Tag Archives: Fall Fantasy Movie League

Fall Movie League – Overlord or be Overlorded

Week ten of our Fall Fantasy Movie League is in the past as we head straight into the teeth of the holiday season in the US.

For week ten the lineup looked like this:

The Grinch                   $800
Bohemian Rhapsody            $372
The Girl in the Spider's Web $150
The Nutcracker               $126
Overlord                     $107
A Star is Born               $100
Nobody's Fool                $80
Venom                        $65
Halloween                    $59
Thugs of Hindostan           $40
Goosebumps 2                 $22
The Hate U Give              $25
Smallfoot                    $26
Hunter Killer                $25
Can You Ever Forgive Me?     $21

The Grinch was pretty much a dead-on lock to lead the three day box office.  The question was whether it would lead the pack by enough to justify the $800 price, or if some combo of cheaper titles would be better suited the task.

As I tend to do, I got fixated on the anchor and ignore the filler aspect of my lineup.  I played with variations of Bohemian Rhapsody, The Girl in the Spider’s Web, and The Nutcracker, but none of those played out in my simulations well enough to be worth the effort.

So by Friday morning I was still sitting on my Monday Hot Takes pick of 1x The Grinch, 1x Venom, 1x The Hate U Give, and 4x Goosebumps 2.  I wasn’t in love with that pick, but I couldn’t come up with a list.

In chat, less than an hour before the leagues locked, Corr and Ben were talking about going all in with 8x Overlord on the assumption that it would be best performer for the week.  That was interesting, but left a lot of budget on the table, Overlord not being priced high enough to be an anchor pick.

I played around with a lineup anchored on Bohemian Rhapsody, with 5x Overlord, and two more filler, and even left that lineup in the Seasonal Showdown league, where I often leave my experiments just to see how they play out.  If only I had copied that to all my other leagues.

But I did not.  On Saturday, when The Hate U Give looked to be up for best performer, it wasn’t a big deal.  But on Sunday Overlord took that spot and kept it through the final numbers, with the perfect pick being Bohemian Rhapsody, with 5x Overlord, 1x Venom, and 1x The Hate U Give.

That left the top ten for the week looking like this:

  1. Goat Water Picture Palace – $104,178,849
  2. Paks’ Pancakes & Pics – $98,635,588
  3. Corr’s Carefully Curated Cineplex – $97,616,864
  4. Ben’s X-Wing Express – $97,616,864
  5. grannanj’s Cineplex – $94,467,870
  6. Vigo Grimborne’s Medieval Screening Complex – $82,810,191
  7. Too Orangey For Crows – $82,360,647
  8. SynCaine’s Dark Room of Delights – $81,142,765
  9. Po Huit’s Sweet Movie Suite – $81,105,889
  10. Darren’s Unwatched Cineplex – $80,030,515

Goat got the perfect pick this week, while Pak was not too far behind with a lineup that had Smallfoot rather than The Hate U Give.  Corr and Ben took the next two spots with their all-in Overlord picks.

I did not make the top ten cut again this week, sitting at 11th place about two million behind Darren.

That left the overall season scores looking like this:

  1. Goat Water Picture Palace – $747,092,730
  2. Wilhelm’s Kul Tiras Kino – $735,363,014
  3. Corr’s Carefully Curated Cineplex – $719,810,825
  4. Too Orangey For Crows – $712,594,660
  5. I HAS BAD TASTE – $700,102,116
  6. Ben’s X-Wing Express – $690,847,847
  7. grannanj’s Cineplex – $678,310,666
  8. Paks’ Pancakes & Pics – $669,436,834
  9. Po Huit’s Sweet Movie Suite – $668,739,930
  10. Darren’s Unwatched Cineplex – $665,921,504

Goat’s strong finish jumped him past me into first place by $12 million.

The alternate scoring scheme showed its volatility this week though.

  1. Goat Water Picture Palace – 58
  2. Corr’s Carefully Curated Cineplex- 55
  3. Wilhelm’s Kul Tiras Kino – 49
  4. Too Orangey For Crows – 48
  5. Vigo Grimborne’s Medieval Screening Complex – 41
  6. I HAS BAD TASTE – 37
  7. Po Huit’s Sweet Movie Suite – 35
  8. Darren’s Unwatched Cineplex – 35
  9. Paks’ Pancakes & Pics – 32
  10. Ben’s X-Wing Express – 30

Not getting anything for the alternate scoring this week, Goat and Corr passed me while Bhagpuss caught right up.  Ben and Pak also climbed into the top ten, knocking Cyanbane (28 points) and SynCaine (27 points) into into 11th and 12th spots respectively.

So there it stands, with three weeks left to go it is still an open fight for first place with both scoring schemes.

That leads us to week eleven, where the choices will be:

Fantastic Beasts 2            $699
The Grinch                    $387
Bohemian Rhapsody             $203
Instant Family                $180
Widows                       $167
A Star is Born                $55
The Nutcracker                $54
Overlord                      $49
Nobody's Fool                 $36
The Girl in the Spider's Web  $36
Venom                         $27
Boy Erased                    $19
Halloween                     $14
The Hate U Give               $12
Can You Ever Forgive Me?      $12

Dropping off the list this week are Smallfoot, Goosebumps 2 , Hunter Killer, and Thugs of Hindostan.

Replacing them are Fantastic Beasts 2, Instant Family, Window, and Boy Erased.

Fantastic Beasts 2, or Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald to get out the full name… at least they dropped the “and Where to Find Them” part… is the big deal this week.  Harry Potter movies apparently do pretty well, even without Harry Potter around, though the Harry Potter movies based on actual books in our world are still significantly more popular than Harry Potter movies based on fictional books mentioned in passing within the actual books.

Or something.

It will still make its money back, but likely won’t be a crazy box office.  The first Fantastic Beasts did $74 million its opening weekend and long range forecasts have the sequel hitting $70 million.  I don’t see any reason to dispute that.  It will be in a theater near you and everybody you know.

Instant Family.  It stars Mark Wahlberg.  I’m not saying Marky Mark hasn’t done some good work, but he has also signed on for more than his share of disappointing productions and cringe worthy cardboard cut-out characters.  Also I think the premise of the film was lifted directly from 90s sitcom Horsin’ Around, making it the second rip-off of the show after Mr. Peanutbutter’s House.  It is currently pegged at $18 million for the weekend.  We shall see.

Windows was a tough one.  Googling “Windows” gets you Microsoft, while “Windows film” gets you tinting options for your home and car.  There is no Wikipedia article on it yet, so I had to go to the IMDB… and even that steered me to a 1950’s TV series, a 1980’s movie, and the 2014 film Open Windows before I could finally pin it down.  Not an auspicious sign.

Eventually though I found it, though I am still not sure I get what the movie is about.  But it does have a few big names in it like Liam Neeson, Viola Davis, Robert Duvall, and Colin Farrell.  The forecast for it currently stands at about $16 million, putting it close to Instant Family.

