Category Archives: Movies

Winter Movie League – Always Bet on Black Panther

The penultimate week of the winter round of our Fantasy Movie League has come and gone.

The question of the week wasn’t whether or not Black Panther was going to dominate the box office, but rather which day would be optimum to play.  With the opening of a blockbuster on a holiday weekend (President’s Day in the US) there ended up being four different ways to play Black Panther, one for each day.

Black Panther (FRI)  $501
Black Panther (SAT)  $451
Black Panther (SUN)  $348
Black Panther (MON)  $220
Peter Rabbit         $186
Fifty Shades Freed   $155
Jumanji              $87
The 15:17 to Paris   $68
The Greatest Showman $51
Early Man            $49
The Maze Runner      $39
Samson               $32
Winchester           $31
The Post             $26
The Shape of Water   $25

I bounced around with a few possible variations, with Friday generally as my anchor.  My past reluctance to back Friday night on split weeks was tempered when I found out that Thursday night previews get included in that number.  It still isn’t an automatic choice, but it is definitely in the running.

But given the hype around Black Panther Friday did seem like a decent choice.  I started out with that, Peter Rabbit, and six screens of Early Man.  I wasn’t sold on that, with the main question being whether or not Peter Rabbit would out-do Black Panther’s Sunday take.  Things often slow down come Sunday for a new release, with the truly interested having gotten in on the first few nights.

However, as the week went along the estimates for Black Panther kept creeping up, so I started looking into how to get more of that into my lineup.  I played with various combos of Saturday and Sunday, but steered clear of Monday believing, as the pricing indicated, that interest would have slackened some even on a holiday weekend.

As often happens, I didn’t settle on my final pick until Friday morning.  I waited to see what they were saying about the Thursday night previews.  Those were strong enough that I wanted Friday in my pick along with at least one additional day.  I ended up with Friday, Sunday, and six screens of The Shape of Water which was not only a selection mentioned in TAGN chatter but the same pick my wife made for our home league the night before.

My Winter Week Twelve Picks

Then the time was up, picks were locked, and I could see what everybody else went with.  I shared my pick with two other people, I HAS BAD TASTE and Logan, and was off by one screen from Corr, but there was some variety in picks especially in the TAGN league where all four days of Black Panther were anchors for somebody.

Then as the weekend passed the estimates started to roll in.  On Saturday it looked like Friday was the good choice for anchor.  On Sunday it was mixed.  By Monday the Sunday box office looked to make that day the best performer.  Then there was the question as to how well Monday would do.  I wrote in the chatter for the TAGN league that if Monday went crazy and hit $40 million then Darren, who anchored on four screens of Monday, would have a great week.

And, of course, Monday turned in a box office of $40.15 million, making it the anchor for the perfect pick of the week, which was four screens of Monday, one screen of The 15:17 to Paris, two screens of The Post, and one empty screen.

Winter Week Twelve Perfect Pick

To show how wild the week was, the summary says that only four people got the perfect pick, and I only see three people with that pick in the overall FML League.  This was a tough week to forecast compared to a few weeks back when nearly a thousand people got the perfect pick.

Darren had four screens of Monday and four screens of The Shape of Water, so did not get perfect, but it was enough for him to dominate the Meta League scores for the week.

  1. Darren’s Unwatched Cineplex (T) – $176,827,124
  2. Joanie’s Joint (T) – $156,901,972
  3. Po Huit’s Sweet Movie Suite (T) – $155,650,217
  4. Dan’s Decadent Decaplex (M) – $154,765,562
  5. Corr’s Carefully Curated Cineplex (M) – $148,721,837
  6. I HAS BAD TASTE (T) – $148,338,897
  7. Logan’s Luxurious Thaumatrope (M) – $148,338,897
  8. Wilhelm’s Broken Isles Bijou (T/M) – $148,338,897
  9. Ben’s X-Wing Express (M) – $145,695,766
  10. Vigo Grimborne’s Medieval Screening Complex (T) – $145,695,766
  11. Elly’s Elemental E-Plex (M) – $145,695,766
  12. Paks’ Pancakes & Pics (T) – $145,695,766
  13. Aure’s Astonishingly Amateur Amphitheatre (M) – $141,649,479
  14. SynCaine’s Dark Room of Delights (T) – $133,748,148
  15. Kraut Screens (T) – $132,982,268
  16. Biyondios! Kabuki & Cinema (T) – $124,884,965

The Meta League Legend:

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

Darren was almost $20 million out in front of the pack, followed up by a group of three in the $155 million range, who all steered clear of the dead weight that Friday turned out to be.  And then things taper down, with the last three being people who only picked a single screen of Black Panther.  Basically, the more Black Panther you had, the better you did.

That led to a bit of change in the overall season rankings.

  1. Ben’s X-Wing Express (M) – $1,270,679,042
  2. Corr’s Carefully Curated Cineplex (M) – $1,262,788,453
  3. Wilhelm’s Broken Isles Bijou (T/M) – $1,214,022,737
  4. Paks’ Pancakes & Pics (T) – $1,197,218,790
  5. Biyondios! Kabuki & Cinema (T) – $1,192,403,275
  6. Dan’s Decadent Decaplex (M) – $1,178,278,619
  7. Aure’s Astonishingly Amateur Amphitheatre (M) – $1,168,880,531
  8. Darren’s Unwatched Cineplex (T) – $1,135,310,164
  9. Po Huit’s Sweet Movie Suite (T) – $1,113,047,984
  10. SynCaine’s Dark Room of Delights (T) – $1,102,001,841
  11. I HAS BAD TASTE (T) – $1,044,004,547
  12. Vigo Grimborne’s Medieval Screening Complex (T) – $1,043,456,510
  13. Kraut Screens (T) – $1,019,676,291
  14. Logan’s Luxurious Thaumatrope (M) – $1,002,940,883
  15. Elly’s Elemental E-Plex (M) – $997,039,452
  16. Joanie’s Joint (T) – $981,098,524

Corr managed to edge up a bit closer to Ben, so the race for first place is still on with less than an $8 million gap between the two of them.

The single screen of Black Panther picked for Biyondios! Kabuki & Cinema let me pull back into third place and, while my position is not unassailable, my next pick has to be bad, or Pak has to ace his pick, for me to lose it.  As we saw this week, a $20 million margin isn’t impossible.

Two people were dropped from the scoring totals, Liore and the Filthy Fleapit due to both having failed to pick for three weeks over the course of the season.

All of which leads us to the final week of the season.

