Category Archives: Movies

Summer Movie League – Gonna Need a Bigger Lineup

Week eleven of our Summer Fantasy Movie League is in the can and it was the sort of week that people long for, one where a film or two exceeds expectation allowing for a big score relative to the pack… if you make the right picks.

While we are past the blockbuster portion of the summer season, this past week looked like one on which an astute pick or a gamble might let a lucky player climb up the ranks.  The choices were as follows:

The Meg                 $334
Mission: Impossible     $260
Christopher Robin       $177
Slender Man             $171
BlacKkKlansman          $84
The Spy who Dumped Me   $83
Dog Days                $69
Mamma Mia 2             $65
The Equalizer 2         $63
Hotel Transylvania 3    $62
Ant-Man and the Wasp    $52
The Darkest Minds       $38
Incredibles 2           $41
Teen Titans GO!         $31
Jurassic World          $29

Last week when I was finishing up the week ten post I felt that Slender Man was the wild card for the week.  It was based on what is now a well known meme, horror movies always surprise me, generally doing much better than I expect, it didn’t have much competition on the horror front, and the box office projections for it were all over the map, running from $9 million to $25 million.

All of that seemed to indicate that it could do well… or not… which pretty much defines a wild card.

For my Monday Hot Takes league picks though I was not willing to risk it.  I went conservative, running with 3x Mission: Impossible, 2x The Equalizer 2, and 3x Teen Titans GO! for my pick.

The other possible wild card was Spike Lee’s BlacKkKlansman, for which there was no long range forecast and no projections on Monday night when I was writing and doing my first round of picks.  It was priced by FML with the expectation that it could run to about $5-6 million, about half of what they seemed to be calling for Slender Man.

And then there was The Meg, which didn’t seem like much of a wild card at all.  Its long range forecast numbers had been sinking week after week, so that by Monday night it seemed like a toss-up as to whether it would out-perform Mission: Impossible, the latter going into its third weekend.

And I could see why projections for The Meg might be modest.  While not running with a statistically valid sample size, nobody I asked knew what The Meg was about.  I had to look it up myself on Monday night to get the brief on it.  And when I did read up on it, I wasn’t all that impressed by the idea of another shark movie in a world where the Sharknado series, set to release the sixth and promised last installment in the franchise, seemed to have sucked all the oxygen out of the shark tank.

I mean, I love me some Jason Statham, but I wasn’t sure he was going to be enough to carry The Meg very far given my perceived obstacles.

So I did my Monday night picks and felt I needed to keep an eye on Slender Man to see if it was going to hit the high end of expectations or not.  That was the anchor to which I was expecting I might swap.

The movie news sites seem to be past their summer box office obsession now that the blockbusters have passed as well.  It wasn’t until Wednesday that Box Office Pro showed up with some forecasts, and they only deigned to call a top five rather than the ten they were doing earlier in the season.

But in that top five there was BlacKkKlansman estimated at $12 million, ahead of Slender Man, which was only in for $10 million in their estimate.  If true, that made the Spike Lee film very much under-priced and a very likely candidate for the best performer of the week.  It was also clearly going to be the filler of choice, delivering the most box office for the buck.

They were less enthusiastic about The Meg however, calling it at just shy of Mission: Impossible, the latter expected to top the week.

So I swapped by lineup around, going with 2x Mission: Impossible, 5x BlacKkKlansman, and 1x Ant-Man and the Wasp.

Summer Movie League – My Week Eleven Picks

Box Office Pro tends to be a bit optimistic on its calls, so I felt that my other plan, 1x Mission: Impossible, 7x BlacKkKlansman might not be optimal for a league with no best performer bonus.  However, that pick went to all my other leagues.

That is where I left things until I saw the Thursday night preview estimates pop up on Twitter.  Actually, I only saw one estimate before lock time for all of the other leagues, the estimate for The Meg, which was $4 million.

That seemed like a lot.

There is always the question as to how much one should value the Thursday night previews, with talk of multipliers between 5x and 8x depending on a range of factors.  But I was thinking that if Mission: Impossible did $6 million in its preview and topped $60 million, then The Meg was most certainly going to get well past the meager $20 million forecasts.

And so, minutes before the final lock, I swapped all my still unlocked leagues to 1x The Meg and 7x BlacKkKlansman.

And then, of course, The Meg did $45 million for the weekend, more than double Mission: Impossible.  Warner Bros. did a last minute social media campaign that helped lift it past modest projections.  The Meg was the way to go, with the optimum pick for the league being 2x The Meg, 3x BlacKkKlansman, 1x The Incredibles 2, 1x The Darkest Minds, and an empty screen!

Summer Movie League – Week Eleven Perfect Pick

A perfect pick with an empty screen is a pretty rare bird, so it isn’t surprising that nobody went for it, and only two people were on board with The Meg, leaving the scores for the week looking like this:

  1. Corr’s Carefully Curated Cineplex – $121,319,505
  2. Goat Water Picture Palace – $97,034,466
  3. Wilhelm’s Abyssal Pocket Playhouse – $97,034,466
  4. Joanie’s Joint – $90,687,957
  5. Po Huit’s Sweet Movie Suite – $81,631,751
  6. Too Orangey For Crows – $78,904,468
  7. Miniature Giant Space Hamsterplex – $74,657,452
  8. Darren’s Unwatched Cineplex – $73,483,913
  9. SynCaine’s Dark Room of Delights – $68,495,990
  10. Ben’s X-Wing Express – $55,706,528

Only ten people got their picks in for the week, which I think is a new low.  Ah well.

Corr won the week, with Goat and I tied for second with the same pick.  The tables were turned from last week, when Corr and I different in lineup only on the main anchor.  I chose right that time, going with Mission: Impossible over Christopher Robin.  This time he got the anchor right.

Meanwhile Po, who went with The Meg as anchor as well, was pulled down by betting heavily on the under-performing Dog Days. which was in seventh spot for pricing but ended up in twelfth for box office.

Slender Man, while about spot-on for the price, was not a good option in the face of two over performing titles.  So much for my wildcard theory.

The scores for the season now look like this:

  1. Corr’s Carefully Curated Cineplex – $1,014,013,866
  2. Wilhelm’s Abyssal Pocket Playhouse – $1,000,863,301
  3. Goat Water Picture Palace – $967,074,533
  4. Miniature Giant Space Hamsterplex – $900,240,793
  5. I HAS BAD TASTE – $890,174,972
  6. SynCaine’s Dark Room of Delights – $886,033,509
  7. Ben’s X-Wing Express – $874,876,673
  8. Darren’s Unwatched Cineplex – $874,791,320
  9. Vigo Grimborne’s Medieval Screening Complex – $874,563,834
  10. Po Huit’s Sweet Movie Suite – $864,197,348
  11. Joanie’s Joint – $818,064,804
  12. Too Orangey For Crows – $817,567,373
  13. grannanj’s Cineplex – $813,493,200
  14. Kraut Screens – $689,378,141
  15. Paks’ Pancakes & Pics – $641,653,028
  16. Biyondios! Kabuki & Cinema – $639,347,136
  17. Skar’s Movies and Meat Pies – $611,478,501
  18. aria82’s Cineplex – $605,936,381

I am going to have to go back and note, for the final season scores, how many weeks people missed.  The cut to make the list this week was $600 million.  Next week I think it will be $700 million.

Last week I was $10 million ahead of Corr.  This week he is now $13 million ahead of me.  Again, we can see how quickly that close of a lead can change, though it does require the leader to make a mistake, so I am depending on Corr to blow it if I am to have a chance.

All of which brings us to week twelve of the season, the choices for which are:

Crazy Rich Asians      $358
The Meg                $356
Mile 22                $296
Mission: Impossible    $193
BlacKkKlansman         $129
Christopher Robin      $128
Alpha                  $89
Slender Man            $84
The Spy who Dumped Me  $61
Mamma Mia 2            $56
Hotel Transylvania 3   $55
The Equalizer 2        $51
Ant-Man and the Wasp   $43
Incredibles 2          $39
Dog Days               $23

This week sees Jurassic World, Teen Titans GO!, and The Darkest Minds fall off the list.

Coming in we have Crazy Rich Asians, Mile 22, and Alpha.