Addendum: As was pointed out in the comments, the movie is actually Widows, so just pretend I didn’t write all that and never speak of it again.

And finally there is Boy Erased, which is coming up on its third week in theaters, but which is getting an expansion of venues I assume.  It is the story of Baptist parents sending their son to gay conversion therapy.   I haven’t seen a forecast for it yet, but given its pricing it would seem to be set for around $2 million maybe.

So there we go.

For the Monday Hot Takes League the Cineplex Builder is giving me 1x Fantastic Beasts, 1x Bohemian Rhapsody, 1x Nobody’s Fool, 1x Halloween, and 4x The Hate U Give.  But given how it fared for me last week, I will be doing more research before I commit for Friday.

Fall Movie League – Mercury Rising

Week nine of our Fall Fantasy Movie League has now flown by.

The options for week nine were as follows:

Bohemian Rhapsody       $510
The Nutcracker          $260
Halloween               $201
Nobody's Fool           $180
A Star is Born          $127
Venom                   $80
Goosebumps 2            $62
The Hate U Give         $42
Smallfoot               $42
Hunter Killer           $39
First Man               $35
Suspiria                $31
Night School            $24
Mid 90s                 $23
The Old Man and the Gun $17

And I have to admit it was probably foolish for me to bet against the only film on the list that I had any intention of seeing last weekend, Bohemian Rhapsody.

On Monday I was still on board with Freddie Mercury, going with 1x Bohemian Rhapsody , 1x Halloween, 1x Nobody’s Fool, 1x First Man, 1x Mid 90s, and 3x The Old Man and the Gun.  A scattered lineup if ever there was one.

But then I started to let the news and reviews get to me.  And the hard core fans.

The reviews were not great.  There was lots of carping about what the movie could have been, how story was change to make things a nice little package, and how seemingly essential events were omitted.

What I failed to detect was the problem of the connoisseur in play.  This wasn’t the story hard core fans wanted.  This was not what those in the know could go along with.  Bohemian Rhapsody was pretty much a Greatest Hits album that visited some key points but mostly just gave the posers and bystanders what they wanted without too much to think about.  Boy finds band.  Boy and band reach wonderful heights.  Boy gets bored, leaves band.  Boy feels regret.  Boy and band reunite.  Sprinkle on a little pathos and social commentary and bake at 350 degrees for 134 minutes and you’re set.

The thing is, record labels don’t keep cranking out Greatest Hits albums because they are bad sellers.  It turns out most people aren’t as into your favorite band as you are.  They don’t want to hear the B-side songs or the creative experiments or that soulful ballad you love but which never got any air time.  They want to hear the hits that they’ve heard on the radio, the songs they know just enough of the words to that they sing along aloud.

Which is all wonderful hindsight, but I was reading all the negatives, with forecasts as low as $30 million being predicted.  With that in mind I got as far away from Bohemian Rhapsody as I could, deciding to throw in my lot with Tyler Perry, who tends to blindside me with the popularity of his films.

So by lock time my picks were 5x Nobody’s Fool, 1x Smallfoot, 1x First Man, and 1x Mid 90s.

And then Bohemian Rhapsody did $51 million, exceeding the highest forecast I saw by a good $10 million, becoming the best performer and the winning anchor.  Greatest Hits album wins.

Also, as an aside, Rami Malek looks so much like young Omar Sharif at times in that movie… just put a gap in those front teeth and you’re there… that they need to make a bio-pic about Omar next, before Rami gets much older.  Do it!  Omar Sharif lived a fascinating life.

The perfect pick was 1x Bohemian Rhapsody, 5x Venom, and 2x Smallfoot, leaving the week’s scores looking like this:

  1. Ben’s X-Wing Exp(r)ess – $105,170,333
  2. Paks’ Pancakes & Pics – $94,427,321
  3. Goat Water Picture Palace – $93,238,640
  4. Miniature Giant Space Hamsterplex – $93,238,640
  5. I HAS BAD TASTE – $91,704,872
  6. Too Orangey For Crows – $89,460,183
  7. Joanie’s Joint – $87,943,399
  8. Darren’s Unwatched Cineplex – $87,062,016
  9. Corr’s Carefully Curated Cineplex – $78,042,410
  10. grannanj’s Cineplex – $77,382,648

Ben got the perfect pick, which boosted his fortunes greatly.  Otherwise, if you anchored on Bohemian Rhapsody, you were in above the $80 million mark.  Below that were two people who went all-in on the Nutcracker.  Tyler Perry only got me into 11th place, and Po into 12th.  You can’t make the top ten every week I guess.  Halloween was the disappointing anchor.  I guess people don’t go to seasonal movies after the season has passed.

That left the overall scores for the season looking like:

  1. Wilhelm’s Kul Tiras Kino – $656,388,528
  2. Goat Water Picture Palace – $642,913,881
  3. Too Orangey For Crows – $630,234,013
  4. I HAS BAD TASTE – $623,232,202
  5. Corr’s Carefully Curated Cineplex – $622,193,961
  6. Ben’s X-Wing Exp(r)ess – $593,230,983
  7. Po Huit’s Sweet Movie Suite – $587,634,041
  8. Darren’s Unwatched Cineplex – $585,890,989
  9. Cyanbane’s Neuticles Viewing Party – $584,789,242
  10. grannanj’s Cineplex – $583,842,796

Inertia from previous weeks kept me on top, but Goat is not far behind me.  Ben’s perfect pick, along with Vigo missing his pick and SynCaine betting on Halloween as an anchor, jumped him from 11th to 6th place overall.  Corr, who nearly missed out when his picks failed to copy (you get a free, one time petition to fix that I hear), fell back a couple of places as well.

As for the alternate scoring, this is how it fell out:

  1. Wilhelm’s Kul Tiras Kino – 49
  2. Goat Water Picture Palace – 48
  3. Corr’s Carefully Curated Cineplex – 47
  4. Too Orangey For Crows – 44
  5. I HAS BAD TASTE – 37
  6. Vigo Grimborne’s Medieval Screening Complex – 36
  7. Darren’s Unwatched Cineplex – 34
  8. Po Huit’s Sweet Movie Suite – 33
  9. Cyanbane’s Neuticles Viewing Party – 28
  10. SynCaine’s Dark Room of Delights – 24

Not getting in the top ten let everybody catch up to me.  We now effectively have a tie race between myself, Goat, Corr, and possibly Bhagpuss.  Ben’s big finish for the week still only got him into 11th place.  He will need to swing some more first place finishes to catch up.

And there we stand after nine week.  Just four more to go.  And the week ten options look like this:

The Grinch                   $800
Bohemian Rhapsody            $372
The Girl in the Spider's Web $150
The Nutcracker               $126
Overlord                     $107
A Star is Born               $100
Nobody's Fool                $80
Venom                        $65
Halloween                    $59
Thugs of Hindostan           $40
Goosebumps 2                 $22
The Hate U Give              $25
Smallfoot                    $26
Hunter Killer                $25
Can You Ever Forgive Me?     $21

Gone this week are First Man, Suspiria, Night School, Mid 90s, and The Old Man and the Gun.

