Tag Archives: Summer Fantasy Movie League

Summer Movie League – With a Whimper

And so it goes, week fourteen, the final week of our summer Fantasy Movie League is done.

And with that we have but to tally up the scores and declare the winner.  The choices for the final week were:

Crazy Rich Asians     $460
The Meg               $204
Mission: Impossible   $143
Operation Finale      $133
Christopher Robin     $116
Searching             $111
Happytime Murders     $108
Alpha                 $97
BlacKkKlansman        $92
Mile 22               $89
Kin                   $82
Incredibles 2         $62
Ya Veremos            $56
Hotel Transylvania 3  $49
A.X.L.                $44

And none of them really shook expectations, save for The Incredibles 2, which turned out to be the best performer for the week.  To answer last week’s question, I guess it is kids who go to see movies on Labor Day.  Or maybe not.  CRA still topped the box office.

I vacillated on picks over the course of the week.  On Monday I was in with 4x The Meg and 4x A.X.L. as my pick.  Come Friday morning I was spooked by some optimistic predictions and jumped on 7x Operation Finale and 1x The Incredibles 2.

But on Thursday morning my mind was set on 3x The Meg, 2x Alpha, and 3x The Incredibles 2.

Summer Movie League – My Week Fourteen Picks

As it turns out, even with no bonuses in the TAGN league, that was my best scoring pick.  It also wasn’t a bad pick overall.

The perfect pick for the league was a bit better, but not a ton better.  Three screens of The Meg appeared to be the best anchor when it came down to it.

Summer Movie League – Week Fourteen Perfect Pick

The thing is, this was a week without a huge winning or losing pick.  Everybody who picked this week ended up within a $11 million band of choices, which wasn’t enough to dislodge many people for their spots in the ranking.  The scores among those who were in for the final week looked like this:

  1. Vigo Grimborne’s Medieval Screening Complex – $68,033,788
  2. Wilhelm’s Abyssal Pocket Playhouse – $67,688,509
  3. Ben’s X-Wing Express – $65,327,962
  4. Too Orangey For Crows – $61,869,121
  5. Miniature Giant Space Hamsterplex – $61,846,280
  6. Goat Water Picture Palace – $59,840,549
  7. SynCaine’s Dark Room of Delights – $59,840,549
  8. Joanie’s Joint – $59,840,549
  9. Darren’s Unwatched Cineplex – $59,840,549
  10. grannanj’s Cineplex – $58,819,921
  11. Corr’s Carefully Curated Cineplex – $57,381,443

Only eleven people picked this week.  Vigo led the pack anchored on The Meg, while I was just behind with the same anchor but different filler.  Then Ben with a heavy bet on Mission Impossible, Bhagpuss with CRA as his anchor, and Miniature with and anchor on The Meg and Mission Impossible.

After that there was everybody who went with seven screens of Operation Finale, less Grannanj, who had a CRA anchored lineup.  That left the final scores for the season looking like this:

  1. Corr’s Carefully Curated Cineplex – $1,233,260,784
  2. Wilhelm’s Abyssal Pocket Playhouse – $1,192,800,479
  3. Goat Water Picture Palace – $1,168,442,901
  4. Ben’s X-Wing Express – $1,099,917,789
  5. Vigo Grimborne’s Medieval Screening Complex – $1,068,381,300
  6. SynCaine’s Dark Room of Delights – $1,053,023,190
  7. Miniature Giant Space Hamsterplex – $1,050,270,086
  8. Darren’s Unwatched Cineplex – $1,046,285,672
  9. Too Orangey For Crows – $1,012,717,545
  10. Joanie’s Joint – $1,012,254,458
  11. grannanj’s Cineplex – $1,003,319,433
  12. Po Huit’s Sweet Movie Suite – $996,001,692
  13. I HAS BAD TASTE – $890,174,972
  14. Skar’s Movies and Meat Pies – $743,497,331

The narrow gap between first and last this week meant not much change, with the first eight spots a duplicate of last week.  Bhagpuss snuck back into the top ten by virtue of acing out Joanie by a hair and due to Po being out of town and not picking.

