Tag Archives: Spring Movie League

Spring Movie League – It’s All in the Filler

With week seven in the read view mirror we are now past the half way point for our Spring Fantasy Movie League.

For week seven we had a few new films in the lineup, which looked like this.

Rampage                      $535 
A Quiet Place                $361
Truth or Dare                $207 
Ready Player One             $167 
Blockers                     $147
Isle of Dogs                 $105
Black Panther                $74 
I Can Only Imagine           $62 
Tyler Perry's Acrimony       $52
Chappaquiddick               $47
Sherlock Gnomes              $46
The Miracle Season           $29
Pacific Rim                  $27
A Wrinkle in Time            $25
Love Simon                   $18

However, not very far into the week it started to become clear that the anchor of choice was going to be A Quiet Place.  Ticket sales over the course of the week, good reviews, and good word of mouth seemed to indicate that it would out perform its pricing for the week.

At the top of the price list was Rampage, which had a long range forecast of about $31 million.  But it seemed like A Quiet Place would do that much as well, and you could have two AQP as your anchor.

Meanwhile Truth or Dare felt to me like it was held back on a few levels.  It was a horror film coming in the shadow of A Quiet Place.  It was also a teen film facing competition from Blockers.  And it really didn’t have a huge name draw in the cast.

So with two screens of A Quiet Place locked in, it came down to the filler screens.  That is always a gamble because at the low end of the price range a shift of a $100K can make all the difference.

In the end I opted for 2x A Quiet Place, 3x I Can Only Imagine, 1x Acrimony, and 2x Love Simon.

Spring Week Seven – My Picks

This was mostly on gut because Imagine and Simon both had a record of dropping less than expected week over week, while Acrimony happened to fit nicely in the middle, leaving me with just $4 left over.

When lockout came on Friday I found myself in good company on the anchor picks.  And with the first estimates on Saturday morning A Quiet Place was in as the best performer, while Corr had the perfect pick.

But as I say over and over, Saturday is a day of false hope, and having the perfect pick on Saturday when the filler screens were going to make or break you made it even more so.

Sunday however threw things for a spin.  Truth or Dare, performing better than I expected, muscled in and took over the best performer spot, with four screens of it being the anchor for the perfect pick.  Suddenly Skar, who had anchored on one screen of AQP and two screens of Truth or Dare was leading the pack in the Meta League.

But Truth or Dare was ahead by just the width of a shadow and by the time the final numbers started coming in A Quiet Place was back on top as best performer.  The perfect pick ended up being 2x A Quiet Place, 2x Black Panther, 1x Acrimony, 2x The Miracle Season, 1x Love Simon.

Spring Week Seven – Perfect Pick

It is unusual for a winning lineup to have five different titles in it and the general recommendation is to try to keep it to three or four at most.  But when the anchor is also the best performer it is a matter of getting the most out of the filler no matter what.  Nobody in the Meta League got the perfect pick this week.

That left the scores for the week looking like:

  1. SynCaine’s Dark Room of Delights (T) – $90,454,671
  2. Biyondios! Kabuki & Cinema (T) – $90,348,718
  3. Corr’s Carefully Curated Cineplex (M) – $89,790,581
  4. Wilhelm’s Broken Isles Bijou (T/M) – $88,138,888
  5. Po Huit’s Sweet Movie Suite (T) – $87,576,863
  6. Dr Liore’s Evil House of Pancakes (M) – $87,576,863
  7. Dan’s Decadent Decaplex (M) – $87,453,970
  8. Ben’s X-Wing Express (M) – $87,451,105
  9. Logan’s Luxurious Thaumatrope (M) – $87,016,918
  10. Skar’s Movies and Meat Pies (T) – $84,839,318
  11. I HAS BAD TASTE (T) – $84,368,064
  12. Aure’s Astonishingly Amateur Amphitheatre (M) – $84,368,064
  13. DumCheese’s Cineplex (T) – $82,681,813
  14. JHW’s Cineplex (T) – $82,681,813
  15. Paks’ Pancakes & Pics (T) – $79,519,219
  16. Bean Movie Burrito (T) – $73,102,608
  17. Goat Water Picture Palace (T) – $72,416,392
  18. Vigo Grimborne’s Medieval Screening Complex (T) – $71,851,296
  19. Darren’s Unwatched Cineplex (T) – $69,562,268
  20. Joanie’s Joint (T) – $69,183,935
  21. Kraut Screens (T) – $68,968,210
  22. Miniature Giant Space Hamsterplex (T) – $65,658,324

The Meta League Legend:

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

SynCaine topped the Meta League this week, though not by much, with Biyondios just $105K behind him.  Corr missed out on his perfect pick and ended up in third place, leading the MCats League.  Then there was Skar, on top on Sunday, but back in 10th place on Monday.  So it goes.

The pack was very close in score this week, which did not make for much change in the season rankings.

  1. Ben’s X-Wing Express (M) – $687,562,198
  2. Po Huit’s Sweet Movie Suite (T) – $682,836,540
  3. Biyondios! Kabuki & Cinema (T) – $663,652,472
  4. Paks’ Pancakes & Pics (T) – $645,662,309
  5. Dr Liore’s Evil House of Pancakes (M) – $633,592,608
  6. Corr’s Carefully Curated Cineplex (M) – $632,530,977
  7. Goat Water Picture Palace (T) – $622,580,794
  8. Wilhelm’s Broken Isles Bijou (T/M) – $619,149,976
  9. Dan’s Decadent Decaplex (M) – $614,081,399
  10. Logan’s Luxurious Thaumatrope (M) – $613,788,104
  11. Aure’s Astonishingly Amateur Amphitheatre (M) – $605,152,623
  12. Joanie’s Joint (T) – $582,529,067
  13. SynCaine’s Dark Room of Delights (T) – $558,462,207
  14. I HAS BAD TASTE (T) – $538,787,711
  15. Kraut Screens (T) – $536,872,905
  16. Vigo Grimborne’s Medieval Screening Complex (T) – $525,348,454
  17. Darren’s Unwatched Cineplex (T) – $512,340,200
  18. Miniature Giant Space Hamsterplex (T) – $500,346,633
  19. DumCheese’s Cineplex (T) – $496,766,130
  20. Skar’s Movies and Meat Pies (T) – $486,862,102
  21. JHW’s Cineplex (T) – $426,892,424
  22. Bean Movie Burrito (T) – $414,409,827

Ben remained on top, with the gap between him and Po shrinking ever so slightly.  Otherwise nobody really pulled much in the way of distance on anybody this time around.

That leads us to week eight and the back half of the season.  The lineup for the week looks like this:

 A Quiet Place            $361
 Rampage                  $258
 I Feel Pretty            $251
 Truth or Dare            $126
 Blockers                 $98
 Ready Player One         $95
 Super Troopers 2         $84
 Black Panther            $72
 Traffik                  $68
 Isle of Dogs             $47
 I Can Only Imagine       $33
 Tyler Perry's Acrimony   $26
 Chappaquiddick           $25
 The Miracle Season       $19
 Sherlock Gnomes          $18

Dropping from the lineup are Pacific Rim, A Wrinkle in Time, and Love Simon.

Replacing them we have I Feel Pretty, Traffik, and Super Troopers 2.

I Feel Pretty is an Amy Schumer vehicle and I would say that it would probably do as well as those tend to do, except for some negative reactions to the trailer.  That may stunt its numbers for the weekend.  So I don’t think it is going to be a break out hit, and neither does the pricing for the week, which puts it behind A Quiet Place, going into its third week, and Rampage, going into its second.