Replacing them are The Grinch, The Girl in the Spider’s Web, Overlord, Thugs of Hindostan, and Can You Ever Forgive.

The Grinch.  It is November, time for Christmas movies, so let’s re-pillage a classic.  I guess we should feel lucky it isn’t another version of A Christmas Carol. (My favorite version of that stars Mr. Magoo, though Bill Murray’s Scrooged doesn’t displease me.)

The original TV special has its flaws, but it also has freakin’ Boris Karloff.  How to you top that?  Not with Jim Carrey, that is for sure.  But that was 18 years ago, so I guess we’re probably overdue at this point.

What can I say?  Name recognition is through the roof on this one, and most people will have forgotten the 2000 film by now.  Long range tracking puts it at $70 million.  What else are you going to take the kids to see this weekend?

The Girl in the Spider’s Web is the next installment in the English language remakes of the Stieg Larsson Millennium trilogy about what Swedes are really like.  No wonder 20% of the country got up and moved to America a century or so back, some ancestors of mine included.  I made it through the books, but wouldn’t bother reading them again.  I tried watching the Swedish versions of the films, but subtitles break me out of the movie too often, so I didn’t enjoy them.  And then there was the first film back in 2011, which I enjoyed, but which didn’t do well enough to continue on right away.

But now we’re back, with Claire Foy as Lisbeth Salander, which would have been a lot easier to swallow if I hadn’t enjoyed her in first two seasons of The Crown.  Now, in the back of my head, it is going to be young Elizabeth Regina kicking ass and taking names… which honestly wouldn’t be a bad idea for an action adventure comic or film.  The secret crime fighting life of Queen Elizabeth.  We’d get a chance to see what is really in that purse… or under those hats!  Faster corgi! Kill! Kill!

Has nobody done this yet?

Instead we have the middle novel, made into a film sequel, when most people have forgotten the first one by now.  You can get away with that if you’re The Incredibles, not if you’re a goth Swedish avenger.  Reviews are down, recognition is low, and long range forecasts were calling it at $12 million.

Then we have Overlord, which I rightly assumed would be about the allied landings in Normandy in 1944.  What I did not expect was for it to me a zombie horror film about secret Nazi experiments directed by J. J. Abrams.  I kind of want to see that.  But I might not be in a big crowd with that, as the last forecast has it at $8 million.  It needed to be out in August, not in November.

Thugs of Hindostan is, to quote directly from Wikipedia, an “…Indian Hindi-language epic action-adventure film.”  It looks pretty cool.  A pity I don’t speak Hindi.  And that will be the problem in the US.  Though we have a sizable Hindi speaking population in some areas… like here in Silicon Valley… it isn’t enough to break any box office records.  No estimates yet, but pricing seems to indicate maybe $3 million.

And, finally, there is Can You Ever Forgive Me? starring Melissa McCarthy in a serious role in the story of Lee Israel, who forged letters from deceased actors and writers when her own literary career had ended.  An art house film that has been out for a few weeks, it is getting an expansion in theaters this week.  Pricing seems to put it at about $1.4 million.

So there we go.  With all of that I let the Cineplex Builder make my Monday Hot Takes picks, and it gave me 1x The Grinch, 1x Venom, 1x The Hate U Give, and 4x Goosebumps 2.  We shall see.

Fall Movie League – Johnny Surprise

The pre-Halloween week, the eighth in our Fall Fantasy Movie League, is now in the past, but not before a bit of a last minute surprise.

The options for the week were:

Halloween                    $666
A Star is Born               $243
Hunter Killer                $202
Venom                        $201
Goosebumps 2                 $128
The Hate U Give              $100
First Man                    $89
Mid 90s                      $88
Smallfoot                    $86
Night School                 $57
Indivisible                  $39
The Old Man and the Gun      $36
Bad Times                    $34
Johnny English Strikes Back  $33
The House with a Clock       $16

My gut last week as I wrote this said that the new stuff on the list was to be avoided.  Sure, my Monday Hot Takes lineup went hard on Mid 90s, with 1x A Star is Born, 1x Venom, and 6x Mid 90s, but I got over that by mid-week.

Still, I was on the right track for an anchor.  I couldn’t get on board with Halloween, even at the too-on-the-nose price of $666, and Hunter Killer was in the category of “new stuff” to be avoided, so I was left fiddling with variations of A Star is Born or Venom or some combination of the two.

In the end I decided to go all-in with Venom, anchoring on four screens of that, backed up with one screen each of Smallfoot, Night School, The Old Man and the Gun, and The House with a Clock.

Not a horrible selection, all things considered.  The Saturday estimates put me in tenth place, while Sunday had me in ninth, but the gap between the whole sixteen player list wasn’t that big.

The perfect pick ended up being 3x A Star is Born, 1x Venom, 4x The House with a Clock.  I was on the right track for an anchor at least.  Nobody in the league hit that combo.

However, once the actuals thread announced the results I checked the league and found a surprise; a few people appeared to be doing much better than I expected.

Fall FML Week 8 – Initial Top Four Scores

Also, Johnny English was suddenly the best performer rather than The House with a Clock.  A closer look showed Johnny English with a bit more than the $1.6 million box office it was alleged to have made.

Worth a K no doubt

That happened to be the same amount that Halloween made for the weekend, not to mention being about 20x what the Sunday estimate had it down for.  This was clearly a data entry error, which led to a dream/nightmare scenario for somebody.

Always bet on Johnny

There were plenty of messages about that in FML chatter.

Once it was corrected, things shook out a little closer to how I expected, with the week’s top ten looking like this:

  1. Po Huit’s Sweet Movie Suite – $60,377,241
  2. Vigo Grimborne’s Medieval Screening Complex – $58,829,377
  3. SynCaine’s Dark Room of Delights – $58,211,494
  4. Skar’s Movies and Meat Pies – $57,408,588
  5. Corr’s Carefully Curated Cineplex – $56,551,150
  6. grannanj’s Cineplex – $56,522,357
  7. Goat Water Picture Palace – $56,091,308
  8. Darren’s Unwatched Cineplex – $56,091,308
  9. Wilhelm’s Kul Tiras Kino – $55,421,160
  10. I HAS BAD TASTE – $54,830,773

Po was on top with 1x Halloween, 1x Venom, and 6x The House with a Clock, the last being the best performer and worth an extra $2 million per screen in bonus.  But the anchors in the top ten were pretty varied, and even 7x Goosebumps 2 as an anchor beat out my choice.

Still, the gap between first and tenth was less than $6 million, so the overall seasonal ranking did not change much.

