Category Archives: Movies

Fantasy Movie League Fall 2019 Final Score

I said at the mid-season check-in that the fall 2019 Fantasy Movie League race was more interesting than usual.

The race remained tight right up until week 10, when SynCaine bet on Midway and ended up with the perfect pick, which got him $95 million for the week, $40 million more than the second place pick.  That jumped him up into first place overall and opened up a gap that nobody was able to close in the final three weeks, so the final top scores for the TAGN league for fall were:

  1. SynCaine’s Dark Room of Delights – $1,003,734,130
  2. Wilhelm’s Qeynosian Kinetoscope – $948,306,363
  3. Too Orangey For Crows – $926,452,645
  4. Cyanbane’s Neuticles Viewing Party – $914,543,237
  5. Po Huit’s Sweet Movie Suite – $885,407,281
  6. Joanie’s Joint – $838,079,152

The alternate scoring, based on a 1 to 5 point scale this time around since we had only about seven regulars, ended up as follows:

  1. SynCaine’s Dark Room of Delights – 42
  2. Too Orangey For Crows – 37
  3. Wilhelm’s Qeynosian Kinetoscope – 31
  4. Cyanbane’s Neuticles Viewing Party – 26
  5. Po Huit’s Sweet Movie Suite – 26
  6. Joanie’s Joint – 14

Bhagpuss and I swapped spots for the alternate scoring.  During close weeks I was frequently in the pack but several spots down.  I extended the final scores to six players as Joanie actually had the top score two weeks, which was as often as I won.

Congratulations to SynCaine for winning the season!

The winter, or “awards” season starts this week.  I won’t be covering it on a weekly basis.  But if it turns out to be another interesting race I will give a mid-season update.

If you want to join on the league you need to make a Fantasy Movie League account.  Once that is done, go to the leagues page, find the search field, and enter TAGN, which should bring up only our league.  Click on the link for TAGN Movie Obsession.  That should bring you to the league page where you will find a button that says Join.  Click that, enter George as the password, and you’re in.

Fall FML Mid Season Glance

In hindsight I wish I had carried on and done an official Fantasy Movie League for the fall season.

Autumn is an odd time for movies.  It sits in a gap between the summer blockbusters and the end of the year rush to get the Oscar candidates up on screen. (The academy is old and has a very short memory.)  This makes it a time when some odd movies that wouldn’t stand up during either end of the season feel safe to show up.

Of course, there are the usual seasonal expectations.  Halloween demands horror, and the season opened up with IT: Chapter Two, which rang in at $91 million its opening week and which I might have expected it to be the big release of the season and to still be lingering about at the bottom of the picks after seven weeks.

But it isn’t.  It has gone.  And it has been eclipsed.

The Joker came along with a $96 million first week showing in a season when a lot of weeks the top film is more in the $30 million range.  And that might not be the peak for the season.  The season will wrap up with Frozen II, which is bound to be big.

And in the middle even some of those $30 million films haven’t been bad.  I enjoyed Downtown Abby even if it was a wholly unnecessary fan service cash grab.  And unless the reviews are bad I will go see Midway to compare it to the 70s film.  Also I happen to be finishing up Shattered Sword, a detailed look at the Japanese side of the battle that has become the definitive English language source for that aspect of events.  And they just happened to have found the wrecks of the Kaga and Akagi, two of the four Japanese carriers sunk during the battle.

I’m also keen to see Jojo Rabbit, though with plans this weekend I will have to hope it lasts for a couple weeks in theaters.

Mostly though I am interested in what a close race the season is turning out to be.  There are only six of us picking regularly… if I do another season of posts I will probably limit it to a top five race since we couldn’t even sustain ten regulars over the summer… but the top five in the pack are close enough that any one of us could end up on top by the end.  The current standings at the end of week seven are:

  1. Wilhelm’s Qeynosian Kinetoscope – $509,212,563
  2. Cyanbane’s Neuticles Viewing Party – $504,887,493
  3. Too Orangey For Crows – $504,525,995
  4. Po Huit’s Sweet Movie Suite – $494,337,399
  5. SynCaine’s Dark Room of Delights – $491,669,647

There is less than at $18K gap between first and fifth.  I am not sure we have seen a race still that close seven weeks in.  It is close enough that changes in the weekend estimates between Saturday and Sunday this past week changed the lineup.

And the different rules continues to set our league apart.  Just about every other week the perfect pick for us is different from the main league.  The $2 million bonus for the worst performer and no penalty for empty screens can shake things up.

Anyway, we shall see how the final tally comes out.  There are six weeks left to go.

Summer Movie League – The Final Cut

Our Summer Fantasy Movie League has come to and end.  It is now time to tally up the final scores.

As these things sometimes go, the final week was a mild affair.  While we got a four day weekend for the 13th week, there were no big new titles for Labor Day.  That left us all piecing together lineups from 14 movies we had all worked with before, with one minor new title that showed up at the bottom of the pricing list.