Traffik is not the remake of the movie Traffic, which was a remake of the UK mini-series Traffik, that I thought it might be just from the title.  More is the pity, as I think that might have been a better plan.  Instead it is a new film with no big names showing up mid-pack.

And then there is Super Troopers 2.

What do you do when somebody makes a sequel… or, in this case a prequel… to a cult classic?  I mean, I love meow some Super Troopers on any Friday night after a few beers.  But can you make magic twice?  Could you?  Should you?  Would you?

I was thinking no, until I read the premise over on Wikipedia.  This represents the parents of the group in the original, back in the 70s, with even longer hair and mightier mustaches.  Also, to get it into production they had to crowd source it with an Indiegogo campaign which raised more than they expected and got the word out early that the film was coming.  That means there is a pre-set audience that has been waiting for this week for quite a while.  Not a Star Wars sized audience to be sure, but probably bigger than we expect.

So I am going to declare that this week will be the polar opposite of last week.

Last week you knew the anchors, you just had to figure out the filler.  This week I calling Super Troopers 2 as the filler in the perfect pick.  You just need to figure out how to anchor a lineup with five or six screens of the Super Troopers 2.  Get on it right meow!

Spring Movie League – A Quiet Splash

Week six of our Spring Fantasy Movie League has come and gone.

This week saw a surprise as A Quiet Place exceeded forecasts by quite a margin.  The options for the week were:

A Quiet Place             $460
Ready Player One          $334
Blockers                  $217
Black Panther             $108 
Tyler Perry's Acrimony    $103
I Can Only Imagine        $96
Isle of Dogs              $62 
Pacific Rim               $58
Sherlock Gnomes           $57 
The Miracle Season        $53 
Chappaquiddick            $50 
Love Simon                $39 
A Wrinkle in Time         $39 
Tomb Raider               $34 
Paul, Apostle of Christ   $26

My early week gut pick of Ready Player One and The Miracle Season was swept by the wayside as the first few forecasts started to show up.  I was initially sweet on Pacific Rim Uprising as a potential best performer option, if it would drop less that 50% week over week.

But eventually I became focused on Blockers, the teen sex comedy that seemed to be getting favorable comments and was being compared to American Pie for its first week out.  Long range forecasts had the film pegged for maybe $15 million, and it was priced in the lineup based on that.   But as Friday moved closer and closer people started getting more and more optimistic about it.  The number $20 million was bandied about, at which it was a clear winning choice, all other things being equal.  On that hype became my choice as an anchor.

The question was, how many screens of Blockers?  Three screens gave flexibility in picking subsidiary items, but four screens seemed to offer the best outcome if it did as well as some were predicting.  It had a shot of even being the best performer if that happened, leaving the other picks more window dressing… though, such window dressing can often make or break your attempt to get the perfect pick.

While this was going on people were also warming up to A Quiet Place.  Reviews were good and it got some acclaim at its SXSW preview, so estimates for it were rising out of the mid-to-high $20 million range into the $30 million bracket.  A couple of rash people said $40 million might be within its reach.  That gave me pause, and I did swap back and forth between Blockers and A Quiet Place a few times just to try on both movies for size, but I ended up with Blockers in the end.  You could only get a single screen of A Quiet Place without leaving several empty screens as a result, so Blockers seemed better.

Even the Thursday night previews didn’t move me.  A Quiet Place did three times what Blockers did, but Blockers was solid all the same.  I didn’t think A Quiet Place would end up doing three times Blockers overall for the three days, and I was at least correct on that.

I ended up going with 4x Blockers, 3x Tomb Raider, and 1x Paul, Apostle of Christ.

Spring Week Six – My Picks

But as the estimates started rolling in on Saturday it became clear that the forecasts for A Quiet Place over the week were well short of its potential.  Estimates were past $40 million on Saturday and, come the Sunday estimates, that went to a call at $50 million.

Meanwhile, Blockers was close to $21 million.  That was a very good number.  Going with four screens of wasn’t a bad deal.  I wasn’t far off the pack.  But it wasn’t the perfect pick.  Out of left field, so to speak, came Chappaquiddick, the tale of the Ted Kennedy cover up that I suspected might play in some red states, but which otherwise seemed to be old news, water over the bridge and all that.  Instead it nearly doubled the forecasts that put it at around $3 million, hitting the $5.7 million mark over the weekend, making it the best performer and worth $7.7 million for each screen picked after adding in the bonus.

And with that, the perfect pick turned into 1x A Quiet Place, 1x Blockers, 6x Chappaquiddick, a lineup that held that spot from Saturday estimates through to the final numbers.

Spring Week Six – Perfect Pick

267 people managed to get the perfect pick this week, worth $122,355,036, including Ben in the Meta League, putting him solidly in first place for the week.  The results looked like:

  1. Ben’s X-Wing Express (M) – $122,355,036
  2. Goat Water Picture Palace (T) – $99,866,567
  3. SynCaine’s Dark Room of Delights (T) – $99,866,567
  4. Dan’s Decadent Decaplex (M) – $97,090,783
  5. Aure’s Astonishingly Amateur Amphitheatre (M) – $94,793,838
  6. Paks’ Pancakes & Pics (T) – $94,463,824
  7. Biyondios! Kabuki & Cinema (T) – $92,118,290
  8. Po Huit’s Sweet Movie Suite (T) – $91,794,305
  9. Corr’s Carefully Curated Cineplex (M) – $91,303,858
  10. DumCheese’s Cineplex (T) – $90,427,768
  11. Wilhelm’s Broken Isles Bijou (T/M) – $89,776,571
  12. JHW’s Cineplex (T) – $89,525,294
  13. Dr Liore’s Evil House of Pancakes (M) – $88,849,390
  14. Logan’s Luxurious Thaumatrope (M) – $88,256,038
  15. I HAS BAD TASTE (T) – $86,385,630
  16. Joanie’s Joint (T) – $86,285,654
  17. Miniature Giant Space Hamsterplex (T) – $82,545,705
  18. Skar’s Movies and Meat Pies (T) – $79,250,966
  19. Darren’s Unwatched Cineplex (T) – $77,803,508
  20. Kraut Screens (T) – $75,723,006
  21. Bean Movie Burrito (T) – $74,103,186
  22. Vigo Grimborne’s Medieval Screening Complex (T) – $26,306,868 (did not pick)

The Meta League Legend:

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

Ben clearly took the MCats league while Goat Water and SynCaine tied for first in the TAGN league, both having picked the right anchors at least, with the win going to Goat Water based on the new tie breaker system that came in this week.  Then there is the pack trailing out behind without much pattern in picks with Vigo, who missed picking this week, trailing back at the end.

Ben’s perfect pick led to a change in the lead this week.

  1. Ben’s X-Wing Express (M) – $600,111,093
  2. Po Huit’s Sweet Movie Suite (T) – $595,259,677
  3. Biyondios! Kabuki & Cinema (T) – $573,303,754
  4. Paks’ Pancakes & Pics (T) – $566,143,090
  5. Goat Water Picture Palace (T) – $550,164,402
  6. Dr Liore’s Evil House of Pancakes (M) – $546,015,745
  7. Corr’s Carefully Curated Cineplex (M) – $542,740,396
  8. Wilhelm’s Broken Isles Bijou (T/M) – $531,011,088
  9. Logan’s Luxurious Thaumatrope (M) – $526,771,186
  10. Dan’s Decadent Decaplex (M) – $526,627,429
  11. Aure’s Astonishingly Amateur Amphitheatre (M) – $520,784,559
  12. Joanie’s Joint (T) – $513,345,132
  13. SynCaine’s Dark Room of Delights (T) – $468,007,536
  14. Kraut Screens (T) – $467,904,695
  15. I HAS BAD TASTE (T) – $454,419,647
  16. Vigo Grimborne’s Medieval Screening Complex (T) – $453,497,158
  17. Darren’s Unwatched Cineplex (T) – $442,777,932
  18. Miniature Giant Space Hamsterplex (T) – $434,688,309
  19. DumCheese’s Cineplex (T) – $414,084,317
  20. Skar’s Movies and Meat Pies (T) – $402,022,784
  21. JHW’s Cineplex (T) – $344,210,611
  22. Bean Movie Burrito (T) – $341,307,219

Po fell back to second place, though he is less than $5 million behind Ben so the race is tight, and doubly so with seven weeks left to go.  A lot could happen still.  Meanwhile Goat Water, already ahead of me last week, jumped up two more spots, passing Corr and Liore.

