Tag Archives: Fall Movie League

Fall Movie League – Winners Edition

Here we are at the last post for the Fall 2017 run of our Fantasy Movie League.

This, the thirteenth and final week of the Fall season, was the last chance for people to jockey for position, and with a new Disney Pixar title hitting theaters, there was the possibility of some movement in the final ranking.  The lineup for the week was:

Coco                           $716 
Justice League                 $534
Wonder                         $298
Thor: Ragnarok                 $206
Daddy's Home 2                 $143
Murder on the Orient Express   $128
Roman J. Israel, Esq.          $102
The Star                       $96
Bad Moms Christmas             $70
The Man Who Invented Christmas $68
Three Billboards               $51
Lady Bird                      $49
Jigsaw                         $7
Loving Vincent                 $6
Blade Runner 2049              $6

Projections for the Pixar title Coco seemed decent, but not enough to support that price in light of other options.  So after that mad minute first Monday pick, where I always anchor on the film that is going to top the box office, I spent my time exploring other options and “what if” scenarios.  Justice League and Wonder played out in some of my plans.

Then on Wednesday I saw a couple of articles projecting Coco to run past $70 million.  At that run rate Coco was suddenly very viable and I went back to building a line up anchored on that, deciding to also bet heavily on Lady Bird due to the positive social media buzz it seemed to be getting.

Then in the FML Slack channel Ben curbed my enthusiasm by pointing out that those $70 million and up projections were for the entire week, as Coco opened up in the US on Tuesday, and not for the Friday, Saturday, and Sunday time frame that would count for the FML league.  Damn press not taking my needs into account.

Anyway, that put Coco back down at maybe $50 million again and I told myself I needed to go back and redo my lineup.  And then Thanksgiving came, which we host at our house, and all of the fun and work that goes with that and the next time I thought about FML was on Friday morning at about a quarter to ten, less than an hour after the picks were locked, but it might as well have been forever since I was stuck with where I had left things on Wednesday.

My Fall Week Thirteen Picks

So my hope was that Coco would do much better than expected.

It did not, just passing the $50 million mark expected of it.

Meanwhile, the winning bet of the week was Murder on the Orient Express, which got the best price/performance nod and was the anchor film for the perfect pick of the week.

Fall Week Thirteen Perfect Pick

542 players got the perfect pick this week, which is a sizable number and makes me wonder why I didn’t at least see that as an option.

Amongst those with the perfect pick was Corr, thus cementing his win in the MCats League and the overall Meta League.  The scores for the week for the Meta League were:

  1. Corr’s Carefully Curated Cineplex (M) – $118,127,443
  2. Dan’s Decadent Decaplex (M) – $110,643,594
  3. Logan’s Luxurious Thaumatrope (M) – $110,643,594
  4. Po Huit’s Sweet Movie Suite (T) – $110,643,594
  5. The Filthy Fleapit (T) – $89,095,650
  6. Darren’s Unwatched Cineplex (T) – $89,095,650
  7. Ben’s X-Wing Express (M) – $82,679,441
  8. Elly’s Elemental E-Plex (M) – $78,853,690
  9. Aure’s Astonishingly Amateur Amphitheatre (M) – $78,853,690
  10. Kraut Screens (T) – $77,042,620
  11. SynCaine’s Dark Room of Delights (T) – $76,819,285
  12. Wilhelm’s Films from New Eden – $71,832,620
  13. Paks’ Pancakes & Pics (T) – $70,520,361
  14. I HAS MOVIES (T) – $69,468,295
  • TAGN Movie Obsession – players from it marked with a (T)
  • MCats Multiplex – players from it marked with an (M)

There is a new name on the list, Po Huit, who joined in for the next season, but got in a pick for week thirteen and won the week in the TAGN league, so I figured I had better mention him.

Meanwhile, the bottom three on the list are all people who anchored on Coco.  That was clearly the bad pick of the week.

With week thirteen complete, the final scores for the Fall Meta League are:

  1. Corr’s Carefully Curated Cineplex (M) – $1,241,295,127
  2. Aure’s Astonishingly Amateur Amphitheatre (M) – $1,181,566,118
  3. Elly’s Elemental E-Plex (M) – $1,150,719,925
  4. Ben’s X-Wing Express (M) – $1,149,644,649
  5. Dan’s Decadent Decaplex (M) – $1,122,285,136
  6. Wilhelm’s Films from New Eden – $1,113,910,654
  7. Paks’ Pancakes & Pics (T) – $1,084,359,341
  8. SynCaine’s Dark Room of Delights (T) – $1,011,733,999
  9. Logan’s Luxurious Thaumatrope (M) – $995,906,854
  10. Kraut Screens (T) – $871,754,429
  11. The Filthy Fleapit (T) – $871,715,649
  12. I HAS MOVIES (T) – $842,656,155
  13. Darren’s Unwatched Cineplex (T) – $717,236,170

As expected for the last few weeks, Corr came out on top for the overall Meta League and also won 5 of 13 weeks in the MCats League.

Despite being down in 6th place I managed to eke out a win in the TAGN League after weeks of battling for the first spot with SynCaine.  However, I only came out as the league winner once during the season, while SynCaine took the top spot five times.  Wonder week and the huge win for me there sank him.

And I doubt I would have been in first place had Pak not started a week late.  He won 4 of 13 weeks in the TAGN League and would have no doubt come in first in the league if he had been there for the initial week.  The gap between us was a mere $29 million and he surely would have done better than that on week one.  I feel like there should be a Roger Marris asterisk next to my win.

So that is the end of the Fall season.  Congrats to Corr, the overall winner, and everybody who managed to win a week or even managed to play every week.  Just remembering to get in and make your picks is half the battle sometimes.

There will be a Winter league.  My plans are to do weekly posts for that as well.  And, after Pak and Po Huit soundly thrash me in that venture, to take the Spring season off in order to feel fresh for another run at the Summer blockbuster season.

In order to keep the season separated there will be a second post today with the initial movie lineup and some comments about what is to come.  Thank you for playing!

Fall Movie League – Week of Wonder

The penultimate week for our Fantasy Movie League fall season has passed.

Also, “penultimate” is one of those words I use whenever I have the opportunity.

With one final set of picks for week 13 yet to go, now would be a good time to think about joining our league for the winter season.  Clicking on this link will send you on your way.  I was wondering whether or not to keep going with this, but we have Star Wars: The Last Jedi coming up, which should be a wonderfully budget distorting venture.  Pricing for a weekend when the top movie is expected to bring in $250 million should be interesting.

But that is all in the future.  First we need to review what happened on week twelve, the week of Justice League’s launch, which saw the pricing as follows:

 Justice League - FRI         $636
 Justice League - SAT         $434
 Justice League - SUN         $334
 Thor: Ragnarok               $269
 Daddy's Home 2               $175
 Murder on the Orient Express $152
 Wonder                       $140
 The Star                     $120
 Bad Moms Christmas           $77
 Lady Bird                    $30
 Jigsaw                       $16
 Boo! 2                       $9
 Geostorm                     $8
 Blade Runner 2049            $8
 Three Billboards             $8

Monday evening, when the new week is unlocked, I immediately do a quick, gut level pick without doing any research whatsoever on the theory that it will get one of my bad ideas of of my head quickly.

This time around I anchored on two screens of Justice League Sunday and filled in from there.  Then I started poking around and decided that Justice League was not going to be the pick for the week.  Pricing was based on it doing something close to $150 million but by Tuesday there were already murmurs about that being optimistic.

Based on the pricing and initial predictions, The Star looked to be a good bet for the best price-performer for the week, but I wasn’t buying that either.  Stuck for choice I redid my picks anchored on three screens of Thor: Ragnarok and then played with options for the back fill as the week went on.

By late on Thursday projections for The Star had begun to wane, Justice League was under $125 million, and I was sitting there with Thor and Blade Runner 2049 wondering if I should stick with that.  Box Office Pro, one of the sites I watch… in part because they do weekly projections and in part because they don’t post a hundred things a day like the Variety movie section can… popped up with their forecast, which had Wonder at $17 million, up from a modest $12 million earlier in the week.

I put that in my spreadsheet and it looked to be the clear pick for best price performer.  I took that as a sign and went in with seven screens of Wonder, leaving a screen of Blade Runner 2049 there, more a pick from the heart than from logic.  After that I was busy and didn’t have time to follow up until after the picks were locked on Friday morning.

My Fall Week Twelve Picks

Looking at the MCats league, I was clearly not the only one who saw the swell Wonder was getting.  Of seven active players, six of us went heavy on Wonder.  Over on the TAGN league however, only Pak and I were in on Wonder, with Justice League taking the anchor spots for four players and Thor for another.

