Runner 2049            $8
Three Billboards             $8

We have another big super hero movie opening for week twelve.  Justice League, like Thor two weeks back, is supposed to open so big relative to the rest of the pack that it has been divided into Friday, Saturday, and Sunday screenings.

The Justice League three-way, along with new films Wonder, The Star, Lady Bird, and Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri managed to push Thank You for Your Service, Happy Death Day, Only the Brave, Victoria & Abdul, The Foreigner, It, and Subrubicon off the list this week.

So Justice League seems to be the safe bet, being predicted to open even bigger than Thor did.  Putting Batman and Wonder Woman on the same screen will do that I guess.

On the other hand, Justice League is pretty pricey.  There is no “three Sundays” option as with Thor.  Friday seems like a sucker bet again, with maybe a Saturday and Sunday plus some very cheap filler being my main guess.  That might be my last chance to put Blade Runner 2049 in my lineup.

But without Justice League, where do you go?  With Thor good for $25 million or so, what do you team him up with? There is The Star, a rework of the Christmas nativity billed as a “computer animated Christian comedy film” starring animals.  I guess in a world with Veggie Tales that is possible.  And then there is Wonder, where photogenic parents struggle with the problems of a child with facial deformities.  Or there are last week’s properties, Daddy’s Home 2 and Murder on the Orient Express.

There are a lot of ways to jump this week.

Fall Movie League – Thor Winner

Week ten of our Fantasy Movie League has now passed and the mighty Thor has left his mark.

As with many big blockbuster weekends, the main man, Thor, was divided into Friday, Saturday, and Sunday picks because, with a weekend estimated take in excess of $100 million, each one of those days was expected to top all other films playing.

And so the choices for the week were as follows.

Thor - Friday              $479
Thor - Saturday            $443
Thor - Sunday              $300
Bad Moms Christmas         $201
Jigsaw                     $71
Boo! 2                     $46
Geostorm                   $27
Happy Death Day            $26
Blade Runner 2049          $23
Thank You for Your Service $22
Only the Brave             $21
The Foreigner              $20
It                         $18
Subrubicon                 $16
Victoria & Abdul           $14

In addition, in the ongoing holiday creep, Bad Moms Christmas was also opening in the first weekend in November.  You can barely get the Halloween decorations down in time for Christmas.  Its predecessor, Bad Moms, did well, but I was dubious that it would be a contender this week even with the reduced price.

Everything else was too cheap to be an anchor, so for me it really came down to what flavor of Thor to go with.

My going theory has been that Friday is a sucker’s bet, that while it generally has the biggest take, it has not been, in my limited observations enough to offset the high price of that day.  So Friday was off the list.  I was looking for some combo of Saturday and Sunday.

In the end I decided that three Sundays would get me the most bang for my buck.  It was the filler that was the tough choice.  I went with two screens of Blade Runner 2049… I do pick with my heart a little too often… and three screens of It.

My Fall Week Ten Picks

Of course, after the picks were set it came out from our resident expert that, when it comes to Friday, the Thursday night previews… and there was some discussion as to what constitutes a preview as opposed to simply opening on Thursday, the answer to which seemed to be that it is a preview if the studio says it is and that is that… count towards the Friday take.

So Friday was going to get Thursday night as well, and Thor’s Thursday night take was substantial.  As an experiment concerning Friday I had set my daughter’s account the two screens of Friday Thor and three screens of Victoria & Abdul, leaving three screens empty, just to test my Friday theory.  On learning about the Thursday aspect of it, I wondered if I was going to lose to my alternate pick yet again.

As it turned out, my theory about Friday was proven somewhat correct.  The dollars per FML buck spent was worst on Friday and best on Sunday.

  • Sun – Take $32.1 million – $ per FML buck $107,000
  • Sat – Take $44.2 million –  $ per FML buck 99,774
  • Fri – Take $46.5 million –   $ per FML buck 97,077

So in the Thor contest, Sunday won.