As a holiday, the Labor Day weekend seemed to be looking longingly back at summer rather than forward towards the coming of autumn.  And nostalgia never pays off quite as well as the first big rush, so the week ended up with moderate scores.  In the question on which title to anchor on, Angel has Fallen or Good Boys, the answer for the perfect pick turned out to be two of each, with 4x Spider-man: Far From Home, the best performer of the week, rounding out the lineup.  That was good for a little past $90 million.  However, none of us went that route and the scores for the week ended up looking like this.

  1. SynCaine’s Dark Room of Delights – $76,603,372
  2. Joanie’s Joint – $74,977,924
  3. Vigo Grimborne’s Medieval Screening Complex – $74,253,384
  4. Too Orangey For Crows – $73,628,176
  5. Cyanbane’s Neuticles Viewing Party – $72,245,584
  6. Wilhelm’s Qeynosian Kinetoscope – $70,318,741
  7. Conical Effort – $69,904,101
  8. Miniature Giant Space Hamsterplex – $68,145,628
  9. Po Huit’s Sweet Movie Suite – $62,206,360
  10. grannanj’s Cineplex – $25,166,100

It was a conservative week and the only outlier was Po, who went all-in on The Overcomer in hopes of a big score.  That did not come to pass.

And with that, we have the final scores for the season.

  1. Wilhelm’s Qeynosian Kinetoscope – $1,199,390,085
  2. Too Orangey For Crows – $1,178,588,387
  3. SynCaine’s Dark Room of Delights – $1,089,791,074
  4. Cyanbane’s Neuticles Viewing Party – $1,052,262,247
  5. Conical Effort – $1,023,045,552
  6. Joanie’s Joint – $1,019,636,134
  7. Miniature Giant Space Hamsterplex – $996,749,080
  8. Po Huit’s Sweet Movie Suite – $954,183,431
  9. grannanj’s Cineplex – $780,060,250
  10. Goat Water Picture Palace – $557,351,870

I managed to hold of Bhagpuss and keep first place, with him falling just over $20 million behind.  If the season had gone one more week, things might have ended different.  The first week of the fall season sees the opening of It: Chapter Two, which is the sort of big week that can change the lineup.  SynCaine held onto a solid third place, running away from the pack that had been vying for the spot for several weeks running.

Then there is the alternate scoring, with the number of weeks won in parenthesis.

  1. Wilhelm’s Qeynosian Kinetoscope – 93 (2)
  2. Too Orangey For Crows – 90 (2)
  3. SynCaine’s Dark Room of Delights – 77 (3)
  4. Cyanbane’s Neuticles Viewing Party – 73
  5. Miniature Giant Space Hamsterplex – 72 (2)
  6. Joanie’s Joint – 64
  7. Conical Effort – 61 (1)
  8. grannanj’s Cineplex – 55 (1)
  9. Po Huit’s Sweet Movie Suite – 47
  10. Goat Water Picture Palace – 45 (2)

The top four remained the same in both scoring systems, after which things varied.  With a season where only 7-12 people were picking on any given week, being consistent and picking every week was enough to remain mid pack, while a couple of winning weeks could keep you in play.

And so it goes.  Thank you for playing another summer season.  As I noted, I will keep the league running, but won’t be posting about it on a weekly basis.  I might return for the winter (or awards) season.  There is a Star Wars movie coming along with a few other titles that might make things interesting.

I will say that I did like the rules variation.  The lack of penalty for empty screens and the $2 million bonus for the worst performer made for some interesting picks and I enjoyed seeing weeks where the perfect pick for the TAGN league was different from the standard league rules.

Different Rules are Different

I just wish you could set the season duration.  I think a shorter season, maybe six weeks, might be more interesting.  At some point during the 13 week march an inevitability starts to set in as to who is in contention and who is out of the running.  But I get why FML might not want to have a bunch of out-of-sync leagues.  Maybe some day.

I did reset the deadline for picking to the 9am Pacific Time Friday standard for the league.

Thanks again for joining in!

Summer Movie League – Saved by a Fallen Angel

Week twelve of our Fantasy Movie League is now done and gone, leaving us just one week to go.

After getting trounced in week eleven, squandering my once substantial lead by not paying attention, you would have thought I would have done some serious research for this week.

But I didn’t, really.  I sort of winged it again, running mostly with my Monday.  Actually, if I had just stuck with my Monday pick I would have done better.  But I persisted with Angel has Fallen as my anchor, not really feeling it for anything else.  I thought Good Boys was too dear at the price, Here I Come was too risky, and The Overcomer unlikely to get enough of an audience.

And, as it turned out, I was about right.  If I had stuck with my 3x Angel has Fallen anchor, I would have been set, but for some reason I cannot recall I decided that Dora had a shot at best performer, so I loaded up on that for filler, losing a screen of Angel.

My final lineup was 2x Angel has Fallen, 1x Hobbs & Shaw, 5x Dora.  That was enough for third place and, more importantly, enough to stay ahead of Bhagpuss.