And then Saturday rolled in and, for once it was not the Saturday of false hope, as Wonder was projected to hit $27 million.  At that level nothing else was poised to touch it and the only real question was what film was required in that eighth screen for the perfect pick of the week.

Well, it wasn’t going to be Blade Runner 2049, which was running at about half of the best estimate I could find for it.  Three Billboards was the right filler instead, giving a perfect pick worth just shy of $213 million.  906 people got that, including four of the MCats league.

Fall Week Twelve Perfect Pick

Still, even without the perfect pick, anchoring on Wonder was going to lift me up against SynCaine.  Last week his Daddy’s Home 2 lineup killed, a situation helped by my bad-in-hindsight Geostorm heavy lineup.  That put him $23 million ahead of me.  Then we got the results for week twelve.

  1. Corr’s Carefully Curated Cineplex (M) – $212,937,228
  2. Aure’s Astonishingly Amateur Amphitheatre (M) – $212,937,228
  3. Elly’s Elemental E-Plex (M) – $212,937,228
  4. Ben’s X-Wing Express (M) – $212,937,228
  5. Paks’ Pancakes & Pics (T) – $207,916,834
  6. Wilhelm’s Films from New Eden – $207,461,101
  7. Dan’s Decadent Decaplex (M) – $192,196,924
  8. Logan’s Luxurious Thaumatrope (M) – $90,471,789
  9. The Filthy Fleapit (T) – $80,640,147
  10. SynCaine’s Dark Room of Delights (T) – $77,851,048
  11. I HAS MOVIES (T) – $75,091,163
  12. Darren’s Unwatched Cineplex (T) – $72,529,183
  13. Kraut Screens (T) – $66,355,138
  • TAGN Movie Obsession – players from it marked with a (T)
  • MCats Multiplex – players from it marked with an (M)

There was a four-way tie for first this week, which meant not a lot of movement.  The only one assailing Corr was Aure and they maintained their gap.

Otherwise, people who bet heavy on Wonder had a six figure week and those that did not were stuck in the five figure zone, leaving Meta League season totals looking like this:

  1. Corr’s Carefully Curated Cineplex (M) – $1,123,167,684
  2. Aure’s Astonishingly Amateur Amphitheatre (M) – $1,102,712,428
  3. Elly’s Elemental E-Plex (M) – $1,071,866,235
  4. Ben’s X-Wing Express (M) – $1,066,965,208
  5. Wilhelm’s Films from New Eden – $1,042,078,034
  6. Dan’s Decadent Decaplex (M) – $1,011,641,542
  7. Paks’ Pancakes & Pics (T) – $1,013,838,980
  8. SynCaine’s Dark Room of Delights (T) – $934,914,714
  9. Logan’s Luxurious Thaumatrope (M) – $885,263,260
  10. Kraut Screens (T) – $794,711,809
  11. The Filthy Fleapit (T) – $782,619,999
  12. I HAS MOVIES (T) – $773,187,860
  13. Darren’s Unwatched Cineplex (T) – $628,140,520

So Corr seems pretty secure in first place, and Aure in second.  The third place battle is now between Elly and Ben, while I seem to be in the gap between fourth and sixth.  And SynCaine, who was in the race for third spot last week fell back to eighth place due to Wonder paying off so big.

That leaves us with once week left in the fall season, with the following choices:

Coco                           $716 
Justice League                 $534
Wonder                         $298
Thor: Ragnarok                 $206
Daddy's Home 2                 $143
Murder on the Orient Express   $128
Roman J. Israel, Esq.          $102
The Star                       $96
Bad Moms Christmas             $70
The Man Who Invented Christmas $68
Three Billboards               $51
Lady Bird                      $49
Jigsaw                         $7
Loving Vincent                 $6
Blade Runner 2049              $6

Leading the pack is Coco, from Disney/Pixar.  It already had a huge opening in Mexico, we shall see if Pixar magic continues north of the boarder.  Justice League is here for its second week and ought to be worth north of $40 million.  Thor is still in play as well. Then there is the week 12 ringer, Wonder, now priced more appropriately.  Also new to the list this week are Roman J. Israel, Esq., The Man Who Invented Christmas, and Loving Vincent.  And I still have one more week to put Blade Runner 2049 in my picks.

As I write this on Monday night, I couldn’t tell you which way to jump, but my current anchor is Coco.

Finally, as noted above, I will be carrying on for the Winter season.  Click here to join.  We shall see what Star Wars does to the league.

 

Fall Movie League – Who’s Your Daddy?

Our Fall Fantasy Movie League run is now eleven weeks in, leaving only two more to go.

The week eleven box office was clearly going to go to Thor: Ragnarok again, and the goat-driving god of Asgard was priced appropriately for that.  The week’s picks were.

 Thor: Ragnarok               $659
 Murder on the Orient Express $284
 Daddy's Home 2               $266
 Bad Moms Christmas           $105
 Jigsaw                       $34
 Boo! 2                       $25
 Geostorm                     $19
 Thank You for Your Service   $18
 Happy Death Day              $16
 Blade Runner 2049            $14
 Only the Brave               $13
 Victoria & Abdul             $10
 The Foreigner                $9
 It                           $6
 Subrubicon                   $6

Competing with Thor for anchor position in people’s lineups were two new entries, Murder on the Orient Express and Daddy’s Home 2.

Estimates on both of the new films were somewhat soft, with those willing to commit to a number sticking below $25 million on each while those giving a range allowed that either might go past that and close to $30 million.  But nobody strayed much beyond that.

Meanwhile Thor was a pretty solid bet for $55-65 million.  Having wrested the lead of the TAGN league from SynCaine last week, I felt that the conservative track might be best.  So I anchored on Thor, put on a pair of Bad Moms Christmas, and then filled in with Geostorm.

My Fall Week Eleven Picks

Going with Geostorm was mostly based on it exceeding estimates every week despite being critically panned as a disaster of a disaster movie.

Thor came in a little low, but still in the range I expected.  But Daddy’s Home 2 seemed to be doing better than expected and was pulling up close to $30 million in the Saturday estimates.  That was giving SynCaine, who went in with three screens of Daddy’s Home 2 a lead for the week.  The only redeeming factor was that Bad Moms was the best price/performer and the $4 million extra that was giving me helped mitigate the strong Daddy’s Home 2 showing.

But I always call those first estimates “the Saturday of False Hopes” because the usually change by Monday.  Sure enough, on Sunday the roles had flipped, Dads passing Moms, putting Daddy’s Home 2 as the best price/performer, sinking my own picks to the bottom of the list.

Corr, who pays closer attention to these things, and who was in for six screens of Bad Moms so was keenly interested in the outcome, said early Monday that the margin between the two was thin enough that it could go either way with even a small shift in the final numbers.

However, it was not to be.  When the numbers were finalized, Daddy’s Home 2 was the best price/performer and the anchor for the perfect pick.

Fall Week Eleven Perfect Pick

123 people got the perfect pick for week eleven.  Fortunately, SynCaine was not one of them.  However, his anchoring on three screens of Daddy’s Home the only person in our overall group to do so, gave him his fifth win in the TAGN league and a win in the overall Meta League, with the numbers shaking out as:

  1. SynCaine’s Dark Room of Delights (T) – $115,590,767
  2. Kraut Screens (T) – $104,712,521
  3. Corr’s Carefully Curated Cineplex (M) – $100,919,575
  4. The Filthy Fleapit (T) – $96,030,514
  5. Darren’s Unwatched Cineplex (T) – $95,384,287
  6. I HAS MOVIES (T) – $94,984,586
  7. Elly’s Elemental E-Plex (M) – $94,252,816
  8. Ben’s X-Wing Express (M) – $91,751,712
  9. Dan’s Decadent Decaplex (M) – $90,021,774
  10. Logan’s Luxurious Thaumatrope (M) – $89,618,203
  11. Paks’ Pancakes & Pics (T) – $89,093,184
  12. Aure’s Astonishingly Amateur Amphitheatre (M) – $88,224,634
  13. Wilhelm’s Films from New Eden – $88,224,634
  • TAGN Movie Obsession – players from it marked with a (T)
  • MCats Multiplex – players from it marked with an (M)

I was feeling pretty good when I saw that Aure and I had the same picks for week eleven, she having done much better than I overall.  Pity we were of like minds on the week when she chose poorly.