Black Panther (SAT)  $534
Black Panther (SUN)  $395
Black Panther (FRI)  $334
Game Night           $201
Peter Rabbit         $167
Annihilation         $154
Fifty Shades Freed   $100
Jumanji              $87
The 15:17 to Paris   $62
The Greatest Showman $55 
Every Day            $45
Early Man            $26
The Maze Runner      $17 
The Post             $16
The Shape of Water   $15

This week Winchester, Samson, and the Monday option for Black Panther fell off of the list.

Replacing those are three new films on the list, Game Night, Annihilation, and Every Day.  But none of them are going to be big enough to assail Black Panther this weekend or, looking at that pricing, even a single day of Black Panther this weekend.  That means Black Panther remains split into three days.

Friday, being a work day and lacking the bonus of Thursday night previews this time around, is the lowest priced on the list.  Saturday is expected to be the big day, so you can only have one screen of that, with Sunday expected to be closer to Friday in take.  So it again looks like a question of how many screens of Black Panther can you get?

This being the last week of the season, next week’s post will be the final scores.  My plan has been to then skip the Spring season and come back with a series of posts for the roller coaster of the Summer blockbuster season.  However, I thought I would take a poll about it.  Doing the posts themselves every week isn’t a big deal.  I know I am writing them every week and it can be very much a template to fill out with some commentary around it.  But I am not sure that makes for exciting reading week after week.  So, a poll!

Either way I will still pick every week for Spring, so the TAGN League will be alive.  I will put a link in the comments after this post goes live that will let you join the league.  You do need to go create an account at Fantasy Movie League to play and, as I recall, it is marginally easier if you do that first, then join the league.

Winter Movie League – Rabbit Season

First he ate some lettuces and some French beans; and then he ate some radishes…

-Tales of Peter Rabbit

Week eleven has come and gone for our Fantasy Movie League.

The week saw a boost in scores after the Super Bowl slump that was week ten.  We saw three new titles show up on the big screen that all had potential as an anchor, Fifty Shades Freed, Peter Rabbit, and The 15:17 to Paris, which were expected, and priced to reflect, landing in the top three spots for the weekend box office.

Fifty Shades Freed    $556
Peter Rabbit          $276
The 15:17 to Paris    $221
Jumanji               $126
The Greatest Showman  $101
The Maze Runner       $83
Winchester            $66
The Shape of Water    $51
The Post              $50
Hostiles              $46
12 Strong             $43 
Den of Thieves        $40
Three Billboards      $35
I, Tonya              $30
Darkest Hour          $29

The quest really was just how much each one would take in.

Early in the week there was a forecast post at Variety that predicted Peter Rabbit would pass Fifty Shades, which they suggested would only turn in a $21 million weekend, something that sealed my ongoing suspicion that they post trolling forecasts in order to get page views based on outrage.

As the week went on and literally nobody thought that Fifty Shades would bring in so little, it having an installed based invested in the story, even Variety allowed that it would probably exceed the studios mode modest $33 million prediction.  I am not sure who this installed base actually is, never having run into somebody who has anything good to say about the books or the movies, but they are out there.  It is a franchise on which Twilight fans look down and to which they seem to feel superior, yet it does okay at the box office, especially overseas.

Peter Rabbit, meanwhile, was the kids picture in a week when there wasn’t much in the way of competition on that front.  As with Paddington, I can not recall ever being enchanted with the Beatrix Potter rabbit milieu as a child, the Hundred Acre wood being more my thing, but this Edwardian era bunny retained enough fame that I at least knew who he was sufficiently to mock a middle-school classmate who bore the same name.  Still, this felt a bit like the sort of film you drag the kids to because you feel like you should as opposed to there being much in the way of literary merit to be explored.

Then there was The 15:17 to Paris, a Clint Eastwood film that featured the actual soldiers involved in the event reprising their actions from that day on the silver screen.  There previews for the film didn’t do much to grab me.

And, finally, on the anchor front, there was the holiday season stalwart Jumanji, which seemed to defy gravity week after week, staying viable as an anchor long after the blockbuster of Star Wars, which came out only a week earlier, fell into the filler category and then off the list of picks altogether.

In the absence of forecasts I thought seven screens of Jumanji, filling the eighth with the similarly buoyant Greatest Showman,  might be a viable pick.  That was where I started on Monday night.  And while I changed my lineup at least a dozen times over the course of the week… I can’t just look at a lineup on the screen, I have to pick it in the FML UI and eyeball it to make it feel real… I ended up back with that come Friday morning.

There were points when it seemed like 15:17 to Paris might be the anchor, or Peter Rabbit might be the key, and one forecast that had numbers that made one screen of Fifty Shades, two screens of 15:17 to Paris, and five empty screens look like a viable pick.  But in the end nothing came in that made switch from my initial pick.

15:17 to Paris was under review embargo, which is never a good sign, and declined to have any Thursday night previews.

Peter Rabbit, being a kids film, also didn’t bother with Thursday night previews.  I’m not sure what they would have told us in any case.  Who brings a kid young enough for that sort of film out on a school night.

Which left Fifty Shades, which did have previews, which were good, but not great, and seemed to be indicative of it doing $38-40 million over the weekend.  So my Monday pick stood.

My Winter Week Eleven Picks

A couple of other people went with my pick.  In the MCats League there wasn’t a lot of love for Peter Rabbit, but in the TAGN league Peter Rabbit held greater sway, with five people anchoring on it.

Then came the Saturday estimates and Peter Rabbit seemed to be exceeding expectation and was being tagged as the best performer.  Jumanji was still in the running for that, but 15:17 to Paris was falling behind expectations.  On Saturday it looked like I HAS BAD TASTE might have the perfect pick and win the week.

Sunday estimates changed that up, with Peter Rabbit pulling further ahead, Jumanji holding, and 15:17 to Paris falling further back while SynCaine seemed slated for the perfect pick.

But when the final results came in I HAS BAD TASTE was back on top, winning the week in both the TAGN league and in the overall Meta league and getting the perfect pick.

Winter Week Eleven Perfect Pick

Only 90 people ended up with the perfect pick this week, which makes it a fairly rare pick showing how many options there were for week eleven.