Saturday saw the estimates with me in second place, while Sunday dropped my into third, which carried me into the final totals, leaving the scores looking like this:

  1. Miniature Giant Space Hamsterplex – $79,826,830
  2. Conical Effort – $79,143,562
  3. Wilhelm’s Qeynosian Kinetoscope – $77,485,569
  4. Joanie’s Joint – $73,148,120
  5. Too Orangey For Crows – $73,148,120
  6. SynCaine’s Dark Room of Delights – $72,072,088
  7. Po Huit’s Sweet Movie Suite – $65,327,083
  8. Cyanbane’s Neuticles Viewing Party – $61,665,007
  9. grannanj’s Cineplex – $23,471,704

The perfect pick was 3x Angel, 1x Hobbs & Shaw, and 4x Peanut Butter Falcon, the latter scoring the best performer nod.  Nobody got that lineup here… it is the same as the normal rule perfect pick, and only 16 people got that total… but Hamster and Conical did go with 3x Angel for anchors, getting them the top spot.

After the top three, the next three were heavy on Good Boys, which wasn’t a bad anchor.  It didn’t get punished by pricing as much as I thought it was.

And then there was Cyanbane and Po, who seemed to have bit on the idea of Ready or Not doing just badly enough to get worst performer, get the $2 million bonus for that, and turn into a solid anchor.  Unfortunately, it did too badly, or not goodly enough, or something… maybe they thought it would do well… but it didn’t go as planned regardless.

All of which leaves the season scores looking like this:

  1. Wilhelm’s Qeynosian Kinetoscope – $1,129,071,344
  2. Too Orangey For Crows – $1,104,960,211
  3. SynCaine’s Dark Room of Delights – $1,013,187,702
  4. Cyanbane’s Neuticles Viewing Party – $980,016,663
  5. Conical Effort – $953,141,451
  6. Joanie’s Joint – $944,658,210
  7. Miniature Giant Space Hamsterplex – $928,603,452
  8. Po Huit’s Sweet Movie Suite – $891,977,071
  9. grannanj’s Cineplex – $754,894,150
  10. Goat Water Picture Palace – $557,351,870

There was no change in the ranking.  Bhagpuss fell back a bit, but remains just about $24 million behind me, a gap a good week could easily cover.

The alternate scoring ended up looking like this:

  1. Wilhelm’s Qeynosian Kinetoscope – 88
  2. Too Orangey For Crows – 83
  3. Miniature Giant Space Hamsterplex – 69
  4. SynCaine’s Dark Room of Delights – 67
  5. Cyanbane’s Neuticles Viewing Party – 67
  6. Conical Effort – 57
  7. Joanie’s Joint – 55
  8. grannanj’s Cineplex – 54
  9. Po Huit’s Sweet Movie Suite – 45
  10. Goat Water Picture Palace – 45

Bhagpuss is just five points behind me, so there are a number of final week possibilities that could end up with me in second place.  Third place is also in play, with three people in very close proximity.

Which leads us all to the final week’s lineup:

  1. Angel has Fallen – $216
  2. Good Boys – $161
  3. Lion King – $143
  4. Hobbs & Shaw – $129
  5. The Overcomer – $123
  6. Angry Birds 2 – $100
  7. Ready or Not – $98
  8. Dora and the Lost City of Gold – $84
  9. Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark – $83
  10. Once Upon a Time in Hollywood – $74
  11. The Peanut Butter Falcon – $72
  12. Spider-man: Far From Home – $60
  13. Toy Story 4 – $59
  14. Don’t Let Go – $54
  15. 47 Meters Down 2 – $46

Two films dropped from the list, The Art of Racing in the Rain and
Blinded by the Light.  They were replaced by one new film and one returnee.

The new film is Don’t Let Go, a supernatural thriller that is showing up at the bottom of the list and has no long range forecast.  Unless it breaks out, I am not sure how to rate it.

The returnee is Toy Story 4, which was in 17th place last week at the box office.  I am going to guess that it is going to get a theater expansion this coming weekend to have made it back up into the list.

Why would Toy Story 4 get a theater expansion this week?  It is Labor Day weekend in the US, the holiday that pretty much declares summer is over and everybody has to get back to school… though my daughter has been back to school for more than two weeks at this point.  This is the last big family weekend, so if you don’t have a trip planned then maybe a movie will do you.

That also means that this is a four day box office, Friday through Monday, so good luck getting estimates that match your needs.

As for my Monday gut pick, I went with 3x Angel has Fallen, 1x Good Boys, and 4x 47 Meters Down.  That seemed “safe,” but we’ll see what estimates look like as the week goes.

Also, as noted, this is the last week of the season.  With the end of summer I will also stop writing about the league every week, save for the final season wrap up.  I’ll leave it running, because why not, but I won’t be watching it closely.  If somebody else wants to run a league though, I’ll join up.