That left the overall Meta League looking like this:

  1. Corr’s Carefully Curated Cineplex (M) – $910,230,456
  2. Aure’s Astonishingly Amateur Amphitheatre (M) – $889,775,200
  3. Elly’s Elemental E-Plex (M) – $858,929,007
  4. SynCaine’s Dark Room of Delights (T) – $857,063,666
  5. Ben’s X-Wing Express (M) – $854,027,980
  6. Wilhelm’s Films from New Eden – $834,616,933
  7. Dan’s Decadent Decaplex (M) – $819,444,618
  8. Paks’ Pancakes & Pics (T)$805,922,146
  9. Logan’s Luxurious Thaumatrope (M) – $794,791,471
  10. Kraut Screens (T) – $728,356,671
  11. The Filthy Fleapit (T) – $701,979,852
  12. I HAS MOVIES (T) – $698,096,697
  13. Darren’s Unwatched Cineplex (T) – $555,611,337

Corr’s third place finish this week put him solidly out in front of Aure again.  Aure, likewise, has a pretty solid hold on second place.  The close fight is for third place where this week’s results put Elly and SynCaine past Ben, who went all-in with eight screens of Bad Moms this week.

Then I sit down in sixth place, not completely out of the running, but I need a big week or one of those three to stumble in order to move up a notch or two.

Which leads us to the options for week twelve, the penultimate week of the Fall season.

Justice League - FRI         $636
Justice League - SAT         $434
Justice League - SUN         $334
Thor: Ragnarok               $269
Daddy's Home 2               $175
Murder on the Orient Express $152
Wonder                       $140
The Star                     $120
Bad Moms Christmas           $77
Lady Bird                    $30
Jigsaw                       $16
Boo! 2                       $9
Geostorm                     $8
Blade Runner 2049            $8
Three Billboards             $8

We have another big super hero movie opening for week twelve.  Justice League, like Thor two weeks back, is supposed to open so big relative to the rest of the pack that it has been divided into Friday, Saturday, and Sunday screenings.

The Justice League three-way, along with new films Wonder, The Star, Lady Bird, and Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri managed to push Thank You for Your Service, Happy Death Day, Only the Brave, Victoria & Abdul, The Foreigner, It, and Subrubicon off the list this week.

So Justice League seems to be the safe bet, being predicted to open even bigger than Thor did.  Putting Batman and Wonder Woman on the same screen will do that I guess.

On the other hand, Justice League is pretty pricey.  There is no “three Sundays” option as with Thor.  Friday seems like a sucker bet again, with maybe a Saturday and Sunday plus some very cheap filler being my main guess.  That might be my last chance to put Blade Runner 2049 in my lineup.

But without Justice League, where do you go?  With Thor good for $25 million or so, what do you team him up with? There is The Star, a rework of the Christmas nativity billed as a “computer animated Christian comedy film” starring animals.  I guess in a world with Veggie Tales that is possible.  And then there is Wonder, where photogenic parents struggle with the problems of a child with facial deformities.  Or there are last week’s properties, Daddy’s Home 2 and Murder on the Orient Express.

There are a lot of ways to jump this week.

Fall Movie League – Thor Winner

Week ten of our Fantasy Movie League has now passed and the mighty Thor has left his mark.

As with many big blockbuster weekends, the main man, Thor, was divided into Friday, Saturday, and Sunday picks because, with a weekend estimated take in excess of $100 million, each one of those days was expected to top all other films playing.

And so the choices for the week were as follows.

Thor - Friday              $479
Thor - Saturday            $443
Thor - Sunday              $300
Bad Moms Christmas         $201
Jigsaw                     $71
Boo! 2                     $46
Geostorm                   $27
Happy Death Day            $26
Blade Runner 2049          $23
Thank You for Your Service $22
Only the Brave             $21
The Foreigner              $20
It                         $18
Subrubicon                 $16
Victoria & Abdul           $14

In addition, in the ongoing holiday creep, Bad Moms Christmas was also opening in the first weekend in November.  You can barely get the Halloween decorations down in time for Christmas.  Its predecessor, Bad Moms, did well, but I was dubious that it would be a contender this week even with the reduced price.

Everything else was too cheap to be an anchor, so for me it really came down to what flavor of Thor to go with.

My going theory has been that Friday is a sucker’s bet, that while it generally has the biggest take, it has not been, in my limited observations enough to offset the high price of that day.  So Friday was off the list.  I was looking for some combo of Saturday and Sunday.

In the end I decided that three Sundays would get me the most bang for my buck.  It was the filler that was the tough choice.  I went with two screens of Blade Runner 2049… I do pick with my heart a little too often… and three screens of It.

My Fall Week Ten Picks

Of course, after the picks were set it came out from our resident expert that, when it comes to Friday, the Thursday night previews… and there was some discussion as to what constitutes a preview as opposed to simply opening on Thursday, the answer to which seemed to be that it is a preview if the studio says it is and that is that… count towards the Friday take.

So Friday was going to get Thursday night as well, and Thor’s Thursday night take was substantial.  As an experiment concerning Friday I had set my daughter’s account the two screens of Friday Thor and three screens of Victoria & Abdul, leaving three screens empty, just to test my Friday theory.  On learning about the Thursday aspect of it, I wondered if I was going to lose to my alternate pick yet again.

As it turned out, my theory about Friday was proven somewhat correct.  The dollars per FML buck spent was worst on Friday and best on Sunday.

  • Sun – Take $32.1 million – $ per FML buck $107,000
  • Sat – Take $44.2 million –  $ per FML buck 99,774
  • Fri – Take $46.5 million –   $ per FML buck 97,077

So in the Thor contest, Sunday won.

However, Thor did not take the best price/performance prize.  That went to Geostorm, which turned into the spoiler when it came to my nice little theory.  Despite Sunday being the best for just Thor, the perfect pick required Thor and as many screens of Geostorm as you could fit.  That ended up being Thor Firday, Thor Sunday, Jigsaw, and five screens of Geostorm, a selection good for $116,069,538.

Fall Week Ten Perfect Pick

121 people share that pick, none of which were in the Meta League.

That pick was barely more than $5 million ahead of the second place pick, which was built on three screens of Sunday Thor… or basically a gap equal to the perfect pick… and even one person in our Meta League topped $110 million, so it wasn’t a huge winner.

As for the Meta League, we shook out like this for week ten:

  1. Paks’ Pancakes & Pics (T) – $110,014,123
  2. Aure’s Astonishingly Amateur Amphitheatre (M) – $105,076,239
  3. Ben’s X-Wing Express (M) – $105,076,239
  4. Wilhelm’s Films from New Eden – $103,857,511
  5. Kraut Screens (T) – $102,448,226
  6. Dan’s Decadent Decaplex (M) – $101,301,375
  7. Darren’s Unwatched Cineplex (T) – $99,569,296
  8. I HAS MOVIES (T) – $99,547,397
  9. Elly’s Elemental E-Plex (M) – $99,526,715
  10. Corr’s Carefully Curated Cineplex (M) – $95,735,316
  11. Logan’s Luxurious Thaumatrope (M) – $94,415,232
  12. SynCaine’s Dark Room of Delights (T) – $92,011,615
  13. The Filthy Fleapit (T) – $91,960,520

Meta League Legend:

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

Pak took top honors with a pick based on three screens of Sunday Thor and a pair of Geostorm screens securing his lead.  Going with three Sunday screens put people at the top of the list.  Betting on Bad Mom’s Christmas put you at the bottom.

That left the overall scores for the Meta League as such:

  1. Corr’s Carefully Curated Cineplex (M) – $809,310,881
  2. Aure’s Astonishingly Amateur Amphitheatre (M) – $801,550,566
  3. Ben’s X-Wing Express (M) – $762,276,268
  4. Elly’s Elemental E-Plex (M) – $764,676,191
  5. Wilhelm’s Films from New Eden – $746,392,299
  6. SynCaine’s Dark Room of Delights (T) – $741,472,899
  7. Dan’s Decadent Decaplex (M) – $729,422,844
  8. Paks’ Pancakes & Pics (T) – $716,828,962
  9. Logan’s Luxurious Thaumatrope (M) – $705,173,268
  10. Kraut Screens (T) – $623,644,150
  11. The Filthy Fleapit (T) – $605,949,338
  12. I HAS MOVIES (T) – $603,112,111
  13. Darren’s Unwatched Cineplex (T) – $460,227,050

Corr remains at the top, but his lead has shrunk considerably and Aure could catch him before the season is through.  Otherwise first place is pretty much secure from the rest of the pack at this point, barring a huge week where both Corr and Aure forget to pick.

SynCaine’s Bad Moms Christmas pick let me pass him once again and take the lead in the TAGN league.  Again, not a huge gap between us.