That left the weekly scores as:

  1. I HAS BAD TASTE (T) – $97,045,535
  2. Paks’ Pancakes & Pics (T) – $91,912,175
  3. SynCaine’s Dark Room of Delights (T) – $91,846,527
  4. Dan’s Decadent Decaplex (M) – $89,389,439
  5. Kraut Screens (T) – $87,509,505
  6. Biyondios! Kabuki & Cinema (T) – $86,804,702
  7. Darren’s Unwatched Cineplex (T) – $76,606,751
  8. Logan’s Luxurious Thaumatrope (M) – $76,606,751
  9. Wilhelm’s Broken Isles Bijou (T/M) – $76,606,751
  10. Elly’s Elemental E-Plex (M) – $72,652,251
  11. Corr’s Carefully Curated Cineplex (M) – $71,954,746
  12. Ben’s X-Wing Express (M) – $70,375,527
  13. Vigo Grimborne’s Medieval Screening Complex (T) – $65,171,127
  14. Po Huit’s Sweet Movie Suite (T) – $58,581,726
  15. Joanie’s Joint (T) – $56,637,124
  16. Aure’s Astonishingly Amateur Amphitheatre (M) – $56,637,124
  17. Dr Liore’s Evil House of Pancakes (M) – $30,440,880 (forgot to pick)
  18. The Filthy Fleapit (T) – $19,310,684 (forgot to pick)

The Meta League Legend:

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

Those heavy on Peter Rabbit ruled the roost… or the hutch I suppose… while those who were betting on 15:17 to Paris were way down the list.  Both Liore and The Filthy Fleapit failed to pick in time, which is reflected in their scores.

Those scores shook up the season ranks a bit.

  1. Ben’s X-Wing Express (M) – $1,124,983,276
  2. Corr’s Carefully Curated Cineplex (M) – $1,114,066,616
  3. Biyondios! Kabuki & Cinema (T) – $1,067,518,310
  4. Wilhelm’s Broken Isles Bijou (T/M) – $1,065,683,840
  5. Paks’ Pancakes & Pics (T) – $1,051,523,024
  6. Aure’s Astonishingly Amateur Amphitheatre (M) – $1,027,231,052
  7. Dan’s Decadent Decaplex (M) – $1,023,513,057
  8. SynCaine’s Dark Room of Delights (T) – $968,253,693
  9. Darren’s Unwatched Cineplex (T) – $958,483,040
  10. Po Huit’s Sweet Movie Suite (T) – $957,397,767
  11. Vigo Grimborne’s Medieval Screening Complex (T) – $897,760,744
  12. I HAS BAD TASTE (T) – $895,665,650
  13. Kraut Screens (T) – $886,694,023
  14. Logan’s Luxurious Thaumatrope (M) – $854,601,986
  15. Elly’s Elemental E-Plex (M) – $851,343,686
  16. Joanie’s Joint (T) – $824,196,552
  17. Dr Liore’s Evil House of Pancakes (M) – $814,111,429
  18. The Filthy Fleapit (T) – $803,855,526

Ben and Corr stayed locked in their fight for first place, with Corr gaining a little on Ben.  However, both are still far enough out in front of everybody else that unless they forget to pick or blow their pick badly they will remain the top two in the Meta league.

Biyondios pass me and took third place overall and first place in the TAGN league, though we are close enough that those positions could easily change.  Pak also moved up a place and is within striking range of Biyondios and myself while Aure fell back to a distant 6th place.

I HAS BAD TASTE  was up one position while SynCaine popped up two spots. Logan jumped up three spots and Joanie went up two largely thanks to those who forgot to pick.

So with two weeks left the battle for first place continues while third place could go to three or four different people depending on how optimistic you tend to be.

Which leads us into week twelve, the penultimate week of the season, and a bit one at that.  Black Panther opens up this week and is expected to have a very strong box office.  It expected to dominate, so it has been chopped up into individual days.  But this is also the four day Presidents Day holiday in the US, so it is a four day box office as well.  So the price list looks like this:

Black Panther (FRI)  $501
Black Panther (SAT)  $451
Black Panther (SUN)  $348
Black Panther (MON)  $220
Peter Rabbit         $186
Fifty Shades Freed   $155
Jumanji              $87
The 15:17 to Paris   $68
The Greatest Showman $51
Early Man            $49
The Maze Runner      $39
Samson               $32
Winchester           $31
The Post             $26
The Shape of Water   $25

In addition to four slots going to Black Panther there are two new features, the Old Testament epic of Samson and the Nick Park (of Wallace and Grommet fame) stop motion animated Early Man.

That knocked out some of those Oscar nominees that had been hanging about Three Billboards, I, Tonya, and Darkest Hour, as well as the more recent Hostiles, 12 Strong, and Den of Thieves.

So the question this week is probably just which day of Black Panther do you anchor on?  Friday will be huge, all the more so with the Thursday night previews, but it is priced accordingly.  Saturday will also be big, but like Friday you can only have one unless you want some empty screens.  Sunday and Monday will be more modest, but you can have a couple and still fill out a lineup.

Or, if you’re still feeling it for Beatrix Potter, it is possible to get a lineup with Peter Rabbit as your anchor.  But how many rabbits will you need to beat a panther?  Likewise, you can get a lot of screens of Fifty Shades, but who will beat whom?

And, of course, finding estimates to help you out will be problematic.  Most estimates will likely be a three day weekend total, which will give an idea but not a number you can bank on.  And this is a big enough week that blowing it or getting the perfect pick could change your standings dramatically.

Winter Movie League – Hog-whimperingly Silly

 There’s a hogwhimperingly silly performance from Helen Mirren…

-The Guardian, Winchester Review

Week ten of our Winter Fantasy Movie League has come and gone with low numbers due to the Super Bowl and no big new films arriving on the big screen.

Sure, there was Winchester, which featured Dame Helen Mirren.  But when a film causes our English cousins to abuse the English language to describe it, one cannot expect it to be a break out in the box office.  And yet, there it was at the top of the price list, an indication that somebody, somewhere felt it was going to carry the week at number one.

Winchester           $274
Jumanji              $261
The Maze Runner      $230 
The Greatest Showman $167
The Post             $126
The Shape of Water   $114
Hostiles             $113
Den of Thieves       $90
12 Strong            $89
Paddington 2         $75
Three Billboards     $71
I, Tonya             $61
Phantom Thread       $56
Star Wars            $46
Forever My Girl      $45

However even at the optimist end of the scale of forecasts it wasn’t going to be dominant, and as the week wore on enthusiasm sagged.  Even the Thursday night preview count, which wasn’t that bad really, failed to carry it forward and it ended up in third place overall for the weekend box office, failing to cross the $10 million mark.

But back at the early end of the week I based my first lineup around it, less because I thought the movie was going to be stellar than because I chronically underestimate the attraction of the horror genre.  My FML picks over time show a disdain for such films and, after having been burned enough time on that front, I decided to start with Winchester as an anchor and work from there.