So there it is, the final score.  Corr takes the crown for the summer season!

And that is it for the summer blockbuster season.  As usual, it starts big but loses steam before Labor Day.  Look for another post in a bit about the updates for the Fall season.  Yes, there will be a Fall season.

Summer Movie League – The Mediocre Muppet Caper

Our summer Fantasy Movie League is coming to a close soon as we are now through week thirteen, the penultimate week of the season.

I like the word “penultimate” and will use it every chance I get.

For week thirteen we had the following choices for our lineups.

Crazy Rich Asians     $318
Happytime Murders     $264
The Meg               $201
Mile 22               $129
Mission: Impossible   $127
Christopher Robin     $106
Alpha                 $102
BlacKkKlansman        $84
A.X.L.                $58
Hotel Transylvania 3  $45
Slender Man           $40
Mamma Mia 2           $35
Ant-Man and the Wasp  $29
The Equalizer 2       $28
Incredibles 2         $27

Crazy Rich Asians was still slated to take the top spot in its second week, but second place was expected to go to Happytime Murders, with The Meg coming in third.

I was not enthusiastic at all for Happytime Murders however.  As I said in league chatter, to me it seemed like a picture in search of an audience.  The clips and trailers, along with the R rating, were pushing it as an adult feature, so you couldn’t expect too many kids going to see it.

But even with Melissa McCarthy at the helm it looked like a rip-off of homage to Who Framed Roger Rabbit, a film with a PG rating back in the 80s, done with muppets rather than animation.  Or puppets rather, as muppets are a registered trademark of the Disney corporation.  The film was clearly trying to ride on that association however, along with children’s television with the tag line “No Sesame, All Street,” for which they were sued by the Children’s Television Workshop.

So I was staying away from that.  I was also down on A.X.L. which, despite its low threshold for success based on its FML pricing, seemed trite and uninspired.

At the beginning of the week I was keen on CRA and my Monday Hot Takes League saw me anchor on two screens of that along with some filler that was mostly picked to spend my budget and avoid A.X.L.

As the week went on though, I began to feel like CRA wasn’t going to do it, that to be worth that price it would have to have an almost unprecedentedly small drop in earnings week over week as to be unlikely.

I decided that since I could get three screens of The Meg for less than the price of two screens of CRA that I would go with sharks for my anchor.  So I ended up with 3x The Meg, 1x Mile 22, 2x BlackKklansman, and 2x Hotel Transylvania for the TAGN league pick.

Summer Movie League – My Week Thirteen Picks

That wasn’t a bad pick.  I did okay for the week.  But if I had just stuck with my Monday pick I would have won the week in the TAGN league because CRA only dropped 6% week over week, which was just the sort of unprecedented result that was needed to justify the price.  Anchoring on two screens of CRA was the path to the perfect pick.

Summer Movie League – Week Thirteen Perfect Pick

While I failed to get on board with CRA, at least I didn’t go with Happytime Murders which, in addition to confused marketing and poor reviews, also fell into third place overall for the week behind The Meg.  And that wasn’t because The Meg was suddenly on fire, but because Happytime Murders just didn’t have the draw.

On the other hand A.X.L. did okay, at least based on its FML pricing.  It ended up just about where it needed to be so if you used it as a filler item it didn’t drag you down.

Thus the week ended up with scores looking like this:

  1. Joanie’s Joint – $71,400,125
  2. grannanj’s Cineplex – $70,978,648
  3. Vigo Grimborne’s Medieval Screening Complex – $70,706,218
  4. Corr’s Carefully Curated Cineplex – $62,887,75
  5. Ben’s X-Wing Express – $60,735,430
  6. Wilhelm’s Abyssal Pocket Playhouse – $60,084,033
  7. Too Orangey For Crows – $53,041,276
  8. SynCaine’s Dark Room of Delights – $49,660,699
  9. Miniature Giant Space Hamsterplex – $42,582,979
  10. Goat Water Picture Palace – $42,550,095
  11. Po Huit’s Sweet Movie Suite – $40,224,039
  12. Darren’s Unwatched Cineplex – $39,238,157

Joanie won the week, their first win of the season, though grannanj and Vigo were close behind.  All three of them anchored on a pair of CRA screens.  After that we get into people who anchored on The Meg.  Corr had four screens of it, Ben had two, and I had three.  Go figure.