So get your picks in.  The league locks for the last time this season tomorrow night.

Summer Movie League – A Good Week for Good Boys

Week eleven of our Fantasy Movie League went on past and it is clear that I should have been paying more attention.

Being the leader overall I sought to play something of a conservative lineup.  Back on Monday night that meant 3x Hobbs & Shaw and 5x Hollywood, because the early estimates put that as pretty safe.  The was even a hint that it might be the top earner again, confidence in the new titles being somewhat sketchy.

And then… well… I am blaming the coming of WoW Classic for distracting me because I didn’t really go back and look at forecasts or which way the wind was blowing for the weekend.  And given that everybody else seemed to have picked up on where the week was headed… well, it was a bad week for me.

Bhagpuss even gave me a hint, mentioning that Good Boys seemed to be looking very good on Wednesday of last week, but I didn’t take the clue, so when the league locked and became visible on Friday, I was clearly the odd man out.  Everybody else who picked had at least one screen of Good Boys.

When the Saturday estimates came it, I was in 7th out of seven who picked, a situation that only got worse come Sunday.  The final results did not make things better, with Good Boys piling up $21.4 million, well past all estimates, so the results for the week ended up looking like this:

  1. SynCaine’s Dark Room of Delights – $128,365,213
  2. Po Huit’s Sweet Movie Suite – $125,762,910
  3. Too Orangey For Crows – $125,633,270
  4. Conical Effort – $107,071,667
  5. Cyanbane’s Neuticles Viewing Party – $89,391,600
  6. Joanie’s Joint – $86,197,240
  7. Wilhelm’s Qeynosian Kinetoscope – $80,944,180
  8. grannanj’s Cineplex – $44,487,408
  9. Miniature Giant Space Hamsterplex – $30,509,473

Remember week 4, where I was the only one who went all-in on Yesterday?  Well, this was the opposite of that week.  A least I stayed ahead of the two people who did not pick but still had some viable screens carried forward.

The perfect pick for our league was 5x Good Boys, 1x Lion King, and 2x empty, worth a little over $134 million, which made it more valuable than the perfect pick for the standard rule set, which rang in a million behind.

But nobody got the perfect pick, though SynCaine was close.  The scores then go down based primarily on how many screens of Good Boys people went with, with filler separating the close picks.

All of that left the the overall scores looking like this:

  1. Wilhelm’s Qeynosian Kinetoscope – $1,051,585,775
  2. Too Orangey For Crows – $1,031,812,091
  3. SynCaine’s Dark Room of Delights – $941,115,614
  4. Cyanbane’s Neuticles Viewing Party – $918,351,656
  5. Conical Effort – $873,997,889
  6. Joanie’s Joint – $871,510,090
  7. Miniature Giant Space Hamsterplex – $848,776,622
  8. Po Huit’s Sweet Movie Suite – $826,649,988
  9. grannanj’s Cineplex – $731,422,446
  10. Goat Water Picture Palace – $557,351,870

I stayed in the lead, but Bhagpuss is now less than $20 million behind me and, as we just saw, during a chaotic week jumps of that amount are totally possible.  He just closed the gap between us by $40 million after all, so I need to pay attention.

SynCaine got a solid jump as well.  He would need another big week to be a threat to first place, but it could happen.  Without any big moves, the nearest fight seems to be for fifth position.

The alternate scoring looks like this:

  1. Wilhelm’s Qeynosian Kinetoscope – 80
  2. Too Orangey For Crows – 77
  3. Cyanbane’s Neuticles Viewing Party – 64
  4. SynCaine’s Dark Room of Delights – 62
  5. Miniature Giant Space Hamsterplex – 59
  6. grannanj’s Cineplex – 52
  7. Conical Effort – 48
  8. Joanie’s Joint – 48
  9. Goat Water Picture Palace – 45
  10. Po Huit’s Sweet Movie Suite – 41

I did make the executive decision that I would award no points for a zero score, which means that Goat is no longer accruing alternate scoring points.

Bhagpuss closed the gap between us here as well and, frankly, could have made it a tie race if he had made it to first.  The buffering effect of the alternate scoring means that there is still a tight race for third place, with Cyanbane holding onto that spot for the moment.

And so it goes.

All of which brings us to week twelve, the next to last week, and a lineup of choices that looks like this:

  1. Angel has Fallen – $253
  2. Ready or Not – $175
  3. Good Boys – $167
  4. Overcomer – $148
  5. Hobbs & Shaw – $114
  6. Lion King – $114
  7. Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark – $81
  8. Angry Birds 2 – $78
  9. Dora and the Lost City of Gold – $71
  10. Once Upon a Time in Hollywood – $69
  11. 47 Meters Down 2 – $59
  12. The Art of Racing in the Rain – $38
  13. Blinded by the Light – $33
  14. The Peanut Butter Falcon – $26
  15. Spider-man: Far From Home – $25

Gone from the list are Toy Story 4, The Kitchen, The Farewell, and Where’d You Go, Bernadette, while last week’s top priced picks are decidedly mid-pack, save for Good Boys, which got the usual pricing punishment that best performers tend to receive.