  1. Wilhelm’s Kul Tiras Kino – $580,296,393
  2. Goat Water Picture Palace – $549,675,241
  3. Corr’s Carefully Curated Cineplex – $544,151,551
  4. Too Orangey For Crows – $540,773,830
  5. I HAS BAD TASTE – $531,527,330
  6. Vigo Grimborne’s Medieval Screening Complex – $516,275,892
  7. Po Huit’s Sweet Movie Suite – $512,050,156
  8. Cyanbane’s Neuticles Viewing Party – $511,935,067
  9. grannanj’s Cineplex – $506,460,148
  10. SynCaine’s Dark Room of Delights – $504,510,372

I think that is the same ten people as last week’s list, with a couple of positional changes.

The alternate score though, that ended up looking like this.

  1. Wilhelm’s Kul Tiras Kino – 49
  2. Corr’s Carefully Curated Cineplex – 45
  3. Goat Water Picture Palace – 40
  4. Too Orangey For Crows – 39
  5. Vigo Grimborne’s Medieval Screening Complex – 36
  6. Po Huit’s Sweet Movie Suite – 33
  7. I HAS BAD TASTE – 31
  8. Darren’s Unwatched Cineplex – 31
  9. Cyanbane’s Neuticles Viewing Party – 28
  10. SynCaine’s Dark Room of Delights – 24

Well, that was also the same ten people as last week with some changes in position, though not the same ten people as the overall seasonal score.  Darren, who would be in eleventh in the overall score is in eighth with the alternate scoring.

Overall, everybody who has been playing has been in the top ten at least twice so far this season, so everybody has some score.

So that is how it stands at the end of week eight.  Now to look forward to week nine.  The options are:

Bohemian Rhapsody       $510
The Nutcracker          $260
Halloween               $201
Nobody's Fool           $180
A Star is Born          $127
Venom                   $80
Goosebumps 2            $62
The Hate U Give         $42
Smallfoot               $42
Hunter Killer           $39
First Man               $35
Suspiria                $31
Night School            $24
Mid 90s                 $23
The Old Man and the Gun $17

Dropping off the list from last week are The House with a Clock , Indivisible , Bad Times, and Johnny English Strikes Back.

Replacing them are Bohemian Rhapsody, The Nutcracker and the Four Realms, Nobody’s Fool, and Suspiria.

At the top of the price chart is Bohemian Rhapsody.  It has lots of buzz and a bit of controversy to go with it.  It seems a likely anchor for the post-Halloween weekend, though it is priced so you can only get one screen of it.  Long range forecasts had it at about $40 million for the three day weekend, and it seems likely to get there in my book.

Next up is The Nutcracker and the Four Realms, which I am shortening to just The Nutcracker for ease of typing and maximum confusion.  This is the movie version of the literary adaptation of the famed ballet, done by Disney, so who knows how the story ends up.  But it has lots of famous names, including Morgan Freeman and is projected at somewhere in the $20 to $25 million range for the weekend.  Seems priced a little low compared to Bohemian Rhapsody, so might be a better anchor if you think we’re close enough to the holiday season to get into this kind of movie.

Nobody’s Fool is yet another Tyler Perry production.  The man is a machine.  And he has a regular following, so this is probably good for the $12-$15 million being projected for it.

And then there is Suspiria, the plot for which is… complicated.  At least it is beyond my ability to summarize.  That isn’t necessarily a bad thing.  It is also being distributed by Amazon Studios, which means it won’t be on many screens.  The expected count is 250 theaters.  But I bet it will be on Amazon Prime soon!

Given all that and some tinkering with the Cineplex Builder, I ended up with the following picks for the Monday Hot Takes league; 1x Bohemian Rhapsody , 1x Halloween, 1x Nobody’s Fool, 1x First Man, 1x Mid 90s, and 3x The Old Man and the Gun.

That is kind of a shotgun pick in a world where the beginners guide suggest not having more than four or maybe five titles in your lineup, but it seems like that kind of week.  Also, it used every dollar of my budget.

Fall Movie League – The Old Man and Halloween

Week seven of the Fall Fantasy Movie League went by, setting some records in the process.

The week had the following choices lined up for us.

Halloween FRI            $394
Halloween SAT            $352
Halloween SUN            $217
A Star is Born           $252
Venom                    $218
The Old Man and the Gun  $217
First Man                $148
Goosebumps 2             $143
The Hate U Give          $118
Smallfoot                $80
Bad Times                $48
Night School             $59
The House with a Clock   $28
Free Solo                $14
Beautiful Boy            $12

The big dog for the week was the return of Halloween which, as I noted in last week’s post, was a direct sequel to the original, eschewing past sequels, including past revivals that also had the same plan.

While it was clearly going to dominate, Halloween was divided up into three days, so the question was back to the usual one about which day will be the best.

I have, in the past, run hot and cold on Friday for these sorts of splits.  While it gets the Thursday night previews added in, the pricing often offsets that advantage.  But the previews are a pretty big variable, and FML has underestimated the Friday take dramatically in the past.

This time around I decided Friday felt good.  Halloween seems like a good Friday night movie.  So for my Monday Hot Takes league picks I went with 2x Friday, 2x Night School, and 4x The Old Man and the Gun.

The Old Man and the Gun seemed set to be the best performer.  Robert Redford has that kind of draw with an older demographic.  And Night School filled in the middle to eat up some of the excess budget.

Then as the week went on I was pretty busy at work and getting ready for EVE Vegas, so I didn’t think much about my picks until Thursday evening.  And even then I couldn’t come up with a better lineup.  I tinkered a bit with the new Cineplex Builder Tool that FML offers, dropping in some numbers from a few forecasts, but nothing else struck my fancy.  So I let my picks ride and the league locked as I was sitting at the airport waiting for the flight to Las Vegas.

This turned out to be a decent plan.  For once my Monday picks didn’t outperform my Thursday picks, that is for certain.  Halloween did okay in previews, but stormed on Friday night, making two screens of Friday the anchor to have.  At the other end, The Old Man and the Gun made the best performer mark as I expected.  My only mistake was having two screens of Night School in the middle.

The perfect pick ended up being 2x Friday, 1x Smallfoot, and 5x The Old Man and the Gun.  Still, my choices were good enough to lead the league this week, with the scores shaking out as:

  1. Wilhelm’s Kul Tiras Kino – $92,489,014
  2. Too Orangey For Crows – $87,003,081
  3. grannanj’s Cineplex – $85,141,380
  4. Cyanbane’s Neuticles Viewing Party – $84,848,599
  5. Corr’s Carefully Curated Cineplex – $81,489,202
  6. Vigo Grimborne’s Medieval Screening Complex – $80,126,485
  7. Po Huit’s Sweet Movie Suite – $76,571,870
  8. Goat Water Picture Palace – $76,571,870
  9. Skar’s Movies and Meat Pies – $76,440,883
  10. I HAS BAD TASTE – $76,289,136

The rankings reflected how much Halloween and The Old Man and the Gun you had in your lineup.  Only SynCaine and Ben bet on something else as an anchor, 5x First Man for both of them, and that hurt their scores.