After that Happytime Murders start figuring in lineups, dragging them down, though SynCaine went all in on Mile 22, so stands out in the pack in that regard at least.

That left the overall scores for the season looking like this:

  1. Corr’s Carefully Curated Cineplex – $1,175,879,341
  2. Wilhelm’s Abyssal Pocket Playhouse – $1,125,111,970
  3. Goat Water Picture Palace – $1,108,602,352
  4. Ben’s X-Wing Express – $1,034,589,827
  5. Vigo Grimborne’s Medieval Screening Complex – $1,000,347,512
  6. SynCaine’s Dark Room of Delights – $993,182,641
  7. Miniature Giant Space Hamsterplex – $988,423,806
  8. Darren’s Unwatched Cineplex – $986,412,699
  9. Po Huit’s Sweet Movie Suite – $974,990,413
  10. Joanie’s Joint – $952,413,909
  11. Too Orangey For Crows – $950,848,424
  12. grannanj’s Cineplex – $944,483,300
  13. I HAS BAD TASTE – $890,174,972
  14. Skar’s Movies and Meat Pies – $707,708,993

Corr widened his lead against Goat and myself, though I was able to reclaim second place from Goat.  Vigo jumped up several spots on a strong performance and Joanie pushed Bhagpuss off of his hard earned tenth place spot with their week winning finish.

Now we are headed into the fourteenth and final week.  While Corr has first place locked, Goat and I are still battling over second, while fifth position still could change hands as well.

To get there we have the following choices.

Crazy Rich Asians     $460
The Meg               $204
Mission: Impossible   $143
Operation Finale      $133
Christopher Robin     $116
Searching             $111
Happytime Murders     $108
Alpha                 $97
BlacKkKlansman        $92
Mile 22               $89
Kin                   $82
Incredibles 2         $62
Ya Veremos            $56
Hotel Transylvania 3  $49
A.X.L.                $44

Falling off the list for the final week are Slender Man, Mamma Mia 2, The Equalizer 2, and Ant-Man and the Wasp.  I am a bit surprised that The Increadibles 2 held on for another week since it was the bottom pick for week thirteen.  Pixar magic I guess, as it has made the cut twelve weeks running now.  That is no Black Panther run, but it is damn good.

New this week are Operation Finale, Searching, Kin, and Ya Veremos, none of which I had heard of until I started working on this post.

Operation Finale follows the story of the Israeli abduction and trial of Adolph Eichmann in 1960.  This tale has been done before as The House on Garibaldi Street , The Man who Captured Eichmann, Eichmann, and Operation Eichmann.  The latter stands out in my mind especially since it featured Werner Klemperer as Eichmann and John Banner as Rudolph Hoess, roles made somewhat surreal due to their characters on the show Hogan’s Heroes.  I remember seeing it on TV at one point and not being able to tell if it was serious or not for quite a stretch due to the actors and how they played it.

Operation Finale was pegged at about $7 million on the last long range forecast I saw, though it was trending upward.  It should be at about 1,800 theaters in the US.

Searching is a thriller starting John Cho, of whom I am a big fan, about a father whose daughter is kidnapped and as the police find no leads he goes off after her, following her digital footprint.  A technological Taken maybe?  I don’t know, but there is no long range forecast for it, so maybe not at the Liam Neeson scale.  It is supposed to be in 1,100 theaters, expanding from just 9, and is in its second week so won’t get any boost from Thursday night previews.

Kin is… well… I will let the ad copy spell it out:

Armed with a mysterious weapon, an ex-con and his adopted teenage brother go on the run from a vengeful criminal and a gang of otherworldly soldiers.

So we have that.  It was called at $5 million on the latest long range forecast and was estimated to be in 2,100 theaters.