At the top of the list this week is Angel has Fallen, which is the sequel to London has Fallen and Olympus has Fallen, though the films have been so chaotic that, despite having seen both, I did not realize that London and Olympus were actually connected movies.

Shows what I know.

Olympus grossed $30 million its opening weekend, while London hit $20 million.  The LRF puts Angel has Fallen at around $18 million.  That seems a little optimistic for a third sequel, but it is also opening up against less direct competition than the previous two titles.

Next up is Ready or Not, a “black comedy” that sees a possibly Victorian era bride (just judging by the poster) who realizes her soon-to-be in-laws’ plan for a game of hide-and-seek has turned into a game to hunt and kill her.  She turns the tables and hilarity ensues.

Didn’t we have another Most Dangerous Game rip-off already planned for this summer? The Hunt I think?  It was pulled due to recent mass shootings, or because the president criticized the idea, or possibly because preview audiences didn’t like it.  But Victorians killing each other is fine.  Most people killing each others in movies is fine I guess.  I’m sure Angel has Fallen will be knocking off more than a few.

There is no LRF for Ready or Not, but given the Angel estimate and the FML pricing, $12-13 million seems like what somebody thinks it ought to do.  I guess.  There are B-list names in the cast, but nobody who is a draw in and of themselves, so I really don’t know.

Then there is the Overcomer, a Christian faith-based drama about a high school basketball coach finding himself in Christ.  Written, directed, and starring a former pastor who is on his sixth such film, the LRF is calling for $3-8 million depending on how things play out.  The films by this group have never done less than $6 million, while the FML pricing seems to indicate $10 million is expected, so maybe count on that end of the spectrum?

And, finally, there is The Peanut Butter Falcon, a retelling of Huckleberry Finn staged around a man with Down’s Syndrome who runs away to achieve his dream of becoming a professional wrestler.

Already in limited distribution in 47 theaters, it is expanding this week.  The theater count will influence this.  The reviews are excellent, so it is a wild card, though the name might be fighting against it as much as anything.  It’s position near Spider-man: Far From Home seems to predict at least a $1.5 million box office for it, and its low price means that it doesn’t need to go beyond $2 million to be a best performer contender.

So what to pick?

Safe seems to be an anchor on Angel, but there is a gap where Ready or Not could under-perform just enough, around $11 million, to grab worst performer, which would ironically make it an excellent choice.  Good Boys could pull that off as well, thanks to the rules of the league.  But that is a pretty thin line to walk.

(Also, I was wrong previously, or it got changed, but the FML Cineplex Builder takes the odd rules of our league into account so long as you select our league from the drop down.)

A mix between Angel and Peanut Butter could work, if you believe the latter will break out.  That is my Monday night lineup.  We’ll see if I stick with that.  All I know is that I need to pay more attention this week.

Anyway, get your picks in soon.  The league locks late tomorrow night.

Summer Movie League – Scary Stories Rule

Week ten of our Summer Fantasy Movie League left me more than a bit surprised.

I had stated that last week, with the Hobbs & Shaw premier, that we might be past any “big weeks” that people could use to catch up, and then Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark went nuts.

I write these posts on Monday night when the data available is usually just the long range forecast from the previous week.  That and how FML prices things are about all I have to go when it comes to sizing things up.  Last week the the LRF had Dora way ahead of Scary Stories, and the FML pricing, which not as absolute, was still heavily tilted towards the young explorer.

But by the time Thursday rolled around and I needed to finalize my pick, Dora seemed on the outs while some watchers were saying that Scary Stories might get somewhere beyond $15 million.

At that moment I was still contemplating the doggies story The Art of Racing in the Rain.  I had gone with 7x screens of that for my Monday night pick.  But for the final I suddenly felt that Scary Stories was the better anchor.  So my Thursday afternoon final pick was 4x Scary Stories, 2x Toy story 4, 1x Aladdin, and 1x Annabelle Comes Home.

Come Friday morning when the last leagues locked and picks were visible to all, I knew I had made the right choice.  All of the top players in the FML league were anchored on Scary Stories.

Come the Saturday morning estimates Scary Stories looked like a winner, with a best performer bonus on top of exceeding its estimates.  Sunday morning only made Scary Stories look even better.  And come the final numbers… well, this is what the weekly scores ended up looking like.