That left the season scores looking like this:

  1. Wilhelm’s Kul Tiras Kino – $524,875,233
  2. Goat Water Picture Palace – $493,583,933
  3. Too Orangey For Crows – $489,670,051
  4. Corr’s Carefully Curated Cineplex – $487,600,401
  5. I HAS BAD TASTE – $476,696,557
  6. Cyanbane’s Neuticles Viewing Party – $458,888,717
  7. Vigo Grimborne’s Medieval Screening Complex – $457,446,515
  8. Po Huit’s Sweet Movie Suite – $451,672,915
  9. grannanj’s Cineplex – $449,937,791
  10. SynCaine’s Dark Room of Delights – $446,298,878

Darren fell from second place out of the top ten because he forgot to pick, bumping up Goat and Bhagpuss into second and third.  While I have opened up a gap, it isn’t that big and the main pack behind remains pretty tight, even down to fifteenth place.

The alternate scoring looked like this.

  1. Wilhelm’s Kul Tiras Kino – 47
  2. Too Orangey For Crows – 39
  3. Corr’s Carefully Curated Cineplex – 39
  4. Goat Water Picture Palace – 36
  5. I HAS BAD TASTE – 30
  6. Cyanbane’s Neuticles Viewing Party – 28
  7. Darren’s Unwatched Cineplex – 28
  8. Vigo Grimborne’s Medieval Screening Complex – 27
  9. Po Huit’s Sweet Movie Suite – 23
  10. SynCaine’s Dark Room of Delights – 16

A first place finish gave me a nice ten point boost, but the top four positions remain pretty close, with six weeks left to go the ranking could still change radically.

All of which now brings us to the week eight choices.

Halloween                    $666
A Star is Born               $243
Hunter Killer                $202
Venom                        $201
Goosebumps 2                 $128
The Hate U Give              $100
First Man                    $89
Mid 90s                      $88
Smallfoot                    $86
Night School                 $57
Indivisible                  $39
The Old Man and the Gun      $36
Bad Times                    $34
Johnny English Strikes Back  $33
The House with a Clock       $16

Dropping from the list are just Free Solo and Beautiful Boy, along with the alternate days for Halloween.

New on the list are Hunter Killer, Mid 90s, Indivisible, and Johnny English Strikes Back.

Hunter Killer is the tale of a group of US Navy SEALs on a submarine on a mission to save the Russian president from terrorists.  I’m not sure this is a story that really resonates, but it does have Gary Oldman in it… so I might watch it when it comes to cable.  The last long range estimate put its take at about $7 million and falling.

Mid 90s is about a 13 year old boy who gets away from his home life by hanging out with his skater buddies.  That was what we used to do before the internet.  I sure as hell got out of the house to get away from my parents.  It is set in LA, it is retro for a time both past and still in memory, and it has no long range forecast.  But FML pricing puts it mid-pack.

Indivisible is a foreign language film.  They say Italian is close enough to Spanish to get the essence of the other if you speak one, but I don’t speak either.  The story is about a man deployed to Iraq and leaving his wife and kids behind.  The long range forecast was last at $2 million.

And then there is Johnny English Strikes Back.  What to say.  Despite Rowan Atkinson’s protestations, in 2003 the first movie sure felt like an attempt to get in on the popularity of the Austin Powers series.  Only it was awkward and poorly paced rather than vulgar and self-aware.  It certainly wasn’t a Ben Elton level of effort.  It didn’t do well in the US, nor did the first sequel in 2011, which brings us to ask why there is a second sequel now in 2018. I guess it must do well in the UK.  Is this something they show on Boxing Day or what?  Anyway, long range has it at about $3 million, but I wouldn’t touch it.

Which leaves me with my Monday Hot Takes picks.  Fiddling around with the new Cineplex Builder, I ended up with 1x A Star is Born, 1x Venom, and 6x Mid 90s.

I know Halloween will stay at the top, but it does seem expensive at a perhaps too on point price of $666, while Hunter Killer doesn’t thrill me.  We shall see.

I am curious to know who else has played with the Cineplex Builder Tool and what you think about it.

Fall Movie League – First Man Third Place

The results for week six of our Fantasy Movie League are present and accounted for.

The week saw a host of new entries, leaving us with a fairly fresh lineup of options, with more than half the titles in their first or second week.  Even Best of the Rest was in play, usually a sign that the team at FML needs a wildcard to cover all of the possibly pricing possibilities.

The choices for week six were:

Venom                    $501
A Star is Born           $412
First Man                $371
Goosebumps 2             $265
Smallfoot                $150
Bad Times                $149
Night School             $109
The House with a Clock   $57
A Simple Favor           $27
The Nun                  $21
Colette                  $21
The Hate U Give          $21
Crazy Rich Asians        $19
Free Solo                $14
Best of the Rest         $12

The top of the list saw Venom and A Star is Born pegged to hold first and second place, but new contenders First Man and Goosebumps 2 were lined up after them, with some enthusiastic talk about First Man maybe pulling even with A Star is Born.

Buoyed by that enthusiasm, my Monday Hot Takes pick was anchored on First Man, the lineup being 1x First Man, 1x Goosebumps 2, 2x Bad Times, 1x A Simple Favor, and 3x Best of the Rest.

That was a pretty fresh lineup, and I was especially enthusiastic about Best of the Rest back at the far end of the week.

My mood changed on anchors, and I eventually opted for A Star is Born as my choice, but I kept working on getting more Best of the Rest in my lineup.  And then for some reason I soured on Best of the Rest around Thursday afternoon, instead jumping on The Nun in the three way $21 derby.  (The more puerile reader is likely giggling about “jumping on The Nun” and the mention of a three way… yeah, me too.)

My final lineup ended as 2x A Star is Born, 1x House with a Clock, 1x A Simple Favor, and 3x The Nun.

And that seemed like a solid choice come the Saturday estimates.  A Star is Born was, as expected, holding on to a smaller drop than Venom, while First Man seemed to be disappointing estimates and looked to fall shy of even the $20 million conservative predictions.

The problem was that the Saturday estimates had a zero for Best of the Rest.  By Sunday, when the picture started to resolve into clarity, Best of the Rest got its number from Gosnell: The Trial of America’s Biggest Serial Killer, which well enough to place ahead of Colette, Crazy Rich Asians, and Free Solo.

And then Venom held on to more than I expected over the previous week, leading my lineup to fall from first place with the Saturday estimate to eighth position come the Sunday update.  The final count brought me up one, to seventh place.

The anchor of the week was Venom and A Star is Born, with the perfect pick adding six screens of Best of the Rest to that.  The scores for the week ended up as follows:

  1. Goat Water Picture Palace – $87,429,240
  2. Darren’s Unwatched Cineplex – $87,429,240
  3. SynCaine’s Dark Room of Delights – $80,456,605
  4. Joanie’s Joint – $78,330,845
  5. Too Orangey For Crows – $72,430,676
  6. Paks’ Pancakes & Pics – $68,795,872
  7. Wilhelm’s Kul Tiras Kino – $67,445,771
  8. grannanj’s Cineplex – $67,130,097
  9. I HAS BAD TASTE – $66,999,704
  10. Corr’s Carefully Curated Cineplex – $64,868,616

Goat and Darren both go the perfect pick this week, with most of the top ten sorted out by how close you were to that pick.

