Category Archives: Fantasy Movie League

Summer Movie League – The Lion is King

Week seven of our Fantasy Movie League is now in the bag and it looks like the box office numbers broke their trend at last.

Well, sort of.  As I noted last week, at one point the estimates for the live action remake of The Lion King were as high as $200 million.  Then as the box office forecasts began to be overstated week over week, estimates got more conservative, dropping ast low as $130 million for the three day weekend, with $150 million being somewhat of a median.

So when the weekend totals starting showing north of $180 million there was much rejoicing.

On the FML front that meant anchoring on The Lion King was pretty much essential, as it exceeding its forecast meant this was a big money week.  It was also a very bad week to forget to pick, which happened to a few people.  Fortunately, everybody who did pick at least got in on some of that sweet Lion King action.

Come the Saturday morning estimates it looked like the Friday pick was going to be the best performer, putting SynCaine on top with his 2x Friday anchor.  I was jealous as to why I did not think of that.

Sunday estimates shifted things.  2x Friday was still good, but the perfect pick shifted to 1x Friday, 1x Saturday, and 4x Yesterday, the latter picking up the best performer nod.  Conical Effort had that lineup so was vaulted into first place.

But when the final numbers, the perfect pick changed yet again, ending up as 1x Friday, 1x Sunday, 5x Yesterday, and 1x The Art of Self Defense, the latter having been boosted in value by getting the $2 million per screen worst performer bonus.

That actually made it a different perfect pick from the standard rules, where 1x Friday, 1x Sunday, 5x Yesterday, and 1x Annabelle won the day.

The scores for the week ended up as:

  1. Conical Effort – $167,021,480
  2. Too Orangey For Crows – $163,570,810
  3. Joanie’s Joint – $161,622,694
  4. SynCaine’s Dark Room of Delights – $159,018,630
  5. Po Huit’s Sweet Movie Suite – $157,421,782
  6. Miniature Giant Space Hamsterplex – $155,129,305
  7. Wilhelm’s Qeynosian Kinetoscope – $150,821,653
  8. Cyanbane’s Neuticles Viewing Party – $147,046,670
  9. grannanj’s Cineplex – $56,866,987
  10. Goat Water Picture Palace – $30,768,032

Conical Effort stayed in first place, even without the perfect pick bonus, with Bhagpuss not too far behind.  SynCaine’s 2x Friday pick fell a bit behind, but was still pretty strong, as was Po Huit’s bet on Friday, Saturday, and 6x The Art of Self Defense.  Cyanbane came in last of those who picked, hampered by only a single screen of The Lion King.  Goat and Grannanj were in the top ten, but with picks that rolled over from last week, which dealt a blow to both of their season scores.   It is tough to miss a week, and all the more so when it is such a big week.

And, finally, week seven saw the end of Ben’s streak.  He picked on week one, then stopped playing, but his full lineup, 3x Rocketman, 1x Avengers, 4x John Wick 3, was viable all the way through week six.

All of which left the season scores looking like this:

  1. Wilhelm’s Qeynosian Kinetoscope – $721,815,682
  2. Too Orangey For Crows – $673,616,165
  3. Miniature Giant Space Hamsterplex – $634,203,963
  4. Cyanbane’s Neuticles Viewing Party – $627,527,424
  5. SynCaine’s Dark Room of Delights – $627,450,008
  6. Conical Effort – $593,776,471
  7. Joanie’s Joint – $587,750,305
  8. Po Huit’s Sweet Movie Suite – $535,370,257
  9. Goat Water Picture Palace – $526,453,462
  10. grannanj’s Cineplex – $478,833,609

I kept out in first place, though Bhagpuss closed the gap a bit.  There is still a pretty tight race for third place.  But the biggest blow was to Goat and Grannanj who, failing to pick on such a big week, fell down the stairs into the basement.  It is a tough climb back from there.

The alternate scoring was a bit kinder.

  1. Wilhelm’s Qeynosian Kinetoscope – 53
  2. Too Orangey For Crows – 47
  3. Goat Water Picture Palace – 42
  4. Miniature Giant Space Hamsterplex – 39
  5. Cyanbane’s Neuticles Viewing Party – 36
  6. SynCaine’s Dark Room of Delights – 35
  7. Conical Effort – 30
  8. grannanj’s Cineplex – 30
  9. Joanie’s Joint – 23
  10. Po Huit’s Sweet Movie Suite – 22

Another good week for Bhagpuss and he may be in first place in the alternate scoring.  Goat remained in third since their roll over picks were still enough to get a point.  But as with the seasonal score, there does seem to be contention for that third position.

We are past the half way point of the season.  Now for the first week of the back half we have the following lineup:

  1. Once Upon a Time in Hollywood – $545
  2. Lion King SAT – $440
  3. Lion King SUN – $370
  4. Lion King FRI – $334
  5. Spider-man: Far From Home – $173
  6. Toy Story 4 – $146
  7. Yesterday – $51
  8. Crawl – $46
  9. Aladdin – $39
  10. The Farewell – $33
  11. Stuber – $23
  12. Annabelle Comes Home – $16
  13. Avengers: Endgame – $15
  14. The Secret Life of Pets 2 – $13
  15. Midsommar – $9

Men in Black International and The Art of Self-Defense both fell off the list.

The big new item on the list this week is Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, a Quentin Tarantino alternate reality about Hollywood, the Manson Family, and the Tate/LaBinanca murders, which happened just shy of 50 years ago.  And since it is both Tarantino and alternate history, you shouldn’t expect things to work out the way they did back in 1969.

The long range forecasts have the take at around $45 million, the reviews are good, Tarantino has a strong following, the cast is well known, and a strong second weekend for The Lion King shouldn’t have much impact on the audience for this.  And, for once, he isn’t opening up against some other huge title, like Star Wars: The Force Awakens.  So it could be big.

On the flip side, $45 million is still a big take for an R rated movie, so it is not without risk.  At $45 million you have to have it, at something like $38 million you want another anchor.

The other new item on the list is The Farewell, and art house picture that seems pretty narrow in potential audience.  the reviews are good and its per theater take was high last week, though it was also only in four theaters.  The question is both how big its theater expansion will be and what sort of draw it will have among a more general audience.