So with those standings set we look on to what week seven brings.  The pick list looks like this:

Rampage                      $535 
A Quiet Place                $361
Truth or Dare                $207 
Ready Player One             $167 
Blockers                     $147
Isle of Dogs                 $105
Black Panther                $74 
I Can Only Imagine           $62 
Tyler Perry's Acrimony       $52
Chappaquiddick               $47
Sherlock Gnomes              $46
The Miracle Season           $29
Pacific Rim                  $27
A Wrinkle in Time            $25
Love Simon                   $18

Falling off the list this week are Tomb Raider and Paul, Apostle of Christ.

Coming into the lineup to replace them are two new releases, Rampage and Truth or Dare.

Rampage is a monster movie that feels a bit in the style of King Kong, featuring a giant ape and all, while Truth or Dare is a new horror flick about a game of Truth or Dare that starts being mediated by supernatural forces.

I am not sure how I feel about either.

Rampage does star The Rock who does seem to have something of a golden touch with many of his films… mostly… there was Empire State.  Long range forecasts for it were a bit past $31 million as of last week, though they were up from earlier looks.

Truth or Dare on the other hand doesn’t have a big name actor as a draw… at least nobody I recognize… and is coming into a market where another horror film, A Quiet Place, just burst out beyond expectations.  The long range forecast for it was $15 million, and the pricing reflects the idea that it won’t beat its horror competitor.

Of the four possible anchors this week, it feels like a choice between Rampage and A Quiet Place, and honestly A Quiet Place has such good word of mouth right now that it just has to keep from dropping more than 45% week over week to seem like the obvious choice.

Or so says me on Monday night.

And then there is the filler.  So many choices this week.  I’m going to need to see some forecasts before I even wade into that pool.

Spring Movie League – Wrinkle Player One

And week five of our Spring Fantasy Movie League has now come and gone.

The week five lineup was predicted to finally be able to dethrone Black Panther as Steven Spielberg’s Ready Player One stepped up to the plate.

 Ready Player One        $522
 Tyler Perry's Acrimony  $219
 Pacific Rim             $167
 I Can Only Imagine      $153
 Black Panther           $148
 Sherlock Gnomes         $91
 God's Not Dead          $75
 Love Simon              $71
 Isle of Dogs            $69
 Tomb Raider             $65
 A Wrinkle in Time       $54
 Paul, Apostle of Christ $41
 Game Night              $41
 Midnight Sun            $28
 Unsane                  $23

Ready Player One was expensive compared to the rest of the stack, a situation that always leaves me looking for alternatives.

The first option that came up was around Acrimony.  While the long range forecast had it close to $10 million, estimates started coming in putting it in the $15-18 million range.  At that level of box office it was a serious option, especially if Ready Player One stayed in the lower $30 million range.

Of course, what Ready Player One would do was another odd duck.  Most big titles open up on Friday, with Thursday night previews that count as part of the Friday night take.  That gets added into the FML box office count as well, which can be a serious boost and is why, when big movies get split up into three days, Friday tends to be the most costly to pick.

However, Ready Player One opened on Thursday night, with Wednesday night previews.  That meant neither Friday, nor the weekend FML count, would not benefit at all from previews.  It also meant that the industry watchers would throw around “weekend” estimates that sometimes would include Thursday and sometimes would not.  So I would see a number like $50 million mentioned for Ready Player One, only to read deeper and find that was a total through the weekend rather than the three day take that matters to FML.

Still, as the week went on it seemed clear that Ready Player One would hit high 30s to low 40s and seemed like a safe anchor unless you believed strongly in Acrimony.  That left the filler, where the best performer discussion lay.

Midnight Sun seemed the early candidate for that, a title priced to be a filler you could stick in many screens.  Then the first forecasts came out and Paul, Apostle of Christ was suddenly the bright star for the best performer slot, though the high end estimates for Acrimony kept it in play as well.  Four screens of that as an anchor looked very good if you could add $2 million per screen.

I still believed in Ready Player One though, and by Tuesday night I had slotted in 1x Ready Player One, 1x Acrimony, and 6x Paul, Apostle of Christ as my selection.  However, in TAGN chatter and across the FML forums that pick began to shape up as the obvious go to selection.  When it came down to it, it ended up being the most popular pick of the week and three people in the TAGN league and one (Liore) in MCats.  I rode that pick until Friday morning, when I decided not to go along with that pick and swapped to my final pick, 1x Ready Player One, 1x Acrimony, 1x Sherlock Gnomes, and 5x Midnight Sun.

Spring Week Five – My Picks

Midnight Sun didn’t have to do that much more than expected to contend.  Unfortunately, it did not even meet forecasts, so was out of the best performer running by quite a margin.

Instead, the Saturday estimates showed A Wrinkle in Time as the likely best performer.  Paul, Apostle of Christ was close in the estimates, with Acrimony not too far behind that, but when the final numbers landed on Monday Wrinkle did better than its weekend estimates, securing the best performer slot.

The perfect pick was 1x Ready Player One, 1x Black Panther, and 6x A Wrinkle in Time, a selection worth $99,306,709.

Spring Week Five – Perfect Pick

Black Panther lost its box office crown, but was in the winning lineup.

While 182 people got the perfect pick, none of them were in the Meta League this week, which kept most of us somewhat close together in score.  The week’s scores looked like this:

  1. Goat Water Picture Palace (T) – $88,805,439
  2. Logan’s Luxurious Thaumatrope (M) – $82,606,738
  3. Dr Liore’s Evil House of Pancakes (M) – $79,681,941
  4. Po Huit’s Sweet Movie Suite (T) – $79,681,941
  5. Paks’ Pancakes & Pics (T) – $79,681,941
  6. Biyondios! Kabuki & Cinema (T) – $79,681,941
  7. Vigo Grimborne’s Medieval Screening Complex (T) – $78,335,761
  8. Corr’s Carefully Curated Cineplex (M) – $77,056,420
  9. Kraut Screens (T) – $76,381,507
  10. Ben’s X-Wing Express (M) – $76,350,834
  11. Bean Movie Burrito (T) – $76,244,256
  12. Dan’s Decadent Decaplex (M) – $75,972,080
  13. Aure’s Astonishingly Amateur Amphitheatre (M) – $75,972,080
  14. Wilhelm’s Broken Isles Bijou (T/M) – $75,047,892
  15. SynCaine’s Dark Room of Delights (T) – $74,970,498
  16. Joanie’s Joint (T) – $70,198,601
  17. Miniature Giant Space Hamsterplex (T) – $69,616,425
  18. DumCheese’s Cineplex (T) – $66,266,870
  19. Darren’s Unwatched Cineplex (T) – $61,935,922
  20. I HAS BAD TASTE (T) – $61,128,373
  21. Skar’s Movies and Meat Pies (T) – $50,864,216
  22. JHW’s Cineplex (T) – $41,673,527

The Meta League Legend:

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

Goat Water Picture Palace took first place this week by going in with five screens of A Wrinkle in Time.  Logan got second place by also having some screens of Wrinkle as a score boost.  After that we’re into the most popular pick zone with the next four places.  Going with my last minute “let’s be different” changes cost me about $4.5 million at the box office.

