Tag Archives: Fall Movie League

Fall Movie League – Clowns and Assassins

Week three was up for the fall Fantasy Movie League.

After a week where which day of It was all that mattered in your picks… and woe to those who went with Friday like I did or, worse, went with Home Again… we were back to a world with some interesting choices to make.  The line up looked like:

 It                 $799
 American Assassin  $167
 Mother!            $143
 Home Again         $75
 Hitman's Bodyguard $41
 Annabelle          $32
 Wind River         $27
 Leap!              $25
 Spider-Man         $18
 Dunkirk            $16
 Luck Logan         $14
 Emoji Movie        $10
 Despicable Me 3    $9
 Girls Trip         $7
 Best of the Rest   $7

It was clearly going to rule the box office roost again, but pricing meant that you could choose It and some cheap films, or you could gamble on whether or not a pile of screens running American Assassin or Mother! would outweigh the single screen of clown horror. (Also, screw movie names that are pronouns.)

My Monday evening gut pick was anchored on It largely because I knew it was going to pull in at least $50 million, and probably closer to $60 million, before anybody published estimates.

Estimates were slow and I don’t recall seeing anything firm until Thursday morning, at which point Mother! seemed out of the running, but American Assassin was predicted to be somewhere in the $12.5 million to $15 million range.  At the high end of that range the five screens you could get would be enough to make it a worthwhile bet against It.

So I swapped to five screens of American Assassin and then dropped in Mother!, Lucky Logan, and Best of the Rest to fill out the lineup.

My Fall Week Three Picks

I hindsight I should have gone with two Best of the Rest just based on what I said last week.  Best of the Rest tends to be the best price/performer when it shows up, something which occurred again this week.  That would have given me $2.7 million rather than $996K for Lucky Logan.  Ah well.  I will try to remember that for next time.

When the picks were in and locked on Friday morning there was a spread of choices among the Meta League.  Most people were in for five screens of American Assassin, though some were in for four or three screens, and four people were anchored on a screen of It.

In the end, the perfect pick wasn’t in any of our theaters.  Yes, five screens of American Assassin was the right anchor, but then you needed to screens of the suddenly not-so-bad Home Again and a screen of Best of the Rest, which turned out to be Dark Tower, so two Stephen King movies, one at each end of the top 15.

Fall Week Three Perfect Pick

That netted out to about $92.5 million with the perfect pick bonus.  74 people managed to get that pick.  But it didn’t go too bad for the rest of us.  Those heavy on American Assassin were at the top, where variations in the other three screens accounted for the minor gaps, but if you anchored on It you weren’t too far behind.  Hedging on American Assassin cost though.  The results of the Meta League for the week were:

  1. Paks’ Pancakes & Pics (T) – $87,434,193
  2. Ben’s X-Wing Express (M) – $85,746,474
  3. Wilhelm’s Films from New Eden – $85,672,954
  4. Elly’s Elemental E-Plex (M) – $83,921,075
  5. The Filthy Fleapit (T) – $83,632,973
  6. Corr’s Carefully Curated Cineplex (M) – $83,485,864
  7. Aure’s Astonishingly Amateur Amphitheatre (M) – $83,285,598
  8. Dan’s Decadent Decaplex (M) – $80,239,128
  9. I HAS MOVIES (T) – $79,745,592
  10. SynCaine’s Dark Room of Delights (T) – $79,701,949
  11. Ocho’s Octoplex (L) – $77,328,839
  12. Logan’s Luxurious Thaumatrope (M) – $77,030,257
  13. Kraut Screens (T) – $73,395,633
  14. Bel’s House of Horrors (L) – $1,227,888 (didn’t pick, 4 empty screens)

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)

A $14 million spread from top to bottom, not counting Bel, isn’t that wide, and the top half is within about a $4 million bracket.

That meant that nobody fell too far behind, but that nobody caught up or gained much of a lead either.  So the rankings for the season didn’t see any drastic changed over the previous week.