Meanwhile, The Lion King still looms and is expected to have a big enough three day weekend that it remains split across three days for its second week.  In its second week Friday is now the low number in that mix with no previews to drive it.

So what to pick?

You can anchor on Once Upon a Time and have a screen of The Lion King, though it you pair it up with Saturday you get a three screen lineup with Avengers: Endgame and your budget is spent.  Worth it?  There is no empty screen penalty.

Or you double up on The Lion King and work on your filler game.

But maybe five screens of Spider-man are more your speed.

Even six screens of Toy Story 4 is a possible anchor, though it then gets tough to spend the rest of your budget.

Or you can mix it up.  There are lots of possibilities there.

Still, I think you have to be pretty contrarian to not have at least one screen of The Lion King in your lineup.

I don’t even have a lineup to share because I’ve changed my three times as I have written this.

Which ever way you go, get your picks in soon.  The league locks tomorrow evening.

Summer Movie League – Stuber Stumbles, Crawl Bawls

Week six of our Fantasy Movie League carried on the trend of new films failing to meet expectations.

In this case, the two new films for week six, Stuber and Crawl, both failed to hit the somewhat modest expectations set for them, keeping the summer theme going.

Stuber was expected to get in the range of $17 million, but ran out of gas about half way there, clocking in at $8 million.

Crawl was pegged at around $15 million and, while it didn’t fall off as badly as Stuber, it still came up short with $12 million, making it a less than ideal pick.

But I was fairly sure those were both bad anchors when I saw them.  And shortly after last week’s post went live the box office predictions began to sag dramatically, confirming that feeling.

That left Spider-man and Toy Story 4 as likely anchor candidates.  You could get 1x Spider-man and 1x TS4, or 3x TS4 before you had to start working through the filler.

Po, myself, and grannanj went with 3x TS4. while Bhagpuss, Hamster, and Cyanbane anchored on 1x Spider-man and 1x TS4.

With the Saturday and Sunday estimates, Cyanbane had the perfect pick, as he went with all Men in Black for his filler, which looked to be the best performer.  However, when the final numbers came in, Avengers: Endgame stole the best performer title, making the perfect pick 1x Spider-man, 1x TS4, and 6x Avengers: Endgame, and leaving the final scores looking like this:

  1. Too Orangey For Crows – $85,834,456
  2. grannanj’s Cineplex – $79,899,938
  3. Cyanbane’s Neuticles Viewing Party – $79,610,550
  4. Wilhelm’s Qeynosian Kinetoscope – $78,930,155
  5. Po Huit’s Sweet Movie Suite – $78,396,66
  6. Miniature Giant Space Hamsterplex – $77,051,493
  7. Goat Water Picture Palace – $62,691,728
  8. Conical Effort – $61,416,139
  9. SynCaine’s Dark Room of Delights – $56,409,113
  10. Joanie’s Joint – $47,641,960

In the end, 1x Spider-man and 1x TS4 or 3x TS4 seemed to be on par as anchors.  The top six positions alternate between the two.  The key was filler, and Bhagpuss took the week because he had 3x Avengers: Endgame in his.

Seventh and eighth position were both anchored on 4x Crawl, which put them behind the pack, while ninth and tenth were both anchored on 4x Stuber.  Those two positions were revived a bit because Stuber got the worst performer bonus of $2 million per screen, making them $8 million better than they otherwise would have been.  The bonus for worst performer might be the best thing about this season so far.

That left the season totals looking like:

  1. Wilhelm’s Qeynosian Kinetoscope – $570,994,029
  2. Too Orangey For Crows – $510,045,355
  3. Goat Water Picture Palace – $495,685,430
  4. Cyanbane’s Neuticles Viewing Party – $480,480,754
  5. Miniature Giant Space Hamsterplex – $479,074,658
  6. SynCaine’s Dark Room of Delights – $468,431,378
  7. Conical Effort – $426,754,991
  8. Joanie’s Joint – $426,127,611
  9. grannanj’s Cineplex – $421,966,622
  10. Po Huit’s Sweet Movie Suite – $377,948,475

I managed to keep my lead, while Bhagpuss’ win this week, and Goat’s misfortune, had them swapping places.  Likewise, SynCaine and Joanie’s decisions to anchor on Stuber cost them in the overall ranking.

The alternate scoring looks like this at the end of week six:

  1. Wilhelm’s Qeynosian Kinetoscope – 49
  2. Goat Water Picture Palace – 41
  3. Too Orangey For Crows – 38
  4. Miniature Giant Space Hamsterplex – 34
  5. Cyanbane’s Neuticles Viewing Party – 33
  6. SynCaine’s Dark Room of Delights – 28
  7. grannanj’s Cineplex – 28
  8. Conical Effort – 20
  9. Vigo Grimborne’s Medieval Screening Complex – 18
  10. Po Huit’s Sweet Movie Suite – 16

I kept my lead going, though this week’s rankings put Bhagpuss and Goat in contention.

So now we get to see what week seven brings.  The lineup is:

  1. Lion King FRI – $481
  2. Lion King SAT – $399
  3. Lion King SUN – $341
  4. Spider-man: Far From Home – $177
  5. Toy Story 4 – $126
  6. Aladdin – $49
  7. Crawl – $43
  8. Stuber – $33
  9. Yesterday – $30
  10. Annabelle Comes Home – $23
  11. The Art of Self-Defense – $18
  12. Midsommar – $16
  13. The Secret Life of Pets 2 – $13
  14. Avengers: Endgame – $11
  15. Men in Black International – $8

What week seven mostly brings is The Lion King. That gets split into three days which, along with the addition of The Art of Self-Defense, pushes Rocketman, John Wick 3, Child’s Play, and Godzilla off the list.

The Lion King is the latest in Disney’s effort to remake their entire animated back catalog into live action pictures.  It may also be the final $100+ movie debut of the summer. (It: Chapter Two, the next big thing on the horizon, opens on the first week of the Fall season.)

Whether or not you feel that the beloved 1994 animated version needed to be remade, this title is well known and being advertised heavily.  Long range forecasts are calling for as much as $200 million currently, which seems a bit crazy. FML, by their pricing, seems to be closer to $165 in its guess.  And even if it falls a bit shy of that, you will have to be pretty contrarian to not anchor on at least one screen of it this week.  Even critic comments like this:

…a well-rendered but creatively bankrupt self-portrait of a movie studio eating its own tail…

…will probably not bring the movie down.

