Tag Archives: Fall Fantasy Movie League

Fall Movie League – Blogger Win

We’re now past week two of our Fall Fantasy Movie League, which means I have to start doing season scores as well as weekly.  One week of relative ease.

Week two saw a host of new films, five in all or a full third of the lineup, opening up a range of choices.  The list looked like:

The Predator         $408
The Nun              $338
A Simple Favor       $257
White Boy Rick       $137
Crazy Rich Asians    $131
Peppermint           $86
The Meg              $43
Unbroken 2           $40
Searching            $40
Christopher Robin    $31
Mission: Impossible  $28
BlacKkKlansman       $22
Operation Finale 2   $21
Alpha                $18
The Wife             $18

With five anchor options it was tough to nail down just how to start a lineup.  For the Monday Hot Takes league I decided that Anna Kendrick as a crime solving blogger was too much of a hint to pass on, so went with 3x A Simple Favor and 5x Searching.

And if I had copied that to all my leagues and just walked away, I’d have been better off.  Well, I would have beaten Corr and ended up in ninth place rather than tenth.

Instead I did research, and the research options for week two were all over the map.  Box Office Pro and Deadline have both given up on making predictions for the top ten, concentrating mostly on new releases or, when feeling generous, the top five, leaving me with at least ten price points to simply guess at.  Other sites are rather notoriously extreme in their picks, wishcasting as opposed to forecasting.  Then there was the hurricane battering the east coast, sure to diminish the box office.  No power and rising water do not a movie night make.

So I ended up with a bunch of options.  I can say that, at one point, I did have the perfect pick as one of my lineups.  But, in the end, I went with 1x The Nun, 1x CRA, and 6x Peppermint, the latter seeming like it might have a shot at best performer.

Instead the pick to go for was 3x A Simple Favor and 5x The Meg, which was the perfect pick for the week.

That left the week’s scores looking like this:

  1. Goat Water Picture Palace – $82,349,322
  2. Too Orangey For Crows – $68,053,892
  3. Joanie’s Joint – $65,202,555
  4. I HAS BAD TASTE – $65,202,555
  5. Vigo Grimborne’s Medieval Screening Complex – $64,580,993
  6. Cyanbane’s Neuticles Viewing Party – $64,507,781
  7. SynCaine’s Dark Room of Delights – $64,261,740
  8. Ben’s X-Wing Express – $64,261,740
  9. Corr’s Carefully Curated Cineplex – $62,975,918
  10. Wilhelm’s Kul Tiras Kino – $62,951,994

Goat got the perfect pick which put them way ahead of the pack, while Bhagpuss secured a solid second anchoring on Predator and A Simple Favor.  7x White Boy Rick as an anchor claimed four spots out of the top ten, the dividing point being what went into that eighth screen.  And then there was Corr who slipped ahead of me by just about $24,000.

All of that left the season top ten looking like this:

  1. Goat Water Picture Palace – $166,930,575
  2. Too Orangey For Crows – $149,878,965
  3. Corr’s Carefully Curated Cineplex – $147,557,171
  4. Po Huit’s Sweet Movie Suite – $145,107,210
  5. Cyanbane’s Neuticles Viewing Party – $144,750,058
  6. Darren’s Unwatched Cineplex – $142,709,003
  7. Wilhelm’s Kul Tiras Kino – $140,020,941
  8. Ben’s X-Wing Express – $139,324,840
  9. Miniature Giant Space Hamsterplex – $138,593,155
  10. SynCaine’s Dark Room of Delights – $127,690,233

Goat, in a three way tie for first last week and all alone in first this week starts to open up a lead for the season.

Meanwhile, the alternative seasonal scoring looks like this at the end of week two.

  1. Goat Water Picture Palace – 18
  2. Too Orangey For Crows – 16
  3. Corr’s Carefully Curated Cineplex – 12
  4. Cyanbane’s Neuticles Viewing Party – 10
  5. Po Huit’s Sweet Movie Suite – 9
  6. Joanie’s Joint – 8
  7. I HAS BAD TASTE – 7
  8. Vigo Grimborne’s Medieval Screening Complex – 6
  9. Darren’s Unwatched Cineplex – 6
  10. Wilhelm’s Kul Tiras Kino – 5
  11. Ben’s X-Wing Express – 5
  12. SynCaine’s Dark Room of Delights – 5

I ended up listing out a dozen this week as there was a three-way tie for tenth place.  One thing missing from my plan is a tie-breaker, though if it turns out we need one at the end of the season I suppose the seaon box office total for each player will work.