Down at the bottom of the pack this week were people who bet heavily on Isle of Dogs.  While I applaud the support of Wes Anderson, and the film did pretty well on a per screen basis, it was not on enough screens to be a player this week.

That left the Meta League scores for the season at:

  1. Po Huit’s Sweet Movie Suite (T) – $503,465,372
  2. Biyondios! Kabuki & Cinema (T) – $481,185,464
  3. Ben’s X-Wing Express (M) – $477,756,057
  4. Paks’ Pancakes & Pics (T) – $471,679,266
  5. Dr Liore’s Evil House of Pancakes (M) – $457,166,355
  6. Corr’s Carefully Curated Cineplex (M) – $451,436,538
  7. Goat Water Picture Palace (T) – $450,297,835
  8. Wilhelm’s Broken Isles Bijou (T/M) – $441,234,517
  9. Logan’s Luxurious Thaumatrope (M) – $438,515,148
  10. Dan’s Decadent Decaplex (M) – $429,536,646
  11. Vigo Grimborne’s Medieval Screening Complex (T) – $427,190,290
  12. Joanie’s Joint (T) – $427,059,478
  13. Aure’s Astonishingly Amateur Amphitheatre (M) – $425,990,721
  14. Kraut Screens (T) – $392,181,689
  15. SynCaine’s Dark Room of Delights (T) – $368,140,969
  16. I HAS BAD TASTE (T) – $368,034,017
  17. Darren’s Unwatched Cineplex (T) – $364,974,424
  18. Miniature Giant Space Hamsterplex (T) – $352,142,604
  19. DumCheese’s Cineplex (T) – $323,656,549
  20. Skar’s Movies and Meat Pies (T) – $322,771,818
  21. Bean Movie Burrito (T) – $267,204,033
  22. JHW’s Cineplex (T) – $254,685,317

The small gaps in the high end meant that there wasn’t much of a change at the top, with the first six staying the same.  I got bumped down to 8th place by Goat Water Picture Palace and am now pretty close to being passed by Logan if he continues to do well.

Which leaves us looking at the options for Week Six:

A Quiet Place             $460
Ready Player One          $334
Blockers                  $217
Black Panther             $108 
Tyler Perry's Acrimony    $103
I Can Only Imagine        $96
Isle of Dogs              $62 
Pacific Rim               $58
Sherlock Gnomes           $57 
The Miracle Season        $53 
Chappaquiddick            $50 
Love Simon                $39 
A Wrinkle in Time         $39 
Tomb Raider               $34 
Paul, Apostle of Christ   $26

This week Game Night, Midnight Sun, Unsane, and God’s Not Dead fell off the list.

Coming in to the mix are A Quiet Place, Blockers, The Miracle Season, and Chappaquiddick.  That the latter made it to the theaters seems to prove the diminished power of the Kennedy clan these days.  I imagine it will play best in red states, though I imagine few know or remember the name Mary Jo Kopechne.

What to pick?  There are three anchor choices, A Quiet Place, Ready Player One, and Blockers.

A Quiet Place is a horror film, a genre I tend to discount, so I don’t trust myself here.  It does star Emily Blunt and was praised after a preview at SWSX.  I just don’t know how that will translate at the box office.

At the other end is Blockers, a teen sex comedy produced by Seth Rogen.  The only recognizable name in it for me is John Cena.  No idea how this will do.

And in the middle is Ready Player One in for its second week at what seems like a reasonable price, even expecting a 50% drop over week five.  So my Monday evening gut pick was 2x Ready Player One and 6x The Miracle Season, the latter also being an unknown for me at this point, but we’ll see.  It is a feel good movie.

Spring Movie League – Gnome Country for Old Men

The fourth week of our Spring Fantasy Movie League has now come and gone.

This week saw the long awaited downfall of Black Panther from the number one spot in the box office as well as another shake up in the overall Meta League standings.  The options for the week were:

Pacific Rim             $340
Black Panther           $251 
Sherlock Gnomes         $223
I Can Only Imagine      $176
Tomb Raider             $157 
Paul, Apostle of Christ $155
A Wrinkle in Time       $126
Love Simon              $98
Midnight Sun            $66
Unsane                  $58
Game Night              $56
Peter Rabbit            $50
The Strangers           $34
Red Sparrow             $34
Deathwish               $24

Way back at the start of last week, when the 5pm unlock happened on Monday, my opening gut pick was two screens of the upcoming Pacific Rim Uprising, five screens of Game Night, and one screen of Red Sparrow.  And had I fallen into a coma until 9:01am on Friday morning I would have been in very good shape… so far as Fantasy Movie League went at least… because that turned out to be the perfect pick for the week.  I had it in one.

Spring Week Four – Perfect Pick

Instead I had to watch the forecasts and predictions and weekday numbers and ponder what might come to pass.  I keep my own box office estimates in a spreadsheet and, looking at last week’s spreadsheet, I was pretty much spot on for most of the titles.  That is all very nice, but if you’re off by a fair margin on just a couple of key titles it can offset being right on all the rest.

On one end, the forecasts for Pacific Rim seemed to keep going down and down over the course of the week.  On Monday night $28 million seemed like a pretty reasonable estimate, but by Thursday there was so much hedging that $22 million seemed to be about what people would commit to.  At that price it wasn’t worth the screen space.  There were better options, including Black Panther.

Meanwhile, at the other end of the spectrum, I wouldn’t have given Sherlock Gnomes a second glance on Monday.  But for reasons still unexplained forecasts for it kept getting more and more rosy.  There was a nut case outlier calling for $18 million for it, but that only made the $16.5 million estimate seem that much more reasonable.  At that level, in a world where Pacific Rim might only make $22 million, four screens of it seemed like a sane choice.

And, I will admit, there was a bit of contrariness that made it attractive as well.  I spend most of the week looking for the non-obvious pick and, more often than not, outsmart myself.  And so it was that I went with 4x Sherlock Gnomes, 3x Deathwish, 1x Red Sparrow.

Spring Week Four – My Picks

And I certainly outsmarted myself this week.  When the first estimates came in on Saturday I knew I was sunk as they were calling Sherlock Gnomes at $10 million.  That sank to $9 million on Sunday, but rose back up to just past $10 million in the final count.

That was just enough for me to finish last among those who remember to pick for week four.  The final scores were:

  1. Kraut Screens (T) – $81,618,699
  2. Biyondios! Kabuki & Cinema (T) – $80,549,594
  3. Darren’s Unwatched Cineplex (T) – $80,262,319
  4. Po Huit’s Sweet Movie Suite (T) – $80,262,319
  5. Dr Liore’s Evil House of Pancakes (M) – $79,892,432
  6. Ben’s X-Wing Express (M) – $79,892,432
  7. Paks’ Pancakes & Pics (T) – $79,281,301
  8. Vigo Grimborne’s Medieval Screening Complex (T) – $78,686,090
  9. Logan’s Luxurious Thaumatrope (M) – $75,464,430
  10. Miniature Giant Space Hamsterplex (T) – $71,240,111
  11. Joanie’s Joint (T) – $70,984,791
  12. I HAS BAD TASTE (T) – $67,544,214
  13. SynCaine’s Dark Room of Delights (T) – $67,082,981
  14. Skar’s Movies and Meat Pies (T) – $63,601,432
  15. Goat Water Picture Palace (T) – $62,525,059
  16. Bean Movie Burrito (T) – $55,069,114
  17. Dan’s Decadent Decaplex (M) – $51,834,287
  18. DumCheese’s Cineplex (T) – $50,625,047
  19. Corr’s Carefully Curated Cineplex (M) – $48,323,514
  20. Aure’s Astonishingly Amateur Amphitheatre (M) – $48,323,514
  21. Wilhelm’s Broken Isles Bijou (T/M) – $48,323,514
  22. JHW’s Cineplex (T) – $22,429,804 (Did not pick)

The Meta League Legend:

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

Somehow the Gnome madness spread and there were three of us who bet it all on Gnomes, and together we sit at the bottom of the stack for week four.  Technically, of those three, I am the only one that qualifies as both “old” and “male” but this week’s title was the best I could come up with.  I wasn’t going to waste it just because it didn’t match the facts.