And then there is Ya Veremos, a Spanish language film, with no long range forecast either.  While it has done very well in Mexico foreign language films are always a bit of a wildcard here.

On top of all of that, we have a holiday weekend coming up in the US.  Viva Labor Day and all that.  Time to put away the white shoes.

That means this week fourteen is a four day haul, Friday through Monday, and the forecasts I mentioned above were only for the first three days.  Forecasts and results always get messed up on these weeks, a situation made all the worse by this being the final week of the season.  You are pretty much on your own this time around as the forecasts won’t help much.

Meanwhile, the new season starts the following weekend, so there will be a busy transition as this season wraps up a day late while the new season starts.  Expect two posts, but the new season post might be on Wednesday with the old season results showing up on Thursday.  There are only so many hours in the day to write this stuff.

Also, the plan for next season is to return to the default FML rules, including screens locking at 9am Pacific Time on Fridays, so you’ll have an extra day to pick in the hope that fewer people will forget.  If you have any thoughts on next season leave a comment here or in the FML Chatter group for the league, which is where we are also talking about scoring alternatives.

But this season still is still going, though it effectively closes on Thursday at 9am, so you have less than 24 hours to make your final picks.  Go do them!  Now!

My Monday Hot Takes picks are currently 4x The Meg and 4x A.X.L., but you know I’ll change my mind by Thursday.  I am trying to figure out who goes to the movies on Labor Day weekend.

Summer Movie League – Crazy Rich Alpha

We are done with what I referred to as the penultimate penultimate week of our Summer Fantasy Movie league.  The way the calendar worked out this season has 14 weeks, so people who thought we only had one more week to go are going to have to suffer a bit longer than expected.

Meanwhile, this week 12 was another example of how you don’t need a big blockbuster release to get ahead, you just need to believe in a title that exceeds expectations and pricing.  The options were as follows:

Crazy Rich Asians      $358
The Meg                $356
Mile 22                $296
Mission: Impossible    $193
BlacKkKlansman         $129
Christopher Robin      $128
Alpha                  $89
Slender Man            $84
The Spy who Dumped Me  $61
Mamma Mia 2            $56
Hotel Transylvania 3   $55
The Equalizer 2        $51
Ant-Man and the Wasp   $43
Incredibles 2          $39
Dog Days               $23

Despite having been let down by long range forecasts for week 11 I chose to pay attention to them yet again for week 12.  Unfortunately, despite the concept of “once burned, twice shy,” there are not a lot of other options when trying to figure out what a film is going to do.  And the long range forecasts for the week 12 releases was pretty bearish, relative to the pricing.

The best of the lot, when viewed through that lens, might have been Mile 22, and I wasn’t keen on betting heavily on Mark Wahlberg.  Just a personal preference.  Alpha seemed okay.  The range of estimates was pretty wide for it, and it didn’t seem to have much media presence.

And then there was Crazy Rich Asians which got a lot of press and had a lot of people talking, but estimates were all over the map and it was opening on Wednesday, so there would be no Thursday night previews to boost its weekend take.  The Meg would have to drop a lot for CRA to be worth the extra two bucks in pricing.

For my Monday Hot Takes pick I wasn’t buying in on any of the new releases, going with 2x The Meg, 1x The Spy Who Dumped Me, and 5x Ant-Man and the Wasp.

I wasn’t wed to that lineup, but I couldn’t think of anything better on Monday night.  And so I swapped my picks around a lot more than usual over the course of the week, including a couple of times going with the winning pick of the week, 1x CRA and 7x Alpha.

But then CRA only did $6 million on its opening night, which didn’t seem like much relative to the buzz, while The Meg did $5 million the night before.  $5 million on a Tuesday night seemed like a sign of strength, so I started making lineups with enough slack in them that I could swap out CRA and The Meg.  But I wasn’t believing in Alpha at all and, by the Thursday morning lock I had to decide between CRA and The Meg and went with The Meg mostly because I knew Corr was going with CRA and I wasn’t going to catch up with him going with the same pick.