  1. Corr’s Carefully Curated Cineplex (M) – $271,686,516
  2. SynCaine’s Dark Room of Delights (T) – $266,479,296
  3. Aure’s Astonishingly Amateur Amphitheatre (M) – $264,464,743
  4. Wilhelm’s Films from New Eden – $258,563,957
  5. Ben’s X-Wing Express (M) – $255,766,938
  6. Ocho’s Octoplex (L) – $252,612,323
  7. Elly’s Elemental E-Plex (M) – $250,763,302
  8. Logan’s Luxurious Thaumatrope (M) – $249,025,449
  9. Dan’s Decadent Decaplex (M) – $245,971,521
  10. Paks’ Pancakes & Pics (T) – $197,384,020
  11. I HAS MOVIES (T) – $192,391,460
  12. The Filthy Fleapit (T) – $171,866,588
  13. Bel’s House of Horrors (L) – $157,884,588
  14. Kraut Screens (T) – $150,063,804

A bit of shuffling there, but nothing drastic.  Those who started on week two… or who forgot to pick… or who has a really bad week last week… are clustered towards the bottom.

And now we face week four of the season with a few new titles on the list.

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

For new options Kingsman tops the list with the LEGO Ninjago Movie not far behind.  Then there is Friend Request and Brad’s Status tucked in mid-pack with Battle of the Sexes down near the bottom.  That is five new movies in the mix.

I have no feel for Kingsman.  The few people I know who saw the original didn’t like it.  But it did really well and there is some Hollywood rule about sequels being good for 80% of the original even if they don’t bring much new to the table.  So maybe 80% of the original’s $36 million as a starting point estimate?  Then again it is being heavily advertised and it being released in a different season… but it is also rated R… so who knows?

While I am not a fan of the LEGO Ninjago IP, I did love The LEGO Movie and the LEGO Batman Movie, and this is a kids film during a week when the other contenders for the under age demographic are pretty stale.  So unless I see a big red flag between now and Friday morning, I will likely be in on the LEGO Ninjago Movie as my anchor.  Better two of those than one Kingsman I think.

And then there is It, which did $60 million last week, so even if it drops by 50%, a likely amount, it will still be in around the $30 million mark, making a very viable third choice for an anchor.

Then we get into the filler options to back up the anchor, and there are a lot of options.  I feel like Battle of the Sexes is way under priced… it has Emma Stone and Steve Carell in it for Pete’s sake…  though I haven’t seen how many screens it will be on.  It might be an art house film that only appeals to me because I am old enough to remember the events on which it was based… and the episode of The Odd Couple came from it. [Addendum: Since I wrote this I saw on Box Office Mojo that it is only slated for 20 screens. So, yeah.]

Anyway, that is where we stand on the gateway to week four.

Fall Movie League – Making Clowns Evil Again

It was the second week of the fall season and I was defending my 13th place position (tied for 13 with a couple hundred other people, but still, pretty sweet), but facing the musical question, “So is this going to be another Stephen King movie bomb or what?”  This summer’s Dark Tower was pretty much in line with how I expect translations of his work to film to end up.

On Tuesday I vacillated over which movie on which to anchor my defense.  One key source was claiming that It would pass the $80 million mark over the weekend while Home Again would struggle to rake in just $6.6 million.  A second source felt that It was going to ring in more around $60-65 million while Home Again was set to hit $10 million.

And each of those ends of the spectrum demands a different anchor.  At $10 million not only would six screens of Home Again yield as much as all three days of It… and It was divided into Friday, Saturday, and Sunday screenings… but would be a shoe-in for the best price/performance of the week, giving it that $2 million per screen extra boost.

At $6.6 million though, Home Again would be a non-starter as an anchor, while a towering $81 million opening for It would make two screens of that the only possible winning baseline.

The first source has a tendency to over-estimate results by a small margin while the second chronically under-estimates, which is normally a useful tidibit of knowledge.  However, in this case, it wasn’t helpful at all, since the over-estimating source was calling Home Again at $6.6 million while the under-estimating source was sure it was good for $10 million.  Yet the sources were reversed for It.

Add in my tenancy for contrariness and a weakness for Reese Witherspoon and it was a tough choice to make.

And then on Wednesday Fandango announced that they had sold about a billion advanced tickets for It and that all cleared up.  Then it was just a matter of which It options to run with.