And then there is The Art of Self-Defense, about which I know little.  The Wikipedia entry on it uses the terms “dark comedy,” “off-kilter,” and “thriller-esque,” but I’m still at sea on it.  FML pricing, a dubious thing on which to hang your hat most weeks, puts it at less than half of Crawl, and Crawl is probably going to drop by 50%,  so maybe $2 million in box office over the three day weekend?

My Monday night gut pick, straight from the FML Cineplex Builder, is FRI, SAT, 1x Aladdin, 2x Midsommar, 3x TSLOP2.  That used up my whole budget, so it must be a winner.  We’ll see if I hold onto that until Thursday night.

If you want to bet against The Lion King, then anchors on 5x Spider-man or 7x TS4 are possible, as well as mixes of the pair.

Anyway, there we go.  The league locks tomorrow night, so get you picks in now.

Summer Movie League – Spidey Continues the Summer Trend

Week five of our Summer Fantasy Movie League is over, and once again the top billed picture of the week doesn’t quite live up to the forecasts.

Which isn’t to say Spider-man: Far From Home did poorly.  $93 million is nothing to sneeze at.  But, again, the forecasts for the three day weekend were closed to $120 million.  Is there a slump going on here, or is Hollywood just too optimistic?

Of course it was also a goofy week if you were concentrating on the three day box office.  We had the Independence Day holiday on Thursday, so many people, including myself, took Friday off to make it a four day event.

To take advantage of that, both new films this week, Spider-man and Midsommar, opened earlier in the week, with Midsommar live on Tuesday and Spider-man opening with midnight showings once the calendar turned to Wednesday.  That spread out the opening totals beyond the weekend.

That also meant that what would normally have been the Thursday night previews, which count towards the Friday totals, went missing.  Spider-man, over five days, hit new heights world-wide for the franchise, but in the restricted world of FML that only cares about the three-day weekend, things were less buoyant.

And so the perfect pick of the week was anchored on three screens of Toy Story 4, while Saturday was the best performing day for Spider-man.

I actually set my lineup before the decision about whether or not previews would count, opting for Friday as my anchor and when I saw the red banner on FML saying that there would be no preview dollars I thought about changing to Saturday… but then forgot until it was too late.

Still, at least I talked myself out of going all-in on Midsommar.  That turned out to be something of a bust.  With the Saturday estimates it was the worst performer for the week, which in this league actually gives it a $2 million bonus.  It lost that position on Sunday, but regained it for the final tally, keeping a Midsommar heavy lineup from being a complete disaster.

All of which left the scores for the week looking like this:

  1. grannanj’s Cineplex – $119,426,550
  2. Wilhelm’s Qeynosian Kinetoscope – $103,263,624
  3. SynCaine’s Dark Room of Delights – $103,095,404
  4. Goat Water Picture Palace – $100,200,869
  5. Too Orangey For Crows – $99,333,806
  6. Cyanbane’s Neuticles Viewing Party – $97,351,254
  7. Vigo Grimborne’s Medieval Screening Complex – $96,220,963
  8. Conical Effort – $96,063,499
  9. Miniature Giant Space Hamsterplex – $91,443,890
  10. Po Huit’s Sweet Movie Suite – $91,053,408

For the first time this season the perfect pick was different for the TAGN league than for the standard rules.  With no empty screen penalty 3x Toy Story 4 and 3x Aladdin with two empty screens was the TAGN perfect pick, worth $135 million, while with standard rules the perfect pick was 3x Toy Story 4, 2x Aladdin, and one each of Avengers, Rocketman, and Godzilla, worth $132 million.

However, nobody got the perfect pick in the TAGN league.  Grannanj secured first place by anchoring on 3x Toy Story 4 but fell short of perfect on the filler.

The rest of us anchored on some variation of Spider-man, with Po Huit getting the gambler award for going all-in on Midsommar with just a single Friday screen of Spider-man.  The worst performer bonus kept that pick somewhat viable.

That left the top ten overall season scores looking like this:

  1. Wilhelm’s Qeynosian Kinetoscope – $492,063,874
  2. Goat Water Picture Palace – $432,993,702
  3. Too Orangey For Crows – $424,210,899
  4. SynCaine’s Dark Room of Delights – $412,022,265
  5. Miniature Giant Space Hamsterplex – $402,023,165
  6. Cyanbane’s Neuticles Viewing Party – $400,870,204
  7. Joanie’s Joint – $378,485,651
  8. Conical Effort – $365,338,852
  9. grannanj’s Cineplex – $342,066,684
  10. Vigo Grimborne’s Medieval Screening Complex – $306,532,223

The week was big enough that there were a couple of position swaps, but not big enough for any radical change.  My big lead from last week stayed intact.

And then there is the alternate scoring for the season, which is starting to spread out a bit.

  1. Wilhelm’s Qeynosian Kinetoscope – 42
  2. Goat Water Picture Palace – 37
  3. Miniature Giant Space Hamsterplex – 29
  4. Too Orangey For Crows – 28
  5. SynCaine’s Dark Room of Delights – 26
  6. Cyanbane’s Neuticles Viewing Party – 25
  7. grannanj’s Cineplex – 19
  8. Vigo Grimborne’s Medieval Screening Complex – 18
  9. Conical Effort – 17
  10. Joanie’s Joint – 14

The alternate scoring is also starting to deviate from the overall scores some.  At least there were no ties this week.

So there we go, week five done and on to week six.  The lineup for that is:

  1. Spider-man: Far From Home – $588
  2. Toy Story 4 – $258
  3. Stuber – $213
  4. Crawl – $204
  5. Yesterday – $98
  6. Aladdin – $80
  7. Annabelle Comes Home – $63
  8. Midsommar – $43
  9. The Secret Life of Pets 2 – $39
  10. Avengers: Endgame – $20
  11. Men in Black International – $24
  12. Rocketman – $23
  13. John Wick 3 – $19
  14. Child’s Play – $8
  15. Godzilla – $6

It is an off week, with no blockbuster landing in theaters.  It is also an odd week in that no titles dropped off the lineup.  Spider-man contracting to a single pick opened up two spots that were filled with the two new titles this week, Stuber and Crawl.