As with the end of last season, the top three scores are the same people, but after that the group gets shuffled a bit.

But another week looms, with the choices being:

The House with a Clock   $476
The Predator             $216
A Simple Favor           $202
The Nun                  $173
Life Itself              $143
Crazy Rich Asians        $127
Fahrenheit 11/9          $115
White Boy Rick           $98
Peppermint               $75
Assassination Nation     $69
The Meg                  $49
Searching                $41
Christopher Robin        $25
Mission: Impossible      $25
Unbroken 2               $24

Week three sees four titles dropped from the list, BlacKkKlansman, Operation Finale, Alpha, and The Wife.

Replacing them are The House with a Clock in its Walls, Life Itself, Fahrenheit 11/9, and Assassination Nation.

The House with a Clock, because, like your local theater, I am dropping the last three words off the marquee, is a fantasy about a boy going to live with a loony relative who happens to be a warlock, so magical adventures ensue.  I have to assume some comedic nature to the film as it stars Jack Black.  Long range tracking has it good for about $22 million and if you go see it IMax you also get to see a 3D version of the Michael Jackson Thriller music video.

Life Itself is a tale of couples across generations tied together by a single event, though that event is left out of the description.  Sort of a couples Cloud Atlas maybe?  It is getting horrible reviews and nobody has bothered to cover it for long range tracking, so I am going to assume it is over-prices at $143.

Fahrenheit 11/9 is the one new film this week that I had some inkling of before I started writing this post.  I haven’t liked Michael Moore since Roger & Me, but he has a following and he plays to it once again, this time with Donald Trump and his election as the target.  And while that is a worthwhile target, I am not sure what he’ll deliver that hasn’t been beaten half to death or that I’m not getting from Last Week Tonight.  Long range tracking has it at $5 million.  Will play okay on the coasts, not so well in the heartland.

Finally there is Assassination Nation.  Described as a dark comedy, it is also a dark horse in the running this week with mediocre reviews and not much in the way of name recognition.  There isn’t even a theater count estimate for it yet.  I suppose it does have one of the Skarsgård clan in it, if one of the lesser members.  I’m not sure if that is enough to hang your hat on.

Overall, sitting at this end of the week, I don’t have a strong feeling as to which way things will go.  There are a lot of variables.  If Fahrenheit 11/9 does $7 million then seven screens of that with The Nun would be a winner.  It is, as of this writing, the least picked film of the week, so that would be a real outsider bet.   If The Nun or CRA manage another low drop week, then you might consider those as anchors.  I tried that last week and, while they did land softly, it wasn’t enough.  And maybe Jack Black is a big enough draw to make The House with a Clock a worthwhile choice.  However, his work tends to require a strong cast for him to play off of.

There is a temptation to run with a rework of last week’s perfect pick and go with 4x A Simple Favor, 3x The Meg, and 1x Searching, but the first two need to really hold on for that to be a winner and FML tends to punish best performers the week after.

In the end, my Monday Hot Takes league pick was 5x The Nun, 1x Peppermint, 2x Mission: Impossible.  We’ll see how I feel about that as the week goes on.

Fall Movie League – Nun the Less

The first week of our fall Fantasy Movie League is now done.  The post is a day early this week as I have a bloated mega-post planned for tomorrow already.

It looks like we have 16 people ready to go for the season based on the first week’s picks including at least one new player.  This first week saw a new film back at the top of the box office after a couple of weeks of carry overs dominating.  The lineup for the week looked like this:

The Nun                     $615
Crazy Rich Asians           $218
Peppermint                  $205
The Meg                     $88
Mission: Impossible         $62
Searching                   $62
Operation Finale            $52
God Bless the Broken Road   $48
Christopher Robin           $42
BlacKkKlansman              $37
Alpha                       $32
Happytime Murders           $30
Mile 22                     $26
Incredibles 2               $26
Hotel Transylvania 3        $16

On Monday I was still thinking Crazy Rich Asians might continue to be the right pick for anchor.  But then I read up on The Nun and found out that it was part of a whole series of very successful horror movies, including last year’s Annabelle Creation.  That, the growing projections over the week, and the Thursday night preview take got me to swap to The Nun as my anchor.  However, I did next to no research on filler titles which was my downfall for the week.  Right anchor, wrong filler.  I ended up with 1x The Nun and 7x The Incredibles 2.

Not the worst pick, but The Incredibles 2 dropped a lot with the passing of Labor Day and the start of school in the US.