  1. Too Orangey For Crows – $102,763,640
  2. Wilhelm’s Qeynosian Kinetoscope – $101,787,156
  3. grannanj’s Cineplex – $99,082,063
  4. Cyanbane’s Neuticles Viewing Party – $57,701,940
  5. Miniature Giant Space Hamsterplex – $56,424,809
  6. SynCaine’s Dark Room of Delights – $55,698,881
  7. Joanie’s Joint – $54,739,378
  8. Conical Effort – $49,606,778
  9. Po Huit’s Sweet Movie Suite – $46,321,746
  10. Goat Water Picture Palace – $2,974,740

The perfect pick, which was unique to our league rule set once again, was 4x Scary Stories, 1x Hollywood, and 3x empty, which was worth just over $103 million with the $5 million perfect pick bonus.  Nobody went that route, but Bhagpuss got fairly close, taking the week.

There is an obvious gap in lineups.  Those of us who went in with 4x Scary Stories cashed it with around $100 million.  Everybody else who picked was in the $50 million range.  Even my 7x The Art of Racing in the Rain Monday night pick ran in that range, good for $59 million.  The doggie movie hit its $8 million mark right on the nose.

Po had the worst lineup of those who picked as The Kitchen under performed badly, falling behind the doggo movie.  Po was at least saved a bit by the $2 million per screen worst performer bonus, which was good for $10 million as he anchored on five screens of it.

Scary Stories breaking out and coming in second overall in the box office despite being 4th place in price skewed the week pretty badly.  So I was wrong last week, another big win was possible.  That can always happen when FML prices badly I guess, all of which left the overall scores looking like this.

  1. Wilhelm’s Qeynosian Kinetoscope – $970,641,595
  2. Too Orangey For Crows – $906,178,821
  3. Cyanbane’s Neuticles Viewing Party – $828,960,056
  4. Miniature Giant Space Hamsterplex – $818,267,149
  5. SynCaine’s Dark Room of Delights – $812,750,401
  6. Joanie’s Joint – $785,312,850
  7. Conical Effort – $766,926,222
  8. Po Huit’s Sweet Movie Suite – $700,887,078
  9. grannanj’s Cineplex – $686,935,038
  10. Goat Water Picture Palace – $557,351,870

At this point I look fairly secure in first and Bhagpuss in second.  Barring any sort of huge break-out box office… like Scary Stories again… it will be tough to assail either of us.  There does still look to be a reasonable fight for third place though.

The alternate scoring looks like this.

  1. Wilhelm’s Qeynosian Kinetoscope – 76
  2. Too Orangey For Crows – 69
  3. Cyanbane’s Neuticles Viewing Party – 58
  4. Miniature Giant Space Hamsterplex – 57
  5. SynCaine’s Dark Room of Delights – 52
  6. grannanj’s Cineplex – 49
  7. Goat Water Picture Palace – 45
  8. Joanie’s Joint – 43
  9. Conical Effort – 41
  10. Po Huit’s Sweet Movie Suite – 32

With the alternate scoring I am still well within range of at least the next four people if I pick badly.  Given that there are only nine of us picking regularly, the lowest point value anybody will get will be 2 points, which means if I pick very badly my score could be as low as 82 at the end of the final week.  Bhagpuss, Cyanbane, and Miniature could all theoretically pass me, while SynCaine could tie that score.  So I had best pick well.

All of which leads us to week eleven and the choices we all have.

  1. 47 Meters Down: Uncaged – $202
  2. Angry Birds 2 – $201
  3. Hobbs & Shaw – $174
  4. Good Boys – $171
  5. Lion King – $143
  6. Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark – $138
  7. Dora and the Lost City of Gold – $120
  8. Once Upon a Time in Hollywood – $93
  9. Blinded by the Light – $77
  10. Where’d You Go, Bernadette – $74
  11. The Art of Racing in the Rain – $55
  12. Spider-man: Far From Home – $44
  13. Toy Story 4 – $36
  14. The Kitchen – $31
  15. The Farewell – $22

Five titles got bumped from the lineup this week, with Brian Banks, Yesterday, Crawl, Aladdin, and Annabelle Comes Home all exiting.

Replacing those are five new films, none of which really strike a cord with me.

47 Meters Down: Uncaged is a sequel to the 2017 summer film that involved people stuck in a shark cage under water.  The original was notable for making a lot of money relative to its small budget, so we got a second entry.  This time around people are scuba diving in ocean caves and discover sharks, after which the whole survival/horror aspect no doubt kicks in.

The long range forecast is a modest $13 million.

Next up is The Angry Birds Movie 2, another sequel to another film from summers past.  The original was surprisingly successful, which means we get round two.  The long range forecast for the weekend was $17 million when last I checked, which might make you wonder why FML has it priced a dollar less than 47 Meters Down: Uncaged.  So there is clearly something in play here.

About $30 down the price list is Good Boys, a comedy about the simple plans of 12 year old boys going wildly wrong.  It has good reviews on Rotten Tomatoes so far and the long range forecast puts it at around $13 million, which given the pricing here, seems to indicate that FML thinks 47 Meters Down: Uncaged is going to do better than its LRF.