And then Pak, who won the week in the TAGN league for the third time, but started a week late, has passed another person who was in the Meta League for the whole season.  It is not impossible for Pak to catch up and take first, which would be an amazing feat, but both SynCaine and I have to screw up considerably to make that happen.  We shall see.

So we are on to week eleven and the following picks.

Thor: Ragnarok                 $659
Murder on the Orient Express   $284
Daddy's Home 2                 $266
Bad Moms Christmas             $105
Jigsaw                         $34
Boo! 2                         $25
Geostorm                       $19
Thank You for Your Service     $18
Happy Death Day                $16
Blade Runner 2049              $14
Only the Brave                 $13
Victoria & Abdul               $10
The Foreigner                  $9
It                             $6 
Subrubicon                     $6

Thor, given the standard first week slip of about 50% should still be good for more than $50 million, making it an obvious anchor.

Then there are two new titles, Daddy’s Home 2, which holds no appeal for me personally, and Murder on the Orient Express, which features Kenneth Branagh and some of the most outrageous facial hair ever to grace a lead character.  I mean, I know that Poirot is very much about his facial hair, but I always pictured him as extremely fastidious about it.  Branagh looks like he has two gray privet bushes trying to escape from his face.  Every time I see the trailer I reach instinctively for my hedge trimmer.

Then again, almost every modern Poirot is spoiled by the fact that I first saw him played by Peter Ustinov, whom I adore, in Death on the Nile and a few further Agatha Christie titles.  For me it would be like seeing somebody other than Alan Arkin play Yossarian in Catch-22; I might accept it, but it would never be the same.

So those are possible anchors, followed by all the dregs of the past weeks.  We have two choices at the $6 level, if you need to squeeze in one last screen.  We’ll see if I manage to get Blade Runner 2049 into my lineup yet again.

Fall Movie League – Jigsaw Puzzle

Week nine of our fall Fantasy Movie League is now past and the pre-Halloween weekend was a boon for scary movies.

The week started off with a toss up over which movie would make a solid anchor based on the initial pricing and revenue estimates.  The choices were:

Jigsaw                        $277
Boo! 2: A Madea Halloween     $214
Subrubicon                    $150
Geostorm                      $126
Happy Death Day               $90
Thank You for Your Service    $89
Blade Runner 2049             $67
Only the Brave                $59
The Foreigner                 $55
It                            $38
American Made                 $31
Kingsman                      $29
Same Kind of Different As Me  $27
Victoria & Abdul              $27
The Snowman                   $26

The top two new players on the list were Jigsaw, a continuation of the Saw series of movies, and the Clooney/Coen brothers film Suburbicon, with last week’s top earner, Boo! 2, stuffed in between.  The initial box estimated put them at about $12, $10, and $8 million respectively, which meant that you could build a pretty solid lineup out of any of them.

And then Jigsaw started getting some traction in the press.  While the die hard Saw fans were saying that no picture in the franchise had ever opened for less than $18 million, Variety and a couple other sites coming out mid-week with estimates in the $20 million range made that a more solid statement.

Meanwhile Suburbicon, always a stretch given the rather rarefied air in which the Coen brothers can operate, started to tank in estimates.  $8 million became $6 million which became $4-5 million, all of which scared any watcher of the industry off of it as an anchor choice.

So Jigsaw became the clear anchor.  At anything close to $20 million it would not only take the week but also be the best price performer.  I estimated that if it could just get past $16.6 million it would be a shoe-in for both.  Then it would be a matter of what five films would fill in the other screens.

I went with the maximum three screens of Jigsaw, two screens of It, and three screens of American Made, a mix which happened to also spend my entire $1,000 budget.

My Fall Week Nine Picks

And then we were off to the movies.

As it turned out, Jigsaw did better than initially projected, but broke the “$18 million or more” streak that the Saw fans were touting in support of the film.  That number is now $16.6 million.

$16.6 million was also the number I felt it had to get past to be the best price/performer, and in not managing get over that hurdle I was at least correct in it not hitting that goal.  Instead it came down to a tight race between It and The Foreigner which It won in the end.  That made the perfect pick three screens of Jigsaw, three of It, and two of Victoria & Abdul.

Fall Week Nine Perfect Pick

Two people in the Meta League, SynCaine and Elly, both managed to get the perfect pick for week nine, a feat they shared with 736 other players, netting them each $71,714,400.  The standings for the week ended up as:

  1. SynCaine’s Dark Room of Delights (T) – $71,714,400
  2. Elly’s Elemental E-Plex (M) – $71,714,400
  3. Darren’s Unwatched Cineplex (T) – $66,269,674
  4. Wilhelm’s Films from New Eden – $64,035,847
  5. Corr’s Carefully Curated Cineplex (M) – $59,991,939
  6. Aure’s Astonishingly Amateur Amphitheatre (M) – $59,195,899
  7. Paks’ Pancakes & Pics (T) – $55,345,800
  8. Logan’s Luxurious Thaumatrope (M) – $54,933,396
  9. Ben’s X-Wing Express (M) – $53,631,625
  10. Kraut Screens (T) – $51,618,295
  11. Dan’s Decadent Decaplex (M) – $49,834,984
  12. I HAS MOVIES (T) – $41,511,450
  13. The Filthy Fleapit (T) – $22,861,476

Meta League Legend:

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

The $2 million per screen price/performance boost plus the $5 million perfect pick bonus lifted SynCaine and Elly ahead of the pack.  That latter bonus is pretty much all that stands between those two and Darren who only failed to go with Victoria & Abdul as his final two screens.

Meanwhile The Filthy Fleapit was all in on Suburbicon, with six screens of it in play, and paid the price as the film didn’t even clear the revised low-ball estimates, hitting only $2.8 million.

That left the overall season scores as:

  1. Corr’s Carefully Curated Cineplex (M) – $713,575,565
  2. Aure’s Astonishingly Amateur Amphitheatre (M) – $696,474,327
  3. Elly’s Elemental E-Plex (M) – $665,149,476
  4. Ben’s X-Wing Express (M) – $657,200,029
  5. SynCaine’s Dark Room of Delights (T) – $649,461,284
  6. Wilhelm’s Films from New Eden – $642,534,788
  7. Dan’s Decadent Decaplex (M) – $628,121,469
  8. Logan’s Luxurious Thaumatrope (M) – $610,758,036
  9. Paks’ Pancakes & Pics (T) – $606,814,839
  10. Kraut Screens (T) – $521,195,924
  11. The Filthy Fleapit (T) – $513,988,818
  12. I HAS MOVIES (T) – $503,564,714
  13. Darren’s Unwatched Cineplex (T) – $360,657,754

The big changes on the list were Elly jumping up to third place and SynCaine passing me to take the lead in the the TAGN league and fifth spot overall.  Again, the weight of the bonuses is seen both.  The gap between us now adds up to the bonus for one screen of It and the perfect pick bonus.  He has won four of nine weeks in the league, but the bonus is what put him in the passing lane.  Kraut Screens also passed The Filthy Fleapit largely on the latter’s poor showing this week.  Thanks a lot Suburbicon.

And now we’re looking at week ten with Halloween behind us and another superhero blockbuster weekend with Thor: Ragnarok hitting the screens.  As often happens in such weeks, Thor is expected to dominate so hard that it has been broken up into three picks for Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.  Certainly Bad Mom’s Christmas, another new title this week, isn’t going to threaten it.  The lineup is:

Thor - Friday              $479
Thor - Saturday            $443
Thor - Sunday              $300
Bad Moms Christmas         $201
Jigsaw                     $71
Boo! 2                     $46
Geostorm                   $27
Happy Death Day            $26
Blade Runner 2049          $23
Thank You for Your Service $22
Only the Brave             $21
The Foreigner              $20
It                         $18
Subrubicon                 $16
Victoria & Abdul           $14

Amazingly, or perhaps optimistically, Suburbicon stayed on the list this week.  Just barely, but there it is.

I think the lesson from past three day splits is to avoid Friday and take some combo of Saturday and/or Sunday plus the right mix of low price titles to fill in your screens.  Getting the right mix there can make or break your bid, as we saw in week nine, and there are a lot of possible choices at the low end.

Fall Movie League – The Week of the Empty Screen

We are through week eight and into the back half of our Fantasy Movie League season now.

This week’s price list saw a range of options as anchors.