The Nun was the best performer for the week, exceeding expectations by a fair margin, so was the anchor you had to go with to be a contender.  The perfect pick for the week was 1x The Nun, 1x The Meg, 2x Searching, and 4x Christopher Robin.  Nobody in the TAGN league managed to get the perfect pick.

The top ten scores for the week were:

  1. Corr’s Carefully Curated Cineplex – $84,581,253
  2. Po Huit’s Sweet Movie Suite – $84,581,253
  3. Goat Water Picture Palace – $84,581,253
  4. Too Orangey For Crows – $81,825,073
  5. Darren’s Unwatched Cineplex – $81,551,873
  6. Cyanbane’s Neuticles Viewing Party – $80,242,277
  7. Wilhelm’s Kul Tiras Kino – $77,068,947
  8. Miniature Giant Space Hamsterplex – $76,451,282
  9. Ben’s X-Wing Express – $75,063,100
  10. SynCaine’s Dark Room of Delights – $63,428,493

As I said, this season will be top ten lists only.  Also, since this is the first week I don’t have to do a season score as well.

Corr, Po, and Goat all picked the same lineup.  For the box office scoring the ranking doesn’t make any difference unless you want to brag about having won the week.  But for the new scoring system order matters, so getting the tie breaker correct suddenly matters.

With the new scoring system the stack is the same but the scores are different.

  1. Corr’s Carefully Curated Cineplex – 10
  2. Po Huit’s Sweet Movie Suite – 9
  3. Goat Water Picture Palace – 8
  4. Too Orangey For Crows – 7
  5. Darren’s Unwatched Cineplex – 6
  6. Cyanbane’s Neuticles Viewing Party – 5
  7. Wilhelm’s Kul Tiras Kino – 4
  8. Miniature Giant Space Hamsterplex – 3
  9. Ben’s X-Wing Express – 2
  10. SynCaine’s Dark Room of Delights – 1

I decided to go with just awarding points to the top ten, as in the example I posted last week.  With 16 players in the season I considered more points, 12 or 15, but decided against that for now.  I can change it later, but more points seemed likely to stretch the gap between first place and last.  Right now first place can only ever gain 10 points on somebody in a week, rather than 12 or 15.

The two scoring systems on week one do look very different.  The box office score doesn’t show a huge gap between first and ninth place, while the new scoring has first place gaining 10x the points of 10th spot.  I suspect that as we get towards the end of the season the the box office scoring system will effectively have a much wider gap while the new scoring system will lead to a tighter race at the end.  We shall see.

Coming up for week two we have:

The Predator         $408
The Nun              $338
A Simple Favor       $257
White Boy Rick       $137
Crazy Rich Asians    $131
Peppermint           $86
The Meg              $43
Unbroken 2           $40
Searching            $40
Christopher Robin    $31
Mission: Impossible  $28
BlacKkKlansman       $22
Operation Finale 2   $21
Alpha                $18
The Wife             $18

Going away this week are Happytime Murders, God Bless the Broken Road, Mile 22, Hotel Transylvania 3, and the long lasting The Incredibles 2

New this week are The Predator, A Simple Favor, White Boy Rick, Unbroken 2, and The Wife.

The Predator.  Is there precedent for remaking a movie that featured two actors who later went on to be state governors?  The original Predator was in the sweet spot of Arnold Schwarzenegger’s acting career (defined as between Scavenger Hunt and Last Action Hero) and had a bunch of spin offs, including a branch that somehow managed to pit the predator against the alien from the Aliens series, the best part of which was, in my opinion, the Alien Loves Predator web comic.

So there is a lot of history and The Predator is actually a continuation of the series rather than a reboot or remake.  It might as well be though since, aside from the web comic, the only bit I can recall was the original movie, and that mostly involves former Navy Seal, pro-wrestler-cum-actor, and future governor of Minnesota Jessie “The Body” Ventura wielding a backpack mini-gun that was probably the inspiration for including such weapons in every shooter from Doom forward.

Enough baggage.  How will it do?  It is a toss up between its history, being the shiny new action film, and it playing in ~3,800 theaters versus crappy reviews and it being a bit more nerd trivia than mainstream at this point.  Also, the 107 minute run time likely means they are padding out a minimal story.  Estimates put it between $25 and $35 million.  At the low point you don’t want it, while at the high end it has to be your anchor.