However, Thor did not take the best price/performance prize.  That went to Geostorm, which turned into the spoiler when it came to my nice little theory.  Despite Sunday being the best for just Thor, the perfect pick required Thor and as many screens of Geostorm as you could fit.  That ended up being Thor Firday, Thor Sunday, Jigsaw, and five screens of Geostorm, a selection good for $116,069,538.

Fall Week Ten Perfect Pick

121 people share that pick, none of which were in the Meta League.

That pick was barely more than $5 million ahead of the second place pick, which was built on three screens of Sunday Thor… or basically a gap equal to the perfect pick… and even one person in our Meta League topped $110 million, so it wasn’t a huge winner.

As for the Meta League, we shook out like this for week ten:

  1. Paks’ Pancakes & Pics (T) – $110,014,123
  2. Aure’s Astonishingly Amateur Amphitheatre (M) – $105,076,239
  3. Ben’s X-Wing Express (M) – $105,076,239
  4. Wilhelm’s Films from New Eden – $103,857,511
  5. Kraut Screens (T) – $102,448,226
  6. Dan’s Decadent Decaplex (M) – $101,301,375
  7. Darren’s Unwatched Cineplex (T) – $99,569,296
  8. I HAS MOVIES (T) – $99,547,397
  9. Elly’s Elemental E-Plex (M) – $99,526,715
  10. Corr’s Carefully Curated Cineplex (M) – $95,735,316
  11. Logan’s Luxurious Thaumatrope (M) – $94,415,232
  12. SynCaine’s Dark Room of Delights (T) – $92,011,615
  13. The Filthy Fleapit (T) – $91,960,520

Meta League Legend:

  • TAGN Movie Obsession – players from it marked with a (T)
  • MCats Multiplex – players from it marked with an (M)

Pak took top honors with a pick based on three screens of Sunday Thor and a pair of Geostorm screens securing his lead.  Going with three Sunday screens put people at the top of the list.  Betting on Bad Mom’s Christmas put you at the bottom.

That left the overall scores for the Meta League as such:

  1. Corr’s Carefully Curated Cineplex (M) – $809,310,881
  2. Aure’s Astonishingly Amateur Amphitheatre (M) – $801,550,566
  3. Ben’s X-Wing Express (M) – $762,276,268
  4. Elly’s Elemental E-Plex (M) – $764,676,191
  5. Wilhelm’s Films from New Eden – $746,392,299
  6. SynCaine’s Dark Room of Delights (T) – $741,472,899
  7. Dan’s Decadent Decaplex (M) – $729,422,844
  8. Paks’ Pancakes & Pics (T) – $716,828,962
  9. Logan’s Luxurious Thaumatrope (M) – $705,173,268
  10. Kraut Screens (T) – $623,644,150
  11. The Filthy Fleapit (T) – $605,949,338
  12. I HAS MOVIES (T) – $603,112,111
  13. Darren’s Unwatched Cineplex (T) – $460,227,050

Corr remains at the top, but his lead has shrunk considerably and Aure could catch him before the season is through.  Otherwise first place is pretty much secure from the rest of the pack at this point, barring a huge week where both Corr and Aure forget to pick.

SynCaine’s Bad Moms Christmas pick let me pass him once again and take the lead in the TAGN league.  Again, not a huge gap between us.

And then Pak, who won the week in the TAGN league for the third time, but started a week late, has passed another person who was in the Meta League for the whole season.  It is not impossible for Pak to catch up and take first, which would be an amazing feat, but both SynCaine and I have to screw up considerably to make that happen.  We shall see.

So we are on to week eleven and the following picks.