I ended up with 2x The Meg, 1x Alpha, 5x The Incredibles 2.

Summer Movie League – My Week Twelve Picks

Friday morning, before the other leagues closed, the Thursday night previews for Mile 22 and Alpha showed up, $1 million for the former and half that for the latter.  Those were low numbers for the anticipated box office, so I swapped out Alpha for Slender Man in the remaining lineups while Corr ditched his Alpha heavy lineup.

That was a bust.  As priced Alpha needed to do about $5-6 million to be worthwhile and the previews made $4-5 million seem more likely, and then it went an did $10 million for the weekend, making it the best performer and a necessary addition to any competing lineup.

That put it ahead of the more expensive BlacKkKlansman and Christopher Robin and up with the twice as costly Mission: Impossible.  The only redeeming virtue of my lineup this week was that at least I had one screen of Alpha in it.  The perfect lineup for both leagues with and without bonuses was 1x CRA and 7x Alpha.

Summer Movie League – Week Twelve Perfect Pick

That left the week’s scores looking like this.

  1. Corr’s Carefully Curated Cineplex – $98,977,724
  2. Ben’s X-Wing Express – $98,977,724
  3. Goat Water Picture Palace – $98,977,724
  4. Too Orangey For Crows – $80,239,775
  5. Darren’s Unwatched Cineplex – $72,383,222
  6. Po Huit’s Sweet Movie Suite – $70,569,026
  7. Wilhelm’s Abyssal Pocket Playhouse – $64,164,636
  8. Joanie’s Joint – $62,948,980
  9. grannanj’s Cineplex – $60,011,452
  10. Skar’s Movies and Meat Pies – $59,303,508
  11. SynCaine’s Dark Room of Delights – $57,488,433
  12. Vigo Grimborne’s Medieval Screening Complex – $55,077,460
  13. Miniature Giant Space Hamsterplex – $45,600,034

At least 13 people remembered to pick this week, up from 10 last week.

Corr, Ben, and Goat all had the perfect pick this week, while Bhagpuss got to fourth through packing in five screens of Alpha.

After that things start to fall off.  Darren pulled off 5th place betting heavily on Christopher Robin plus a screen of Alpha.  Meanwhile Po’s mixed luck continued to haunt him.  While he got in four screens of Alpha, he anchored on two screens of the modestly performing 22 Mile and had two screens of the worst performer of the week, Dog DaysDog Days was in 16th place, behind Jurassic World, which was dropped from the list for this week.

And then there is me holding the bag, anchored on two screens of The Meg.  That 7th place finish, and my second poor week in a row, hurt my prospects for the season.

That left the overall scores looking like this:

  1. Corr’s Carefully Curated Cineplex – $1,112,991,590
  2. Goat Water Picture Palace – $1,066,052,257
  3. Wilhelm’s Abyssal Pocket Playhouse – $1,065,027,937
  4. Ben’s X-Wing Express – $973,854,397
  5. Darren’s Unwatched Cineplex – $947,174,542
  6. Miniature Giant Space Hamsterplex – $945,840,827
  7. SynCaine’s Dark Room of Delights – $943,521,942
  8. Po Huit’s Sweet Movie Suite – $934,766,374
  9. Vigo Grimborne’s Medieval Screening Complex – $929,641,294
  10. Too Orangey For Crows – $897,807,148
  11. I HAS BAD TASTE – $890,174,972
  12. Joanie’s Joint – $881,013,784
  13. grannanj’s Cineplex – $873,504,652
  14. Kraut Screens – $689,378,141
  15. Skar’s Movies and Meat Pies – $670,782,009

Corr is now solidly in first and pretty much has to forget to pick at least one of the two final weeks to be in jeopardy.  Goat pulled into second place, though they are less than a million ahead of me, a gap narrow enough that either of us could end up in second.

Ben’s performance put him into a solid fourth place this week.  I don’t think he can make it into second or third, nor do I think he is likely to be displaced from fourth unless he fails to pick.  Fifth place however looks to be the hot spot, with possibly five people in contention.