A Simple Favor is a murder mystery about a blogger and it stars Anna Kendrick which is all I need to know as I am now all-in on this.  Yes, it has a bit of the same tech-mystery vibe as Searching, but it gives bloggers their time in the sun.  Might be good for $14 million, if you need to get into numbers to pick this.

I recall the trailer for White Boy Rick coming up in the 25 minutes of trailers… including a red card trailer… that ran before BlackKklansman when we saw that.  There were apparently a lot of films who felt the Spike Lee demographic was vital to the success.

Anyway, it is about a kid who gets involved in the drug trade then becomes an FBI informer, all before he becomes of legal age.  Neither the story (based on true events, as they say) nor the kid has much draw for me, but the adults around him feature some big names including Matthew McConaughey, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Bruce Dern, and Piper Laurie.  Maybe good for $9 million if the long range forecast is accurate.

Unbroken 2, which is the sequel to the 2014 film Unbroken, and which has a longer name, but I am going to call it Unbroken 2 because it is easier.  This film follows former Olympian and freed prisoner of war Louis Zamperini through his post-war struggle and his becoming an evangelical Christian.  Short, made by a team that does faith focused films, and none of the original cast returns.  Memory of the first film might trick enough people into seeing it for it to get to $3 million.

And then there is The Wife, which actually premiered in the US a year ago, but which is out for a return run because… reasons.  I don’t know.  An art house film with a strong cast, it probably tries to make people think or something, which is never a box office draw unless you throw in enough explosions or gun shots to drown that out a bit.  But they are traveling to Stockholm to receive the Nobel Prize in Literature, so gunshots, explosions, or a kidnapping are probably out.

Still, there it is, priced down with Alpha, which made $2.5 million last week, so somebody thinks it is worth about a million I guess.

With all of that my Monday Hot Takes pick ended up being 3x A Simple Favor and 5x Searching.  See, I wasn’t kidding about being all-in.  Tech thrillers for the win I hope.  Whether I will stick with that lineup through the Friday lock is another question.

Fall Movie League – New Season, Original Rules, New Scoring

I am committing to at least one more season of Fantasy Movie League.  We will see how the fall season goes before I try to predict further out into the future.

There will be some changes for the Fall 2018 season.

First, the league will be moving back to the standard rules.  Most importantly, the league will go back to locking at 9am Pacific Time on Friday morning in the hope that fewer people will forget to pick.

Likewise, the bonus structure will return for best performer and perfect pick.  I think not having the bonuses was an interesting experiment and, in small way, kept people from opening up huge leads or falling way behind based on a bad pick.  But the change wasn’t all that great and didn’t do much for people who fell too far behind as there was still no way to catch up.  Malcanis again.

Also, I was expecting the perfect pick to be different for a no bonus league a lot more often.  Instead it was the same overall most weeks.

Second, the Fall season will have two forms of seasonal scoring, the traditional cumulative box office score as well as a well as a weekly point rank system.  This is another experiment and, if it works out well, I could see adopting the new scoring method as a differentiator.

The way it will work, as was discussed in TAGN FML Chatter, is that with every week’s score lineup, players will receiver a point based on their ranking.  First place will get 10 points, second 9 points, third, 8 points, and so on with everybody below ten getting a zero.

Testing this on the Summer League scores, it didn’t change things radically.  The top three places were still the same people, the order changing on the final week showing the “catch up” potential of the system.  And it did bubble at least one person who had a few good weeks up into the top ten.  Here is what the top ten looked like with that scoring system:

  1. Wilhelm’s Abyssal Pocket Playhouse – 91
  2. Corr’s Carefully Curated Cineplex – 88
  3. Goat Water Picture Palace – 76
  4. Vigo Grimborne’s Medieval Screening Complex – 62
  5. Miniature Giant Space Hamsterplex – 55
  6. I HAS BAD TASTE – 49
  7. Too Orangey For Crows – 48
  8. Ben’s X-Wing Express – 43
  9. SynCaine’s Dark Room of Delights – 38
  10. Darren’s Unwatched Cineplex – 35

The gap between Corr and I was such that it wasn’t decided until the week 14 scores were final.  Up through the Saturday morning estimates he seemed poised to win with that scoring system.