Boo! 2: A Madea Halloween    $411
Happy Death Day              $202
Only the Brave               $201
Geostorm                     $186
The Snowman                  $167
Blade Runner 2049            $128
The Foreigner                $105
It                           $57 
Same Kind of Different As Me $53
American Made                $50 
The Mountain Between Us      $49
Kingsman                     $47
LEGO Ninjago Movie           $42
My Little Pony               $35
Victoria & Abdul             $31

When I wrote up my projection for this week… or what passes for a projection anyway… I thought anything between Boo! 2 and Blade Runner 2049 could possibly be an anchor, though I felt that those two titles were the least likely to be so.  Boo! 2 seemed over-priced while Blade Runner 2049 has been a heart break of under performance since it launched.

After buying into Blade Runner 2049 heavily in Week 7 I was saying, “Won’t get fooled again!”

…nobody is going to convince me that seven screens of Blade Runner 2049 are a good idea after the current results.

-Me, just a week ago

And then, of course, the reviews and the projections for the weekend started showing up.  The reviews for The Snowman were especially biting, not that anybody let Geostorm off the hook either.  Those two and Boo! 2 made up a trifecta of red pen scores on Metacritic.

Only The Brave got good reviews but was expected to be a slow performer.  That left only Happy Death Day and Blade Runner 2049 without something to speak directly against them… aside from past performance.  But you know, there I was, sitting there thinking that if only Blade Runner could just drop less than 50% week over week this time it could be a contender.  All it really had to do was bring in about $8.5 million to make it a solid pick at that price.  Given the competition, that seemed like it could happen… I mean, if I still bought into that whole “slow burn” idea for Blade Runner.

I hemmed and hawed and changed up my picks as many times before the lockout last week as I have probably ever done.  I went back and forth, but in the end I doubled down on Blade Runner 2049.  It hurt me last week, surely it would make it up to me this week, right?  Seven screens of Blade Runner plus a screen of It was my pick.

My Fall Week Eight Picks

My alternate pick for the week, entered into my daughter’s account, was two Happy Death Day, two Geostorm, and four Same Kind of Different As Me.

With those locked I settled in to wait for the numbers to roll in.

Saturday looked bad.  Blade Runner 2049 was trending to just $6 million for the weekend.  Meanwhile, nobody seemed to have paid attention to reviews, at least in the case of Boo! 2 and Geostorm, as both were booming.  But both The Snowman and Only The Brave seemed to be falling behind expectations.  A Geostorm heavy pick seemed to be the optimum.

People just don’t pay attention to reviews any more.

But I refer to Saturday as the day of false hope for a reason.  The projections you get are only based off of Friday night and more than a few times I have seemed to have a winning pick on Saturday, only to find that the update projects and final tally go a different direction.

And it was true that, in the end, Blade Runner 2049 revived a bit from its Saturday estimate.  My daughter and I went to see it, which I am sure helped a little.  But the winning pick of the week was something of an anomaly, being five screens of Geostorm, two screens of Victoria & Abdul, and one blank screen.  It was nearly two screens of My Little Pony and a blank screen, but Victoria overcame the ponies in the end.  Either way though, the winning combo required you to take a $2 million hit off the bat by leaving a screen blank.

Fall Week Eight Perfect Pick

I am not sure I could ever quite make it that far in dedication to my pick.  But for 37 people, leaving a screen empty was no big deal, and they all got $85,789,110 for their effort. (There was also a blank screen contingent that went with My Little Pony rather than Victoria & Abdul, and which would take the prize was a near run thing.)

Fortunately… for some of us… nobody in the Meta League got the perfect pick or anything close to it really.  A few people picked one screen of Geostorm and that was it, leaving the weekly scores looking like this:

  1. Dan’s Decadent Decaplex (M) – $57,247,405
  2. Corr’s Carefully Curated Cineplex (M) – $56,324,221
  3. SynCaine’s Dark Room of Delights (T) – $55,693,800
  4. Elly’s Elemental E-Plex (M) – $55,527,354
  5. Paks’ Pancakes & Pics (T) – $55,048,267
  6. Wilhelm’s Films from New Eden – $54,923,720
  7. Kraut Screens (T) – $54,056,029
  8. The Filthy Fleapit (T) – $52,247,686
  9. Aure’s Astonishingly Amateur Amphitheatre (M) – $51,441,248
  10. Ben’s X-Wing Express (M) – $50,943,134
  11. Darren’s Unwatched Cineplex (T) – $39,623,861
  12. I HAS MOVIES (T) – $36,059,024
  13. Logan’s Luxurious Thaumatrope (M) – $34,968,514

Meta League Legend:

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

There was not a lot of white space between first and tenth place on that list, spanning less than seven million dollars, with only Logan, Darren, and Isey paying the price for supporting their local firefighters.

With that most people advanced their totals in lock-step, neither gaining nor falling back, save for the aforementioned trio.

  1. Corr’s Carefully Curated Cineplex (M) – $653,583,626
  2. Aure’s Astonishingly Amateur Amphitheatre (M) – $637,278,428
  3. Ben’s X-Wing Express (M) – $603,568,404
  4. Elly’s Elemental E-Plex (M) – $593,435,076
  5. Wilhelm’s Films from New Eden – $578,498,941
  6. Dan’s Decadent Decaplex (M) – $578,286,485
  7. SynCaine’s Dark Room of Delights (T) – $577,746,884
  8. Logan’s Luxurious Thaumatrope (M) – $555,824,640
  9. Paks’ Pancakes & Pics (T) – $551,469,039
  10. The Filthy Fleapit (T) – $491,127,342
  11. Kraut Screens (T) – $469,577,629
  12. I HAS MOVIES (T) – $462,053,264
  13. Darren’s Unwatched Cineplex (T) – $294,388,080

Corr remains out in front of the overall league, with Aure remaining a ways behind waiting for him to slip, while SynCaine and I remain neck and neck in the TAGN league.  A reminder that those past seventh place started late, save for Isey.  Pak though seems to be taking the one week handicap in stride and looks poised to pass Logan soon.

And so we face week nine, the weekend before Halloween.  Will people go to parties or the movies this coming weekend?

Jigsaw                        $277
Boo! 2: A Madea Halloween     $214
Subrubicon                    $150
Geostorm                      $126
Happy Death Day               $90
Thank You for Your Service    $89
Blade Runner 2049             $67
Only the Brave                $59
The Foreigner                 $55
It                            $38
American Made                 $31
Kingsman                      $29
Same Kind of Different As Me  $27
Victoria & Abdul              $27
The Snowman                   $26

The Mountain Between Us, LEGO Ninjago, and My Little Pony dropped off this week, replaced by the Saw revival Jigsaw, the Clooney/Coen brothers flick Suburbicon, and PTSD tale Thank You for Your Service.

For anchors you can build off of Jigsaw, Boo! 2, Suburbicon, or Geostorm, but I don’t have any sort of feel for which one might be well placed.  None of them seem likely to bring in big bucks.  Jigsaw, returning to an over played cult classic, might have some play due to Halloween I suppose.  The Coen brothers have made some great stuff, but they tend to be small market, film festival fare, even with big names headlining, so I am not sure how much pull Matt Damon will have with Suburbicon.  Meanwhile Boo! 2 and Geostorm are both in their second weeks, so may be spent forces.

My gut at this end of the week (Monday night as I write this) is to load up on Suburbicon and then figure out what low end fillers seem likely to exceed expectations… and to try not to mix in wish fulfillment with thoughts like, “If Blade Runner could just do…” when picking.  Replicants have let me down enough already.

The research vault seems to indicate that more people are jumping on Jigsaw however, and there is a claim in Chatter that no Saw movie has ever opened for less than $18 million on its first weekend.  If true, Jigsaw is very under priced.   We shall see.

Also, as a bonus, FML is having another four week contest league with a $1,000 prize for the winner.  You might as well join if you’re playing.  Click on the red banner currently on the site to get in on it.

Fall Movie League – Foreign Domination

Week Seven of our Fall Fantasy Movie League is now in the rear view mirror, meaning we’re past the half way point of the 13 week season.

Way back at the beginning of week seven the picks available seemed to offer multiple possible avenues to success.

 Happy Death Day         $350
 Blade Runner 2049       $237
 The Foreigner           $143
 The Mountain Between Us $99
 It                      $95
 My Little Pony          $84
 Victoria & Abdul        $80
 Kingsmen                $71
 American Made           $71
 LEGO Ninjago Movie      $70
 Marshall                $62
 Flatliners              $34
 Battle of the Sexes     $24
 American Assassin       $9
 Til Death Do Us Part    $7

Happy Death Day, a murder mystery meets Groundhog Day film, seemed to be clear to top the box office and was priced accordingly.  Blade Runner 2049 was only in its second week, so still had potential to deliver at its lower price.  And then there was The Foreigner, a Jackie Chan vehicle that

Any of those three seemed possible anchors for a successful pick.