However, once I found out there was an embargo on reviews… The Guardian published the review I quoted at the top, then had to remove it citing said press embargo… I left Winchester behind and never looked back.  Stopping the press from writing about a movie is tantamount to declaring it bad yourself, a generally futile effort to contain negative buzz.

With that out of the way the toss up for anchor was between Jumanji and The Maze Runner.  The general expectation was that The Maze Runner would hold first for another week, if only by a small margin, and since it was the cheapest of the pair, I ran with that.

I decided to go with three screens of that and then fill in from the lower end of the picks.  Star Wars was tempting, seemingly priced low enough to maybe take the best performer slot, but it hasn’t sustained as well as its big opening might make one think it should.  So I filled up five screens with I, Tonya as it was getting a boost in theater count and it was a film I wanted to see.  That left my pick looking like this:

My Winter Week Ten Picks

As it turned out my thoughts on anchor weren’t bad.  While Jumanji eked out a win in the box office, The Maze Runner’s lower price allowed better additional picks.  However, the best performer was higher up the price list.  12 Strong took that honor, the perfect pick for the week being two screens of The Maze Runner and six screens of 12 Strong.

Winter Week Ten Perfect Pick

217 players managed to get the perfect pick, none of them in the Meta League however.  And, compared to previous weeks, the payout for perfect was somewhat paltry.

In the Meta League the only one who was at all big on 12 Strong was SynCaine, so he won the week.

  1. SynCaine’s Dark Room of Delights (T) – $52,944,678
  2. Ben’s X-Wing Express (M) – $48,256,768
  3. Vigo Grimborne’s Medieval Screening Complex (T) – $48,256,768
  4. Elly’s Elemental E-Plex (M) – $48,256,768
  5. Dr Liore’s Evil House of Pancakes (M) – $48,256,768
  6. Kraut Screens (T) – $47,571,678
  7. Corr’s Carefully Curated Cineplex (M) – $45,995,775
  8. Paks’ Pancakes & Pics (T) – $45,803,359
  9. I HAS BAD TASTE (T) – $45,693,465
  10. Biyondios! Kabuki & Cinema (T) – $45,675,426
  11. Dan’s Decadent Decaplex (M) – $45,492,946
  12. Wilhelm’s Broken Isles Bijou (T/M) – $43,773,305
  13. The Filthy Fleapit (T) – $42,379,780
  14. Aure’s Astonishingly Amateur Amphitheatre (M) – $40,975,374
  15. Logan’s Luxurious Thaumatrope (M) – $38,835,284
  16. Darren’s Unwatched Cineplex (T) – $38,835,284
  17. Joanie’s Joint (T) – $37,840,701
  18. Po Huit’s Sweet Movie Suite (T) – $36,028,912

The Meta League Legend:

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

The most popular pick was two screens of The Maze Runner and six screens of Den of Thieves which four people in the Meta League ran with.  That was good enough for a solid second place, but not enough to change the lineup drastically.

That left the overall Meta League score looking like this:

  1. Ben’s X-Wing Express (M) – $1,054,607,749
  2. Corr’s Carefully Curated Cineplex (M) – $1,042,111,870
  3. Wilhelm’s Broken Isles Bijou (T/M) – $989,077,089
  4. Biyondios! Kabuki & Cinema (T) – $980,713,608
  5. Aure’s Astonishingly Amateur Amphitheatre (M) – $970,593,928
  6. Paks’ Pancakes & Pics (T) – $959,610,849
  7. Dan’s Decadent Decaplex (M) – $934,123,618
  8. Po Huit’s Sweet Movie Suite (T) – $898,816,041
  9. Darren’s Unwatched Cineplex (T) – $881,876,289
  10. SynCaine’s Dark Room of Delights (T) – $876,407,166
  11. Vigo Grimborne’s Medieval Screening Complex (T) – $832,589,617
  12. Kraut Screens (T) – $799,184,518
  13. I HAS BAD TASTE (T) – $798,620,115
  14. The Filthy Fleapit (T) – $784,544,842
  15. Dr Liore’s Evil House of Pancakes (M) – $783,670,549
  16. Elly’s Elemental E-Plex (M) – $778,691,435
  17. Logan’s Luxurious Thaumatrope (M) – $777,995,235
  18. Joanie’s Joint (T) – $767,559,428

There was a little bit of shifting positions in the back half of the pack and Liore continued her climb up from last place in the pack, but at the top end Ben extended his lead over Corr by a couple million while the race for third place seems yet up in the air.

Now there are only three weeks left in the season, but with the Super Bowl behind us and a couple of big releases headed our way there is still the possibility of a shake-up in the ranks.  Week eleven offers the following choices:

Fifty Shades Freed    $556
Peter Rabbit          $276
The 15:17 to Paris    $221
Jumanji               $126
The Greatest Showman  $101
The Maze Runner       $83
Winchester            $66
The Shape of Water    $51
The Post              $50
Hostiles              $46
12 Strong             $43 
Den of Thieves        $40
Three Billboards      $35
I, Tonya              $30
Darkest Hour          $29

For week eleven Star Wars, Paddington 2, Phantom Thread, and Forever My Girl dropped from the list.

Replacing those are three new films, Fifty Shades Freed, Peter Rabbit, and The 15:17 to Paris along with Darkest Hour returning to the list, likely due to an expansion of theaters showing it.

The big release is Fifty Shades Freed, the final film in the trilogy that started off as Twilight fan fic if I recall right.  It will no doubt top the box office, but will it be worth double the next film in line, Peter Rabbit?  I’d hazard a guess that those films serve different demographics, while Clint Eastwood’s The 15:17 to Paris caters to a third.

Meanwhile Jumanji is still in play… why not 7x Jumanji and a screen of the also surprisingly persistent The Greatest Showman as a pick… and mixing and matching the new comers with some of the low priced options seems viable as well.

Winter Movie League – A Fear of Hostiles

LET…US…NEVER…SPEAK…OF…IT…AGAIN.

-Po Huit, TAGN FML Chatter

Week nine of our Fantasy Movie League has passed, and it was a week of disappointment for many, some more than others.  The available picks were.

 The Maze Runner      $358
 Jumanji              $222
 The Greatest Showman $134
 The Post             $129
 12 Strong            $128
 Den of Thieves       $127
 Hostiles             $126
 Paddington 2         $93
 The Shape of Water   $86
 Phantom Thread       $81
 Three Billboards     $68
 Best of the Rest     $67
 Forever My Girl      $64
 The Commuter         $58
 Star Wars            $57

Week eight was one of those weeks where those who pay close attention to the last minute data were granted insight into an obvious winner.  Week nine, on the other hand, was a week where the eventual correct pick, Hostiles, had mixed projections from various sources and so we seemed to have all talked ourselves out of going with it.