As noted last week, since It was the only big opening and the obvious winner, FML decided to make things interesting by chopping It into three, so you could choose the Friday, Saturday, or Sunday screenings.  The list of options as prices for the week:

It - Friday        $467
It - Saturday      $342
It- Sunday         $214
Home Again         $143
Hitman's Bodyguard $71
Wind River         $55
Annabelle          $45
Leap!              $38
Dunkirk            $31
Logan Lucky        $29
Spider-Man         $25
Despicable Me 3    $18
Girls Trip         $16
The Emoji Movie    $16
The Nut Job 2      $12

Price, of course, reflects the estimate box office.  But with It prepared to break all estimates, which days would be optimum?  Friday and Saturday are generally stronger than Sunday, but would Friday be worth more than two Sundays of revenue.

Eventually I decided that horror movies were really a Friday night thing.  My lineup was anchored by It Friday and It Saturday.  Then I filled up the remaining six screens with Dunkirk because I had been thinking too much on this whole thing and didn’t want to tinker any more.

My Fall Week Two Picks

When the Saturday estimates came in, Friday was looking like a pretty good pick, with an estimated $51 million take.

Then on Sunday the estimates put Saturday at $43 million and things were less rosy for me.  A lot of people had picked two Saturday screens and a Sunday, which when the final numbers came in, turned out to be the best of the lot.  Four Sunday’s came within a hair’s breadth of being ideal.

The deciding factor was in the secondary picks, from which there were quite a few options. But the perfect pick was two Saturday screens and a Sunday screen of It, one Annabelle, two Emoji Movie, and two Nut Job 2.

Fall Week Two Perfect Pick

Only seven people got the perfect pick this week.  But, minus the $5 million bonus for the perfect pick, a number of people got fairly close.  A lot closer than I did.  All I can say is that I am glad I got over my Reese Witherspoon fixation quickly.  Isey of I HAS MOVIES went with my first gut Reese pick, and look where he ended up.

In writing this I became a bit stuck as to how to represent scores.  I am in three leagues with some active players (four if I count our home league), so I wasn’t sure what league to use to represent the season.

To solve this I decided to create a Meta League for fall, and combine the results from each into a single ranking.  This had the result of making my performance this week look even worse!

The three combined leagues are:

  • 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)

Color coded as well, just because I said I would do that somewhere.  I bet that becomes annoying enough that I stop doing it by week five.

That gives the Meta League a total of 14 players, including three who joined the TAGN league in the second week.  I’m not sure how to handle that, so I’ll just put them on the list with everybody else.

  1. SynCaine’s Dark Room of Delights (T) – $128,663,687
  2. Corr’s Carefully Curated Cineplex (M) – $127,686,679
  3. Logan’s Luxurious Thaumatrope (M) – $126,630,054
  4. Ben’s X-Wing Express (M) – $122,984,620
  5. Aure’s Astonishingly Amateur Amphitheatre (M) – $120,561,638
  6. Ocho’s Octoplex (L) – $116,249,626
  7. Dan’s Decadent Decaplex (M) – $114,819,132
  8. Elly’s Elemental E-Plex (M) – $114,544,284
  9. Paks’ Pancakes & Pics (T) – $109,949,827
  10. Wilhelm’s Films from New Eden – $108,581,613
  11. Bel’s House of Horrors (L) – $107,538,981
  12. The Filthy Fleapit (T) – $88,233,615
  13. Kraut Screens (T) – $76,668,171
  14. I HAS MOVIES (T) – $61,010,776

SynCaine got the overall win for the week, while I had the second to worst showing among people who picked two or more screens of It.  Four Sunday’s would have been better.  Ah well, I am still in contention in the overall standings I suppose.