Meanwhile, the top end of the range is led by those who went with two screens of Pacific Rim, with Kraut Screens winning the week overall.

That led to some changes at the top of the season rankings for the Meta League.

  1. Po Huit’s Sweet Movie Suite (T) – $423,783,431
  2. Biyondios! Kabuki & Cinema (T) – $401,503,523
  3. Ben’s X-Wing Express (M) – $401,405,223
  4. Paks’ Pancakes & Pics (T) – $391,997,325
  5. Dr Liore’s Evil House of Pancakes (M) – $377,484,414
  6. Corr’s Carefully Curated Cineplex (M) – $374,380,118
  7. Wilhelm’s Broken Isles Bijou (T/M) – $366,186,625
  8. Goat Water Picture Palace (T) – $361,492,396
  9. Joanie’s Joint (T) – $356,860,877
  10. Logan’s Luxurious Thaumatrope (M) – $355,908,410
  11. Dan’s Decadent Decaplex (M) – $353,564,566
  12. Aure’s Astonishingly Amateur Amphitheatre (M) – $350,018,641
  13. Vigo Grimborne’s Medieval Screening Complex (T) – $348,854,529
  14. Kraut Screens (T) – $315,800,182
  15. I HAS BAD TASTE (T) – $306,905,644
  16. Darren’s Unwatched Cineplex (T) – $303,038,502
  17. SynCaine’s Dark Room of Delights (T) – $293,170,471
  18. Miniature Giant Space Hamsterplex (T) – $282,526,179
  19. Skar’s Movies and Meat Pies (T) – $271,907,602
  20. DumCheese’s Cineplex (T) – $257,389,679
  21. JHW’s Cineplex (T) – $213,011,790
  22. Bean Movie Burrito (T) – $190,959,777

Po remained on top overall, but Corr and I fell back in the pack chasing him.  Meanwhile Liore, who went from 21st place to 10th place last week, continued her climb by hitting 5th position this week.  You troll her at your peril.  Fortunately for us gnome fanciers, overall it wasn’t a huge box office weekend.  There have been weeks in the past where a pick like that might have ended up with us being $140 million behind the perfect pick rather than just $40 million.

That brings us to week five, where the options look like:

 Ready Player One        $522
 Tyler Perry's Acrimony  $219
 Pacific Rim             $167
 I Can Only Imagine      $153
 Black Panther           $148
 Sherlock Gnomes         $91
 God's Not Dead          $75
 Love Simon              $71
 Isle of Dogs            $69
 Tomb Raider             $65
 A Wrinkle in Time       $54
 Paul, Apostle of Christ $41
 Game Night              $41
 Midnight Sun            $28
 Unsane                  $23

Deathwish, The Strangers, Red Sparrow, and Peter Rabbit all dropped off the list, the latter seemingly bad timing due to it being Easter this coming Sunday.

Showing up this week are Ready Player One, Tyler Perry’s Acrimony, God’s Not Dead, and the latest from Wes Anderson, Isle of Dogs. (If you aren’t sure about Wes Anderson, try this Honest Trailers video.)

Ready Player One is clearly expected to take the week.  Hell, it was directed by Steven Spielberg which guarantees it some box office exposure on that alone.  So my Monday evening 5pm pick was 1x Ready Player One, 2x Pacific Rim, and 5x Midnight Sun.

Then again, it is something of nerd culture thing, there seems to be something of a backlash about it in the very core of the audience one would expect to be embracing it, and Spielberg hasn’t exactly been delivering what his reputation might lead you to expect in the 21st century.  I mean, Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skulls made a bunch of money, but I didn’t feel the need to buy a copy or even see it a second time.

Anyway, we’ll see if I stick with that pick or change up based on the misguided whims of various prognosticators again this week.

Spring Movie League – Some Could Not Imagine

The third week of our spring Fantasy Movie League has come and gone and it was definitely one of those weeks.

The lineup for the week looked like it had a few potential anchors with the usual lot of filler.

Tomb Raider         $407
Black Panther       $391
A Wrinkle in Time   $241
Love Simon          $217
Game Night          $82
The Strangers       $78
Red Sparrow         $67
Deathwish           $54
I Can Only Imagine  $41
7 Days in Entebbe   $29
Annihilation        $29
Jumanji             $23
Gringo              $21
The Hurricane Heist $19
Peter Rabbit        $15

With that I spent most of my time thinking about what to anchor my lineup on.

I was not convinced Tomb Raider was going to pass Black Panther and, as I noted, Liore endorsing Love Simon in chat made me set that aside.  Then there was A Wrinkle in Time.  The safe choice seemed to be to anchor on Black Panther, with either two screens of that or one screen and something else, before working on filler.

I, however, got hooked up in a side theory from chatter that was convinced that, as a kids film, A Wrinkle in Time would have a smaller week over week drop than one might expect.  A 50% drop is pretty normal but some kids films, like Peter Rabbit, dropped off much more gradually over time.  Wrinkle dropping 50% didn’t interest me, but if it only dropped 40-45% it would not only been in play as an anchor, but as priced might contend for the best performer slot.  And I could get three screens of Wrinkle with plenty of room to back fill.

So as I fiddled with variations around Wrinkle, a monster was forming in the filler column.

Down in the filler was I Can Only Imagine, a sleeper priced with maybe a $3 million weekend box office performance in mind.  That was the Monday thinking for FML when they unlocked the lineup for our picks.

But by Wednesday the forecasts for Imagine were starting to come in way over that number.  I saw a forecast for $6.5 million first.  But one outlier forecast does not a groundswell make.  But then there were more, and the number was rising, with predictions going to $8 million then $10 million on one site I generally don’t trust.

One site going overboard you can dismiss, but when everybody is predicting high you have to figure something is going on.  It was becoming clear that Imagine was going to be the best performer, so those paying attention began to optimize for it as their filler.  But anchors still seemed to matter.  Even at $10 million plus the $2 million bonus wouldn’t replace your anchor screens.

I decided to bet on Wrinkle doing better than expected, mostly because I can convince myself of anything if I say it to myself enough times… and a couple of forecasts had it above $18 million, which just reinforced the story I was telling myself.   So I went with 3x Wrinkle and 5x Imagine.