This was especially painful for Po Huit who, in missing a week, has been prone to gambling on outlying options in order to catch up.  On Monday night last week he declared he was going with seven screens of Hostiles and one screen of Paddington in the TAGN chatter forum on the FML site.

I have to admit that I considered Hostiles as well at a couple of points over the course of the week.  At the high end of the projections I saw it would have been a winner, but the low end was really low, at which point it was a non-starter.  Meanwhile the projections for The Post were pretty consistent and seemed to indicate that it was a strong candidate for the best performer bonus.

In the MCats slack channel a group of us came to the same conclusion and, sharing our cards at one point, it seemed that most of us were going with seven screens of The Post and one screen of Paddington.  In an effort to not have a stagnant week I changed to The Shape of Water while Aure abandoned The Post for another lineup.

My Winter Week Nine Picks

Meanwhile Po Huit lost his nerve by Thursday and also joined so many of us on the bandwagon for The Post.  Even the last minute Thursday night numbers were not very informative.  Hostiles did okay, but not as well as Den of Thieves did the previous week.  Furthermore, since Hostiles has been out in limited release for a while now, Thursday night previews wouldn’t count towards its weekend, so there was nothing there to make me change from The Post.

The lockout time came and revealed that nobody in the Meta League bet heavily on Hostiles.  The only person to pick it was Liore, who had a single screen of it in her lineup.

And then the first set of estimates came out late Saturday morning that indicated that projections for The Post were overly optimistic while the high end forecasts for the Hostiles were on the money, so the perfect pick for the week ended up being Po Huit’s initial pick, much to his dismay, as the quote at the top might indicate.

However, there was one minor upset, when The Shape of Water managed to eke out a win over Paddington in the box office, something I was betting on, so in the end Po didn’t miss out on the perfect pick, which ended up being worth about $95 million.  A mere 107 people got the perfect pick, down from 981 last week.

Winter Week Nine Perfect Pick

However, his original Hostiles heavy pick would have been worth $90 million.  Instead he ended up slumming with the rest of us down the chart rather than gaining on anybody.  So the week nine results for the Meta League ended up as:

  1. Dr Liore’s Evil House of Pancakes (M) – $73,692,629
  2. Biyondios! Kabuki & Cinema (T) – $71,132,257
  3. Aure’s Astonishingly Amateur Amphitheatre (M) – $71,106,570
  4. SynCaine’s Dark Room of Delights (T) – $70,705,742
  5. The Filthy Fleapit (T) – $69,723,620
  6. Dan’s Decadent Decaplex (M) – $69,672,540
  7. Corr’s Carefully Curated Cineplex (M) – $69,672,540
  8. Wilhelm’s Broken Isles Bijou (T/M) – $69,672,540
  9. Ben’s X-Wing Express (M) – $69,418,420
  10. Vigo Grimborne’s Medieval Screening Complex (T) – $69,418,420
  11. Logan’s Luxurious Thaumatrope (M) – $69,418,420
  12. Po Huit’s Sweet Movie Suite (T) – $69,418,420
  13. I HAS BAD TASTE (T) – $66,893,415
  14. Paks’ Pancakes & Pics (T) – $66,444,870
  15. Kraut Screens (T) – $65,589,752
  16. Darren’s Unwatched Cineplex (T) – $63,784,347
  17. Joanie’s Joint (T) – $62,517,054
  18. Elly’s Elemental E-Plex (M) – $40,033,732
  • TAGN Movie Obsession – players from it marked with a (T)
  • MCats Multiplex – players from it marked with an (M)

There wasn’t a huge gap between the top and bottom this week.  If it hadn’t been for Elly, the gap between first and last would have been about $11 million.

Liore took the week, being the only one to even have a screen of Hostiles, Biyondios managed second on a slate of Maze Runner, Jumanji, Greatest Showman, and Star Wars, while Aure came in third, validating her abandonment of the over-player lineup with The Post.    And then there was everybody who went heavy on The Post followed by other assorted picks.

Of the seven people all-in on The Post, the top three, who went with The Shape of Water, beat the bottom four, who went with Paddington, by a mere $254,120.  Corr moved that much closer to Ben this week. You take every advantage you get I guess.  Elly was the outlier, going with Jumanji and seven screens of The Commuter.

And a side surprise was that the film Padmaavat popped up to 10th place for the weekend, despite being in only 324 theaters, making it the Best of the Rest.  It is the most expensive Hindi film ever produced, but it is the controversy that got it up the list.  It has been banned in a number of places overseas.

So after an middling performance across the board the Meta League ended up looking like this:

  1. Ben’s X-Wing Express (M) – $1,006,350,981
  2. Corr’s Carefully Curated Cineplex (M) – $996,116,095
  3. Wilhelm’s Broken Isles Bijou (T/M) – $945,303,784
  4. Biyondios! Kabuki & Cinema (T) – $935,038,182
  5. Aure’s Astonishingly Amateur Amphitheatre (M) – $929,618,554
  6. Paks’ Pancakes & Pics (T) – $913,807,490
  7. Dan’s Decadent Decaplex (M) – $888,630,672
  8. Po Huit’s Sweet Movie Suite (T) – $862,787,129
  9. Darren’s Unwatched Cineplex (T) – $843,041,005
  10. SynCaine’s Dark Room of Delights (T) – $823,462,488
  11. Vigo Grimborne’s Medieval Screening Complex (T) – $784,332,849
  12. I HAS BAD TASTE (T) – $752,926,650
  13. Kraut Screens (T) – $751,612,840
  14. The Filthy Fleapit (T) – $742,165,062
  15. Logan’s Luxurious Thaumatrope (M) – $739,159,951
  16. Dr Liore’s Evil House of Pancakes (M) – $735,413,781
  17. Elly’s Elemental E-Plex (M) – $730,434,667
  18. Joanie’s Joint (T) – $729,718,727

The only change in that list was Elly dropping down two slots.  I did drop Bean Movie Burrito from the list.  Not only did they start late, but they missed picking three weeks now, so it seems unfair to keep listing them.