Crazy Rich Asians, another comdey-drama, this time set at a rich wedding in Singapore. It leads the pack in pricing this week, though only by a hair. The last long range forecast has it running at about $15 million for the week, though it has been trending up. Either somebody thinks it is going to do significantly better than that or they think that The Meg, priced two dollars less, is going to drop precipitously from its $45 million week eleven opening. In addition, Crazy Rich Asians opens today, so there will be no Thursday night previews to pile onto the weekend total, but we’ll be able to see how it does on its opening night before the league closes.

Mile 22 is Marky Mark back as an action hero. There is also John Malkovich in it as well.  Mark Wahlberg always strikes me as a stand-in for a real action hero, like he is somebody you go with when your first choice isn’t available.  But that might just be me.  Anyway, this is supposed to be the launch of a new action franchise, if the film does well. Long range forecasts had it at $18 million for the weekend, which I guess either means that such forecasts aren’t really worth mentioning or that the people who do FML pricing have better sources than I do (most likely the latter), because it looks like somebody thinks it will only do 83% of what Crazy Rich Asians will make over the weekend.

And then there is Alpha, a prehistoric tale of a boy and his dog. Seriously. It is about an ice age hunter who befriends a wolf. Early estimates put it in for around $7-10 million.  That puts it awkwardly in the crowded high end filler section.

Which leaves me trying to decipher the FML late summer pricing strategy. Last week FML got it badly wrong on two films, and while they have given BlacKkKlansman the usual over-perfomers pricing punishment I cannot figure out the plan for The Meg.

If The Meg drops 60% from its opening, which would be a big drop, it still lands at around $27 million, which is more than any estimate I can find for Crazy Rich Asians. Is The Meg a one-week-wonder, destined to collapse completely? I don’t know, but for my Monday Hot Takes picks I wasn’t inclined to believe that, so I went with 2x The Meg, 1x The Spy Who Dumped Me, and 5x Ant-Man and the Wasp. File that under “things that make sense on Monday night.”

But now it is Wednesday morning and the league is going to lock in less than 24 hours so be sure to go and make your picks.

Summer Movie League – Silly Old Bear

Week ten of our Summer Fantasy Movie League is done and gone.

This week saw a match up between a new release and a title in its second week with the choices looking like this:

Christopher Robin        $513
Mission: Impossible      $512
The Spy who Dumped Me    $268
The Darkest Minds        $154
Mamma Mia 2              $136
The Equalizer 2          $126
Hotel Transylvania 3     $131
Teen Titans GO!          $93 
Ant-Man and the Wasp     $88
Incredibles 2            $76
Jurassic World           $70
Death of a Nation        $55
Skyscraper               $45
Eighth Grade             $32
The First Purge          $16

The pricing indicates that somebody at FML expected Christopher Robin to best Mission: Impossible, if only by a small amount. So for the top end anchors it depended on whether or not you believed FML or not.

I was not buying the FML line however, at least not at the start of the week. My Monday Hot Takes pick anchored on Mission: Impossible, followed up by six screens of The Incredibles 2, with the last slot taken up by Eight Grade.

And then it was something of a busy week and I spaced a bit on the movie front and forgot to change anything up before Thursday morning at 9am Pacific Time, when the TAGN League locked. So my Monday picks were also my Thursday picks.

Summer Movie League – My Week Ten Picks

Of course, about an hour later I realized that I had missed my window for change on the TAGN League, but figured I had better do some poking about for the Friday leagues. One thing that came up over at Box Office Mojo was that Eighth Grade was getting a much bigger theater expansion that was expected, going from 158 to almost 1,100, which made it suddenly look like a a shoe-in for best performer of the week.

I was also coming around on Christopher Robin. Box Office Pro seemed to think it was going to be close between Christopher Robin and Mission: Impossible, so I flopped over to CR, put seven screens of Eighth Grade behind it, then removed one and replaced it with the highest value title that would fit, which turned out to be The Spy Who Dumped Me and copied that to all my remaining lineups.

My picking methodology exposed.

But I just couldn’t stick with CR and flipped back, replacing it with Mission: Impossible and called it closed just before the wire on Friday morning.

As it turned out my gut pick for Mission: Impossible was correct, giving me about $10 million over CR. My TAGN pick wasn’t perhaps what I would have gone with by Thursday, but it was anchored on Mission: Impossible as well and without bonuses the fact that I wasn’t all-in on Eighth Grade didn’t really matter.

The perfect pick for the week ended up being 1x Mission: Impossible, 1x The Equalizier 2, 3x Ant-Man and the Wasp, and 3x Eight Grade.

Summer Movie League – Week Ten Perfect Pick

Nobody in the league got the perfect pick this week.  The scores for the week ended up like this:

  1. Goat Water Picture Palace – $71,097,943
  2. Wilhelm’s Abyssal Pocket Playhouse – $68,056,099
  3. Skar’s Movies and Meat Pies – $66,159,041
  4. Darren’s Unwatched Cineplex – $65,268,895
  5. Vigo Grimborne’s Medieval Screening Complex – $64,376,188
  6. SynCaine’s Dark Room of Delights – $63,914,522
  7. Ben’s X-Wing Express – $63,147,833
  8. I HAS BAD TASTE – $60,660,286
  9. Corr’s Carefully Curated Cineplex – $58,689,526
  10. grannanj’s Cineplex – $56,781,124
  11. Po Huit’s Sweet Movie Suite – $48,786,336
  12. Joanie’s Joint – $47,808,556
  13. Too Orangey For Crows – $46,688,999

I decided just to list people who made their pick on any given week, so that list may vary in size relative to the overall score, where I am listing everybody who hasn’t totally disappeared.

Goat got the top spot and, through much of the weekend looked like they had the perfect pick as well.  But come the final numbers a different lineup took the honors.  I managed second and wasn’t too far behind.

The top three all anchored on Mission: Impossible, but amongst the first eight there were people who anchored on Mama Mia 2 and Hotel Transylvania 3 who were competitive.

Those who anchored on Christopher Robin or The Spy Who Dumped Me fell to the back of the pack, with the poor performing The Darkest Minds acting as an extra anchor on a couple of people.

That left the overall scores for the season looking like this:

  1. Wilhelm’s Abyssal Pocket Playhouse – $903,828,835
  2. Corr’s Carefully Curated Cineplex – $892,694,361
  3. I HAS BAD TASTE – $876,537,592
  4. Goat Water Picture Palace – $870,040,067
  5. Vigo Grimborne’s Medieval Screening Complex – $847,579,299
  6. Miniature Giant Space Hamsterplex – $825,583,341
  7. Ben’s X-Wing Express – $819,170,145
  8. SynCaine’s Dark Room of Delights – $817,537,519
  9. Darren’s Unwatched Cineplex – $801,307,407
  10. Po Huit’s Sweet Movie Suite – $782,565,597
  11. grannanj’s Cineplex – $781,282,567
  12. Too Orangey For Crows – $738,662,905
  13. Joanie’s Joint – $727,376,847
  14. Kraut Screens – $689,378,141
  15. Paks’ Pancakes & Pics – $641,653,028
  16. Biyondios! Kabuki & Cinema – $639,347,136
  17. aria82’s Cineplex – $605,936,381
  18. Skar’s Movies and Meat Pies – $586,269,435

Corr and I went on different paths for anchors, with Corr choosing Christopher Robin over Mission: Impossible, though at least in one league we had otherwise identical picks.  That put a little more daylight between Corr and I, though we are still close enough that either could end up ahead for the season.

Likewise, Isey in third place is not out of the running, nor is Goat with a couple more winning weeks.  But beyond the top four somebody has to win very big while the top four makes some extremely poor picks in order to win the season.

There are only four more weeks left, and week eleven has the following options:

The Meg                 $334
Mission: Impossible     $260
Christopher Robin       $177
Slender Man             $171
BlacKkKlansman          $84
The Spy who Dumped Me   $83
Dog Days                $69
Mamma Mia 2             $65
The Equalizer 2         $63
Hotel Transylvania 3    $62
Ant-Man and the Wasp    $52
The Darkest Minds       $38
Incredibles 2           $41
Teen Titans GO!         $31
Jurassic World          $29

This week we lose Skyscraper, The First Purge, Eighth Grade, and the unfortunate Death of a Nation off the list of options.