Spring Week Three – My Picks

When the screens finally locked there wasn’t much variety in MCats.  We all had Imagine as our filler.  But in the TAGN league clearly some people had not gotten the word.  They were not alone.  According to the research tab only 33% of players had Imagine in play.  But I was feeling okay about Wrinkle as an anchor as it had some play in the top 100 players list:

  • 12 — 2x Black Panther, 5x I Can Only Imagine, 1x Blank Screen
  • 9 — 1x Black Panther, 1x A Wrinkle in Time, 6x I Can Only Imagine
  • 6 — 3x A Wrinkle in Time, 5x I Can Only Imagine
  • 4 — 1x Tomb Raider, 7x Game Night
  • 3 — 1x Game Night, 7x The Strangers
  • 3 — 1x Black Panther, 7x I Can Only Imagine
  • 2 — 4x Love Simon, 4x Annihilation

But 2x Black Panther, 5x Imagine, and one blank screen was the most popular pick overall.  And come the Saturday morning results, that seemed to be the winning play.  But Imagine was doing even better than the most optimistic forecast.

The Sunday update had 1x Black Panther and 7x Imagine in the perfect pick slot, with Imagine looking to take third spot in the weekend box office, passing Wrinkle which was headed for a 50% drop over the previous week.    That perfect pick held when the final numbers were released.

Spring Week Three – Perfect Pick

No joy for me, but Liore, who placed last in the first two weeks of the season, had the perfect pick along with 164 other FML player, making her the overall winner for week three.  I guess I can’t troll her this week.

  1. Dr Liore’s Evil House of Pancakes (M) – $165,384,269
  2. Corr’s Carefully Curated Cineplex (M) – $157,536,351
  3. Ben’s X-Wing Express (M) – $153,035,716
  4. Po Huit’s Sweet Movie Suite (T) – $146,825,365
  5. Aure’s Astonishingly Amateur Amphitheatre (M) – $146,825,365
  6. Paks’ Pancakes & Pics (T) – $146,825,365
  7. Biyondios! Kabuki & Cinema (T) – $146,825,365
  8. Dan’s Decadent Decaplex (M) – $144,294,622
  9. Wilhelm’s Broken Isles Bijou (T/M) – $144,294,622
  10. Goat Water Picture Palace (T) – $133,076,678
  11. Logan’s Luxurious Thaumatrope (M) – $132,965,578
  12. Joanie’s Joint (T) – $130,792,717
  13. Vigo Grimborne’s Medieval Screening Complex (T) – $115,499,771
  14. Bean Movie Burrito (T) – $67,113,951
  15. I HAS BAD TASTE (T) – $66,871,277
  16. SynCaine’s Dark Room of Delights (T) – $66,643,027
  17. DumCheese’s Cineplex (T) – $60,456,300
  18. Darren’s Unwatched Cineplex (T) – $58,901,732
  19. Skar’s Movies and Meat Pies (T) – $58,351,058
  20. Kraut Screens (T) – $58,341,937
  21. Miniature Giant Space Hamsterplex (T) – $56,540,940
  22. JHW’s Cineplex (T) – $39,024,976

The Meta League Legend:

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

Those of us who loaded up on as much Imagine as our anchor screens would allow did not fall too far behind, though my choice of Wrinkle set me back a ways.  But anybody who didn’t check the forecasts from the sites I listed out in the opening post of the season were in for a rude surprise if they didn’t pick Imagine.  This wasn’t one where the Thursday night preview numbers on Friday morning helped. The forecasts were trending by Wednesday. (And, in the TAGN League, mentioned in the FML Chatter forum for the league.)

The week shook up the overall standings, lifting up those who went with Imagine in their lineup.

  1. Po Huit’s Sweet Movie Suite (T) – $343,521,112
  2. Corr’s Carefully Curated Cineplex (M) – $326,056,604
  3. Ben’s X-Wing Express (M) – $321,512,791
  4. Biyondios! Kabuki & Cinema (T) – $320,953,929
  5. Wilhelm’s Broken Isles Bijou (T/M) – $317,863,111
  6. Paks’ Pancakes & Pics (T) – $312,716,024
  7. Dan’s Decadent Decaplex (M) – $301,730,279
  8. Aure’s Astonishingly Amateur Amphitheatre (M) – $301,695,127
  9. Goat Water Picture Palace (T) – $298,967,337
  10. Dr Liore’s Evil House of Pancakes (M) – $297,591,982
  11. Joanie’s Joint (T) – $285,876,086
  12. Logan’s Luxurious Thaumatrope (M) – $280,443,980
  13. Vigo Grimborne’s Medieval Screening Complex (T) – $270,168,439
  14. I HAS BAD TASTE (T) – $239,361,430
  15. Kraut Screens (T) – $234,181,483
  16. SynCaine’s Dark Room of Delights (T) – $226,087,490
  17. Darren’s Unwatched Cineplex (T) – $222,776,183
  18. Miniature Giant Space Hamsterplex (T) – $211,286,068
  19. Skar’s Movies and Meat Pies (T) – $208,306,170
  20. DumCheese’s Cineplex (T) – $206,764,632
  21. JHW’s Cineplex (T) – $190,581,986
  22. Bean Movie Burrito (T) – $135,890,663

Liore was the biggest winner of the week, rising from 21st place into 10th position.  Po held on to overall lead in the Meta League and still has a buffer, but Corr and Ben, who fought it out for first last season, closed the gap considerably.

And now week four looms with the following choices:

Pacific Rim             $340
Black Panther           $251 
Sherlock Gnomes         $223
I Can Only Imagine      $176
Tomb Raider             $157 
Paul, Apostle of Christ $155
A Wrinkle in Time       $126
Love Simon              $98
Midnight Sun            $66
Unsane                  $58
Game Night              $56
Peter Rabbit            $50
The Strangers           $34
Red Sparrow             $34
Deathwish               $24

Gone from the choices are 7 Days in Entebbe, Annihilation, Gringo, The Hurricane Heist, and finally after so many weeks Jumanji.

Replacing them are Pacific Rim, Sherlock Gnomes, Unsane, Midnight Sun, and Paul, Apostle of Christ.

At the top of the list is the Pacific Rim sequel, priced as though it plans to dethrone Black Panther from the top of the weekend box office this time around.  The last to weeks failed to knock Black Panther from the top of the list.

Meanwhile, seeing other movies appearing on the list, do you suppose it was an accident that Tomb Raider came out close to Easter?

Spring Movie League – Strangers Triumph

Only in the second week of our Spring Fantasy Movie League and there was already something of an upset.

The lineup for week two had some new titles, including A Wrinkle in Time, that was being discussed as possibly the film to take the number one weekend spot away from Black Panther.  Certainly the pricing indicated that expectation.

 A Wrinkle in Time    $641
 Black Panther        $575
 The Strangers        $126
 Red Sparrow          $121
 Peter Rabbit         $107
 Game Night           $97
 Deathwish            $85
 The Hurricane Heist  $78
 The Shape of Water   $48
 Gringo               $48
 Jumanji              $47
 Thoroughbreds        $47
 Annihilation         $44
 The Greatest Showman $29
 Fifty Shades Freed   $25

I was skeptical of the strength of A Wrinkle in Time however.  Last week I went over the hazards of taking on a beloved classic, especially one that had already been make into a film, if only of the “made for TV” variety.

I played with a lot of options over the course of the week.  I avoided Wrinkle, but thought about everything else.  Particularly sticky was that log jam of $47/$48 films in the middle when it came to filler for some test lineups.

I did, at one point, have seven screens of The Strangers with one screen of Peter Rabbit, but discarded that when Liore, resident expert on horror films, said it would be hot garbage.  So I discarded that and thought no more of The Strangers.  I lined up eight screens of Red Sparrow at one point, the lineup SynCaine took, but discarded it when my mental estimate simply didn’t add up to enough dollars given the ~$8 million estimated weekend box office for it.

Instead I went looking for what might go well with Black Panther as an anchor.  Once you spend $575 on one screen, the search is for the right mix of filler.

In the end I settled on 1x Black Panther, 3x Game Night, 1x Jumanji, and 3x Greatest Showman.