And so it goes as we move into week eleven with the following choices:

Winchester           $274
Jumanji              $261
The Maze Runner      $230 
The Greatest Showman $167
The Post             $126
The Shape of Water   $114
Hostiles             $113
Den of Thieves       $90
12 Strong            $89
Paddington 2         $75
Three Billboards     $71
I, Tonya             $61
Phantom Thread       $56
Star Wars            $46
Forever My Girl      $45

The Commuter dropped from the list and there is no Best of the Rest choice this week.

The new movie this week is Winchester, which takes place in a house about two miles from where I live, while I, Tonya returns to the list this week despite having only hit 16th place in the box office for week nine.  I guess it is on more screens this week.  Still, it seems like another shot for Best of the Rest would be better, even if you keep I, Tonya on the list, but what do I know?  I bet on The Post.

So Winchester has Helen Mirren, which speaks to its merits in my book, but is the world ready for a crazy lady in San Jose who made her contractor rich with constant additions to her house?  I lived down the street from essentially that situation at our last house, and that didn’t get a film.  Okay, I guess it is supposed to be a horror film… historical horror drama maybe… and I regularly and consistently under estimate how they will do.  I suppose I should marvel that they got Helen Mirren for it.

Meanwhile, Jumanji still seems to be strong and there is the question as to whether or not films nominated for Best Picture at the Oscars this year will continue to see a boost in ticket sales.  The only thing my gut says is, “Stay away from The Post!”  It has failed to meet forecasts every week.

Winter Movie League – Thieves Steal the Week

Week eight of our Fantasy Movie League has now passed and it was one of those strange weeks.

The usual effort involves picking an anchor film that will bring in the most dollars, and then backing it up with something at the low end of the price range that will back it up, the optimum generally being the best price/performance film.  And this week started off no different than most with the following options.

Jumanji              $290
12 Strong            $251
The Post             $209
The Greatest Showman $156
Paddington 2         $110
Den of Thieves       $94
The Commuter         $90
Star Wars            $85
Insidious            $74
Proud Mary           $65
Phantom Thread       $52
Darkest Hour         $47
Pitch Perfect 3      $45
I, Tonya             $40
Coco                 $34

It seemed clear that Jumanji would be at the top of the box office, so on the anchor front it was more a question of whether or not one of the other possible anchors was cheap enough to offset that.  12 Strong didn’t seem like it would be worth the investment, so after my first gut pick early in the week I changed to anchor on three screens of The Post.  That left me enough room for a variety of fillers at the low end.

For filler I had my eye on The Commuter.  With my own estimates, where I usually just assume a 50% drop from the previous week for movies already in play, seemed pretty likely to get the best performer bonus.

As the week went on and more estimates came in from various sources, I started to think that maybe Insidious might be the better pick and swapped over to that.  Meanwhile the predictions for Jumanji were coming in higher than I expected and the forecasts for Den of Thieves, a potential filler, were all over the map, ranging from $5 million to over $11 million.  At the low number it wasn’t worth considering, but at the high number it was a must-have pick.

So I vacillated.  I made Jumanji my anchor, then kept changing up the filler.  But I wasn’t willing to commit to Po Huit’s Tuesday “Hail Mary” pick of Jumanji and seven screens of Den of Thieves.

I went back and forth on a couple of picks on Thursday night.  And then on Friday morning the number for the Thursday night previews came out.  For those who want to see these early, the Box Office section at the site Deadline generally posts them around 8am on Friday morning, which gives you an hour before picks are locked.

The previews showed Den of Thieves doing nearly a million dollars on Thursday night.  That was a very strong performance, making the high end estimates seem likely.  Not only that, but the Thursday night preview take counts towards the weekend box office totals, so Po Huit’s “Hail Mary” pick on Tuesday suddenly became the “well duh!” pick on Friday morning as I and nearly a thousand other Fantasy Movie League players jumped on board.

My Winter Week Eight Picks and the Perfect Pick

Included in the 981 people who got the perfect pick were six people in the Meta League, including the five of the top six contenders, so the scores ended up like this:

  1. Po Huit’s Sweet Movie Suite (T) – $144,947,926
  2. Ben’s X-Wing Express (M) – $144,947,926
  3. Corr’s Carefully Curated Cineplex (M) – $144,947,926
  4. Biyondios! Kabuki & Cinema (T) – $144,947,926
  5. Aure’s Astonishingly Amateur Amphitheatre (M) – $144,947,926
  6. Wilhelm’s Broken Isles Bijou (T/M) – $144,947,926
  7. Dan’s Decadent Decaplex (M) – $126,670,568
  8. SynCaine’s Dark Room of Delights (T) – $121,553,968
  9. Paks’ Pancakes & Pics (T) – $101,579,844
  10. Dr Liore’s Evil House of Pancakes (M) – $101,579,844
  11. Darren’s Unwatched Cineplex (T) – $69,599,900
  12. The Filthy Fleapit (T) – $66,917,547
  13. Elly’s Elemental E-Plex (M) – $65,732,064
  14. The Bean Movie Burrito (T) – $65,663,644
  15. I HAS BAD TASTE (T) – $65,397,597
  16. Vigo Grimborne’s Medieval Screening Complex (T) – $65,026,990
  17. Kraut Screens (T) – $64,525,769
  18. Joanie’s Joint (T) – $59,748,952
  19. Logan’s Luxurious Thaumatrope (M) – $58,307,592

Meta League Legend

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

Those who went with Den of Thieves topped the list while those who failed to get on board suffered, with the dividing line being about the $100 million mark.  Above that, you have Den of Thieves in your line up, below that and you did not.

The over all Meta League standings after Week Eight were:

  1. Ben’s X-Wing Express (M) – $936,932,561
  2. Corr’s Carefully Curated Cineplex (M) – $926,443,555
  3. Wilhelm’s Broken Isles Bijou (T/M) – $875,631,244
  4. Biyondios! Kabuki & Cinema (T) – $863,905,925
  5. Aure’s Astonishingly Amateur Amphitheatre (M) – $858,511,984
  6. Paks’ Pancakes & Pics (T) – $847,362,620
  7. Dan’s Decadent Decaplex (M) – $818,958,132
  8. Po Huit’s Sweet Movie Suite (T) – $793,368,709
  9. Darren’s Unwatched Cineplex (T) – $779,256,658
  10. SynCaine’s Dark Room of Delights (T) – $752,756,746
  11. Vigo Grimborne’s Medieval Screening Complex (T) – $714,914,429
  12. Elly’s Elemental E-Plex (M) – $690,400,935
  13. Logan’s Luxurious Thaumatrope (M) – $669,741,531
  14. Dr Liore’s Evil House of Pancakes (M) – $661,721,152
  15. I HAS BAD TASTE (T) – $686,033,235
  16. Kraut Screens (T) – $686,023,088
  17. The Filthy Fleapit (T) – $672,441,442
  18. Joanie’s Joint (T) – $667,201,673
  19. The Bean Movie Burrito (T) – $334,926,516

The week ended up with something of a “the rich get richer” scenario as those five of the top six who went with the perfect pick pulled further away from the pack.  But it brought no joy to Corr in his attempt to catch Ben and, while I am now in contention for third place, first and second got no closer.