In their place we have The Meg, Slender Man, BlacKkKlansman, and the aptly named for this time of year Dog Days. Were are certainly in the dog days of summer around here.

The Meg is not, as I first thought, a movie version of The Mick. This is the sort of logical jump your brain makes when you leave reruns of The Simpsons running in the background on FX while you build up a new computer; the commercials seep into your brain. The title actually refers to the star of the movie, a 23 meter long prehistoric shark known as the Megalodon.

So, yes, it is a Jaws knock-off, with its twist being the shark is really, really big.  It is practically Jurassic Shark.

But Jason Statham is the co-star, so I am going to guess that he catches the shark by going to its house, opening its front door a crack, ringing the doorbell then, when he sees the peephole darken, he kicks the door in, stunning the beast and proceeding to beat the shit out of it.  Also, there is a car chase.  I’d watch that on TV on a Friday night, but I am not sure I need to see it on the big screen.

Then there is Slender Man, which I thought was Slenderman, but I guess either usage is okay. Originating as a meme on Something Awful, the Slender Man has made it to the big screen, though it has been referenced in things from Minecraft to My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic. The plot sums up as two girls investigating the disappearance of a friend who then end up being haunter by the Slender Man. That might sound familiar due to the 2014 case where two girls obsessed with Slender Man attempted to murder a friend to appease the made up horror. There is an HBO documentary about that.

BlacKkKlansman is Spike Lee film about the first African-American detective in the Colorado Springs Police Department who sets out to infiltrate the local Ku Klux Klan to expose them for what they are.

And finally there is Dog Days, tagged as a comedy-drama, which follows four people and explores how their dogs influence their lives. It was directed by Dan Marino, who has been in many things over the years, but whom I mostly associate with the now 25 years in the past show The State.

I suppose you can tell by my descriptions that I am not excited for anything showing up this week, though I imagine that the internet fame of Slender Man, and the lack of recent summer horror films in the options, might make it exceed expectations.  But it is a real wild card, and the long range tracking for it has been trending down sharply, currently standing at about $15 million, but with a possible range as high as $25 million.

The Meg, which is expected to open on almost four thousand screens, is estimated to pull in almost $24 million for the weekend, while Dog Days is shooting for a modest $4 million and BlacKkKlansman has no revenue estimate at the moment, but should open on about 1,500 screens.

So my Monday Hot Takes league pick is a conservative one, going with 3x Mission: Impossible, 2x Equalizer 2, and 3x Teen Titans GO!.  But if the vibe for Slender Man picks up this week, I might swap to 5x Slender Man, 2x Ant-Man, and 1x The Incredibles 2 before the Thursday lock.  I think that is the “go for broke” play this week.

As always, the Thursday lock is less than 24 hours from when this post goes live, so make your picks soon!

Summer Movie League – Tom Cruises

Week nine is now in the books for our Summer Fantasy Movie League.  It is also August and it feels like the end of summer is looming now.

This past week saw what one might consider the last real blockbuster of the season hit theaters. Box office expectations for new releases going forward are considerably more modest. But, in reality, a $30 million opening weekend is very good for most films.

Anyway, this week saw the following choices.

Mission: Impossible        $756
Mamma Mia 2                $227
The Equalizer 2            $201
Hotel Transylvania 3       $157
Teen Titans GO!            $149
Ant-Man and the Wasp       $116 
Incredibles 2              $89
Jurassic World             $76
Skyscraper                 $61
Blindspotting              $41
The First Purge            $28
Eighth Grade               $26
Unfriended 2               $18
Sorry to Bother You        $18
Three Identical Strangers  $16

Another installment in the Mission: Impossible franchise was clearly going to rule the box office. And, from what I have heard, the film was a good entry in the series, living up to the action expectations previously set. But was it worth three quarters of your weekly budget for a single screen?

On Monday I thought it was. For the Monday Hot Takes league I went with 1x Mission: Impossible, 2x Jurassic World, and 5x Sorry To Bother You. I then copied that pick to all of my leagues, which I do every Monday just to be sure I don’t end up with a “no pick” entry if I forget to check back before things lock.

If I has stopped there, or went into a coma five days, or otherwise left my picks alone for the rest of the week, I would have been pretty well set. Mission: Impossible ended up being the anchor for the perfect pick for the bonus-free TAGN league. If I had gone with Unfriended 2 rather than Sorry to Bother You, competing $18 picks, I would have been in first place.

Summer Movie League – Week Nine Perfect Pick

And, as it was, I would have been tied for first with Vigo, who also went with my Monday pick. But then I went off and researched the week, read updates and forecasts and all that, and messed everything up.

Which isn’t to say that research is bad. There have been weeks when last minute data has made obvious the right pick. I remember the week last summer when 8x Baby Driver was the go-to once the Thursday night previews were announced just before the league locked.

But there are weeks when research just messes with your head, where there isn’t a clear enough path so you start second guessing yourself, which is what I managed to do for the rest of the week.

I had, based on some reading in FML chatter, most notably the Bonus Bar discussion, decided that Mission: Impossible really needed to be close to $70 million in order to be worth the price as an anchor. I was wrong on that, clearly, since it made the cut with around $60 million. But I arrived at that number mostly by over estimating how much everything else was going to do. I set targets as to how much a potential anchor pick is going to have to make to be worthwhile, but sometimes in making that guess I mentally anchor my view of its potential there, even if I am just pulling that number out of my hindquarters.

Looking at possible anchors I got a bit fixated on The Equalizer 2. With Mission: Impossible tracking between $50-60 million, I could get four screens of Denzel for almost the same price as a screen of Tom Cruise and would come out close or possibly ahead in the bargain. I didn’t think Mamma Mia 2 was going to hold up any better, certainly not enough to be worth the price, and I remain simply biased against Hotel Transylvania.

And then there was Teen Titans GO! Given the holy war between fans of Teen Titans and fans of Teen Titans Go!, I was not prepared to go anywhere near that title. Add in the fourth wall breaking nature of the movie, wherein the Teen Titans want to star in a movie, and I was well past any hope for that as an option.

Come the Thursday morning lock for the TAGN league I was in for 4x The Equalizer 2, 1x The Incredibles 2, 1x Skyscraper, 1x The First Purge, and 1x Sorry to Bother You.

Summer Movie League – My Week Nine Picks

Normally I follow the strategy of trying to keep the number of different titles in my pick as low as possible. That was in a new player guide I read back when I started, where it said that winning lineups rarely exceed 4 different titles. But then last week’s perfect pick for the TAGN league had six titles in it, so I was ready to go in with more titles to spend as much of my budget as possible.

There I was, locked in, when Box Office Pro published their weekend forecast, and they were calling Teen Titans GO! at $17.5 million. I had already figured that anywhere north of $14 million or so would make that pick the only possible anchor, so now it was Thursday afternoon and I felt I had missed a huge opportunity. But I still had the remaining leagues that locked on Friday morning. I changed over to a 6x Teen Titans anchored lineup and copied it to all of those leagues. At least I wouldn’t be left out there.

And then, of course, Teen Titans GO! ended up making $10.4 million. Six screens still kept you not that far from the leaders, at least in the TAGN league, but it wasn’t the resounding victory that Box Office Pro predicted.

Meanwhile, my Thursday pick, anchored on The Equalizer 2, kept me ahead of those on the Teen Titans GO! bus, but only just barely. Then there was my Monday pick which, as I said, I would have been better off sticking with and eschewing any research. And so it goes.

The scores for the week shook out as follows:

  1. Vigo Grimborne’s Medieval Screening Complex – $81,564,959
  2. Goat Water Picture Palace – $81,258,669
  3. Corr’s Carefully Curated Cineplex – $77,772,503
  4. I HAS BAD TASTE – $76,212,668
  5. Wilhelm’s Abyssal Pocket Playhouse – $72,267,827
  6. Too Orangey For Crows – $71,412,269
  7. Ben’s X-Wing Express – $71,412,269
  8. SynCaine’s Dark Room of Delights – $70,920,659
  9. grannanj’s Cineplex – $70,169,864
  10. Darren’s Unwatched Cineplex – $69,609,716
  11. Skar’s Movies and Meat Pies – $66,702,069
  12. Miniature Giant Space Hamsterplex – $62,286,338
  13. Joanie’s Joint – $65,895,544
  14. Po Huit’s Sweet Movie Suite – $65,030,230

Only 14 people picked this week, and FML isn’t displaying all the people who forgot, so I’ll just list out those who did pick.