Further down the list is Blinded by the Light, which I am just going to copy the description for:

Javed (Viveik Kalra) is a British teen of Pakistani descent, growing up in the town of Luton, England, in 1987. Amidst the racial and economic turmoil of the times, he writes poetry as a means to escape the intolerance of his hometown and the inflexibility of his traditional father. But when a classmate introduces him to the music of “The Boss”, Javed sees parallels to his working-class life in Springsteen’s powerful lyrics. As Javed discovers a cathartic outlet for his own pent-up dreams, he also begins to find the courage to express himself in his own unique voice.

It is tagged as “coming of age comedy drama.”  The LRF puts it at about $5.5 million.

And last on the new list is Where’d You Go, Bernadette, a “mystery comedy drama” based on a book of the same name with some reasonably big names in the cast.  The long range forecast puts it at $6 million, but you will note that FML priced it below Blinded by the Light.

This sort of chaotic pricing compared to forecasts means that there is opportunity… if you have some insight into what might exceed expectations and what might fall short.  Clearly the LRF isn’t to be believed, not after how often it has been wrong this season.  You can’t even trust it to be wrong in the right direction.  While it has over-estimated a lot of films, there were a few critical under-estimations too.

My own Monday evening plan was to be conservative.  The line up for that, 3x Hobbs & Shaw, 5x Hollywood.  I’m sticking with that unless I get some insight into the new titles.

Only two weeks left after this.  Get your picks in soon.  Next week features… *checks notes*… Angel has Fallen.  I’m going to have to read up on that one, as I have no clue from just the title.

Summer Movie League – Hobbs and Shaw and Pets

With the passing of week nine of our Summer Fantasy Movie League we have just four weeks left in the season.

And four weeks isn’t a lot of time to make up ground, especially since this past week might have been the last big week of the summer.

Or not.

Fast & Furious presents: Hobbs & Shaw was supposed bring balance to the box office or something… anyway, somebody said it was good for $90 million over the three day weekend.

Instead, it delivered $60 million which, admittedly was what the studio initially forecast, so I guess that means it only missed some expectations.  Maybe?  By Thursday morning people were dialing back on that $90 million number, but $75 million was still being floated.

All of which means that if you went in hard on Hobbs & Shaw you probably didn’t have a good week.  The ultimate commitment to the brand was to take advantage of the lack of empty screen penalty we have this season and anchor on two screens of the Friday showing.

I played with that sort of lineup during the week.  But as estimates started to soften I decided to go for a what seemed like a safer lineup.

When the Saturday estimates came it, it looked like safety paid off, an outlook that did not change with the Sunday estimates.

And, with the final numbers in, the scores for the week looked like this:

  1. Wilhelm’s Qeynosian Kinetoscope – $78,074,303
  2. grannanj’s Cineplex – $73,114,102
  3. Cyanbane’s Neuticles Viewing Party – $73,050,33
  4. Joanie’s Joint – $68,584,764
  5. Too Orangey For Crows – $59,788,055
  6. Conical Effort – $58,924,351
  7. SynCaine’s Dark Room of Delights – $55,436,530
  8. Po Huit’s Sweet Movie Suite – $49,397,356
  9. Miniature Giant Space Hamsterplex – $48,967,508
  10. Goat Water Picture Palace – $8,745,264

I went from last place of those who picked last week to first place this week.  My lineup was 3x Hollywood, 1x Toy Story 4, 1x Yesterday, and 3x Secret Life of Pets 2.  The twist was that in last week’s post I declared that SLOP2 was going to be the worst performer, so I went with it for the $2 million per screen bonus.  Instead, it was the best performer.  Same bonus, but a bit more money on my score.

Grannanj was in second anchoring on The Lion King and Saturday Hobbs & Shaw, boosted by five screens of The Avengers: End Game, which did get the worst performer bonus.  That was worth an extra $10 million in that lineup.

Empty screens started at 6th place and hit heaviest with SynCaine, Po, and Hamster, who all anchored on two screens of Friday Hobbs & Shaw.

Goat did not pick this week.

The perfect pick had no Hobs & Shaw at all, being 1x The Lion King, 1x Hollywood, 1x Toy Story 4, and 5x Secret Life of Pets 2.  That was worth $84 million.

That left the season scores looking like this:

  1. Wilhelm’s Qeynosian Kinetoscope – $868,854,439
  2. Too Orangey For Crows – $803,415,181
  3. Cyanbane’s Neuticles Viewing Party – $771,258,116
  4. Miniature Giant Space Hamsterplex – $761,842,340
  5. SynCaine’s Dark Room of Delights – $757,051,520
  6. Joanie’s Joint – $730,573,472
  7. Conical Effort – $717,319,444
  8. Po Huit’s Sweet Movie Suite – $654,565,332
  9. grannanj’s Cineplex – $587,852,975
  10. Goat Water Picture Palace – $554,377,130

Winning the week opened my lead a little bit more.  Cyanbane had the biggest change in the lineup, jumping ahead in the race for third place.