So that was the result of what ended up being a poorly priced week.  And Den of Thieves was not alone on the list.  Corr noted last week that the film Forever My Girl, a new film opening in over a thousand venues, was somehow missing from the list and ended up in 10th place in the US box office over the weekend.  Oops.

That was Week Eight.  Now we’re on to Week Nine and more potential comedy.  The movie options and pricing had to be up by Monday at 5pm Pacific Time, but the Oscar Nominees were only announced twelve hours later, early on Tuesday morning, and the nominee list may influence the weekend box office.

Sure, we all know Three Billboards is going to be nominated, as it already expanded onto more screens last week. (I went and saw it finally, and there was an ad for Fantasy Movie League before the showing.  Direct hit on the target audience I guess.)  Three Billboards made it to 17th place for the weekend box office, and might move up further, but what else might see a resurgence due to announcements?  Well, the price list for this week is:

 The Maze Runner      $358
 Jumanji              $222
 The Greatest Showman $134
 The Post             $129
 12 Strong            $128
 Den of Thieves       $127
 Hostiles             $126
 Paddington 2         $93
 The Shape of Water   $86
 Phantom Thread       $81
 Three Billboards     $68
 Best of the Rest     $67
 Forever My Girl      $64
 The Commuter         $58
 Star Wars            $57

New to the list this week are The Maze Runner and Hostiles, while Forever My Girl, which should have been on the list last week since it placed 10th in the US box office, finally makes it. Then there is The Shape of Water and Three Billboards Outside Ebbing Missouri, both of which return to the list, being obvious Oscar nominees even before they were announced. There is also a Best of the Rest options, which I think is there to cover FML in case some nominee surges in the theater count.

Falling off the list was Darkest Hour, Pitch Perfect 3 , I, Tonya, Coco, Insidious, and Proud Mary.  Darkest Hour might be the only surprise there given that it also seemed likely to get an Oscar nod.  But it can come back via that Best of the Rest slot.

The assumption this week is that Jumanji will finally fall from first place, to be replace at the top of the box office by the third installment of the Maze Runner franchise… also the second one not to feature the maze.

Meanwhile, the following films still in release were nominated for the Best Picture award, so might be expected to see a boost at the box office: (full list here)

  • Darkest Hour
  • Lady Bird
  • Phantom Thread
  • The Post
  • The Shape of Water
  • Three Billboards Outside Ebbing Missouri

Coco and Ferdinand (and Boss Baby!) were also nominated for animated feature.

My normal early week lack of direction is enhanced by the possibility of the nominations changing the game.  I will definitely be checking the theater counts over at Box Office Mojo when they show up on Thursday afternoon before making my final pick.

Winter Movie League – A Wild Four Day Ride

With the four day MLK holiday weekend in the US, week seven of the winter Fantasy Movie League was quite a journey.

Any week is a bit of a crap shoot when it comes to picks as you have to find the studio and industry estimates and figure out who is on the ball and who is way off base and craft your selection based on that.  But this week went above and beyond for a few reasons.

To start with, as I noted last week, the pricing was such that you had seven possible anchors out of a list of fifteen movies.  The list of options:

Jumanji              $293
The Post             $210
Paddington 2         $201
Insidious            $179
Proud Mary           $169
The Commuter         $143
Star Wars            $139
The Greatest Showman $132
Pitch Perfect 3      $70
Darkest Hour         $64
Molly's Game         $59
Ferdinand            $58
Coco                 $44
The Shape of Water   $41
Best of the Rest     $41

Then the filler movies were a bit on the pricey side, the gap between the top and bottom of the list being fairly narrow.  So you had to have some care in your pick lest you run out of budget to fill your screens.  Not that you need to fill them all.  The perfect pick the previous week had one empty.  But more than one seems dicey.

Then there were the estimates, which were all over the board.  I mean, they often vary, but this week they seemed to be more varied than usual.  I saw a gap of over $8 million for Jumanji across the sites I check.  But then it was a holiday weekend and some sites were estimating for all four days while others held to just Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, which just added to the mess.

And then there was the loss of the FML Nerd tool, everybody’s favorite lineup utility.  It was replaced by Moovee Picker, which has some upside.  It goes out and gets the weekend estimates from multiple sites, including a couple I did not know about, and puts them on the page for you and lets you weight them or ignore them completely.  But it is a bit quirky and was doing something very wrong in calculating early last week, though that was quickly resolved.  And, advanced though it is, it isn’t quite as clear and straightforward as FML Nerd yet.

Into this I waded, thinking I would eschew the old guard of movies and jump on the bandwagon with new flicks.  Surely The Post or Paddington 2 would deliver over a four day weekend.  Jumanji couldn’t hold on again, could it?

As the estimates started showing up I changed tack and started building up possible picks around an increasingly aged lineup.  As I fiddled with numbers strange selections seemed to keep coming up with as many as three empty screens.  That seemed like crazy talk to me.  It took all I had to leave one screen empty last week, three screens was asking too much.

Meanwhile the estimates seem to be fairly favorable for Star Wars and it seemed quite possible that it would be the best performer of the week, so I started messing around with that as an anchor.  Moovee Picker was telling me to go with seven screens of that and a single empty screen or to run with a screen of Jumanji, five screens of Star Wars, and two empty screens.

More empty screens!

So I was fiddling with various options and had picked six screens of Star Wars and two screens of Pitch Perfect just to see how it looked, then got distracted and forgot to go back and change it to a “real” pick until it was already too late.  So that was that.

My Winter Week Seven Picks

It didn’t turn into a bad pick.  What was odd was what turned into a good pick.  Watching the estimates come it, Jumanji quickly asserted itself as being under valued and looked to be the best performer of the week, making crazy picks like three screens of Jumanji, one screen of Coco, and one screen of Pitch Perfect 3, with three empty screens, viable candidates scoring well above my own picks.  And nobody appeared to have predicted the perfect pick.

Then the final results came in and, in a final surprise twist, The Greatest Showman surged ahead and took the best price/performance title away from Jumanji, throwing the previous perfect pick estimate out the window and turning some of those three empty screen picks back into the crazy they seemed… or at least they were no longer close to winning picks.