As noted, Vigo went with the winning anchor, betting on Mission: Impossible and two screens of Jurassic World. Of the top four, only Corr had something different, going with three screens of Hotel Transylvania 3.

Then there was me and me bet on Denzel, which put me a step ahead of the next three on the list, who were all anchored up on Teen Titans GO!, which SynCaine having what ended up being my Friday pick.

After that people were dragged down by unfortunate filler choices, with Blindspotting being the dead weight of the week, the worst price/performer.

That left the overall standings looking like this:

  1. Wilhelm’s Abyssal Pocket Playhouse – $835,772,736
  2. Corr’s Carefully Curated Cineplex – $834,004,835
  3. I HAS BAD TASTE – $815,877,306
  4. Goat Water Picture Palace – $798,942,124
  5. Miniature Giant Space Hamsterplex – $798,312,590
  6. Vigo Grimborne’s Medieval Screening Complex – $783,203,111
  7. Ben’s X-Wing Express – $756,022,312
  8. SynCaine’s Dark Room of Delights – $753,622,997
  9. Darren’s Unwatched Cineplex – $736,038,512
  10. Po Huit’s Sweet Movie Suite – $733,779,261
  11. grannanj’s Cineplex – $724,501,443
  12. Too Orangey For Crows – $691,973,906
  13. Kraut Screens – $688,649,141
  14. Joanie’s Joint – $679,568,291
  15. Paks’ Pancakes & Pics – $641,653,028
  16. Biyondios! Kabuki & Cinema – $639,347,136
  17. aria82’s Cineplex – $605,936,381
  18. Skar’s Movies and Meat Pies – $520,110,394

I remain just baby steps ahead of Corr, with the gap between us just short of $1.8 million.  That is as close as makes no difference, and with five weeks left to go there is plenty of time for somebody to secure a lead.

I will have to go back and check, but I think what really differentiates the top five in the season so far is that none of us have missed a week nor had a really bad pick so far.

Which brings us to week ten.  The options for the week are:

Christopher Robin        $513
Mission: Impossible      $512
The Spy who Dumped Me    $268
The Darkest Minds        $154
Mamma Mia 2              $136
The Equalizer 2          $126
Hotel Transylvania 3     $131
Teen Titans GO!          $93 
Ant-Man and the Wasp     $88
Incredibles 2            $76
Jurassic World           $70
Death of a Nation        $55
Skyscraper               $45
Eighth Grade             $32
The First Purge          $16

We say farewell to Blindspotting, Unfriended 2, Sorry to Bother You, and Three Identical Strangers.

Taking their places are Christopher Robin, The Spy who Dumped Me, The Darkest Minds, and Death of a Nation.

I am torn on Christopher Robin.  On the one hand, Winnie the Pooh was a staple of my childhood, both the original books and the Disney movies.  I can still know the lyrics to I’m a Little Black Rain Cloud and such.  But do I care about adult Christopher Robin, even one played by Ewan McGregor, having stuffed animal flash backs?  Isn’t that more of a Seth McFarland sort of thing?  Is that enough to dethrone Ethan Hunt and the Impossible Mission Force?  CR was forecast for about $30 million, so all Mission Impossible has to do is drop less than 50% in the first week to be worth the extra dollar.

I have no such conflict over The Spy Who Dumped me.  The premise is only so-so, the is cast bland, and the reviews are not promising.  Still, there are not a lot of comedies on the list right now, at least non-musical ones.  The long range forecast was $16 million, but had been trending down.  Still probably good for $14 million though.

If I understand the story correctly, The Darkest Minds is essentially an X-Men movie featuring young mutants without a Dr. Xavier to guide them.  Long range forecasts had this at $9 million.

And then there is Death of a Nation.  What to even say about this?  The poster… and I gather the movie itself… attempts to equate Donald Trump with Abraham Lincoln.  I guess the #MAGA crowd found their own version of Michael Moore.   Opening on more than a thousand screens, at least this kills the idea that the media is controlled by liberals.  A red state wild card I suppose, and maybe a barometer for the upcoming mid-term elections this November, but otherwise not a promising pick to my mind.

Given all that, my Monday Hot Takes picks were 1x Mission: Impossible, 6x The Incredibles 2, 1x Eighth Grade.  Betting it all on Tom, Pixar, and the filler that happened to fit.  Still, I am looking at Mama Mia 2 as a possible.  It had a big fall for week two, but people keep comparing it to Book Club when it comes to audience, so if it could soften its fall in week three and pull maybe $8 million, it could be a real contender.

As usual, the TAGN league locks in less than 24 hours from this post, so get your picks in now!

Summer Movie League – Board of Equalization

With week eight of our Summer Fantasy Movie League complete we are officially into the back half of this fourteen week run.

While we are past the $100 million launches, there are still a whole string of new films waiting to hit the screens while the early blockbusters hang on week after week. For week eight we had the following choices.

Mamma Mia 2               $526
The Equalizer 2           $403
Hotel Transylvania 3      $334
Ant-Man and the Wasp      $210
Skyscraper                $167
Incredibles 2             $149
Jurassic World            $135
Unfriended 2              $103
The First Purge           $61
Sorry to Bother You       $42
Sicario 2                 $29
Ocean's 8                 $24
Leave No Trace            $23
Uncle Drew                $21
Won't You Be My Neighbor  $20

As I noted, ten out of the fifteen films on the list are sequels, which I am sure says something. And the top new choices on the list also added to the sequel count, with Mama Mia 2 expecting to to the box office, followed by The Equalizer 2. After that we were into more sequels, with Skyscraper being the only anchor choice without an antecedent… and I am sure that it being the only original story in that group says something as well.

For the Monday Hot Takes league I decided to anchor once again on The Incredibles 2 again. However, as the week wore on a bit, I decided to break my five week affair with The Incredibles 2 and hop over to Jurassic World in my lineup. For the last few weeks the two films have been incredibly… erm… very close in box office result, and with Jurassic World cheaper again this week, I made the jump.

However, with my lineup of 7x Jurassic World and 1x Sicario 2, I felt like I hadn’t spent my money as well as I might have. So I swapped out Sicario 2 and a screen of Jurassic World for Skyscraper at the top and Leave No Trace at the bottom.

That was a mistake.

Not a huge, week wrecking mistake mind you, but not my best choice. My logic was that Skyscraper, after a disappointing opening, might at least have a soft landing for its second week, coming in ahead of The Incredibles 2 and Jurassic World. No such luck however, as it ended up doing about the same as the cheaper Jurassic World and less than The Incredibles 2. Though I will say Skyscraper did about what I budgeted for. It was the dinos and Parr family that beat my expectations.

Summer Movie League – My Week Eight Picks

Meanwhile, Leave No Trace was a gamble on good reviews and word of mouth and a hope that it would expand into many more theaters than the 311 it was in last week. However the theater count only rose by 50 and word of mouth wasn’t enough, so it ended up in sixteenth place for the week. Basically, anything else I could have put in that slot would have been a better choice. Still, at least it wasn’t the worst performer for the money. That honor went to Unfriended 2 though Uncle Drew was close on its heels and they traded positions a couple of times.

But at least I had the dinos. Jurassic World (and The Incredibles 2) lost very few screens and were still enough of a draw to keep my lineup alive. The winner of the week though was The Equalizer 2.

As the estimates came in it looked like Mama Mia 2 was on track for about the expected amount, somewhere around $35 million, despite an inexplicably savage review by Rex Reed. I mean, there are some lukewarm words about the film over on Metacritic, and there there is the big fat zero from Rex Reed. Not an ABBA fan I guess.

The surprise of the week was Equalizer 2 which, rather than loafing behind Mama Mia 2 by $6-8 million as expected, was running neck-in-neck with its musical, eventually passing it to take the top slot for the week, a performance that also made it the best performer in leagues that give a bonus for that. Not the TAGN league for sure.