Those scores shook up the overall scores for the season a bit.

  1. Wilhelm’s Kul Tiras Kino – $432,386,219
  2. Darren’s Unwatched Cineplex – $417,642,696
  3. Goat Water Picture Palace – $417,012,063
  4. Corr’s Carefully Curated Cineplex – $406,111,199
  5. Too Orangey For Crows – $402,666,970
  6. I HAS BAD TASTE – $400,407,421
  7. SynCaine’s Dark Room of Delights – $385,624,711
  8. Ben’s X-Wing Express – $377,496,203
  9. Vigo Grimborne’s Medieval Screening Complex – $377,320,030
  10. Po Huit’s Sweet Movie Suite – $375,101,045

I managed to hold on to first place overall, however Darren and Goat jumped up from sixth and seventh to second and third places respectively based on their strong finish this week.  Cyanbane’s unfortunate lineup anchored on First Man and Bad Times dropped him out of the top ten while SynCaine’s third place vaulted him into seventh spot.

The alternate scoring ended up looking like this:

  1. Wilhelm’s Kul Tiras Kino – 37
  2. Goat Water Picture Palace – 33
  3. Corr’s Carefully Curated Cineplex – 33
  4. Too Orangey For Crows – 30
  5. I HAS BAD TASTE – 29
  6. Darren’s Unwatched Cineplex – 28
  7. Vigo Grimborne’s Medieval Screening Complex – 22
  8. Cyanbane’s Neuticles Viewing Party – 21
  9. Po Huit’s Sweet Movie Suite – 19
  10. SynCaine’s Dark Room of Delights – 16

There are fewer ties with this scoring as we move along.  I managed to hold on to first here as well, while Goat and Corr are now vying for second, Goat ahead due to the overall box office score tie breaker.  All in all, the top six are within a single first place finish of each other and even tenth position could catch up give the volatility of this system.

Which leaves us looking ahead to the options for week seven.  The options are:

Halloween FRI            $394
Halloween SAT            $352
Halloween SUN            $217
A Star is Born           $252
Venom                    $218
The Old Man and the Gun  $217
First Man                $148
Goosebumps 2             $143
The Hate U Give          $118
Smallfoot                $80
Bad Times                $48
Night School             $59
The House with a Clock   $28
Free Solo                $14
Beautiful Boy            $12

Gone from the list this week are Crazy Rich Asians, A Simple Favor, The Nun, Colette, and Best of the Rest.

New this week are just three films, Beautiful Boy, The Old Man and the Gun, and Halloween.

Halloween is supposed to be big enough this week that it is broken out into individual days.  This is a direct sequel to the original 1978 classic John Carpenter film and features Jamie Lee Curtis and Nick Castle reprising their Laurie Strode/Michael Myers roles forty years down the road. The film ignores/disavows all of the intervening films made since then, including that strange period where Myers turned into a retro British super spy.

I will never stop making this joke

So can a return to the roots of the series succeed?  The original was a pretty big deal back in its day and arguably launched a series of knock-offs in the 80s including the Friday the 13th films.

On the other hand, this isn’t the first time Jamie Lee Curtis has been back to the franchise, including the 20 year celebration sequel with the awkward name Halloween H20: 20 Years Later, which also disavowed some of the titles after the original.  That did well enough to get its own sequel, after which the next run at the series was a reboot.

Well, it is certainly the right time of year and the score on Metacritic is better than one might expect.  Of course, as we saw with Venom, the opinions of critics don’t always sway movie goers.  Still, a good score can only help.  So that, along with nostalgia for the original will probably mean it will do well enough.  The long rage tracking had it at around $65 million for the three day weekend at last check.  The question is just which day to pick.

I have a love/hate relationship with Friday.  It is either the worst choice or the only choice most times we have a three day split.  This time I am leaning towards Friday though.  The pricing gap isn’t that huge, you can get two screens of Friday with room for filler, and I think this will be a heavily front loaded run.

But I could make an argument for 4x Sunday and some filler too.  We’ll see.

Then there is Beautiful Boy, a story of a father and son and the son’s struggle with a meth addiction.  This stars Steve Carell, who can play serious roles very well, but who is mostly known for his comedic roles.  It is an Amazon production and opened last week in four theaters, making $200K.  It is likely expanding this week, but there is no word on how many more screens it will get.

And then there is The Old Man and the Gun, Robert Redford’s final film by his own word.  It is coming into its fourth week, and last weekend it was in fifteenth place with just 228 theaters, making just over $900K.  It is expect to boost into about 600 theaters this week.

Also worth mentioning is The Hate U Give, which is getting its wide release this week, going from 248 theaters to about 2,300.

So there it is.  My Monday Hot Takes league pick was 2x Friday, 2x Night School, and 4x The Old Man and the Gun.

Of course, I haven’t run that through FML’s new Cineplex Builder tool yet.  That looks very interesting. It is more user friendly than my spreadsheet, and will let you copy your simulated picks directly into your various leagues.

Fall Movie League – Reviews Do Not Matter

We are now past week five of our Fall Fantasy Movie League and it was an odd week.

The lineup for the week looked like this:

Venom                    $799
A Star is Born           $546
Smallfoot                $190
Night School             $170
The House with a Clock   $92
A Simple Favor           $46
The Nun                  $34
Crazy Rich Asians        $30
Hellfest                 $26
The Predator             $20
White Boy Rick           $15
Peppermint               $10
The Hate U Give          $8
Free Solo                $7
The Meg                  $6

Unlike with week four, there did not appear to be an obvious anchor candidate.  There was no badly priced Smallfoot sticking out like a sore thumb.

Instead, there was a toss up between Venom and A Star is Born.  Or it sure seemed like a toss up, even when the Thursday night previews showed up.  Smallfoot was a potential anchor, and there was an argument to be made that, as a kids film, it was unlikely to be affected by the other two, but I wasn’t buying into that.  In my mind there were only two choices.

The argument for Venom was basically that it was another Marvel superhero movie, something that the box office over the last couple of years says we are not totally sick of yet.  That was about it.

The argument against Venom was that it was not in the Marvel cinematic universe with the other marvel movies of late, such as Black Panther and Avenger: Infinity War.  Instead it was a Sony Marvel movie, and the Sony side of Marvel movies is basically the X-men, some part of Spider-Man, and this Spider-Man spin-off.  That is still pretty popular and all, but not main MCU popular.

Also, Venom is about a somewhat icky second tier anti-hero that managed to get a 35% score on MetaCritic. (Up from 33% last week.)   So yeah.

Whatcha gonna do when they don’t like you?