The alternate score ended up like this:

  1. Wilhelm’s Qeynosian Kinetoscope – 67
  2. Too Orangey For Crows – 59
  3. Cyanbane’s Neuticles Viewing Party – 51
  4. Miniature Giant Space Hamsterplex – 51
  5. SynCaine’s Dark Room of Delights – 47
  6. Goat Water Picture Palace – 44
  7. grannanj’s Cineplex – 41
  8. Joanie’s Joint – 39
  9. Conical Effort – 38
  10. Po Huit’s Sweet Movie Suite – 30

Inertia keeps the alternate scoring from changing radically, keeping Goat mid-pack even after several weeks of not picking.  Still, it does seem to be lining up with the overall scores more so.

Which leads up into week ten with this lineup:

  1. Hobbs & Shaw – $445
  2. Dora and the Lost City of Gold – $369
  3. Lion King – $334
  4. Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark – $206
  5. Once Upon a Time in Hollywood – $171
  6. The Kitchen – $170
  7. The Art of Racing in the Rain – $133
  8. Spider-man: Far From Home – $81
  9. Toy Story 4 – $74
  10. The Farewell – $48
  11. Brian Banks – $45
  12. Yesterday – $26
  13. Aladdin – $20
  14. Crawl – $16
  15. Annabelle Comes Home – $7

That represents a big change in the options.  Even with Hobbs & Shaw collapsing down to a single pick, three titles were knocked off the list as well, Stuber, The Secret Life of Pets 2, and the long running Avengers: Endgame.  That means there are five new films hitting this week.

First up is a big screen adaptation of the children’s program Dora the Explorer.  I am kind of surprised, given the emphasis on Spanish the series has, that they didn’t go with “El Dorado.”   Maybe they were afraid I would roll up blasting that song on the Repo Man sound track or something.  Whatever.

Dora the Explorer, live action or not, is clearly a kids movie in a market where The Lion King and Toy Story 4 are still holding out in most multiplexes.  The long range forecast has the film at $28 million, which seems a bit generous, but would make it the biggest of the new releases this week.  That will still put it solidly behind Hobbs & Shaw unless it drops off more than 50% from last week.

Next up is Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark, another adaptation, this time from a children’s book series.  As noted, kids movies are packed in right now, though this is rated PG-13 so it isn’t really a kids movie.  But is it enough of a horror movie to draw in that crowd?  It is a bit of a wild card to my mind.  The long range forecast for it stands at $11 million for the weekend.  Is that too tepid?

Then there is The Kictchen, which I had to go look up, but realized I had seen a trailer for it.  The name just did not stick.  This is a crime drama set in New York’s Hell’s Kitchen about the wives of mobsters who have to take over while their husbands are in jail.

The film has some names to support it, with Melissa McCarthy, Tiffany Haddish, esteemed character actress Margo Martindal, and that woman from The Handmaid’s Tale in thecredits.  But expectations seem modest.  I also think there might be some confusion here.  I am not saying that Melissa McCarthy cannot do serious work, but she is so associated with comedy that I think you might need to emphasize “comedy/not comedy” if she is your headliner.  The long range forecast last had it at $11.5 million, but FML priced it well behind Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark, so govern yourself accordingly.

The Art of Racing in the Rain is the one new film this week that I have seen some traction from.  It is a Disney film, so the marketing budget is there I guess.  My recollections are mostly of a scene or a man driving in a red sports car with his dog and a race track where it is raining.  I didn’t really get that the main character in the film is the dog, voiced by Kevin Costner.  I guess that is why We Rate Dogs was all over this on Twitter.  The long range forecast puts it at around $8 million.  I guess a strong dog lover demographic could make this a wild card, at least if they know it is about the dog.  I didn’t.

And the last new film on the list is Brian Banks, the tale of an NFL football player of the same name who was falsely accused of rape, pled guilty to avoid a long prison sentence, and was later exonerated.  On the plus side, there is a strong story about how the criminal justice system uses its weight to extract guilty pleas from the innocent.  On the down side, I am not sure “false rape accusation” or “man beats rape charge” is going to play well in a world where Jeffery Epstein and Harvey Weinstein are in the news.  There is no long range forecast, but where it is priced I would be surprised if it managed to get past $2 million.

As it tends to be, here on Monday evening when I am writing this, the safe move seems to be a lineup like 2x Hobbs & Shaw, 1x Toy Story 4, and 5x Annabelle Comes Home.  The anchor does all the heavy lifting.

But if the feel good doggie film breaks out even a bit, say making it to $10 million, which it could do in the estimated 2,800 theaters it is supposed to launch in, then a lineup of 7x The Art of Racing in the Rain and 1x whatever fits in that last screen is hard to pass up.  But is that me just wish casting or can We Rate Dogs push this pic into best performer territory?  With a low review score so far, who can tell?

Whatever you plan to go with, get your picks in soon.  The league locks tomorrow evening.

Next week we face the wrath of Angry Birds Movie 2, indicating that the high days of summer are gone and that we’re just marking time as Labor Day approaches.