Still, its run away box office made it the optimum anchor for the week in any league. It headed up the perfect pick for the TAGN league, which ended up being 2x Equalizer 2, 1x The First Purge, 1x Sorry to Bother You, 1x Sicario 2, 3x Won’t You Be My Neighbor.

Summer Movie League – Week Eight Perfect Pick

The scores for the week ended up as:

  1. Miniature Giant Space Hamsterplex – $84,297,170
  2. Wilhelm’s Abyssal Pocket Playhouse – $79,863,521
  3. Corr’s Carefully Curated Cineplex – $79,339,103
  4. I HAS BAD TASTE – $79,339,103
  5. Paks’ Pancakes & Pics – $77,556,503
  6. Joanie’s Joint – $70,923,433
  7. Too Orangey For Crows – $69,612,552
  8. Biyondios! Kabuki & Cinema – $68,524,263
  9. Goat Water Picture Palace – $64,255,715
  10. SynCaine’s Dark Room of Delights – $60,741,210
  11. grannanj’s Cineplex – $59,822,230
  12. Ben’s X-Wing Express – $46,953,336
  13. Po Huit’s Sweet Movie Suite – $44,638,270
  14. Kraut Screens – $39,318,422 (did not pick)
  15. Vigo Grimborne’s Medieval Screening Complex – $38,186,929 (did not pick)
  16. Darren’s Unwatched Cineplex – $37,555,835 (did not pick)
  17. aria82’s Cineplex – $26,248,436 (did not pick)

Hampsterplex was the only one to go with two screens of The Equalizer 2 as their anchor and so won the week.

After that was me and the dinos followed very closely by Corr and I HAS BAD TASTE who both went with six screens of The Incredibles 2 as their anchor.

Pak was in the running for second anchoring on three screens of Ant-Man and the Wasp.

But after that the scores starting falling off with mixtures of Hotel Transylvania 3 and Mama Mia 2 dragging people down. And then the filler started dragging people down, with Po getting the worst of it by riding on six screens of Unfriended 2. Ouch. And then there were people who didn’t pick. Is it the early cut off, the fact that it is summer, or a loss of interest that is causing us to see so many missed picks this season?

That left the overall scores looking like this:

  1. Wilhelm’s Abyssal Pocket Playhouse – $763,504,908
  2. Corr’s Carefully Curated Cineplex – $756,232,332
  3. I HAS BAD TASTE – $739,664,638
  4. Miniature Giant Space Hamsterplex – $736,026,252
  5. Goat Water Picture Palace – $717,683,449
  6. Vigo Grimborne’s Medieval Screening Complex – $701,638,152
  7. Ben’s X-Wing Express – $684,610,043
  8. Kraut Screens – $683,116,941
  9. SynCaine’s Dark Room of Delights – $682,702,338
  10. Po Huit’s Sweet Movie Suite – $668,749,031
  11. Darren’s Unwatched Cineplex – $666,428,796
  12. grannanj’s Cineplex – $654,331,579
  13. Paks’ Pancakes & Pics – $641,653,028
  14. Biyondios! Kabuki & Cinema – $636,639,570
  15. Too Orangey For Crows – $620,561,633
  16. Joanie’s Joint – $613,672,747
  17. aria82’s Cineplex – $605,936,381

I managed to hold the top spot, tip-toeing a millimeter or two further ahead of Corr. But the big change at the top was Vigo, whose failure to pick dropped him back a few spots. At this point staying in the top five is as much a matter of picking every week as it is getting a good win, though not getting a sour lineup does help.

But there are still six weeks left to go! Still plenty of time for anybody ahead of you to screw up, starting with the week nine lineup.

Mission: Impossible        $756
Mamma Mia 2                $227
The Equalizer 2            $201
Hotel Transylvania 3       $157
Teen Titans GO!            $149
Ant-Man and the Wasp       $116 
Incredibles 2              $89
Jurassic World             $76
Skyscraper                 $61
Blindspotting              $41
The First Purge            $28
Eighth Grade               $26
Unfriended 2               $18
Sorry to Bother You        $18
Three Identical Strangers  $16

This week we lose Sicario 2, Ocean’s 8, Uncle Drew, Won’t You Be My Neighbor, and Leave No Trace off the end of the list.

Dominating the list this week is the return of Tom Cruise to his Ethan Hunt role in Mission: Impossible – Fallout 76.  While not expected to come close to the $100 million mark with its opening, it is tracking for a good $60 million, which is nothing to sneeze at in the middle summer market.  And it is really the last BIG opening this summer.  But if you anchor on it you’re off to picking inexpensive filler.

Also at the upper end up the list is Teen Titans GO! to the Movies.  When we saw the trailer for this I said to my daughter, “You used to watch that.” which got an icy response of, “I used to watch Teen Titans, NOT Teen Titans Go!”  Pardon my ignorance.   While it is a youth focused movie opening in the summer market, it only comes up in fifth place, tracking for somewhere around $15 million.

Further down the list is Blindspotting, a crime thriller set in Oakland, which has good press but opened on only 14 screens last week, so needs to expand quite a bit to contend this week.

Then there is Eighth Grade, which follows a girl during his last week in middle school before moving on to high school.  It has been out for two weeks already, has good press, and did better than Blindspotting last week on 33 screens.  Again, its performance this week depends largely on how much it expands.

And finally there is the return of Three Identical Strangers to the list.  Had this been on the list last week it would have beat Won’t You Be My Neighbor and Leave No Trace.  Coming into its fifth week, I assume it is expected to expand onto more screens to justify its return over a title like Sicario 2.

Given those choices my Monday Hot Takes league picks were 1x Mission: Impossible, 2x Jurassic World, and 5x Sorry to Bother You.  My thought is that a film like Mission: Impossible is landing on fertile ground this week with, with only The Equalizer 2 offering up an alternative action option, so it could very well.  Still, The Equalizer 2 is cheap, so Tom Cruise needs to suppress the opposition as well as exceed expectations to be worthwhile.

We shall see if I hold to that position all the way to the Thursday morning lock time.

And, speaking of lock time, the league locks less than 24 hours after this post, so go make your picks now!

Summer Movie League – No Chance for Ants

Week seven of our Summer Fantasy Movie League is now in the books.

The week brought us into the post-blockbuster part of the summer, where the films expected to garner $100 million or more on their first weekend were in the rear view mirror and the league was going to have to duke it out in a battle between smaller new releases and the residual power of the big launches. The lineup for the week looked like this:

Hotel Transylvania 3       $523
Skyscraper                 $394
Ant-Man and the Wasp       $387
Incredibles 2              $201
Jurassic World             $174
The First Purge            $111
Sorry to Bother You        $74
Sicario 2                  $45
Ocean's 8                  $40
Uncle Drew                 $38
Won't You Be My Neighbor   $30
Tag                        $21
Three Identical Strangers  $16
Whitney                    $14
Deadpool 2                 $11

At the top of the anchor list was the new Hotel Transylvania 3, which was expected to top the box office over the weekend and vie for the kids market with The Increcibles 2. But it also came with a fairly steep price. You could have one screen of that. It wasn’t so expensive that your couldn’t mix and match, but you couldn’t depend on just it.

Next, trying to score on the action adventure from was Skyscraper, where Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson battles a burning building that has taken his family hostage… or something… I’m not sure, really. That is the impression the trailer left with me. Whatever it was, I wasn’t buying it.

Then there was Ant-Man and the Wasp. It did not do as well as hoped its first week out, but it still seemed a viable choice if only it could keep to about a fifty percent drop in revenue.

After that we have The Incredibles 2 and Jurassic World battling it out. Last week they were in nearly a dead heat, but The Incredibles 2 lower price point made them the pick. This week it looked like the situation could be reversed.

Then we get into the filler, which ranged from the expensive end with The First Purge was down to Deadpool 2.

For an anchor I went with four screens of Incredibles 2 for my Monday hot take pick, making it the fifth consecutive week I went with the film in at least one of my leagues. I couldn’t get behind Hotel Transylvania 3. I just don’t like the franchise, which makes me believe the worst when it comes to box office. Skyscraper seemed like a risky bet. The trailer was muddled, as noted, and not compelling at all, unless you have to see every picture The Rock makes.

