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:
- Conical Effort – $167,021,480
- Too Orangey For Crows – $163,570,810
- Joanie’s Joint – $161,622,694
- SynCaine’s Dark Room of Delights – $159,018,630
- Po Huit’s Sweet Movie Suite – $157,421,782
- Miniature Giant Space Hamsterplex – $155,129,305
- Wilhelm’s Qeynosian Kinetoscope – $150,821,653
- Cyanbane’s Neuticles Viewing Party – $147,046,670
- grannanj’s Cineplex – $56,866,987
- 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:
- Wilhelm’s Qeynosian Kinetoscope – $721,815,682
- Too Orangey For Crows – $673,616,165
- Miniature Giant Space Hamsterplex – $634,203,963
- Cyanbane’s Neuticles Viewing Party – $627,527,424
- SynCaine’s Dark Room of Delights – $627,450,008
- Conical Effort – $593,776,471
- Joanie’s Joint – $587,750,305
- Po Huit’s Sweet Movie Suite – $535,370,257
- Goat Water Picture Palace – $526,453,462
- 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.
- Wilhelm’s Qeynosian Kinetoscope – 53
- Too Orangey For Crows – 47
- Goat Water Picture Palace – 42
- Miniature Giant Space Hamsterplex – 39
- Cyanbane’s Neuticles Viewing Party – 36
- SynCaine’s Dark Room of Delights – 35
- Conical Effort – 30
- grannanj’s Cineplex – 30
- Joanie’s Joint – 23
- 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:
- Once Upon a Time in Hollywood – $545
- Lion King SAT – $440
- Lion King SUN – $370
- Lion King FRI – $334
- Spider-man: Far From Home – $173
- Toy Story 4 – $146
- Yesterday – $51
- Crawl – $46
- Aladdin – $39
- The Farewell – $33
- Stuber – $23
- Annabelle Comes Home – $16
- Avengers: Endgame – $15
- The Secret Life of Pets 2 – $13
- 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.