For A Star is Born the highlights were good reviews (see above) and the fact that it stars Lady Gaga.  What else do you need?

The only things going against it were an R rating, which keeps out the kids, and the fact that it was the third remake of the same movie.  But being a remake isn’t necessarily a bad thing.  The Judy Garland version of The Wizard of Oz was something like the seventh or eighth attempt to put that story on screen, and that is the one most of us know.

So even when the Thursday night previews came out showing Venom at $10 million and A Star is Born at $4.55 million, the choice was not obvious.  Venom was pre-loaded with fans who were going to see it no matter what, but for a strong weekend some word of mouth was going to have to be in play.  Bad word of mouth could have stifled the film.

With less than 10 minutes to go and competing lineups anchored on both films ready to be copied across, I decided to bet on Marvel.  I filled in with Hell Fest which, with Halloween in the offing, seemed like it might be good for best performer.  So I was 1x Venom 7x Hell Fest.

Come Saturday morning estimates it seemed like Venom was the safe choice, though a lineup with Free Solo, which then had the best performer nod, would keep you in the running if you anchored on A Star is Born.

Then Sunday rolled around and the estimate for Venom jumped up, giving it the best performer nod, leaving A Star is Born in the dust as an anchor.  And then the estimate jumped up again, landing at $83 million on Monday morning, before the final numbers dropped it back to $80 million.

The perfect pick run was so tight that it changed with about every new final number that came on Monday.  In the end it was 1x Venom 1x House With a Clock, 1x The Nun 2x Hell Fest and 3x Free Solo.

Nobody in the TAGN league got the perfect pick, and the results for the week shook out like this:

  1. I HAS BAD TASTE – $96,886,446
  2. Wilhelm’s Kul Tiras Kino – $96,842,069
  3. Skar’s Movies and Meat Pies – $96,842,069
  4. Ben’s X-Wing Express – $96,202,870
  5. Darren’s Unwatched Cineplex – $96,202,870
  6. Corr’s Carefully Curated Cineplex – $77,389,267
  7. Cyanbane’s Neuticles Viewing Party – $77,389,267
  8. Po Huit’s Sweet Movie Suite – $76,746,743
  9. Vigo Grimborne’s Medieval Screening Complex – $76,694,291
  10. Paks’ Pancakes & Pics – $76,678,834

Out of the sixteen people who picked, five went with Venom, ten went with A Star is Born, and one went with Smallfoot.  The results were stratified by anchor, though the Smallfoot pick was better than one A Star is Born lineup.  Isey got the top spot by a mere $44K, followed by three pairs of identical picks, with ties decided by the FML tie breaker option.

That left the overall season scores looking like this:

  1. Wilhelm’s Kul Tiras Kino – $364,940,448
  2. Corr’s Carefully Curated Cineplex – $341,242,583
  3. I HAS BAD TASTE – $333,407,717
  4. Cyanbane’s Neuticles Viewing Party – $331,163,002
  5. Too Orangey For Crows – $330,236,294
  6. Darren’s Unwatched Cineplex – $330,213,456
  7. Goat Water Picture Palace – $329,582,823
  8. Ben’s X-Wing Express – $317,341,987
  9. Po Huit’s Sweet Movie Suite – $316,998,683
  10. Vigo Grimborne’s Medieval Screening Complex – $312,521,699

Corr and I are battling for first place while everybody else on the list is pretty much in a close race for third and anybody on that list could reach first place with a strong week.

The alternate scoring ended up like this:

  1. Wilhelm’s Kul Tiras Kino 33
  2. Corr’s Carefully Curated Cineplex 32
  3. I HAS BAD TASTE 27
  4. Too Orangey For Crows 24
  5. Goat Water Picture Palace 23
  6. Vigo Grimborne’s Medieval Screening Complex 22
  7. Cyanbane’s Neuticles Viewing Party 21
  8. Darren’s Unwatched Cineplex 19
  9. Po Huit’s Sweet Movie Suite 19
  10. Ben’s X-Wing Express 13

Only one tie this week in the top ten.  While Corr and I are at the top, a bad week for one of us or a first place win for most of the rest could change that.

And so it goes.  Week five is gone and now we must look forward to week six and the new options it brings.

Venom                    $501
A Star is Born           $412
First Man                $371
Goosebumps 2             $265
Smallfoot                $150
Bad Times                $149
Night School             $109
The House with a Clock   $57
A Simple Favor           $27
The Nun                  $21
Colette                  $21
The Hate U Give          $21
Crazy Rich Asians        $19
Free Solo                $14
Best of the Rest         $12

This time around we lose The Meg, Hellfest, The Predator, White Boy Rick, and Peppermint.

Coming in to replace them are First Man, Bad Times, Goosebumps 2, Colette, and Best of the Rest.

First Man is a biopic about Neil Armstrong, the first man to walk on the moon.  It stars Ryan Gosling and has strong reviews, but is probably limited by the topic at hand.  How exciting is three guys traveling a quarter million miles to a barren moon when we’re getting like two Star Wars movies every year lately?  Estimates put it in the $20 million range.

Goosebumps 2 is a sequel so we’ll apply the 85% rule to it.  The original opened at $23 million, so the sequel should be good for just under $20 million.  Long range tracking is calling it at about $17 million, give or take.

Bad Times at the El Royal, to give it its full title, has an ensemble cast and is some sort of mystery set in 1969.  The early estimates are all over, but the floor seems to be about $10 million for it given the decent reviews and the cast.

Colette is a biopic about a French author of the same name who penned the novella Gigi.  It stars Keira Knightley, but otherwise my insights are limited.  Pricing is likely due to a limited scope of release.

And finally our old friend Best of the Rest is back in play, which means that anything that fell off the list this week, or never made it to the list in the first place, is in play.  Best of the Rest often has a good chance at the best performer spot, though only if FML doesn’t mess up the pricing elsewhere on the list.

So I am in my usual state of not having a lineup I feel strong about.  My Monday Hot Takes pick ended up being 1x First Man, 1x Goosebumps 2, 2x Bad Times, 1x A Simple Favor, and 3x Best of the Rest.  But that feels like a bet on red, trying to be safe at a time of limited information.  Certainly how well Venom seems to hold will play into my picks.  I suspect my lineup will change a lot between now and when the league locks on Friday.

Fall Movie League – Smallfoot, Small Gap

Week four of our fall Fantasy Movie League is over and it was a near run thing.

The lineup of options for week four looked like this:

Night School            $616
Smallfoot               $363
The House with a Clock  $318
A Simple Favor          $148
Hellfest                $128
The Nun                 $102
Crazy Rich Asians       $85
The Predator            $83
White Boy Rick          $55
Peppermint              $41
Little Women            $33
Fahrenheit 11/9         $30
Searching               $25
The Meg                 $24
Life Itself             $20

As I noted last week before things locked, the pricing for the top three items looked out of whack given even the early estimates that were floating around.  It seemed unlikely that Night School would nearly double Smallfoot‘s box office, nor did it look like A House with a Clock would bring in nearly as much.