I considered Ant-Man for a bit, but the buzz was that the movie was going to suffer a serious second week drop off. Which left me down with Jurassic World and The Incredibles 2.

In the end I wasn’t shaken from my streak when it came time for the TAGN League to lock. I went with 4x The Incredibles 2 and 4x Sicario 2, a double quad sequel pick.

Unfortunately for me, Jurassic World was the anchor to go with. For not much more than my 4 screens of The Incredibles 2 I could have gotten five screens of dinos. Again, when the estimates started coming in the two movies were neck in neck for revenue, which meant spoils for the cheaper of the two.

There was a stretch of time during the estimates when Three Identical Strangers had the best performer bonus, but in a no bonuses league that didn’t make much of a difference. In the end the league results for the week looked like this:

  1. SynCaine’s Dark Room of Delights – $89,719,218
  2. Corr’s Carefully Curated Cineplex – $86,544,778
  3. Goat Water Picture Palace – $86,217,724
  4. Paks’ Pancakes & Pics – $86,217,724
  5. Vigo Grimborne’s Medieval Screening Complex – $83,686,706
  6. Ben’s X-Wing Express – $83,625,423
  7. Darren’s Unwatched Cineplex – $81,544,984
  8. Wilhelm’s Abyssal Pocket Playhouse – $80,575,792
  9. Kraut Screens – $74,997,493
  10. Miniature Giant Space Hamsterplex – $72,506,522
  11. I HAS BAD TASTE – $72,506,522
  12. Po Huit’s Sweet Movie Suite – $72,169,038
  13. Biyondios! Kabuki & Cinema – $72,143,824
  14. aria82’s Cineplex – $66,907,804
  15. Joanie’s Joint – $64,160,163
  16. grannanj’s Cineplex – $61,162,190
  17. Too Orangey For Crows – $61,162,190

SynCaine was the only one to go with 5x Jurassic World, so he won the week. He didn’t have the perfect pick, but he was still out in front by over $3 million.

After SynCaine there was Corr, Goat, and Pak who all went with Hotel Transylvania 3 and three screens of Jurassic World. Then Vigo, Ben, and Darren were a step behind them, anchoring on Hotel Transylvania 3 but without dinos, so it seems like that franchise was a reasonable choice for anchor. After that, mid pack, came me and my four screens of The Incredibles 2, $9 million back from first.  I was the only one all-in on Pixar this week.

Behind me was a group who either anchored on Ant-Man or who went with Hotel Transylvania 3 but sank themselves by betting on Whitney. That got the worst performer nod this week, dragging down an otherwise solid anchor. Whitney was in 17th place in the overall box office rankings.

And, finally, there were the final four who bet on The Rock only to find that Skyscraper seriously under performed, the bottom two who also bet on Whitney, for a double whammy. Ouch.

All of that left the season scoring looking like this:

  1. Wilhelm’s Abyssal Pocket Playhouse – $683,641,387
  2. Corr’s Carefully Curated Cineplex – $676,893,229
  3. Vigo Grimborne’s Medieval Screening Complex – $663,451,223
  4. I HAS BAD TASTE – $660,325,535
  5. Goat Water Picture Palace – $653,427,734
  6. Miniature Giant Space Hamsterplex – $651,729,082
  7. Kraut Screens – $643,798,519
  8. Ben’s X-Wing Express – $637,656,707
  9. Darren’s Unwatched Cineplex – $628,872,961
  10. Po Huit’s Sweet Movie Suite – $624,110,761
  11. SynCaine’s Dark Room of Delights – $621,961,128
  12. grannanj’s Cineplex – $594,509,349
  13. aria82’s Cineplex – $579.687,945
  14. Biyondios! Kabuki & Cinema – $568,115,307
  15. Paks’ Pancakes & Pics – $546,096,525
  16. Too Orangey For Crows – $550,949,081
  17. Joanie’s Joint – $542,749,314

I managed to hold on to the top spot despite a mid-pack finish, but Corr is closing in on me. SynCaine also benefitted from his clear victory this week, moving up a bit. But with a lower scoring week the ability to make drastic changes was diminished. That leads us to week eight and the choices we have.

Mamma Mia 2               $526
The Equalizer 2           $403
Hotel Transylvania 3      $334
Ant-Man and the Wasp      $210
Skyscraper                $167
Incredibles 2             $149
Jurassic World            $135
Unfriended 2              $103
The First Purge           $61
Sorry to Bother You       $42
Sicario 2                 $29
Ocean's 8                 $24
Leave No Trace            $23
Uncle Drew                $21
Won't You Be My Neighbor  $20

With four new films making the cut, four older ones are dropping off. Week eight says good-bye to Tag, Three Identical Strangers, Whitney, and Deadpool 2.

In their place we have Mamma Mia 2, The Equalizer 2, Unfriended 2, and Leave No Trace.

Mamma Mia 2, or Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again to give it the name on the title card, is the sequel to the 2008 movie which was based off of the 1999 musical that involved taking a bunch of ABBA songs from the 70s and early 80s, and trying to weave them into a story. The original movie made bank so it seemed likely that somebody in Hollywood would try to force a sequel, so here we are. They managed to secure most of the key cast and even have Cher on board. The long range forecasts for the new film have it hitting about $35 million for the opening weekend. The original only hit $27 million its opening weekend, but it was up against The Dark Knight, just to put into perspective how far back that was. Mamma Mia 2 doesn’t have to compete against Batman this time around, so I suppose the real question is whether or not there are any ABBA songs left that didn’t make it into the first movie.

Opening up against Mamma Mia 2 is The Equalizer 2, the sequel to The Equalizer from 2014, which itself was based off of the late 80s crime drama of the same name. But hey, it has Denzel Washington in it. The first movie opened to about $34 million four years back, but the current film is tracking closer to $27 million, putting it a little shy of the “85% rule” for sequels.

Unfriended 2 is down in the filler tier and is, of course, a sequel. Ten out of fifteen titles this week are. And people complain about video games being mired in sequels. Unfriended, a social media horror story (as if that isn’t reality every day now) was a Blumhouse production, a company that specializes in low budget films, hoping to strike it big with an occasional big success. (There was a Planet Money episode about how they work.) The original brought in over $60 million on a $1 million budget, so with name recognition a sequel was a natural. Unfriended 2 is not directly tied to the original and tracking puts it at just $7 million for the weekend. But as low budget films sometimes bring big returns, so do low priced FML picks.

Finally there is Leave No Trace, which should have been on the list last week since it did better than Deadpool 2 or Whitney. This will be its fourth week of release and I am not sure if it is expanding its theater count this week. In the bottom end $20 to $24 pack it feels like the least likely one to pick unless it has some card to play I am not seeing.

So there we go.

For my Monday night hot takes I went with 6x The Incredibles 2, because how often do you get to anchor on the same film six weeks running, mated with a screen each of The First Purge and Sicario 2. Still, by the time I need to finalize picks for week eight I might swap to Jurassic World because the two films have been so close in revenue the last couple of weeks and dinos are cheaper again this week.

Make your picks soon. The league locks in less than 24 hours after this post goes live.

Addendum: Or, since I accidentally published this early, you have more than 24 hours.  Once again I hit the publish button instead of the save button.

Summer Movie League – Still Incredible

Week six of our Summer Fantasy Movie League is in the books now.

This past week saw yet another film set in the Marvel Cinematic Universe hit the screens as Ant-Man and The Wasp opened up on Friday.  That left the weeks choices looking like this:

Ant-Man and the Wasp      $804
Jurassic World            $267
Incredibles 2             $229
The First Purge           $201
Sicario 2                 $89
Uncle Drew                $71 
Ocean's 8                 $48 
Tag                       $34
Won't You Be My Neighbor  $23
Deadpool 2                $20
Solo                      $13
Hereditary                $12
Sanju                     $11
Avengers: Infinity War    $11
Superfly                  $6

Ant-Man was clearly called to dominate the box office, something that was never in dispute.  But when you’re filling up eight screens and have a limited budget there are more factors in play.