Neither of those are going to be big, given their opening week positions at third and fourth place.

I have seen a lot of ads for Stuber, though nothing that made me want to run out and see it.  It is what I would call a “Friday night film” at our house.  I have been trying to make a tradition out of watching something silly, stupid, or outrageous if we are at home watching a movie on Friday.  My wife isn’t all-in on that, but sometimes I can make it happen.  Anyway, I don’t have much to say about the movie itself, so I’ll borrow the premise line from the Wikipedia article:

A mild-mannered Uber driver named Stu picks up Vic, a grizzled detective who is hot on the trail of a sadistic, bloodthirsty terrorist. Stu soon finds himself thrust into a harrowing ordeal where he has to keep his wits, avoid danger, and work with his passenger while maintaining his high customer service rating.

With lots of advertising but no real star power behind it, the long range forecast is calling it at around $17 million.  But the forecasts have been over-optimistic pretty much all season, so you have to wonder about that.

Crawl, on the other hand, I only saw as a preview for The Dead Don’t Die.  It is an entry in the… umm… environmental action horror genre maybe?  It is Florida, a hurricane is coming, the flood waters are rising, alligators are wandering around town, and something horrible is in the crawl space under the house.  And, because it is Florida, somebody didn’t evacuate.

Again, no big star power and not as much advertising as Stuber, but it has the horror/disaster aspect that is always good for some box office.  The long range forecast puts it at $15 million, though that number is down considerably from when it started getting tracked.  It seems risky unless it gets some buzz.

So do you even bother with either of these films in your lineup?  Everything else on the list besides Spider-man is starting to age.  My Monday evening gut pick was 1x Spider-man, 1x Toy Story 4, 2x John Wick 3, and 3x Godzilla.  That seems safe, if not inspired, and spends the full $1000 budget.

I tinkered with anchoring on 4x Crawl, but I am not convinced it is worth the risk.  So I keep messing about with other options.

The league locks tomorrow night, so get your picks in.

Summer Movie League – Yesterday and Today

Well, it was one of those weeks for our summer Fantasy Movie League.

On the bright side, only one of the two new films this week failed to meet its forecasts, breaking that trend I suppose.  Annabelle Comes Home fell well short of what it was expected to do, turning in just $20 million instead of the expected $25-30 million.

Yesterday, on the other hand, exploded in the FML tradition of Boss Baby or Baby Driver, such that we ended up with a week where you either went all-in with seven screens of Yesterday or you got left behind.

That combo of events meant that this week I left most everybody behind because I somehow stumbled onto the perfect pick.  And I got it from the FML Cineplex Builder no less.

I had anchored on Annabelle Monday night, my Monday Night Hot Takes league picks anchored on two screens of that plus two of YesterdayAnnabelle opened on Tuesday, and by Wednesday morning the disappointment at the opening was already out there.  So I jumped off of that and anchored on Toy Story 4, thinking that was the safe bet.  I stayed there until Thursday afternoon.

On Thursday I read something that said Yesterday seemed to be poised to do as much as $12 million over the weekend.  I popped that number into the Cineplex Builder and it gave me the retro rock lineup of 7x Yesterday and 1x Rocketman.  I thought that was pretty funny, so I copied it to the FML league entry, just to have it to hand.  Then, as the day went on I decided that I needed to gamble a bit, so I copied that lineup across the board thinking I would likely die quietly.  Whatever.

And then Saturday morning rolled around and that lineup was the perfect pick.  More so, Yesterday seemed to be poised to do more than $12 million.  With Sunday the count got a bit higher.  And with the final totals in Yesterday was up to $17 million, leaving the week ended up looking like this:

  1. Wilhelm’s Qeynosian Kinetoscope – $142,006,652
  2. Conical Effort – $98,115,080
  3. Miniature Giant Space Hamsterplex – $89,937,371
  4. Too Orangey For Crows – $87,704,759
  5. Cyanbane’s Neuticles Viewing Party – $84,087,077
  6. Vigo Grimborne’s Medieval Screening Complex – $80,297,568
  7. Goat Water Picture Palace – $75,893,259
  8. SynCaine’s Dark Room of Delights – $75,065,989
  9. Po Huit’s Sweet Movie Suite – $69,219,846
  10. Joanie’s Joint – $64,157,258

So, yeah, all-in on Yesterday was the play of the week, the perfect pick.  It was worth $19 million a screen with the best performer bonus.

FML says that 1292 people got the perfect pick, and the highest score for people who had something besides Yesterday as their main anchor was around $110 million, and that was Annabelle and 4x Yesterday as anchors.

Conical Effort came in second anchoring on 2x Annabelle and 3x Yesterday, good for $98 million.  After that it was a mix of either Toy Story 4 or 2x Annabelle as anchors.  I was a bit surprised that Toy Story 4 wasn’t a safe anchor, but then nothing is when one picture blows up well beyond expectations.

That left the overall season score looking like:

  1. Wilhelm’s Qeynosian Kinetoscope – $388,800,250
  2. Goat Water Picture Palace – $332,792,833
  3. Too Orangey For Crows – $324,877,093
  4. Miniature Giant Space Hamsterplex – $310,579,275
  5. SynCaine’s Dark Room of Delights – $308,926,861
  6. Cyanbane’s Neuticles Viewing Party – $303,518,950
  7. Joanie’s Joint – $288,463,808
  8. Conical Effort – $269,275,353
  9. grannanj’s Cineplex – $222,640,134
  10. Vigo Grimborne’s Medieval Screening Complex – $210,311,260

Yesterday vaulted me for third place to well out in front.  I wouldn’t consider myself safe.  Another Yesterday sort of week could come along in favor of somebody else.  But I am clearly the person to beat at the moment.

The alternate scoring ended up like this:

  1. Wilhelm’s Qeynosian Kinetoscope – 33
  2. Goat Water Picture Palace – 30
  3. Miniature Giant Space Hamsterplex – 27
  4. Too Orangey For Crows – 22
  5. Cyanbane’s Neuticles Viewing Party – 20
  6. SynCaine’s Dark Room of Delights – 18
  7. Joanie’s Joint – 14
  8. Conical Effort – 14
  9. Vigo Grimborne’s Medieval Screening Complex – 14
  10. Ben’s X-Wing Exp(r)ess – 10

A first place finish was enough to get me into the lead, by the race remains tight there since you are limited to a maximum of ten points per week.