Spring Week Two – My Picks

It seemed reasonable at the time, though I might have been a bit too fixated on that $47/$48 title war.  I picked the winner in that four horse race with Jumanji, … the others had low theater counts when it came down to it… it just didn’t matter.

When the screens locked on Friday, the MCats league seemed pretty solid anchoring on Black Panther, with only Liore bucking the trend with Wrinkle and seven screens of Gringo.

The TAGN league however was full of variety.  Sure, there picks were mostly anchored on Black Panther, but there were also Wrinkle and Red Sparrow in the mix, as well as two players in on The Strangers.  Po Huit was especially keen on The Strangers, with seven screens of that and one of Game Night.

When the Saturday morning estimates came Po’s lineup was the perfect pick.  Historically, that changes with the final results almost every week, so having the perfect pick on Saturday is almost a guarantees you won’t have what ends up really being the perfect pick.  I don’t call it the “Saturday of False Hopes” for nothing.  I’ve had that happen to me multiple times.

But the Sunday morning estimates continued to show Po with the perfect pick.  And it continued to hold right through until the final scores were released.

Spring Week Two – Perfect Pick

So Po, along with 320 other players, cashed in with $99,679,288 for the week.  That left Po well out in front of the pack for the week as the scores shook out like this:

  1. Po Huit’s Sweet Movie Suite (T) – $99,679,288
  2. Kraut Screens (T) – $87,518,144
  3. Vigo Grimborne’s Medieval Screening Complex (T) – $73,452,542
  4. Biyondios! Kabuki & Cinema (T) – $73,452,542
  5. Wilhelm’s Broken Isles Bijou (T/M) – $72,892,467
  6. Corr’s Carefully Curated Cineplex (M) – $72,338,433
  7. I HAS BAD TASTE (T) – $71,814,131
  8. Miniature Giant Space Hamsterplex (T) – $68,973,320
  9. Goat Water Picture Palace (T) – $68,874,200
  10. Paks’ Pancakes & Pics (T) – $68,874,200
  11. Bean Movie Burrito (T) – $68,776,712
  12. SynCaine’s Dark Room of Delights (T) – $68,018,104
  13. Ben’s X-Wing Express (M) – $67,691,059
  14. Joanie’s Joint (T) – $67,305,834
  15. Skar’s Movies and Meat Pies (T) – $66,364,589
  16. Dan’s Decadent Decaplex (M) – $65,654,362
  17. Logan’s Luxurious Thaumatrope (M) – $64,046,761
  18. Darren’s Unwatched Cineplex (T) – $63,405,826
  19. DumCheese’s Cineplex (T) – $62,356,016
  20. Aure’s Astonishingly Amateur Amphitheatre (M) – $59,282,466
  21. JHW’s Cineplex (T) – $58,458,097
  22. Dr Liore’s Evil House of Pancakes (M) – $52,180,549

The Meta League Legend:

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

The perfect pick put Po way out in front, while Kraut Screens, the only other person to bet heavily on The Strangers, secured second place.  After that there is a $26 million gap between Po and the rest of the pack.

At that point we get into people who anchored on Black Panther and things sort out by how well they did in picking their filler.  I managed to get into fifth place overall, with Black Panther and 3x Game Night being the most solid mid-pack anchors.

Down towards the bottom you get into people who eschewed Game Night, bet on Gringo, or who went the full contrarian Monty.

And, in last place, for the second week running, is Liore with her Wrinkle and 7x Gringo lineup.

Needless to say, that shook up the overall Meta League rankings for the season so far.

  1. Po Huit’s Sweet Movie Suite (T) – $196,695,747
  2. Kraut Screens (T) – $175,839,546
  3. Biyondios! Kabuki & Cinema (T) – $174,128,564
  4. Wilhelm’s Broken Isles Bijou (T/M) – $173,568,489
  5. I HAS BAD TASTE (T) – $172,490,153
  6. Corr’s Carefully Curated Cineplex (M) – $168,520,253
  7. Ben’s X-Wing Express (M) – $168,477,075
  8. Goat Water Picture Palace (T) – $165,890,659
  9. Paks’ Pancakes & Pics (T) – $165,890,659
  10. Darren’s Unwatched Cineplex (T) – $163,874,451
  11. SynCaine’s Dark Room of Delights (T) – $159,444,463
  12. Dan’s Decadent Decaplex (M) – $157,435,657
  13. Joanie’s Joint (T) – $155,083,369
  14. Aure’s Astonishingly Amateur Amphitheatre (M) – $154,869,762
  15. Miniature Giant Space Hamsterplex (T) – $154,745,128
  16. Vigo Grimborne’s Medieval Screening Complex (T) – $154,668,668
  17. JHW’s Cineplex (T) – $151,557,010
  18. Skar’s Movies and Meat Pies (T) – $149,955,112
  19. Logan’s Luxurious Thaumatrope (M) – $147,478,402
  20. DumCheese’s Cineplex (T) – $146,308,332
  21. Dr Liore’s Evil House of Pancakes (M) – $132,207,713
  22. Bean Movie Burrito (T) – $68,776,712

Those who went with The Strangers rose to the top, though the gap between second and ninth place is less than $10 million.  And even with a $20 million lead, Po isn’t safe.  A bad week could change things and we are only two weeks in.  Corr and Ben, who battled for first place last season, are only back in sixth and seventh place respectively.

Meanwhile Liore was saved from being at the bottom of the overall rankings by the return of Bean Movie Burrito.  With only one week of scoring, he is behind the pack.

Which brings us to week three.  Can Liore get out of the basement?  Or is she just trolling us?  She won the summer season across both leagues even though she missed a week.  So I remain suspicious.

The lineup for week three looks like this:

Tomb Raider         $407
Black Panther       $391
A Wrinkle in Time   $241
Love Simon          $217
Game Night          $82
The Strangers       $78
Red Sparrow         $67
Deathwish           $54
I Can Only Imagine  $41
7 Days in Entebbe   $29
Annihilation        $29
Jumanji             $23
Gringo              $21
The Hurricane Heist $19
Peter Rabbit        $15

Gone from the list are The Greatest Showman, Fifty Shades Freed, The Shape of Water, and Thoroughbreds.  Somehow though Jumanji carries on.  It isn’t even at the bottom of the list yet.

While new this week are Tomb Raider, Love Simon, I Can Only Imagine, and 7 Days in Entebbe, with Tomb Raider in the unenviable “can it beat Black Panther” position this week.

I mean, Lara Croft has been going strong for almost 22 years now and has evolved from a character that looked like she could literally poke an eye out if you were not careful.

1996 Lara Croft wearing one of Madonna’s bras

But the new film, already out overseas, has not drawn much in the way of praise, so I am wary of it as an anchor.  I am not convinced it will beat Black Panther or, if it does, beat it by enough to offset the price difference.

Then there is A Wrinkle in Time.  I am not feeling it for that unless it seems to be holding over the week in the daily box office numbers.

Finally in the anchor price range there is Love Simon, which Liore has already endorsed, a situation that brings me back to the questions about her strategy I asked above.  Is she playing us?

And for filler… lots of choices.  Once again I will have to wait until Thursday and the theater counts to commit.  I do want to say something about 7 Days in Entebbe being the fourth movie on that subject, my personal favorite being the Charles Bronson version, which would put it on the list with Deathwish as another remake of his work.

At the moment though my gut is to go with two screens of Black Panther and fill in from there.  Then again, there is a theory out there that, as a kids movie, Wrinkle might have a slower decline than one might otherwise expect.  Wrinkle dropping 50% over last week doesn’t interest me.  Wrinkle dropping 40% or less though, that could be something.