Also on the list was The First Purge, the fourth installment in that franchise, which felt a bit over-priced to me.  Also, as I noted in last week’s post, it opened on Wednesday, so for FML purposes it wouldn’t even get a boost from Thursday night previews, as it previewed on Tuesday night.  Priced where it was, so close to The Incredibles 2, I felt it was a non-starter.

So the choice of anchor seemed to me to be between Ant-Man, Jurassic World, and The Incredibles 2.  Estimates for the latter two were pretty close, putting them near $30 million each, at which point my back of the envelope calculation indicated that Ant-Man would have to get close to $96 million to me a worthwhile anchor.  That was above the high estimate for the weekend, which was $88 million.  So unless somebody was really underestimating Ant-Man, it wasn’t a viable pick.

And in the match up between Jurassic World and The Incredibles 2 I felt that the price advantage of the latter, which would let me spend more on filler, overcame any box office advantage the former would present.  Estimates were far closer than the price difference on that chart.

Back on Monday night I was all-in on 4x The Incredibles 2 as my anchor.  Even after the Thursday night previews came out on Friday morning showing Ant-Man doing pretty well, I stuck to my picks in other leagues while many jumped onto Ant-Man at the last minute.  In the MCats league, which locks Friday morning, those who picked The Incredibles 2 in the TAGN league changed on the preview news.

On the filler front I wavered.  On Monday I was all for 4x Deadpool 2, not knowing that the film was facing a steep drop in theater count.  It disappeared from my local AMC multiplex for the weekend.  I guess I will wait for it to hit cable.

Eventually I settled on 4x The Incredibles 2, 1x Ocean’s 8, 3x Hereditary, a lineup that spent exactly $1,000, something that probably holds too much sway over me.

Summer Movie League – My Week Six Pick

And after the lock it was time to watch the weekend unfold.

Ant-Man did $11.5 million in Thursday night previews, which was pretty good.  It needed to do about 8.5x that to own the weekend.  Meanwhile the ticket pre-sales were being compared to Spider-Man: Homecoming, which did $117 million its opening weekend.

But Ant-Man ain’t no Spider-Man.  Arachnids own insects and after all of that Ant-Man managed a very respectable, but not exactly blockbuster, $76 million for the weekend.

Meanwhile, The Incredibles 2, which had been neck and neck with Jurassic World in the daily box office all week long/  They pulled ahead for while, but ended up in third place, just $250K behind the higher priced dinos.  That made The Incredibles 2 the anchor to have, with the perfect pick for the league looking like this.

Summer Movie League – Week Six Perfect Pick

The First Purge, having gotten its initial wave of fans earlier in the week, came in fourth with $17.3 million.

All of which left the scoring for this week at:

  1. Corr’s Carefully Curated Cineplex – $122,517,418
  2. Biyondios! Kabuki & Cinema – $122,410,754
  3. Wilhelm’s Abyssal Pocket Playhouse – $121,768,961
  4. Too Orangey For Crows – $121,369,556
  5. Kraut Screens – $106,794,508
  6. Miniature Giant Space Hamsterplex – $104,134,469
  7. grannanj’s Cineplex – $100,033,084
  8. aria82’s Cineplex – $96,458,682
  9. Darren’s Unwatched Cineplex – $95,301,183
  10. Po Huit’s Sweet Movie Suite – $94,323,075
  11. Ben’s X-Wing Express – $94,323,075
  12. Joanie’s Joint – $94,225,854
  13. Vigo Grimborne’s Medieval Screening Complex – $93,752,566
  14. I HAS BAD TASTE – $93,574,053
  15. SynCaine’s Dark Room of Delights – $86,308,838
  16. Goat Water Picture Palace – $86,308,838
  17. Paks’ Pancakes & Pics – $986,730 (did not pick)

The four at the top of the list were the four that went for four screens of The Incredibles 2 as their anchor.  Nobody got the perfect pick, but with the right anchor choice the four of us were not far off of that number.

The next four were people who favored dinos as an anchor.  Then there were the people who anchored on Ant-Man.  And, finally, Goat and SynCaine, who both went with four screens of The First Purge.

Oh, and Pak, who didn’t get home in time to pick.  That has been a problem this season.  While I have seen a change in picks from people, based on what they pick in other leagues that lock on Friday, the Thursday morning lock, along with the new multi-league picking interface, is causing people to miss picking.  I dropped a couple more people off the board as they had missed three weeks in the season.  And so it goes. (If you got dropped and want back on, let me know.  I just don’t want anybody to feel set upon because their score is way down the standings.)

This left the season totals looking like this:

  1. Wilhelm’s Abyssal Pocket Playhouse – $603,065,595
  2. Corr’s Carefully Curated Cineplex – $590,348,451
  3. I HAS BAD TASTE – $587,819,013
  4. Vigo Grimborne’s Medieval Screening Complex – $579,764,517
  5. Miniature Giant Space Hamsterplex – $579,222,560
  6. Kraut Screens – $568,801,026
  7. Goat Water Picture Palace – $567,210,010
  8. Ben’s X-Wing Express – $554,031,284
  9. Po Huit’s Sweet Movie Suite – $551,941,723
  10. Darren’s Unwatched Cineplex – $547,327,977
  11. grannanj’s Cineplex – $533,347,159
  12. SynCaine’s Dark Room of Delights – $532,241,910
  13. aria82’s Cineplex – $512,780,141
  14. Biyondios! Kabuki & Cinema – $495,971,483
  15. Too Orangey For Crows – $489,786,891
  16. Joanie’s Joint – $478,589,151
  17. Paks’ Pancakes & Pics – $477,878,801

As I noted last week, you don’t have to be number one for the week to get ahead, you just have to do better that those ahead of you. Corr and I both managed that and, while he got the win for the week, I managed to jump into first place overall.

With that over, we are now looking at week seven and some new choices.

Hotel Transylvania 3        $523
Skyscraper                 $394
Ant-Man and the Wasp       $387
Incredibles 2              $201
Jurassic World             $174
The First Purge            $111
Sorry to Bother You        $74
Sicario 2                  $45
Ocean's 8                  $40
Uncle Drew                 $38
Won't You Be My Neighbor   $30
Tag                        $21
Three Identical Strangers  $16
Whitney                    $14
Deadpool 2                 $11

After a few static weeks where we didn’t lose many films, this week saw a purge of a third of last weeks options. The Avengers: Infinity War, Solo, Hereditary, Superfly, and Sanju all got the chop.

Replacing them are Hotel Transylvania 3, Skyscraper, Sorry to Bother You, Three Identical Strangers, and Whitney.

Hotel Transylvania 3 is the big opening this week. Summer time is big for kids movies, as we have seen with The Incredibles 2. But as a franchise, Transylvania doesn’t have the clout of Pixar. In a weak week, at least as far as the summer so far goes, its projected $45 million-ish opening makes it the big dog. If you run with it as your main anchor you can only have a single screen, but you’ll have lots of room for filler.

I suppose is says something that a film featuring Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson is playing second fiddle to Transylvania. Skyscraper, the previews for which give me a Die Hard vibe for some reason, doesn’t have horrible reviews. It is in the zone with Tag and Transylvania. But I don’t think anybody is going to be fooled into thinking it is anything for than a vehicle to show The Rock doing crazy things on an exploding building. I’m pretty sure I’ll watch it when it hits cable. But for its launch tracking has it at $35 million or so, not a blockbuster, but well into the “good for just normal movies” zone.

Sorry to Bother You, as with the next two pictures, has already been available in limited release and is making the list due to an expansion of their theater count. Sorry brought in $725K last week across just 16 theaters, making it the top per screen earner. While critically acclaimed it does strike me as a bit of a blue state feature, and its pricing seems to indicate that FML does not see it going past $7 million for the weekend. Still, a lot of good buzz makes me wonder if it might exceed expectations.

Three Identical Strangers is a documentary… a strike against any Summer film right there most days of the week… about triplets separated at birth who later are reunited. Again, out for a couple weeks now in limited release, it is expanding.

Whitney, the Whitney Houston biopic, should have been on the list last week, as its earnings would have put it ahead of Solo, The Avengers, Hereditary, and Superfly. (There should have at least been a Best of the Rest option last week, though that is hindsight speaking.) This week it is down in the 14th slot and its value depends a lot on whether or not it will see an expansion in its theater count. Still, it is ahead of Deadpool 2, which I expect will see a further collapse in its theater numbers this week.