Now that Yesterday is behind us it is time to look at what is coming with week five.  The lineup is:

  1. Spider-man FRI – $365
  2. Spider-man SAT – $348
  3. Spider-man SUN – $275
  4. Toy Story 4 – $274
  5. Yesterday – $101
  6. Annabelle Comes Home – $88
  7. Midsommar – $85
  8. Aladdin – $59
  9. Men in Black International – $48
  10. The Secret Life of Pets 2 – $38
  11. Avengers: Endgame – $28
  12. Rocketman – $22
  13. John Wick 3 – $20
  14. Child’s Play – $17
  15. Godzilla – $9

Gone are Shaft, Anna, Late Night, and Dark PhoenixSpider-man: Far From Home has arrived.

Spider-man brings the Marvel Cinematic Universe back to the big screen yet again as Spider-man goes on the road to sling webs in Paris.  Or so I gather from the trailer.

Being in the blockbuster range, Spider-man has been split into three days, though with prices such that you can easily pair up days and still get a full eight screens filled.  Toy Story 4 still looms out there as a draw for kids on this US holiday weekend.

Well, US Independence Day (the holiday, not the movie) is tomorrow, so a lot of people will take Friday off for a four-day weekend.  That could drive numbers up if people go to the movies, or down if they go to the lake or the beach or whatever.

Other than Spider-man, there is one other new film on the list, Midsommar.   This is a real wild card, as there are no forecasts for it as yet, it hasn’t gotten a lot of attention, though reviews are very good, and it is a horror flick in what sounds a bit like the Wickerman vein, where tourist go to a rural location for a festival only to find out the grim and disturbing truth about the locals.  Horror films in the summer have a habit of taking off unexpectedly.

Midsommar seems priced a bit high given its outsider status.  FML seems to think it will do about $10 million based on where they put it.  But it could break out like The Dead Don’t Die or Yesterday.

So what to pick?

If you’re feeling that Spider-man will break the trend of disappointing opening weekends, the lack of an empty screen penalty means you can go FRI, SAT, SUN, and 1x Godzilla for the full effect.

Or you can get 2x FRI and some decent filler.  Maybe mix in some Aladdin, which has been holding very strong week over week.

But if you’re feeling Midsommar is going to be another break-out, then FRI, 2x Yesterday, and 5x Midsommar is possible, or maybe just FRI and 7x Midsommar if you think, as I do, that Yesterday had its moment and is now over-priced.

Which ever you go with, get your picks in soon.  The league locks tomorrow night.

Summer Movie League – Toy Story 4 Merely Dominates the Week

Were done with week three and there already seems to be a pattern for this summer’s Fantasy Movie League and the box office in general.

And that pattern is “under performance.”

For the third week in a row the top new releases of the week have failed to hit their expected numbers.

This past week saw Toy Story 4 dominate the weekend as expected, and even set a Pixar record for Friday numbers… which included the Thursday night previews… and yet fall short of expectations.  The film was being projected to bring in between $145 and $160 million.

Instead it barely broke the $120 million barrier.

That is still literally dumpsters full of cash being hauled in for a movie that is well reviewed.  Everybody I know who saw it recommends it.  Even Jason Scott called it “… the best and most well made unnecessary sequel I’ve seen.”

It just didn’t get to where the industry thought it would.  Is this just not a summer for movies?  Because the other two new films, Child’s Play and Anna, both missed their estimates as well.

Anyway, I went all in on Toy Story 4.  Taking advantage of the lack of penalty for empty screens, I went with the Friday + Saturday pick I mentioned in last week’s post, leaving blanks.  That wasn’t an awful pick in hindsight, but it wasn’t as good as the full lineup I went with for other leagues.

With Toy Story 4 pulling up the way it did, the scores for the week ended up looking like this:

  1. Goat Water Picture Palace – $95,542,794
  2. Miniature Giant Space Hamsterplex – $89,080,065
  3. Cyanbane’s Neuticles Viewing Party – $88,349,964
  4. grannanj’s Cineplex – $87,148,187
  5. Wilhelm’s Qeynosian Kinetoscope – $86,931,732
  6. Conical Effort – $86,931,732
  7. Joanie’s Joint – $86,648,508
  8. Too Orangey For Crows – $85,698,734
  9. SynCaine’s Dark Room of Delights – $83,672,691
  10. Ben’s X-Wing Exp(r)ess – $43,148,969

The perfect pick for the week was 1x TS4 Friday, 1x Child’s Play, 1x Aladdin, and 5x John Wick 3, the last being the best performer, which was good for $109 million.  But nobody in the league got that.

Goat got first going with Friday TS4, Sunday TS4, 2x John Wick 3, 1x Avengers: End Game, and three empty screens. and getting in

Hamster rang in second with 1x TS4 Friday, 2x Child’s Play, 1x Dark Phoenix, and 1x Avengers: End Game, earning an extra $2 million because Dark Phoenix was the worst performer of the week.

Conical and I both went the 1x Friday TS4, 1x Saturday TS4, and six empty screens route.  I only came in ahead because I had the better estimate on the tie breaker.

Of note is SynCaine, the only person on the list without Toy Story 4 in their lineup.

Unfortunately, the most common pick was forgetting to pick this week.  Ben’s pick was a roll over of his pick from last week and several people past 10th place were in the same boat.

All of which left the overall scores as:

  1. Goat Water Picture Palace – $256,899,574
  2. Wilhelm’s Qeynosian Kinetoscope – $246,793,598
  3. Too Orangey For Crows – $237,172,334
  4. SynCaine’s Dark Room of Delights – $233,860,872
  5. Joanie’s Joint – $224,306,550
  6. Miniature Giant Space Hamsterplex – $220,641,904
  7. Cyanbane’s Neuticles Viewing Party – $219,431,873
  8. grannanj’s Cineplex – $183,864,990
  9. Ben’s X-Wing Exp(r)ess – $176,726,850
  10. Conical Effort – $171,160,273

There is still not an insurmountable gap between 1st and say 7th place yet.  That could be made up over the next ten weeks of the season with small wins.  Anybody below that is probably going to need a big win or for the front runners to pick badly or miss a week.  It has been known to happen, especially over the summer.