At its price, Happy Death Day seemed the least likely of the three to be the winning pick, even if it exceeded its estimate, which it did in spades, bringing in $26 million while only expected to hit about $20 million.

Blade Runner 2049 had been predicted to be a slow burn, a movie that wouldn’t be strong out of the gate, but which would sustain its box office over time rather than dropping 50% on the second week.  I calculated that if it could just keep the second week drop to 45% or less, it was a strong candidate.

Meanwhile The Foreigner felt a bit under priced.  At $143 a screen you could get six screens of it, plus a couple of fill ins, and if it exceeded its $10 million estimate by even a bit it would be a strong contender.

The good news, for me, is that I went with six screens of The Foreigner and two screens of American Made, which turned out to be the perfect pick of the week, shared with 415 other players, good for $106 million.

Fall Week Seven Perfect Pick

The bad news is that I picked it on my daughter’s account, my alt account, where I put the pick I didn’t take for my main account.  Wilhelm went with four screens of Blade Runner 2049, Battle of the Sexes, and three screens of American Assassin.

My Fall Week Seven Picks

This was me letting my gut out vote my brain.  I’ve beaten myself with my alt pick three weeks out of seven now.

I was down to the wire deciding which way to jump, and in the last moment I went for Blade Runner 2049 more because I wanted it to do well than because I really believed it was going to make my goal.

And it did not make my goal.  It dropped 53% over opening week, reinforcing the suspicion in the back of my brain that perhaps the cult classic status of the original Blade Runner didn’t mean it was as popular as I thought it was.  A basic projection problem.  I liked it, people who talk about it generally like it, but that did not translate into a mass audience.  RIP my Blade Runner 2049 plan and any hopes of a sequel.

Still, my picks were not the worst in the bunch though… not to be mean… I did worry a bit when I saw Isey and I had identical picks.  The scores for the week went down like this:

  1. Corr’s Carefully Curated Cineplex (M) – $101,436,978
  2. Paks’ Pancakes & Pics (T) – $98,288,772
  3. Aure’s Astonishingly Amateur Amphitheatre (M) – $97,984,090
  4. Dan’s Decadent Decaplex (M) – $84,946,755
  5. Elly’s Elemental E-Plex (M) – $72,994,597
  6. Kraut Screens (T) – $72,607,820
  7. Ben’s X-Wing Express (M) – $70,991,190
  8. Wilhelm’s Films from New Eden – $64,869,289
  9. The Filthy Fleapit (T) – $64,869,289
  10. I HAS MOVIES (T) – $64,869,289
  11. SynCaine’s Dark Room of Delights (T) – $64,294,226
  12. Darren’s Unwatched Cineplex (T) – $66,533,492
  13. Logan’s Luxurious Thaumatrope (M) – $59,853,529

Meta League legend

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

Ocho and Bel both stopped picking over the last few weeks, so Liore’s league has been dropped from the list since I am the only active player there now.

Those at the top went heavy on The Foreigner, which pulled in $13 million plus was the best price/performer, giving it a $2 million boost, making it worth $15 million per screen.  That is almost as much as Blade Runner 2049.

Past that are the people who anchored on Blade Runner 2049 or Happy Death Day, which came out to be about equally poor choices in the end.  That left the overall scores as follows:

  1. Corr’s Carefully Curated Cineplex (M) – $597,259,405
  2. Aure’s Astonishingly Amateur Amphitheatre (M) – $585,837,180
  3. Ben’s X-Wing Express (M) – $552,625,270
  4. Elly’s Elemental E-Plex (M) – $537,907,722
  5. Wilhelm’s Films from New Eden – $523,575,221
  6. SynCaine’s Dark Room of Delights (T) – $522,053,084
  7. Dan’s Decadent Decaplex (M) – $521,039,080
  8. Logan’s Luxurious Thaumatrope (M) – $520,856,126
  9. Paks’ Pancakes & Pics (T) – $496,420,772
  10. The Filthy Fleapit (T) – $438,879,656
  11. I HAS MOVIES (T) – $425,994,240
  12. Kraut Screens (T) – $415,521,600
  13. Darren’s Unwatched Cineplex (T) – $254,764,219

Week seven put me way at the back of the pack for the MCats league.  Catching Corr seems unlikely unless he forgets to pick.  Otherwise he generally picks as well as I do or better every week save the first.

However SynCaine and I remain neck and neck in the TAGN league, though both of us had best be wary of Pak who, despite starting a week late, is catching up to us.

And that leads us into Week Eight, which has the following options:

Boo! 2: A Madea Halloween    $411
Happy Death Day              $202
Only the Brave               $201
Geostorm                     $186
The Snowman                  $167
Blade Runner 2049            $128
The Foreigner                $105
It                           $57 
Same Kind of Different As Me $53
American Made                $50 
The Mountain Between Us      $49
Kingsmen                     $47
LEGO Ninjago Movie           $42
My Little Pony               $35
Victoria & Abdul             $31

New on the list are Boo! 2: A Madea Halloween, which doesn’t appeal to me, but I have long understood that there is no accounting for taste, Only the Brave, a wilderness firefighting tale that seems spot on given recent events, Geostorm, a natural disaster flick that seems maybe a bit too spot on given recent events, and Same Kind of Different As Me, for which a pithy summary eludes me.

The top six movies on the list are all potentially anchors.  (Going all-in on The Foreigner would leave $160 on the table, which is never a good plan.)  I am not sure which way to jump at this point.  Boo! is too expensive relative to current estimates while nobody is going to convince me that seven screens of Blade Runner 2049 are a good idea after the current results.  So my own anchor will likely be something in between those two.

Fall Movie League – Pony Fever!

Week six for our fall Fantasy Movie League is done and it quite clearly had a theme.

When I wrote last week’s post I ended up saying that Blade Runner 2049, despite being the big new title of the week, was too expensive, with The Mountain Between Us looking like the most attractively priced film, and marking My Little Pony as a potential dark horse candidate.

Sound words in hindsight.  These were the prices for week six.

Blade Runner 2049        $838
 The Mountain Between Us $150
 It                      $143
 Kingsmen                $133
 American Made           $131
 My Little Pony          $126
 LEGO Ninjago Movie      $109
 Victoria & Abdul        $56
 Flatliners              $44
 Battle of the Sexes     $32
 American Assassin       $26
 The Stray               $16
 Home Again              $14
 Til Death Do Us Part    $10
 Mother!                 $9

There was still some room to work with in the top six movies, with no real obvious right path save for the pricing of The Mountain Between Us.

However, come Wednesday a madness struck, a pony fever took over the FML chat.  Box Office Pro, which had previously put My Little Pony in at about $7 million for the weekend box office suddenly and rather drastically upped their estimate to just about $12 million.

With $12 million as the target all question of who to pick went out the door… if you believed the estimate.  A lot of people did as the pony fever spread, and the movie rose in the research vault from the 9th most popular pick with 22% of players choosing it up to 3rd position with almost 32% of the total, surpassed only by Blade Runner 2049 with 38% and It with 34%.

In the FML chatter forums people were complaining that the week was now a slam dunk and that FML ought to change the pricing after the fact if movies get a sudden bump like that.

Meanwhile, on the FML Slack channel I am on, the discussion quickly got most of us on board with the pony train hype.

The problem here is that estimates are just that… estimates.  They are not reality.  Though, after the Friday night numbers the estimates seemed to be coming true as the Saturday predictions showed the pony special pick… seven screens of My Little Pony and one of LEGO Ninjago being the prefect pick and My Little Pony the price/performance leader.  That would have put all of us well past the $90 million mark for the week.  We were going to leave everybody in our dust.  Stats showed that half of the top 100 players were all-in on ponies.

That was my pick as well, so I was up on that pony high as well.

My Fall Week Six Picks

But the Saturday estimates are like a rock on the coast that has sunk many an optimistic mariner.

Sunday came and the My Little Pony party seemed to be over.  The estimates turned out to be very optimistic and the Sunday numbers hangover was upon us.  Pony dreams crashed and The Mountain Between Us ascended.  In the end the perfect pick was six screens of The Mountain Between Us and two of Flatliners, the latter also getting the best price/performance nod.  138 people got the perfect pick this week.

Fall Week Six Perfect Pick

My Little Pony rang in just shy of $9 million for the weekend, putting it at 75% of its high end estimate.  Bad pony!  No treats for you!