Spring Movie League – Wrinkle in the Mix

The first week up with the spring season of our Fantasy Movie League!

The week had a couple of new attractions, but Black Panther was still expected to dominate the box office so hard that it was, once again, split into three days.  The choices for the week were:

 Black Panther (SAT)  $351
 Black Panther (SUN)  $263
 Black Panther (FRI)  $205
 Red Sparrow          $176
 Deathwish            $167
 Game Night           $97
 Peter Rabbit         $94
 Annihilation         $53
 Jumanji              $42
 Fifty Shades Freed   $30
 The Greatest Showman $25
 Every Day            $17
 Three Billboards     $17
 The 15:17 to Paris   $17
 The Shape of Water   $15

The pricing was such that, while Black Panther seemed like a safe bet… anchor on Saturday and back fill the rest… the two new titles, Deathwish and Red Sparrow, seemed possible bargains.  It was a matter of figuring out which would stick.

Here, as sometimes happens, the forecasts of the various outlets I linked to last week offered up a pile of contradictory information.  If you wanted to believe in Bruce Willis, you could find somebody calling Deathwish past the $20 million mark.   If, like me, you thought Jennifer Lawrence having bangs was going to make all the difference, well somebody was calling Red Sparrow over $20 million as well.

The reviews for neither were selling them big, but the general feeling began to shift against Deathwish as Friday drew closer.  For those in the “Thursday lockout” camp, you’ll be amused to know that while Thursday night previews were available in time Friday morning for Red Sparrow, the preview numbers for Deathwish were delayed, so there was nothing concrete to be gleaned there.

I played around with a few different lineups right down to the wire, but stuck with Red Sparrow as my anchor.  Five Red Sparrow, one Annihilation, and two Fifty Shades was my final pick.

Spring Week One – My Picks

That turned out to be a pretty reasonable pick.  And I was not alone in taking it.

When the Saturday estimates came in my pick wasn’t too far out of first place dollar wise.  SynCaine was out in first with that, as Greatest Showman was trending as the best performer. However when the updates on Sunday hit Corr took a strong lead as Game Night then looked to be the best performer and he was heavy on that.  Come the final numbers however, Fifty Shades moved into the best performer spot and, while I was only in for two screens of that, it was enough for a decent finish.

The perfect pick was Black Panther (Saturday), three Red Sparrow, and four Fifty Shades, worth a little over $107 million.

Spring Week One – Perfect Pick

My pick… mine and several others… was good for $100 million which, when you consider that the perfect pick add $5 million on top, wasn’t too far out of the running.  If Red Sparrow had done a little bit better…

That left the first week scores looking like this:

  1. Ben’s X-Wing Express (M) – $100,786,016
  2. Biyondios! Kabuki & Cinema (T) – $100,676,022
  3. I HAS BAD TASTE (T) – $100,676,022
  4. Wilhelm’s Broken Isles Bijou (T/M) – $100,676,022
  5. Darren’s Unwatched Cineplex (T) – $100,468,625
  6. Goat Water Picture Palace (T) – $97,016,459
  7. Po Huit’s Sweet Movie Suite (T) – $97,016,459
  8. Paks’ Pancakes & Pics (T) – $97,016,459
  9. Corr’s Carefully Curated Cineplex (M) – $96,181,820
  10. Aure’s Astonishingly Amateur Amphitheatre (M) – $95,587,296
  11. JHW’s Cineplex (T) – $93,098,913
  12. Dan’s Decadent Decaplex (M) – $91,781,295
  13. SynCaine’s Dark Room of Delights (T) – $91,426,359
  14. Kraut Screens (T) – $88,321,402
  15. Joanie’s Joint (T) – $87,777,535
  16. Miniature Giant Space Hamsterplex (T) – $85,771,808
  17. DumCheese’s Cineplex – (T) $83,952,316
  18. Skar’s Movies and Meat Pies – (T) $83,590,523
  19. Logan’s Luxurious Thaumatrope (M) – $83,431,641
  20. Vigo Grimborne’s Medieval Screening Complex (T) – $81,216,126
  21. Dr Liore’s Evil House of Pancakes (M) – $80,027,164

The Meta League Legend:

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

As you can see, we have some new people on the list for this round, with the Meta League count up to 21 for spring.

Ben eked out an overall Meta League win, out pacing the pick I went with by just $109K, anchoring on Black Panther for Saturday, filling in with two screens of Red Sparrow, two of Game Night, and three of Fifty Shades.

At the bottom end Liore’s decision to bet on a Black Panther / Deathwish / Jumanji combo clearly did not serve her well.

Still, the distance between first and twenty-third place is under $21 million, a gap easily made up over the course of twelve more weeks if the right picks are made.

And, since this is week one, I don’t have to do an additional season standings list, because the above is that list as well right now.

But that leads us into week two, the lineup for which is:

A Wrinkle in Time     $641
 Black Panther        $575
 The Strangers        $126
 Red Sparrow          $121
 Peter Rabbit         $107
 Game Night           $97
 Deathwish            $85
 The Hurricane Heist  $78
 The Shape of Water   $48
 Gringo               $48
 Jumanji              $47
 Thoroughbreds        $47
 Annihilation         $44
 The Greatest Showman $29
 Fifty Shades Freed   $25

Black Panther has finally cooled down enough that it doesn’t need to be split into multiple days.  In fact, there is a contender to the throne for this week in the form of A Wrinkle in Time.

Meanwhile, trimming back Black Panther to a single slot has allowed more room for alternate picks.  In addition to A Wrinkle in Time this week sees the addition of The Strangers, Gringo, The Hurricane Heist, and Thoroughbreds, none of which I know thing one about.

With all of those, Every Day, The 15:17 to Paris, and Three Billboards and  dropped off the list, the latter leaving only The Shape of Water from the Oscar season revivals.

As for what to pick… well…

Pricing indicates that somebody thinks A Wrinkle in Time will top the box office, but I’m not really feeling it.  Yes, beloved childhood classic.  I read it in 6th grade and have a copy on my bookshelf at home.  On the other side, it has been so long since I read it that the only things I can conjure up from it in my mind is a scene with a bunch of kids standing in front of their home bouncing balls in unison and the word “tesseract.”

And, because brains are strange, when I think of “tesseract” I get an image from the Hot Lips Hannigan episode of The Flintstones where teens declared Fed uncool by drawing a square in the air.

Looks more like a rectangle ladies…

Don’t ask me why my brain does this.  Also, isn’t the internet a gem, that I could find that very scene when I needed it?

Anyway, while there is apparent excitement about the movie coming out, I haven’t seen any reviews yet and there is always a risk in converting beloved childhood classics to the big screen.  Also Disney is involved, which is surprising because nobody’s mother is dead that I can recall, and Disney will do what Disney will do.  Their involvement makes it both more likely that the film will do well and that it will make people angry.  And, as a kids film it likely won’t even get a boost from Thursday night previews.

Meanwhile, looking at the weekday numbers, Black Panther still seems to have power enough to claim the top spot for another weekend, which would make it the better choice given the $66 price gap in its favor.  But I may be totally wrong on that.  We’ll see what the forecasts say when they show up.

Then there is a bunch of stuff mid-pack that could get best performer, including Jumanji, which is still hanging in there after almost three months on the list of picks.  The $47-48 section of the list seems pretty crowded.  And, as noted, I have no gut for how the new stuff will do, but the safe bet at the moment seems to be Black Panther with a mix of fill that catches your fancy.  It seems like it will be a $70-80 million week, so even a full slate of Red Sparrow could get you there if it holds up well in its second week.