Then there is the alternate season score:

  1. Goat Water Picture Palace – 26
  2. Wilhelm’s Qeynosian Kinetoscope – 23
  3. Miniature Giant Space Hamsterplex – 19
  4. Too Orangey For Crows – 15
  5. SynCaine’s Dark Room of Delights – 15
  6. Cyanbane’s Neuticles Viewing Party – 14
  7. Joanie’s Joint – 13
  8. Ben’s X-Wing Exp(r)ess – 10
  9. Vigo Grimborne’s Medieval Screening Complex – 9
  10. grannanj’s Cineplex – 9

That is, of course, much tighter.  Win a few weeks and you’ll be on top or vying with those who are.

All of which brings us to week four of the season.  The choices for the week are:

  1. Toy Story 4 – $752
  2. Annabelle Comes Home – $319
  3. Yesterday – $136
  4. Aladdin – $126
  5. The Secret Life of Pets 2 – $74
  6. Child’s Play – $73
  7. Men in Black International – $69
  8. Avengers: Endgame – $59
  9. Rocketman – $41
  10. John Wick 3 – $38
  11. Godzilla – $23
  12. Shaft – $22
  13. Anna – $18
  14. Late Night – $17
  15. Dark Phoenix – $16

We have an off week for blockbusters, so Toy Story 4 is fully expected to hold on to first place by a large margin this week.  Given a standard 50% drop it ought to be worth $60 million at the box office.

There are two new films on the list this week.

The first is Annabelle Comes Home, the latest entry in the Conjuring universe, which includes The Conjuring series, the Annabelle films, and The Nun.  Horror, especially during the summer, is always a wildcard for me.  The Annabelle movies have done well in the past, often better than expected.  But what happens when Annabelle is sharing theaters with Child’s Play?  Does a supernaturally evil doll care about one that is evil via a software issue?  And does the fact that some drive-ins are doing the pair as a double feature have any impact?

The long range forecast is for $31 million.  However, the long range forecasts have also been too optimistic pretty much every week so far, so how much stock do you put in them now?

Given the $60 million estimate for TS4, the FML pricing seems to indicate that they think $25 million is more on par.  Do you take two Annabelles as an anchor or one TS4?  Maybe?

The other new film is Yesterday, which features Himesh Patel as the only person who remembers the Beatles.  Something happened and they are no longer part of our timeline, only for whatever reason one musician remembers them and their songs… and, of course, can play them and remembers all of the lyrics to the key hits.

So he spends a while trying to figure out why nobody has heard of the Fab Four, then proceeds to make bank by introducing the songs of the Beatles to the world, claiming them as his own.  Along the way, hilarity no doubt ensues.

Now this brings up a decent late night dorm room discussion, which is whether or not the Beatles catalog is timeless and would become hits no matter when they appeared in history, or if they are part of their time and might not get noticed today.  Does I Want to Hold Your Hand go anywhere in a world with 50 Cent?  Can Elenor Rigby make a dent against the last know pop song ever, Uptown Funk?  Would Hey Jude have to be Hey Dude as the trailer suggests?

Feel free to argue about that in the comments.

The film was written by Richard Curtis, whose works are well known, and directed by Danny Boyle of Trainspotting fame, but I am having a hard time getting behind it, if only because I know in my gut the ending has to restore the Beatles to the timeline and it will be all for naught or end up with Paul McCartney suing or something like that.  Amusing premise, likely has no satisfying ending.

And the long range forecast seems to agree, pegging this at around $10 million.  Decent, but no summer blockbuster.  The FML pricing likewise puts it around that point.  On the other hand, this is the Beatles we’re talking about here, which probably means my 70 year old aunt and all her UC Berkley friends will want to go see it.  I don’t know.

And the rest of the field is just leftovers from past weeks.

So what do you pick?  Do you go with the likely stability of Toy Story 4 and back fill with some titles that might break out or be under priced based on their previous week performance?  That might get you 1x Toy Story 4, 1x Yesterday, and 6x Anna.

Or do you bet on a pair of Annabelles, with something like 2x Annabelle Comes Home, 2x Yesterday, 1x Rocketman, and 3x Dark Phoenix, the latter being the worst performer in week three, which might make it subject to over-conservative pricing?

I am leaning towards Annabelle, but the filler is still wide open for me.

Whichever way you go, get your picks in soon.

Summer Movie League – Shaft Shafted but The Dead Don’t Die

Week two of our Summer Fantasy Movie League is in the books and there were some big misses.

First up there was Men in Black International which was expected to land close to the $40 million mark.  Lukewarm reviews, other viewing options, and probably the previous two movies, conspired to chop that down to $30 million over the weekend.  If you anchored on this, you were not having a good weekend.

But your weekend wasn’t as bad as anybody who bet on Shaft.  The sequel to the year 2000 film of the same name was expected to coming in around $23 million, but instead landed just shy of $9 million for the weekend.  Even that $2 million Worst Performer bonus can’t fix that bad landing.

Late Night was on a more even keel.  Expected to make about $5 million in its limited engagement, it brought in $5.2 million.  Right on the mark for somebody.

And finally there was The Dead Don’t Die, which seemed to me to be the prime contender for best performer.  It was also the one film I went and saw this past weekend.  Cracking $2 million would have made it a solid pick at the price, so when it ended up hauling in $2.5 million it was difficult to see anything else taking away its best performer bonus.  John Wick 3 and Booksmart were the next closest two, and they were both a ways from making the cut.

With all of that in place, the scores for the week ended up looking like this:

  1. SynCaine’s Dark Room of Delights – $80,306,365
  2. Wilhelm’s Qeynosian Kinetoscope – $80,306,365
  3. Too Orangey For Crows – $76,868,694
  4. Joanie’s Joint – $72,344,312
  5. Goat Water Picture Palace – $70,251,452
  6. Cyanbane’s Neuticles Viewing Party – $68,493,131
  7. Ben’s X-Wing Exp(r)ess – $57,592,078
  8. Miniature Giant Space Hamsterplex – $54,331,713
  9. grannanj’s Cineplex – $52,655,472
  10. Po Huit’s Sweet Movie Suite – $49,774,361

The perfect pick was 2x Secret Life of Pets 2, 1x Rocketman, and 5x The Dead Don’t Die.  Nobody went with that, though two of us were close.