Another victim of MLP fever

Meanwhile the Meta League scores for the week shook out like this:

  1. Ben’s X-Wing Express (M) – $70,041,952
  2. SynCaine’s Dark Room of Delights (T) – $69,285,911
  3. Aure’s Astonishingly Amateur Amphitheatre (M) – $69,203,767
  4. Corr’s Carefully Curated Cineplex (M) – $69,203,767
  5. Wilhelm’s Films from New Eden – $69,203,767
  6. Paks’ Pancakes & Pics (T) – $69,203,767
  7. Dan’s Decadent Decaplex (M) – $69,203,767
  8. Elly’s Elemental E-Plex (M) – $69,203,767
  9. Kraut Screens (T) – $66,935,930
  10. Logan’s Luxurious Thaumatrope (M) – $66,373,163
  11. The Filthy Fleapit (T) – $66,196,344
  12. Darren’s Unwatched Cineplex (T) – $47,543,164
  13. I HAS MOVIES (T) – $43,541,793
  14. Ocho’s Octoplex (L) – $26,325,300 [did not pick]

Meta League legend:

  • TAGN Movie Obsession – players from it marked with a (T)
  • MCats Multiplex – players from it marked with an (M)
  • Liore’s Summer League – players from it marked with an (L)

Ben won first place for the week with six screens of The Mountain Between Us, but didn’t have Flatliners, while SynCaine got second with six screens of It.  However that did not put them all that far ahead of the pony crew, who shared the next six positions with identical picks.

Not a big gap there.  It wasn’t a week for one of us to get ahead with a good pick.  Rather the pack stayed mostly in place with bad picks (or no pick in one case) causing people to fall back a bit.

So the overall season looks like this at the end of week six:

  1. Corr’s Carefully Curated Cineplex (M) – $495,822,427
  2. Aure’s Astonishingly Amateur Amphitheatre (M) – $487,853,090
  3. Ben’s X-Wing Express (M) – $481,634,080
  4. Elly’s Elemental E-Plex (M) – $464,913,125
  5. Logan’s Luxurious Thaumatrope (M) – $461,002,597
  6. Ocho’s Octoplex (L) – $417,219,840
  7. Wilhelm’s Films from New Eden – $458,705,932
  8. SynCaine’s Dark Room of Delights (T) – $457,758,858
  9. Dan’s Decadent Decaplex (M) – $436,092,325
  10. Paks’ Pancakes & Pics (T) – $398,132,000
  11. The Filthy Fleapit (T) – $374,010,367
  12. I HAS MOVIES (T) – $361,124,951*
  13. Kraut Screens (T) – $342,913,780
  14. Darren’s Unwatched Cineplex (T) – $188,230,727

Remember, some people in the (T) league showed up late… though not Isey of I HAS MOVIES who is clearly in the running for the “I voted my heart/gut” award for the season.

There it is, another week down and the next looming with a new set of picks and prices.

Happy Death Day          $350
Blade Runner 2049        $237
The Foreigner            $143
The Mountain Between Us  $99
It                       $95
My Little Pony           $84
Victoria & Abdul         $80
Kingsmen                 $71
American Made            $71
LEGO Ninjago Movie       $70
Marshall                 $62
Flatliners               $34
Battle of the Sexes      $24
American Assassin        $9
Til Death Do Us Part     $7

Blade Runner 2049 got a big price reduction, not only because of it being in the second week but also because it fell far shy of the estimates for its opening weekend, hitting just $32 million instead of passing $50 million.  But even before the estimates from last week were out they were saying they expected the movie to stay stronger than expected over time rather than peaking the first week and then disappearing.

Having seen Blade Runner 2049, I do recommend it, but only if you’ve seen the original.  It might be hard to figure out why some things matter if you have not.  But if you’re into it the 168 minutes go right by.  I plan to go see it again.

But would I anchor my week seven picks on it is the question?  Otherwise I know nothing about Happy Death Day, though 2017 seems to be the year of horror… and not just in the movies… and likewise nothing about The Foreigner.

And even with those three as possible anchors, what else looks strong to back that up?  Ponies?

Fall Movie League – I Should Just Let Tom Cruise

Week five of the Fall Fantasy Movie League had what seemed like several viable paths to success.

The pricing for week five showed the possible anchors.

 Kingsman             $256
 American Made        $225
 It                   $214
 LEGO Ninjago Movie   $168
 Flatliners           $143
 Battle of the Sexes  $72
 A Question of Faith  $42
 American Assassin    $40
 Home Again           $28
 Mother!              $21
 Stronger             $20
 Hitman's Bodyguard   $12
 Friend Request       $11
 Wind River           $10
 Spider-Man           $9

With those numbers you could anchor your week’s picks on three screens of Kingsman, four screens of American Made or It, or, if you were feeling daring, five screens of LEGO Ninjago, with enough room left in your budget to fill out the remaining screens from the low end of the price list.

With last week’s post I left little doubt where my allegiances lay.  Despite the pricing I was sure than All American action hero star Tom Cruise would be able to top a mediocre Bond film send-up (including an actual Bond film location) and a clown that lives in the sewers.

I was feeling it when I wrote that, and my picks were anchored on American Made.

And then I kept reading the entertainment news, which was pretty lukewarm on the movie, right up to Friday morning when the Thursday night preview numbers gave the film a solid “meh.”  Estimates, which were not strong to start with, dropped from about $16 million to $12 million, slating it for third place for the week.  So with less than an hour to go I jumped ship, leaving Tom for the Brits.

My Fall Week Five Picks (not estimates, despite what it says)

As it turned out, American Made did come in third place for the week.  I don’t usually go into the box office numbers directly, but this week was interesting enough to go there for the top three at least.

  1. Kingsman: The Golden Circle – $16,935,565
  2. It – $16,902,442
  3. American Made – $16,776,390

So American Made did place third.  But it still (barely) exceeded the initial estimate on which I based my Monday evening picks.  Kingsman, despite coming in first, failed to meet the $19 million mark it was predicted to make.  So, in a way, American Made won and Kingsman lost.  Sort of.

Certainly Kingsman was a losing bet for me.  Failing to stick with Tom Cruise cost me $12,838,225 for the week, a substantial amount in a tight race.  The results for the week were:

  1. Ben’s X-Wing Express (M) – $90,006,078
  2. Logan’s Luxurious Thaumatrope (M) – $84,479,623
  3. The Filthy Fleapit (T) – $75,486,613
  4. Aure’s Astonishingly Amateur Amphitheatre (M) – $73,795,879
  5. SynCaine’s Dark Room of Delights (T) – $73,572,570
  6. Darren’s Unwatched Cineplex (T) – $72,964,624
  7. Corr’s Carefully Curated Cineplex (M) – $72,269,815
  8. Wilhelm’s Films from New Eden – $66,215,620
  9. Paks’ Pancakes & Pics (T) – $65,725,101
  10. Ocho’s Octoplex (L) – $65,135,309
  11. Dan’s Decadent Decaplex (M) – $62,535,831
  12. Elly’s Elemental E-Plex (M) – $62,283,727
  13. I HAS MOVIES (T) – $59,342,586
  14. Kraut Screens (T) – $45,107,607

Meta League legend:

  • TAGN Movie Obsession – players from it marked with a (T)
  • MCats Multiplex – players from it marked with an (M)
  • Liore’s Summer League – players from it marked with an (L)

That is actually quite a spread, with first place almost double last place.   Of course, it helps that Ben got the perfect pick for the week, something he shared with 432 other players.

And, in the final bit of irony for the week, the perfect pick was anchored on It, so I wasn’t going to take it going with either American Made or Kingsman.

Fall Week Five Perfect Pick

One of the going theories for FML is that the fewer titles you have on your eight screens, the more likely you are to do well, coupled with never leaving more than $35 of your budget unspent.  This week certainly fit the pattern. (One of the early tips I read was that if you have more than five titles in your line up, start over.)

So with week five behind us, the scores for the Meta League look like:

  1. Corr’s Carefully Curated Cineplex (M) – $426,618,660
  2. Aure’s Astonishingly Amateur Amphitheatre (M) – $418,649,323
  3. Ben’s X-Wing Express (M) – $411,592,128
  4. Elly’s Elemental E-Plex (M) – $395,709,358
  5. Logan’s Luxurious Thaumatrope (M) – $394,629,434
  6. Ocho’s Octoplex (L) – $390,894,540
  7. Wilhelm’s Films from New Eden – $389,502,165
  8. SynCaine’s Dark Room of Delights (T) – $388,472,947
  9. Dan’s Decadent Decaplex (M) – $366,888,558
  10. Paks’ Pancakes & Pics (T) – $328,928,233
  11. I HAS MOVIES (T) – $317,583,158
  12. The Filthy Fleapit (T) – $307,814,023
  13. Kraut Screens (T) – $275,977,850
  14. Darren’s Unwatched Cineplex (T) – $140,687,563

The lower end of the list is populated (mostly) by people who entered after the first week. (And Darren, who showed up on week four.)