The perfect pick for the week turned out to be seven screens of The Greatest Showman and one screen of Pitch Perfect 3, a selection that only 70 people went with for week seven.

Winter Week Seven Perfect Pick

This was the second time The Greatest Showman featured in the perfect pick, as it was also the anchor of choice for week five.

Meanwhile, in the Meta League, picks were all over the map with only two people sharing the same pick.  In the MCats League I was the only one willing to touch Star Wars and ended up in third place there, while in the TAGN League I was down in fifth position, the overall Meta League scores for the week ending up as:

  1. Darren’s Unwatched Cineplex (T) – $113,562,167
  2. Paks’ Pancakes & Pics (T) – $107,543,193
  3. Po Huit’s Sweet Movie Suite (T) – $107,354,619
  4. SynCaine’s Dark Room of Delights (T) – $105,892,743
  5. Ben’s X-Wing Express (M) – $105,606,834
  6. Corr’s Carefully Curated Cineplex (M) – $105,147,520
  7. Wilhelm’s Broken Isles Bijou (T/M) – $102,420,226
  8. Joanie’s Joint (T) – $101,236,413
  9. I HAS BAD TASTE (T) – $91,155,606
  10. Vigo Grimborne’s Medieval Screening Complex (T) – $89,498,523
  11. Dan’s Decadent Decaplex (M) – $87,467,774
  12. Kraut Screens (T) – $81,300,678
  13. Biyondios! Kabuki & Cinema (T) – $78,487,588
  14. Elly’s Elemental E-Plex (M) – $78,487,588
  15. Dr Liore’s Evil House of Pancakes (M) – $74,014,283
  16. Logan’s Luxurious Thaumatrope (M) – $71,506,998
  17. Aure’s Astonishingly Amateur Amphitheatre (M) – $71,262,455
  18. The Filthy Fleapit (T) – $46,438,006 (did not pick)
  19. The Bean Movie Burrito (T) – $12,696,661 (did not pick)

Meta League Legend

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

Except for Ben, who anchored on The Commuter, the split in the league seemed to be between those who bet on older titles and those who went with week seven’s new crop of options, the latter faring poorly as stuffed bears and blaxploitation failed to carry the day.

There were also three people who failed to pick in the TAGN league.  This was the third week for one, which I assume means they have called it quits, so Movies Movies Movies will no longer appear on the list.  The other two will soldier on until such time as they hit that threshold as well.

  1. Ben’s X-Wing Express (M) – $791,984,635
  2. Corr’s Carefully Curated Cineplex (M) – $781,495,629
  3. Paks’ Pancakes & Pics (T) – $745,782,776
  4. Wilhelm’s Broken Isles Bijou (T/M) – $730,683,318
  5. Biyondios! Kabuki & Cinema (T) – $718,957,999
  6. Aure’s Astonishingly Amateur Amphitheatre (M) – $713,564,058
  7. Darren’s Unwatched Cineplex (T) – $709,656,758
  8. Dan’s Decadent Decaplex (M) – $692,287,564
  9. Vigo Grimborne’s Medieval Screening Complex (T) – $649,887,439
  10. Po Huit’s Sweet Movie Suite (T) – $648,420,783
  11. SynCaine’s Dark Room of Delights (T) – $631,202,778
  12. Elly’s Elemental E-Plex (M) – $624,668,871
  13. Kraut Screens (T) – $621,497,319
  14. I HAS BAD TASTE (T) – $620,635,638
  15. Logan’s Luxurious Thaumatrope (M) – $611,433,939
  16. Joanie’s Joint (T) – $607,452,721
  17. The Filthy Fleapit (T) – $605,523,895
  18. Dr Liore’s Evil House of Pancakes (M) – $560,141,308
  19. The Bean Movie Burrito (T) – $269,262,872

While Ben and Corr stayed locked in combat for the top spot, with Corr gaining no ground this week, the rest of the standings were stirred up a bit.  Pak, in tight contention with Aure and Biyondios last week for third place, did well enough to pull away from his rivals while I, hoping last week to even be in contention for third place, managed to follow Pak up the ladder a bit.

Now we are past the half way point of the season with just six weeks left to go and all the big holiday releases behind us.  Just the grim gray of January and February remain.  Will there be enough action in the box office to allow anybody besides Corr vie with Ben for first place?

The week eight lineup looks like this:

Jumanji              $290
12 Strong            $251
The Post             $209
The Greatest Showman $156
Paddington 2         $110
Den of Thieves       $94
The Commuter         $90
Star Wars            $85
Insidious            $74
Proud Mary           $65
Phantom Thread       $52
Darkest Hour         $47
Pitch Perfect 3      $45
I, Tonya             $40
Coco                 $34

Molly’s Game, Ferdinand, and The Shape of Water all fell off the list as did the Best of the Rest option.

In their place we have new on the screen 12 Strong, Den of Thieves, and Phantom Thread as well as the return of I, Tonya, which ended up being the Best of the Rest filler last week.

But in that list there are no huge stand outs for anchor.  Jumanji remains on top mostly by virtue of nothing else big having come along to cast it down.  12 Strong has Chris Hemsworth, which means we’ll have to at least watch it on video at home at some point, but I am not sure how big of a box office draw the somewhat obscure war story will be.  And after that only The Post and The Greatest Showman seem viable as anchor choices and I don’t really like either for this week.

For the first time since it opened Star Wars is no longer a viable anchor, being too cheap at this point, so it is now an expensive mid-pack filler.

As happened last week, there is no nice cheap $13 fillers if you go overboard on your anchor, so you can go with three screens of Jumanji without leaving a screen empty.  Maybe Den of Thieves will surprise, though they don’t have a big name besides 50 Cent as a draw, while Phantom Thread seems to be more art house Oscar bait than something with significant mass appeal.

And with everybody back at school or back at work, and no holidays in sight save for Valentine’s Day on the horizon, it seems like it will be a weak week at the box office overall.  A good weekend to stay home and binge on Netflix.  I know we have the first season of Outlander to finish up.

Honest Trailers – Kong Skull Island

I love Honest Trailers, but this one is a special one as they get the director, Jordan Vogt-Roberts, in on the act and have him list out what he thinks is wrong with the movie.

 

Also, I almost never watch Honest Trailers unless I have already seen the movie… so I’ve seen Kong: Skull Island… and it’s not so bad.  I mean, it is a monster movie, so you can’t take it too seriously, but it was a perfectly fine Friday night on the couch film.