SynCaine and I tied (he got first place via the tie breaker) on 2x Secret Life of Pets 2, 1x Godzilla, and 5x The Dead Don’t Die.  Given the pricing, Godzilla just seemed like the right pick last week.  Bhagpuss took third on 2x Secret Life of Pets 2, 1x Rocketman, 1x Ma, 3x The Dead Don’t Die, and 1x Detective Pikachu.  Joanie scored a fourth place finish going all in on Elton John with 7x Rocketman and 1x John Wick 3.  And Goat got fifth with 2x Secret Life of Pets 2, 2x Rocketman, 3x Booksmart, and 1x blank, making them the only one to take advantage to the lack of empty screen penalty this week.

At the bottom end of the list were those who bet on a MiBI + Shaft double anchor, except for Po who doubled down on Shaft, but was somewhat redeemed by four screens of The Dead Don’t Die.

All of that leaves the season scoring looking like this:

  1. Goat Water Picture Palace – $161,356,780
  2. Wilhelm’s Qeynosian Kinetoscope – $159,861,866
  3. Too Orangey For Crows – $151,473,600
  4. SynCaine’s Dark Room of Delights – $150,188,181
  5. Joanie’s Joint – $137,658,042
  6. Ben’s X-Wing Exp(r)ess – $133,577,881
  7. Miniature Giant Space Hamsterplex – $131,561,839
  8. Cyanbane’s Neuticles Viewing Party – $131,081,909
  9. Po Huit’s Sweet Movie Suite – $126,711,141
  10. Vigo Grimborne’s Medieval Screening Complex – $117,754,888

It is a tight race at the top.  But it is also just week two and there are some weeks ahead where you may end up with lineups that add up to more than your total score right now.

For the alternate scoring, the list looks like this:

  1. Wilhelm’s Qeynosian Kinetoscope – 17
  2. Goat Water Picture Palace – 16
  3. SynCaine’s Dark Room of Delights – 13
  4. Too Orangey For Crows – 12
  5. Miniature Giant Space Hamsterplex – 10
  6. Joanie’s Joint – 9
  7. Ben’s X-Wing Exp(r)ess – 9
  8. Vigo Grimborne’s Medieval Screening Complex – 9
  9. Po Huit’s Sweet Movie Suite – 7
  10. Cyanbane’s Neuticles Viewing Party – 6

The alternate scoring isn’t very useful early on in the season, with lots of ties and wild changes in position, but at about the mid point it starts to shape up.

All of which leads us to week three where the elephant in the room is Toy Story 4.  Add Pixar magic to good pre-screening reviews and parents needing a summer movie to get the kids out of the house and the total looks like it will pass $150 million.  It will dominate so hard that it has, of course, been split into three days, leaving the week three picks as:

  1. Toy Story 4 FRI – $519
  2. Toy Story 4 SAT – $473
  3. Toy Story 4 SUN – $390
  4. Child’s Play – $170
  5. Secret Life of Pets 2 – $133
  6. Aladdin – $128
  7. Men in Black International – $124
  8. Rocketman – $63
  9. Dark Phoenix – $47
  10. Anna $46
  11. Godzilla – $35
  12. Shaft – $34
  13. John Wick 3 – $33
  14. Late Night – $28
  15. Avengers Endgame – $23

There is pretty much Toy Story 4 and then everything else.  There is no winning this week without some Pixar on your side.  It will be in all the theaters.

Still, there are two other new titles, Child’s Play and Anna.

Child’s Play is a remake of the 1988 horror flick of the same name that introduced the horrible Chucky doll to the world.  This title restarts the seven film franchise, with the change being that the new Chucky won’t be a doll possessed by a serial killer, but a robot doll run amok.  Chucky is said to be WiFi and Blue Tooth enabled, so no doubt that will play into things.

The studio has also been playing up the fact that it is opening against Toy Story 4, putting out posters of Chucky with objects implying that he had killed Woody, Buzz, and other members of the regular Toy Story cast.

The long range forecast for Child’s Play sat at $18 million for opening weekend the last I checked, but horror films are often a surprise during the summer, and a franchise like this has some additional draw, so I wouldn’t be surprised if it did better, positioned as a counter play to the obvious favorite.

And then there is Anna.  This is a Luc Besson title, which gives it a bit of a cult following as an opener.  He is responsible for such classics as Nikita, Leon: The Professional, and The Fifth Element. On the other hand, his followers in the states don’t number enough to guarantee success, as we saw with Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets two summers back.

The current long range forecast has the film pegged at about $4.5 million.  It hasn’t been marketed heavily and there hasn’t been much said or written about it, and what has been said makes it sound a lot like Nikita. The IMBd has it tagged with “one woman army.”  Oh, and there are no reviews yet, always a bad sign, but if you go look for reviews you’ll probably see them for the 2013 film of the same name, which got poor reviews, which people might not notice is the right film.

But it does play against the dominant title of the week, it has Helen Mirren in it (though she is almost unrecognizable in her role), and the Nikita formula worked for Luc Besson before, spawning an American remake and at least one TV series, though the sexy female assassin card has been played a lot since, most recently in Red Sparrow and Killing Eve I suppose.  Maybe it breaks out by being a new alternative this week, but it seems more likely to falter.

Which brings us to the big question of the week, which day of Toy Story 4 to go with?   It is summer, so who knows.  Friday will get the preview numbers rolled in, Saturday will no doubt be big on its own, and then there is always Sunday.  So if you want a full lineup of screens you can have Friday, Saturday, or Saturday and Sunday, all of which will leave you enough room in your budget for filler.

But you have to ask yourself, if there is no penalty for blank screens, do you just go with Friday and Saturday and leave the rest of the lineup empty?  If Toy Story 4 exceeds, that might be the way to go.

Or maybe you just take Friday, 1x Child’s Play, and 6x Anna and hope she breaks out and gets the best performer this week.