So my last minute change meant me in 7th place overall rather than 4th.  But there are still eight weeks to go, and week six looks interesting.  The line up is:

Blade Runner 2049       $838
The Mountain Between Us $150
It                      $143
Kingsmen                $133
American Made           $131
My Little Pony          $126
LEGO Ninjago Movie      $109
Victoria & Abdul        $56
Flatliners              $44
Battle of the Sexes     $32 
American Assassin       $26 
The Stray               $16
Home Again              $14
Til Death Do Us Part    $10
Mother!                 $9

Blade Runner 2049 is the obvious big release for the coming week.

However, at that price is needs to a lot better than the $50 million box office that has been currently projected.  All else equal, my spreadsheet says it needs at least $65 million to be worth tying up your picks with a single screen of Blade Runner 2049.

So that leaves a range of suspects in the $100 to $150 range on which to build your picks.  There are two new entries in that segment, The Mountain Between Us at $150 which seems a bit under-priced at the initial near $12 million estimate, and at the other end there is My Little Pony at $126, which seems a bit over-priced in that segment.

Still, My Little Pony intrigues me.  On the one hand, My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic was hugely popular with its own serious fandom and such that, at its prime, would have driven something like this to a serious box office result.

On the other hand, My Little Pony and Bronies and whatnot was so five years ago that I haven’t seen MLP used in a meme in ages.  The show’s creators have catered to the fan base, but there have been a few alleged “jumped the shark” moments while the less said about My Little Pony: Equestria Girls the better.

Right now I am not sure which way to jump.  The Mountain Between Us seems primed as the early front runner, with My Little Pony as the dark horse candidate, but I still wouldn’t count out clowns, spies, and Tom Cruise as successful ventures this week.  And what if Blade Runner 2049 is good for $65 million or more?

Fall Movie League – Of Cabbages and Kingsman

Week four of the fall Fantasy Movie League gave us a few options when it came to filling out eight screens.

The three obvious anchors were It, which was entering its third week, Kingsman: Golden Circle, a sequel to the 2014 Kingsman: The Secret Service, and the third entry for big screen LEGO releases, LEGO Ninjago.  The pricing was:

 Kingsman: Golden Circle $511
 LEGO Ninjago Movie      $389
 It                      $352
 American Assassin       $68
 Friend Request          $66
 Mother!                 $34
 Home Again              $32
 Brad's Status           $22
 Hitman's Bodyguard      $19
 Wind River              $15
 Leap!                   $13
 Annabelle Creation      $12
 Spider-Man              $11
 Battle of the Sexes     $8
 Dunkirk                 $7

At the start of the week the studio estimates had It in at a solid, predictable $30 million.  That would have been my guess if asked.  Kingsman was being pushed as high as $45 million in predictions, while LEGO Ninjago was being considered for about $35 million.

With that sort of pricing spread and predictions, LEGO Ninjago seemed like the obvious anchor to me.  No only was it sizing up as a better price/performer than the alternatives, but it seemed solid to me as it was the only kids movie to hit the screen.  Of course, as somebody who loves LEGO, I might have been emotionally invested, but how could a LEGO movie miss?

The to fill in I went with two screens each of American Assassin, Home Again, and Battle of the Sexes.  While the latter was only on 20 screens I figured it still might beat its price competitor, Dunkirk, and maybe even squeeze out a best price/performance if LEGO Ninjago didn’t grab that.

My Fall Week Four Picks

Even when the Thursday night totals came in, reinforcing Kingsman and It in their respective estimates, I did not swap.  LEGO Ninjago did not have a preview night, which could have been a danger sign had the studio not glibly declared it a school night.  I bought that even as I was tinkering with a line up that had one screen of Kingsman and seven of American Assassin.  I have witness is Slack that I was contemplating such a line up.

That was the point in time when I could have been at least tied for first place for the week.

Instead I stuck with LEGO Ninjago and was let down.  As you can see from the image above it barely crossed the $20 million mark, far from the early week estimate.  I blame the lack of a Batman appearance, the hallmark of successful LEGO big screen ventures so far.

In the meta league a lot of people went with LEGO as well.  We’re all down at the bottom while those who bet on Kingsman are at the top, with the top two tied using the Kingsman line up I was considering.  Damn!

  1. Elly’s Elemental E-Plex (M) – $82,812,329
  2. Corr’s Carefully Curated Cineplex (M) – $82,812,329
  3. Kraut Screens (T) – 80,896,439
  4. Aure’s Astonishingly Amateur Amphitheatre (M) – $80,388,701
  5. Ocho’s Octoplex (L) – $73,146,908
  6. Darren’s Unwatched Cineplex (T) – $67,722,939
  7. Paks’ Pancakes & Pics (T) – $65,969,112
  8. Ben’s X-Wing Express (M) – $65,969,112
  9. I HAS MOVIES (T) – $65,969,112
  10. Wilhelm’s Films from New Eden – $64,872,588
  11. Logan’s Luxurious Thaumatrope (M) – $61,124,362
  12. The Filthy Fleapit (T) – $60,610,822
  13. Dan’s Decadent Decaplex (M) – $58,501,206
  14. SynCaine’s Dark Room of Delights (T) – $48,421,081

Meta League legend:

  • TAGN Movie Obsession – players from it marked with a (T)
  • MCats Multiplex – players from it marked with an (M)
  • Liore’s Summer League – players from it marked with an (L)

[We had one new addition to the TAGN league, Darren, and I dropped Bel from the Liore league as he stopped picking.]

Basically, if the score was over $67 million, that person went with Kingsman, and if it was under, they went with LEGO Ninjago.  Also Dunkirk beat Battle of the Sexes.  At least I got a bit of a boost from Home Again, the price/performance winner.

And yet there was a surprise twist.  The perfect pick of the week included neither Kingsman nor LEGO NinjagoIt was the anchor of the perfect pick again, with a heavy helping of Home Again, a selection good for close to $98 million.

Fall Week Four Perfect Pick

Damn meddling clowns!

That left the standings for the Meta League as follows:

  1. Corr’s Carefully Curated Cineplex (M) – $354,348,845
  2. Aure’s Astonishingly Amateur Amphitheatre (M) – $344,853,444
  3. Elly’s Elemental E-Plex (M) – $333,425,631
  4. Ocho’s Octoplex (L) – $325,759,23
  5. Wilhelm’s Films from New Eden – $323,286,545
  6. Ben’s X-Wing Express (M) – $321,586,050
  7. SynCaine’s Dark Room of Delights (T) – $314,900,377
  8. Logan’s Luxurious Thaumatrope (M) – $310,149,811
  9. Dan’s Decadent Decaplex (M) – $304,352,727
  10. Paks’ Pancakes & Pics (T) – $263,203,132
  11. I HAS MOVIES (T) – $258,240,572
  12. The Filthy Fleapit (T) – $232,327,410
  13. Kraut Screens (T) – $230,870,243
  14. Darren’s Unwatched Cineplex (T) – $67,722,939

Reminder: The bottom of that list is (mostly) people who started a week or two… or three… late.

And so we head into week five where a number of new titles are joining the fray.  The FML pricing for week five looks like this:

Kingsmen: Golden Circle $256 
American Made           $225
It                      $214
LEGO Ninjago Movie      $168
Flatliners              $143
Battle of the Sexes     $72
A Question of Faith     $42
American Assassin       $40
Home Again              $28
Mother!                 $21
Stronger                $20
Hitman's Bodyguard      $12
Friend Request          $11
Wind River              $10
Spider-Man              $9

Somehow Kingsman in its second week is supposed to be a better performer than American Made, a Tom Cruise movie with him in a totally Tom Cruise role.  What has this country come to when a Tom Cruise movie, with Tom Cruise in a role he was born to play, Tom Cruise, cannot top the charts on its opening weekend? (And stop bringing up The Mummy.)

Ah well.

In addition we have Flatliners, A Question of Faith, and Stronger making their debuts on the list while Battle of the Sexes is now out in general release.

I have to think Tom Cruise is the pick for anchor this week.  It has decent reviews, it will be on many screens, and it is freakin’ Tom Cruise.  It has got to do better than the initial $16 million projection.  I guess you know where I stand right now.  We’ll see if I change when updated estimates, social media penetration numbers, and Thursday night preview results come in.