  1. Corr’s Carefully Curated Cineplex (M) – $188,200,652
  2. SynCaine’s Dark Room of Delights (T) – $186,777,347
  3. Aure’s Astonishingly Amateur Amphitheatre (M) – $181,179,145
  4. Ocho’s Octoplex (L) – $175,283,484
  5. Wilhelm’s Films from New Eden – $172,891,003
  6. Logan’s Luxurious Thaumatrope (M) – $171,995,192
  7. Ben’s X-Wing Express (M) – $170,020,464
  8. Elly’s Elemental E-Plex (M) – $166,842,227
  9. Dan’s Decadent Decaplex (M) – $165,732,393
  10. Bel’s House of Horrors (L) – $156,656,700
  11. I HAS MOVIES (T) – $112,645,868
  12. Paks’ Pancakes & Pics (T) – $109,949,827
  13. The Filthy Fleapit (T) – $88,233,615
  14. Kraut Screens (T) – $76,668,171

I am in second place in two leagues and third place in another, which puts me in fifth place overall.  Corr and SynCaine are in pretty tight contention.  But there are still eleven weeks to go.

All of which brings us to week three, where the choices are:

 It                 $799
 American Assassin  $167
 Mother!            $143
 Home Again         $75
 Hitman's Bodyguard $41
 Annabelle          $32
 Wind River         $27
 Leap!              $25
 Spider-Man         $18
 Dunkirk            $16
 Luck Logan         $14
 Emoji Movie        $10
 Despicable Me 3    $9
 Girls Trip         $7
 Best of the Rest   $7

After a week split into three, It gets consolidated back into a single pick, a single pick so expensive that you can only have one screen of it… one screen and not much else on the other seven.

So we’re back to the usual question of anchors.  It is clearly going to win the box office.  Do you go with that and some mixture of dregs at the bottom of the price list?  Or do you bet on some mist of American Assassin and/or Mother! that might add up to a better total across eight screens.

If It drops by 50%, a common second week situation, it will still bring in over $50 million.  And down at the bottom of the list is the Best of the Rest wild card that will be filled in with the best performing movie not on the list.  That has a tendency to become the best price/performance pick due to it favoring films that over perform estimates.

And speaking of estimates, while last week sites were practically tripping over themselves to give, and then update, box office predictions, this week it is practically crickets. My spreadsheet is useless without something on which to ground my calculations.  And so it goes.

Fall Movie League – The Labor Day of Our Discontent

I got a request last week in the comments on the final post about the Blogger Fantasy Movie League asking to keep on keeping on with the Fantasy Movie League thing and the posts related there to.  Since I planned to carry on picking movies, and since that is one more request I get from an actual reader than I get for most topics, I decided to carry on.

And so we move into a new season with what I will call the Fall Movie League to distinguish it from the previous season.  I put out a call for people to join it, first in the comments on that final post from the previous season and then in the final section of the August in Review post.

That, I will admit, was only slightly more effective than buying a yellow pages ad for the whole thing as far as the number of people who might see it goes.  But there it is.  I did get two takers, SynCaine of Hardcore Casual and somebody who I believe is Isey from I HAS PC.  Maybe.

And facing the three of this past weekend was a series of options aging before us on the screen even as we made our choices.

 Hitman's Bodyguard   $252
 Annabelle: Creation  $154
 Leap!                $134
 Wind River           $126
 Logan Lucky          $115
 Dunkirk              $106
 Hazlo Como Hombre    $93
 Spider-Man           $79
 The Emoji Movie      $73
 The Nut Job 2        $66
 Girls Trip           $64
 Tulip Fever          $63
 Despicable Me 3      $51
 Birth of the Dragon  $47
 Wonder Woman         $44

The big new film of the week, Hazlo Como Hombre, didn’t even break into the top five of the choices, possibly because it is Spanish.  And then there was Tulip Fever, not the sort of contagion to set the box office alight.

So the choice of anchors seemed to be Hitman’s Bodyguard, a fine and funny film but entering its third week of box office dominance, and Annabelle: Creation, a horror flick which was has been hanging around at the the top of the list for a week more.

After some hemming and hawing, I decided that squeezing in five screens of Annabelle was better than two or three screens of Hitman as my base.  Then the question was what to fill in the next three screens with.  I ended up with Wind River and two screens of Despicable Me 3.

This turned out to be a reasonable set of picks.