Thor: Ragnarok                 $659
Murder on the Orient Express   $284
Daddy's Home 2                 $266
Bad Moms Christmas             $105
Jigsaw                         $34
Boo! 2                         $25
Geostorm                       $19
Thank You for Your Service     $18
Happy Death Day                $16
Blade Runner 2049              $14
Only the Brave                 $13
Victoria & Abdul               $10
The Foreigner                  $9
It                             $6 
Subrubicon                     $6

Thor, given the standard first week slip of about 50% should still be good for more than $50 million, making it an obvious anchor.

Then there are two new titles, Daddy’s Home 2, which holds no appeal for me personally, and Murder on the Orient Express, which features Kenneth Branagh and some of the most outrageous facial hair ever to grace a lead character.  I mean, I know that Poirot is very much about his facial hair, but I always pictured him as extremely fastidious about it.  Branagh looks like he has two gray privet bushes trying to escape from his face.  Every time I see the trailer I reach instinctively for my hedge trimmer.

Then again, almost every modern Poirot is spoiled by the fact that I first saw him played by Peter Ustinov, whom I adore, in Death on the Nile and a few further Agatha Christie titles.  For me it would be like seeing somebody other than Alan Arkin play Yossarian in Catch-22; I might accept it, but it would never be the same.

So those are possible anchors, followed by all the dregs of the past weeks.  We have two choices at the $6 level, if you need to squeeze in one last screen.  We’ll see if I manage to get Blade Runner 2049 into my lineup yet again.

Fall Movie League – Jigsaw Puzzle

Week nine of our fall Fantasy Movie League is now past and the pre-Halloween weekend was a boon for scary movies.

The week started off with a toss up over which movie would make a solid anchor based on the initial pricing and revenue estimates.  The choices were:

Jigsaw                        $277
Boo! 2: A Madea Halloween     $214
Subrubicon                    $150
Geostorm                      $126
Happy Death Day               $90
Thank You for Your Service    $89
Blade Runner 2049             $67
Only the Brave                $59
The Foreigner                 $55
It                            $38
American Made                 $31
Kingsman                      $29
Same Kind of Different As Me  $27
Victoria & Abdul              $27
The Snowman                   $26

The top two new players on the list were Jigsaw, a continuation of the Saw series of movies, and the Clooney/Coen brothers film Suburbicon, with last week’s top earner, Boo! 2, stuffed in between.  The initial box estimated put them at about $12, $10, and $8 million respectively, which meant that you could build a pretty solid lineup out of any of them.

And then Jigsaw started getting some traction in the press.  While the die hard Saw fans were saying that no picture in the franchise had ever opened for less than $18 million, Variety and a couple other sites coming out mid-week with estimates in the $20 million range made that a more solid statement.

Meanwhile Suburbicon, always a stretch given the rather rarefied air in which the Coen brothers can operate, started to tank in estimates.  $8 million became $6 million which became $4-5 million, all of which scared any watcher of the industry off of it as an anchor choice.

So Jigsaw became the clear anchor.  At anything close to $20 million it would not only take the week but also be the best price performer.  I estimated that if it could just get past $16.6 million it would be a shoe-in for both.  Then it would be a matter of what five films would fill in the other screens.

I went with the maximum three screens of Jigsaw, two screens of It, and three screens of American Made, a mix which happened to also spend my entire $1,000 budget.

My Fall Week Nine Picks

And then we were off to the movies.

As it turned out, Jigsaw did better than initially projected, but broke the “$18 million or more” streak that the Saw fans were touting in support of the film.  That number is now $16.6 million.

$16.6 million was also the number I felt it had to get past to be the best price/performer, and in not managing get over that hurdle I was at least correct in it not hitting that goal.  Instead it came down to a tight race between It and The Foreigner which It won in the end.  That made the perfect pick three screens of Jigsaw, three of It, and two of Victoria & Abdul.