Make your picks soon.  The league locks late Thursday night Pacific time.

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.

The FML Summer Season Kicks Off

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:

  1. The Secret Life of Pets 2 – $664
  2. Dark Phoenix – $540
  3. Aladdin – $277
  4. Godzilla – $251
  5. Rocketman $209
  6. Ma – $128
  7. John Wick 3 – $77
  8. Avengers: Endgame – $54
  9. Detective Pikachu – $49
  10. Bharat – $27
  11. Booksmart – $25
  12. Brightburn – $12
  13. The Hustle – $8
  14. A Dog’s Journey – $6
  15. 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.

Spring 2019 FML Results

The long spring FML league… it ran 14 weeks, which felt like two weeks too many to me… finished up the past weekend.  The summer league is here now, and I will get to that in the next post.  But I figured I would spend a few minutes on the spring run.

While I did not write about it as it progressed, a small group of regulars played almost every week.  I think eight people managed to get a pick in almost every week, and the top five players for the season were fairly tightly packed score-wise, at least compared with other seasons.

I did almost all of my picks on Monday evening when week’s unlocked, usually based purely on gut response to pictures rather than any research at all.  This failed me a few weeks.  I was particularly down on Aladdin in week 13, which cost me.

On the other hand, I got the perfect pick in week 12, a big win that revived my otherwise modest fortunes.  Overall the scores for the top ten players for the season ended up looking like this:

  1. Miniature Giant Space Hamsterplex – $1,425,273,371
  2. Goat Water Picture Palace – $1,410,622,811
  3. Wilhelm’s Qeynosian Kinetoscope – $1,379,179,921
  4. Too Orangey For Crows – $1,372,973,416
  5. grannanj’s Cineplex – $1,367,523,445
  6. SynCaine’s Dark Room of Delights – $1,335,897,444
  7. Joanie’s Joint – $1,288,023,932
  8. Vigo Grimborne’s Medieval Screening Complex – $1,058,566,243
  9. Darren’s Unwatched Cineplex – $1,019,273,600
  10. I HAS BAD TASTE – $448,199,463

Week 13 was important to Miniature Giant Space Hamsterplex.  They went with Aladdin while Goat and I avoided it, a situation that vaulted the Hamsterplex into first.  Even Goat’s win in week 14 was not enough to catch back up.

The alternate scoring was a bit different:

  1. Miniature Giant Space Hamsterplex – 102
  2. Goat Water Picture Palace – 102
  3. Too Orangey For Crows – 92
  4. grannanj’s Cineplex – 89
  5. Wilhelm’s Qeynosian Kinetoscope – 84
  6. SynCaine’s Dark Room of Delights – 80
  7. Joanie’s Joint – 76
  8. Darren’s Unwatched Cineplex – 55
  9. Vigo Grimborne’s Medieval Screening Complex – 49
  10. I HAS BAD TASTE – 22

Goat and Hamster, close in the overall scores, ended up tied for the alternate scoring.

Goat won three of the weeks, but five people won at least two weeks during the season, and two others won one week a piece.

The alternate scoring smoothed out my perfect pick week, pushing me down to fifth place.

Overall, choosing the winner came down to the final week.  A slightly better pick would have gotten Hamster a win in both measures, while grabbing the perfect pick would have put Goat back in first place in the overall scoring.

With that covered, it is time to move on to the summer 2019 league and a look at the opening week, which I will cover in the next post later today.

Plans for a Summer FML League

The time has come, the spring Fantasy Movie League season is coming to a close, and the summer season is upon us.  It is time to fire up the TAGN League for summer blockbusters.

I actually feel like we’re a week too late.  Maybe two weeks too late.  Regardless of what the calendar makers say, for me summer runs from Memorial Day to Labor Day in the US.  That is certainly when the big summer movies hit the screens and have their runs.  A big Memorial Day release can sometimes still be found on budget theater screens at the far end of summer.

For whatever reason, FML ran the spring league for 14 weeks, putting it through Memorial Day and the weekend beyond.  That means the summer league doesn’t get to start with big box office draws like Aladdin, which launched last week, and Godzilla: King of Monsters.

Add in John Wick 3 and Avengers: End Game having already launched and you start to wonder if we’ve been robbed of the big weeks one expects during summer.

But we shouldn’t fret.  I think we got all of those early because the summer is still full of titles that will no doubt bring in big numbers.  Headliners for some of the summer weekends include:

  • June 7 – X-Men: Dark Phoenix
  • June 14 – Men in Black: International
  • June 21 – Toy Story 4
  • July 5 – Spider-man: Far from Home
  • July 19 – The Lion King
  • August 2 – Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw

That is a lot of sequels, spin-offs, and remakes.  But there are also the smaller titles that could break out and become horribly over-done dynasties of their own some day.  And then there are the horror movies that always seem to do much better than I predict.  Will they fool me again this summer?

Anyway, my tentative plans for the summer league include the following:

  • Thursday night lock so we all have to pick before the preview numbers hit
  • No empty screen penalty
  • $2 million bonus for the worst performing film

I am sold on the first one, while the other two I am putting out there just to shake things up a bit.  If people scream in the comments about either I may put them back the way they were.

Otherwise things will be about the same as the last season I ran, including the main an alternate scoring method.

I had mentioned possibly breaking up the summer into three shorter sprints.  However, just because FML gives you a field that shows the duration of a season doesn’t mean that you can edit it.  It looks like we are stuck with 13 weeks unless I am missing something.

In the mean time the spring league looks like it might have a surprise winner.  Goat had led the whole season, only to be upset last week by Miniature Giant Space Hamsterplex.  Goat (and I) bet against Aladdin, which went on to do better than expected, with an exceptionally strong Sunday.

I will post the winners for spring next week in addition to the opening week post for the summer season.

If you are interested in playing, I will post a link to join the TAGN league in the comments on this post and in next week’s post.  The links expire after a few days and you will need to create an account at the FML site to play.

I am also considering creating a Discord server for the blog where, among other things, movie discussion could be a channel.  Discord is light and, if you already have it, one more server on your list isn’t a big deal. (I actually created one ages ago, I’ve just never invited anybody to it.)

As always, if you have any suggestions for the season let me know in the comments.