Fall Movie League – Week One Picks

Of course, while those numbers don’t look bad for a four week old release, you have to remember that this was a holiday weekend, so Monday was counted in the totals as well.  That put another $1.5 million on Annabelle’s totals, in what has been described as the slowest Labor Day weekend box office in 20 years.

It wasn’t the perfect pick though.  Perfect was anchored on two screens of Hitman’s Bodyguard and one of Annabelle, with an extra helping of Despicable Me 3, which benefited from $2 million per screen boost that goes to the best price/performer of the week.  Only 7 people out of about 17 thousand got the perfect pick, which earned them $69,602,040.

Fall Movie League – The Week One Perfect Pickers

You can also see the second best pick at the end of that list, which was shared amongst five people and yielded $64,455,715.  My picks were the third most lucrative, which put me in a tie for 13th place overall for fall, a position I share with a lot of people.  I think I may have also chosen the most popular pick.

So at the end of the first week the standings in the TAGN Movie Obsession league were

  1. Wilhelm’s Films from New Eden – $64,309,390
  2. SynCaine’s Dark Room of Delights – $58,113,660
  3. I HAS MOVIES – $51,635,092

SynCaine went with four screens of Annabelle, but didn’t get DM3 into the mix, while… again, I think it is Isey… eschewed the obvious anchor films and bet heavily on Leap! and Wind River.

The slowness of the week means that the gap between first and last isn’t all that great.  It wasn’t like that time Liore skunked us all on the first week and took a lead never to be broken.  Yeah, nobody is going to let that go any time soon.

And speaking of Liore, apparently my 13th place overall finish in week one was enough to attract the attention of her hardcore movie fan league.  I was invited to join their ranks based on my performance on the worst movie weekend of the year.

I accepted and was immediately dismayed to discover that my first week score didn’t count for their league as I joined after the second week started.  That left me with a score of zero in a group that did fairly well for the week.  However, I am told that Ben asked the FML team to include my first week score in their league.  (Thanks Ben!)  Now I am king for the week with a slim lead of about $3.6 million.  We shall see how I fare in more expert company.  I’m not sure I should list out the rankings for that league though.  Not everybody appreciates publicity.  But there I am.

Which brings us to the the second week of the season, where the choices are:

It - Friday        $467
It - Saturday      $342
It- Sunday         $214
Home Again         $143
Hitman's Bodyguard $71
Wind River         $55
Annabelle          $45
Leap!              $38
Dunkirk            $31
Logan Lucky        $29
Spider-Man         $25
Despicable Me 3    $18
Girls Trip         $16
The Emoji Movie    $16
The Nut Job 2      $12

In the words of Bart Simpson, there are a lot of low cards in that hand.  Also, Wonder Woman has finally dropped off the list… thanks a lot Stephen King… after a 14 week run.

Basically, there is the release of another Stephen King movie and a Reese Witherspoon romantic comedy.  My hot take is to bet on Reese.

It is clearly expected to dominate the box office, so much so that it is the first film since Spider-Man to be split into three different days just to make the picks more interesting.  It est omnis divisa in partes tres and all that.

But I am just not feeling it for It.  Then again, I haven’t been much into horror movies since the 80s, so the whole “Make Clowns Evil Again” vibe doesn’t really thrill me.  Also, being just a pronoun means I keep losing the title in my typing. Where is it? Is this it, or is it this?

Then again, the reviews for It are good… better than Dark Tower… while the reviews for Home Again are not looking good, falling south of even Hitman’s Bodyguard.  But in a week when It is the only other new thing at the cineplex, will people opt for Reese just to see Reese?  I mean, I would.  Plus Reese is cheap this week.  I can have Reese on six screens, and nothing speaks to me like cheap Reese on six screens.  I may need a cold shower.

Anyway, I am going to have to mull this over, play with my spreadsheet, and maybe wait to see what Variety says.  This is what happens when I start paying attention to the box office, suddenly the movie section at Variety is in my RSS feed.

You can still join my league by finding the links in the posts indicated up at the top.  I’d link it here, but I figure if you really want in you can prove it by expending a little effort.  You can compete on a weekly basis or, if you’re hot shit, you can try to take me down from my current spot in first place.  My leaning towards Home Again might be an opportunity.