Compared that to the raw box office score ranking:

  1. Corr’s Carefully Curated Cineplex – $1,233,260,784
  2. Wilhelm’s Abyssal Pocket Playhouse – $1,192,800,479
  3. Goat Water Picture Palace – $1,168,442,901
  4. Ben’s X-Wing Express – $1,099,917,789
  5. Vigo Grimborne’s Medieval Screening Complex – $1,068,381,300
  6. SynCaine’s Dark Room of Delights – $1,053,023,190
  7. Miniature Giant Space Hamsterplex – $1,050,270,086
  8. Darren’s Unwatched Cineplex – $1,046,285,672
  9. Too Orangey For Crows – $1,012,717,545
  10. Joanie’s Joint – $1,012,254,458

The system eliminates the “big win” weeks which have, in the past, seen people open up insurmountable leads or fall so far behind that they are completely out of the running.  It also does away with the flat weeks, like week fourteen, where we’re all so close in score that only those who failed to pick changed in ranking. The new scoring system makes winning the week, or at least getting into the top ten, more important.

The question will be how many points should be given out each week?  My run through last season’s scores with the 10 point scale worked in part because there were only 12-14 people playing consistently over the season, so only a few people got a zero on any given week. (Everybody got at least one zero. Nobody made the top ten every week.)

I am not sure a 10 point scale would work if we had 25 people and 15 people got no points on any given week.  If that were the case it might have to be a 15 point scale, or maybe a 20 point scale.  Or maybe not.  I am, as I said, not sure how this ought to play.  But that is why this will be an experimental scoring system this week, and it may very well get changed as the season progresses. (If you have any insight into this, please pipe up in the comments.)

Third, I am going to try and cut down on the length of the weekly league update posts.  These are starting to get into the 2,000 word zone and that really isn’t necessary.  So I will try to simplify them largely by omitting the narrative about how I ended up with my picks for the week.  I am not sure anybody reads that besides me and, honestly, I am not sure I even care that much.  My need to write stories just gets the better of me some days.

So I am going to try, starting next week, to keep things to a much more terse style, with the movies in play, which, if any, did better or worse than expected, the scores, a summary of what picks did well, the overall scores, the experimental overall scores, then a summary of what is coming up for the next week.

Also, for scores, I am only going to list out the top ten when it comes to scores every week.  That, if nothing else, will keep me from having to figure out who picked badly versus who forgot to pick but their whole lineup rolled over to the next week.

We shall see if it sticks.  Some days I am overcome by the desire to write excess narrative.

And, since this is the first post of the season, let’s get on to the movies in play.  The choices this week are:

The Nun                     $615
Crazy Rich Asians           $218
Peppermint                  $205
The Meg                     $88
Mission: Impossible         $62
Searching                   $62
Operation Finale            $52
God Bless the Broken Road   $48
Christopher Robin           $42
BlacKkKlansman              $37
Alpha                       $32
Happytime Murders           $30
Mile 22                     $26
Incredibles 2               $26
Hotel Transylvania 3        $16

We are not quite to the point where candidates for the Oscars are hitting the screens yet.  That will be at the back end of the season, since the academy can only remember movies from November and December when nomination time shows up.  We’re entering the pre-Halloween zone first.

Gone from the list this week are Kin, A.X.L., and Ya Veremos.

New this week are The Nun, Peppermint, and God Bless the Broken Road.

The Nun is a “Gothic supernatural horror” genre entry about an demonically possessed undead Romanian nun.  I think.  The copy I saw included the line “…the abbey becomes a horrific battleground between the living and the damned…” which certainly seems exciting, if not exactly what the Catholic Church really wants on screen these days… or ever.  There has been some buzz about the film, enough that even I have seen bits of it.  It is also part of a sucessful horror franchise, though I only figured that out when I looked it up.  And FML has it priced high, so it should top the charts.  But the horror genre and what succeeds and fails in it remains a mystery to me.

Peppermint is an action revenge story in the I Spit on Your Grave genre where I gather people die horribly.  But it stars Jennifer Garner, which could give the venture the gravitas it needs to succeed.  Maybe.

Then there is God Bless the Broken Road, which is based off the country western song Bless the Broken Road.  I mean sure, films have been inspired by flimsier themes than a song.  Hell, The Gambler ended up launching a five movie series for Kenny Rogers, and most of us only remember the chorus to the damn song.  But this tale of a window and her daughter getting caught up with a race car driver isn’t as popular as The Gambler, doesn’t have any big names, isn’t exactly trending, and the only review I have seen so far puts it below Happytime Murders.  Ouch.

My Monday Hot Takes league pick was 4x CRA and 4x Alpha, mostly because it spends an even $1000.

So there it is.  The league is back to locking on Friday at 9am Pacific Time, which is 16:00 UTC, so you have time to do some research and make your picks.

If you want to join the league I will put a link in the comments after this posts.