Fall Week Nine Perfect Pick

Two people in the Meta League, SynCaine and Elly, both managed to get the perfect pick for week nine, a feat they shared with 736 other players, netting them each $71,714,400.  The standings for the week ended up as:

  1. SynCaine’s Dark Room of Delights (T) – $71,714,400
  2. Elly’s Elemental E-Plex (M) – $71,714,400
  3. Darren’s Unwatched Cineplex (T) – $66,269,674
  4. Wilhelm’s Films from New Eden – $64,035,847
  5. Corr’s Carefully Curated Cineplex (M) – $59,991,939
  6. Aure’s Astonishingly Amateur Amphitheatre (M) – $59,195,899
  7. Paks’ Pancakes & Pics (T) – $55,345,800
  8. Logan’s Luxurious Thaumatrope (M) – $54,933,396
  9. Ben’s X-Wing Express (M) – $53,631,625
  10. Kraut Screens (T) – $51,618,295
  11. Dan’s Decadent Decaplex (M) – $49,834,984
  12. I HAS MOVIES (T) – $41,511,450
  13. The Filthy Fleapit (T) – $22,861,476

Meta League Legend:

  • TAGN Movie Obsession – players from it marked with a (T)
  • MCats Multiplex – players from it marked with an (M)

The $2 million per screen price/performance boost plus the $5 million perfect pick bonus lifted SynCaine and Elly ahead of the pack.  That latter bonus is pretty much all that stands between those two and Darren who only failed to go with Victoria & Abdul as his final two screens.

Meanwhile The Filthy Fleapit was all in on Suburbicon, with six screens of it in play, and paid the price as the film didn’t even clear the revised low-ball estimates, hitting only $2.8 million.

That left the overall season scores as:

  1. Corr’s Carefully Curated Cineplex (M) – $713,575,565
  2. Aure’s Astonishingly Amateur Amphitheatre (M) – $696,474,327
  3. Elly’s Elemental E-Plex (M) – $665,149,476
  4. Ben’s X-Wing Express (M) – $657,200,029
  5. SynCaine’s Dark Room of Delights (T) – $649,461,284
  6. Wilhelm’s Films from New Eden – $642,534,788
  7. Dan’s Decadent Decaplex (M) – $628,121,469
  8. Logan’s Luxurious Thaumatrope (M) – $610,758,036
  9. Paks’ Pancakes & Pics (T) – $606,814,839
  10. Kraut Screens (T) – $521,195,924
  11. The Filthy Fleapit (T) – $513,988,818
  12. I HAS MOVIES (T) – $503,564,714
  13. Darren’s Unwatched Cineplex (T) – $360,657,754

The big changes on the list were Elly jumping up to third place and SynCaine passing me to take the lead in the the TAGN league and fifth spot overall.  Again, the weight of the bonuses is seen both.  The gap between us now adds up to the bonus for one screen of It and the perfect pick bonus.  He has won four of nine weeks in the league, but the bonus is what put him in the passing lane.  Kraut Screens also passed The Filthy Fleapit largely on the latter’s poor showing this week.  Thanks a lot Suburbicon.

And now we’re looking at week ten with Halloween behind us and another superhero blockbuster weekend with Thor: Ragnarok hitting the screens.  As often happens in such weeks, Thor is expected to dominate so hard that it has been broken up into three picks for Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.  Certainly Bad Mom’s Christmas, another new title this week, isn’t going to threaten it.  The lineup is:

Thor - Friday              $479
Thor - Saturday            $443
Thor - Sunday              $300
Bad Moms Christmas         $201
Jigsaw                     $71
Boo! 2                     $46
Geostorm                   $27
Happy Death Day            $26
Blade Runner 2049          $23
Thank You for Your Service $22
Only the Brave             $21
The Foreigner              $20
It                         $18
Subrubicon                 $16
Victoria & Abdul           $14

Amazingly, or perhaps optimistically, Suburbicon stayed on the list this week.  Just barely, but there it is.

I think the lesson from past three day splits is to avoid Friday and take some combo of Saturday and/or Sunday plus the right mix of low price titles to fill in your screens.  Getting the right mix there can make or break your bid, as we saw in week nine, and there are a lot of possible choices at the low end.