So what do you go with? Is Ant-Man really going to drop more than 50% in its second week, as the pricing seems to indicate? Is Hotel Transylvania 3 going to be able to stake out enough of the kids market to make The Incredibles 2 tumble this week? Does The Rock have more draw than forecasts allow?

My Monday Hot Takes league pick this week was 4x The Incredibles 2, 1x Sorry to Bother You, 3x Ocean’s 8. I strongly suspect I will change that before Thursday.

And, as I always say this season, picks lock in less than 24 hours from when this post goes live, so go make them now!

Summer Movie League – Three Paths Forward

Week five of our Summer Fantasy Movie League is now done and recorded.

This week was another pause in the big release schedule, so the lineup held a mix of carry overs and new titles at the top.

Incredibles 2              $591
Jurassic World SAT         $356
Jurassic World SUN         $278
Uncle Drew                 $275
Jurassic World FRI         $266
Sicario 2                  $201
Ocean's 8                  $97
Tag                        $64
Deadpool 2                 $41
Solo                       $31
Sanju                      $30
Won't You Be My Neighbor   $24
Hereditary                 $24
Superfly                   $22
Avengers: Infinity War     $18

The Incredibles 2 was at the top again, but Jurassic World was still expected to be big enough to need to be split into three days.  Uncle Drew was expected to be the bigger of the two new films, with Sicario 2 a bit down the list.  Then there was a gap and the filler kicked in.

I came into the week stung by ignoring the dinos in Jurassic World so, as noted last week, I jumped onto that with my Monday Hot Takes league picks, anchoring on two Saturday screenings.

Of course, as the week went on more details and more theories began to appear.  In the TAGN chatter channel dinos were a thing, but I started to think I was overestimating how much Jurassic World would bring in.

So, while I went with dinos on Monday night, by the time the TAGN lock time approached, I was leaning more towards a lineup anchored on The Incredibles 2 once again.  So I went with that plus six screens of the reasonably priced Tag, filling in the last spot with Hereditary.

Summer Movie League – My Week Five Pick

The last spot was a toss up between a Hereditary, a horror flick losing screens, and Won’t You Be My Neighbor at the same price, which was gaining screens but which seemed of limited interest to me to summer movie goers.

Corr ended up with mostly the same idea as I did, only he went with Mr. Rogers.  As it turned out, that was the better choice by $135,164.  Mr. Rogers would have been an even better pick with bonuses turned on, which would have given it an extra $2 million since it got the best performer award.  But we don’t play with bonuses here.

Then, after the TAGN league locked and Friday morning rolled around I saw the preview numbers for Uncle Drew and Sicario 2 and quickly re-did my lineups for everything else anchored on four screens of Sicario 2.

As it turned out, four screens of Sicario 2 was the go-to anchor for the week.  If only I had figured that out a day earlier.  For the TAGN League the perfect pick was 4x Sicario 2, 2x Tag, Deadpool 2, and Won’t You Be My Neighbor.  It was worth $93,788,152.

Summer Movie League – Week Five Perfect Pick

And somebody got the perfect pick.  Goat managed to get the right lineup and, while there is no bonus, they at least know they got the best possible score for the week.  The week five scores ended up looking like:

  1. Goat Water Picture Palace – $93,788,152
  2. aria82’s Cineplex – $92,425,935
  3. I HAS BAD TASTE – $87,186,436
  4. Miniature Giant Space Hamsterplex – $85,147,538
  5. Corr’s Carefully Curated Cineplex – $84,124,122
  6. Wilhelm’s Abyssal Pocket Playhouse – $83,988,958
  7. Ben’s X-Wing Express – $82,970,318
  8. Joanie’s Joint – $78,195,986
  9. Darren’s Unwatched Cineplex – $78,018,678
  10. SynCaine’s Dark Room of Delights – $77,613,186
  11. Po Huit’s Sweet Movie Suite – $74,689,271
  12. Aure’s Astonishingly Amateur Amphitheatre – $74,689,271
  13. Biyondios! Kabuki & Cinema – $73,673,508
  14. Paks’ Pancakes & Pics – $73,673,508
  15. Vigo Grimborne’s Medieval Screening Complex – $72,591,123
  16. Kraut Screens – $71,986,662
  17. Too Orangey For Crows – $71,695,833
  18. grannanj’s Cineplex – $66,746,828
  19. Skar’s Movies and Meat Pies – $66,113,433

The weeks rankings go from the top two, who were all-in on Sicario 2, to the next two who played at least a pair of the film with dinos, to those of us who anchored on The Incredibles 2, (or Uncle Drew and a pair of Sicario 2 screens in one case), followed by those who only bet on Jurassic World as an anchor.

My Monday pick would have put me in 16th place while my Friday pick would have had me tied for second, so I guess I should be happy with sixth place overall.  It kept me in the running, as the week five overall ranking ended up looking like this.

  1. I HAS BAD TASTE – $494,244,960
  2. Vigo Grimborne’s Medieval Screening Complex – $486,011,951
  3. Wilhelm’s Abyssal Pocket Playhouse – $481,296,634
  4. Goat Water Picture Palace – $480,901,172
  5. Paks’ Pancakes & Pics – $476,892,071
  6. Miniature Giant Space Hamsterplex – $475,088,091
  7. Corr’s Carefully Curated Cineplex – $467,831,033
  8. Kraut Screens – $462,006,518
  9. Ben’s X-Wing Express – $459,708,209
  10. Po Huit’s Sweet Movie Suite – $457,618,648
  11. Darren’s Unwatched Cineplex – $452,026,794
  12. SynCaine’s Dark Room of Delights – $445,933,072
  13. grannanj’s Cineplex – $433,314,075
  14. aria82’s Cineplex – $416,321,459
  15. Joanie’s Joint – $384,363,297
  16. Biyondios! Kabuki & Cinema – $373,5560,729
  17. Too Orangey For Crows – $368,417,335
  18. Skar’s Movies and Meat Pies – $287,596,163
  19. Aure’s Astonishingly Amateur Amphitheatre – $283,238,550

While Isey of I HAS BAD TASTE didn’t make first place for the week, but he didn’t have to in order to claim first position overall.  All he had to do was beat Vigo, which he did soundly.  So behold the new leader.

And it might be a good week to pull into the lead as the summer is starting to slow down a bit.  This week has a semi-blockbuster coming on this week in the form of Ant-Man and The Wasp, leaving a lineup looking like this:

Ant-Man and the Wasp      $804
Jurassic World            $267
Incredibles 2             $229
The First Purge           $201
Sicario 2                 $89
Uncle Drew                $71 
Ocean's 8                 $48 
Tag                       $34
Won't You Be My Neighbor  $23
Deadpool 2                $20
Solo                      $13
Hereditary                $12
Sanju                     $11
Avengers: Infinity War    $11
Superfly                  $6

In addition to the Marvel movie Ant-Man and The Wasp we also get The First Purge.

Ant-Man is “only” expected to reach about $80 million over the weekend, a lot for most movies, but summer blockbusters have been good for over $100 million this year, so it is slightly tame on that scale.

Meanwhile The First Purge is the fourth installment in The Purge franchise, is supposed to be good for a bit more than $20 million, a decent start for a normal movie.  But that puts it in fourth place this week.  Also, it opens today rather than on Friday, which means it might lose steam early and there won’t be any Thursday night previews to pad its totals.

With Jurassic World slimming down to a single day we didn’t lose any titles this week.  However, there is now a lot of very similarly priced low-end filler to choose from.

Going forward from this week all the openings are expected to decrease in size.  The only big launch after this week is Mission Impossible at the end of the month.  After that we’ll be looking for the next Baby Driver.  So if you need a big week, this might be the time to do a little extra research.

My own Monday Hot Takes league picks were 4x The Incredibles 2 and 4x Deadpool 2, a lineup that left me with $4, which I took as a sign that it was meant to be.  We shall see if I change my mind between now and when the league locks.

The league locks in less than 24 hours from the time this post goes live, so make your picks soon.