The main thing arguing against Smallfoot was the fact that it came from Warner Animation Group, which has had some hits and misses.  The LEGO Movie and The LEGO Batman Movie both did well, but Storks and The LEGO Ninjago movie were not so hot at the box office.  It was east to see Smallfoot as another Storks.

If you were not confident in the top three, there was always A Simple Favor, which I bet on for my Monday Hot Takes picks.

However, as the week went on and more forecasts and predictions came out, it became clear to me that FML had fumbled the pricing ball and that the way things stood you pretty much had to anchor on two screens of Smallfoot.  The real question of the week was what filler should back it up.

I was all over the map on that, and went into Friday morning with four different lineups.  I decided that, since Little Women wasn’t doing Thursday night previews that I would dump the lineup with that.  A good call, as Little Women only managed 16th place overall, falling behind The Wife, which was dropped for week four.  The only filler behind it was Life Itself, which was in 17th spot for the week, though it was better than Little Women in price versus box office.

In the end I went with 2x Smallfoot, 1x The Nun, 1x White Boy Rick, 1x Peppermint, 3x Searching.

The end scores were so close that it wasn’t until every last film was reported that the perfect pick was certain.  That went to 2x Smallfoot, 1x The Nun, 3x Peppermint, 2x The Meg.

Nobody in the TAGN League got the perfect pick, but the scores were still very close in the top ten, ending up like this:

  1. Vigo Grimborne’s Medieval Screening Complex – $62,686,328
  2. Wilhelm’s Kul Tiras Kino – $62,555,574
  3. Paks’ Pancakes & Pics – $62,554,907
  4. Po Huit’s Sweet Movie Suite – $62,119,154
  5. Corr’s Carefully Curated Cineplex – $62,119,154
  6. Goat Water Picture Palace – $62,119,154
  7. I HAS BAD TASTE – $61,744,693
  8. Miniature Giant Space Hamsterplex – $61,635,230
  9. Cyanbane’s Neuticles Viewing Party – $61,563,031
  10. grannanj’s Cineplex – $59,045,460

There was a $3.6 million gap between first and tenth place.  Everybody on that list. plus SynCaine in 11th place, anchored on two screens of Littlefoot, which got the best price performance bonus of $2 million per screen.  Those who anchored on one screen fell back a ways, and those who went with other anchors fell further behind, with Night School being the worst anchor choice of the week.

That left the top ten scores for the season so far as:

  1. Wilhelm’s Kul Tiras Kino – $268,098,379
  2. Corr’s Carefully Curated Cineplex – $263,853,316
  3. Too Orangey For Crows – $254,276,019
  4. Cyanbane’s Neuticles Viewing Party – $253,773,735
  5. Goat Water Picture Palace – $253,118,233
  6. Po Huit’s Sweet Movie Suite – $240,251,940
  7. I HAS BAD TASTE – $236,521,271
  8. Vigo Grimborne’s Medieval Screening Complex – $235,827,408
  9. Darren’s Unwatched Cineplex – $234,010,586
  10. SynCaine’s Dark Room of Delights – $229,195,406

There was some movement on the list, most noticeably Darren dropping five places due to anchoring on Hellfest, but the inertia of past box offices is already starting to settle in.

In the alternate scoring however every week, big or small, adds 55 points to the overall total of scores.

  1. Corr’s Carefully Curated Cineplex – 27
  2. Wilhelm’s Kul Tiras Kino – 24
  3. Too Orangey For Crows – 24
  4. Goat Water Picture Palace – 23
  5. Vigo Grimborne’s Medieval Screening Complex – 20
  6. I HAS BAD TASTE – 17
  7. Cyanbane’s Neuticles Viewing Party – 17
  8. Po Huit’s Sweet Movie Suite – 16
  9. Darren’s Unwatched Cineplex – 13
  10. SynCaine’s Dark Room of Delights – 8
  11. Joanie’s Joint – 8
  12. Paks’ Pancakes & Pics – 8

As with week two we have a three way tie for 10th spot, so I put all three on the list.  Corr managed to take the lead this week while I am tied up with Bhagpuss for second now.  Not bad considering I was one of those tied for tenth in week two.  That is some volatility.  And nobody is so far back that a couple first place wins wouldn’t put them in contention.

That is how it stands at the end of week four, so it is time to look forward to week five, which features this lineup:

Venom                    $799
A Star is Born           $546
Smallfoot                $190
Night School             $170
The House with a Clock   $92
A Simple Favor           $46
The Nun                  $34
Crazy Rich Asians        $30
Hellfest                 $26
The Predator             $20
White Boy Rick           $15
Peppermint               $10
The Hate U Give          $8
Free Solo                $7
The Meg                  $6

We lose Searching, Fahrenheit 11/9, Little Women and Life Itself from the list this week.

Replacing them are Venom, A Star is Born, The Hate U Give, and Free Solo.

At the top of the list is Venom, featuring yet another Marvel comic book character in a major movie release.  However, this isn’t the Marvel Cinematic Universe where Deadpool and The Avengers live.  No, this is the Sony side of Marvel where the X-Men reside and Spider-Man comes and goes.  Welcome to Hollywood film rights.  Venom himself was part of Spider-Man 3, back when Toby Maguire was in that role, or about two Spider-Mans… Spiders-Men… Spider-Men… ago.  I think.  I don’t really care enough to look it up.

Anyway, superhero film, likely dominate the box office with estimates in the $65 million range.

Next up we have A Star is Born starring Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper, a remake of the 1976 A Star is Born starring Barbra Streisand and Kris Kristofferson, which itself was a remake of the  1954 A Star is Born starring Judy Garland and James Mason, which was, in turn, a remake of the 1937 A Star is Born starring Janet Gaynor and Fredric March.

While it hasn’t been remade as often as The Wizard of Oz or Little Women, it looks like we’re getting a version of this every generation.

And while it is adulting about on a week when a superhero film is launching, it does star Lady Gaga and is being called at around $45 million.

After two new films dominating the box office, the other two are down in the cheap seats.

The Hate U Give, based on the novel of the same name, is the story of a girl who is torn between her life in a poor black neighborhood and her life in the rich, mostly white prep school she attends and how events in her community affect her and draw her into activism.  It is in limited release, showing in under 40 theaters.

Finally, there is Free Solo which is not, as I first feared, another Star Wars Story.  Instead it is the story of Alex Honnold’s attempt to free solo climb (no ropes or other such equipment) El Capitan in Yosemite.  It is also in limited release, expected to show up in about 20 venues.

Given that these two films are down with The Meg, which did just over $1 million last week, they aren’t looking to burn up the box office.  On the other hand, low expectations and low estimates leave room for surprises.

As for my picks, for the Monday league I went for 1x Venom, 6x CRA, and 1x The Predator, which seemed like a safe pick.  But for the TAGN league pick I am still torn between Venom and A Star is Born as an anchor.  I need more data.