So now we are on to week 13, the real, actual penultimate week of the season, and here are our choices.

Crazy Rich Asians     $318
Happytime Murders     $264
The Meg               $201
Mile 22               $129
Mission: Impossible   $127
Christopher Robin     $106
Alpha                 $102
BlacKkKlansman        $84
A.X.L.                $58
Hotel Transylvania 3  $45
Slender Man           $40
Mamma Mia 2           $35
Ant-Man and the Wasp  $29
The Equalizer 2       $28
Incredibles 2         $27

Dropping from the list this week are the poorly performing Dog Days as well as The Spy who Dumped Me .

Replacing them on the list are The Happytime Murders and A.X.L., and for once of late I was actually aware of both movies before they showed up.

The Happytime Murders has been all over the web, especially in my Twitter feed.  It comes in the vein of Who Framed Rodger Rabbit and Cool World where there is a crossover between humans and, in this case, the muppet-like puppets. (It is directed by Jim Henson’s son after all.)  I assume it will use the darker side of the lives of puppets as its primary humor vector.  After all, the tag line is “Sex. Murder. Puppets.”

While I like Meslissa McCarthy, who stars in the film, I’d have to see something a lot more appealing that has been shown so far to put it on my list of movies to see.  The long range forecast… and those haven’t been treating me well of late… has this coming in at around $14 million, while the FML pricing this week says that somebody believes it will do less than CRA in its second week.

And then there is A.X.L., which I saw as a “coming soon” trailer before The Increadibles 2 earlier this season.  My thought then was, “this is dumb.”  The main plot, as the trailer presented it, was a teen finds a robot dog and decides to keep it, but the evil corporation that built it wants it back.  Trite, silly, and dumb.

The last long range forecast for A.X.L. has it under $2 million.  It being in 9th position at that forecast points to this likely being a fairly weak week for the box office.

Given all of that my Monday Hot Takes league pick was 2x CRA, 1x The Meg, 3x Mama Mia 2, and 2x The Incredibles 2, based largely on the fact that it spent $996 of my $1000 budget.

As usual, the league locks less than 24 hours after this post goes live, so make your picks soon.

Summer Movie League – Gonna Need a Bigger Lineup

Week eleven of our Summer Fantasy Movie League is in the can and it was the sort of week that people long for, one where a film or two exceeds expectation allowing for a big score relative to the pack… if you make the right picks.

While we are past the blockbuster portion of the summer season, this past week looked like one on which an astute pick or a gamble might let a lucky player climb up the ranks.  The choices were as follows:

The Meg                 $334
Mission: Impossible     $260
Christopher Robin       $177
Slender Man             $171
BlacKkKlansman          $84
The Spy who Dumped Me   $83
Dog Days                $69
Mamma Mia 2             $65
The Equalizer 2         $63
Hotel Transylvania 3    $62
Ant-Man and the Wasp    $52
The Darkest Minds       $38
Incredibles 2           $41
Teen Titans GO!         $31
Jurassic World          $29

Last week when I was finishing up the week ten post I felt that Slender Man was the wild card for the week.  It was based on what is now a well known meme, horror movies always surprise me, generally doing much better than I expect, it didn’t have much competition on the horror front, and the box office projections for it were all over the map, running from $9 million to $25 million.

All of that seemed to indicate that it could do well… or not… which pretty much defines a wild card.

For my Monday Hot Takes league picks though I was not willing to risk it.  I went conservative, running with 3x Mission: Impossible, 2x The Equalizer 2, and 3x Teen Titans GO! for my pick.

The other possible wild card was Spike Lee’s BlacKkKlansman, for which there was no long range forecast and no projections on Monday night when I was writing and doing my first round of picks.  It was priced by FML with the expectation that it could run to about $5-6 million, about half of what they seemed to be calling for Slender Man.

And then there was The Meg, which didn’t seem like much of a wild card at all.  Its long range forecast numbers had been sinking week after week, so that by Monday night it seemed like a toss-up as to whether it would out-perform Mission: Impossible, the latter going into its third weekend.

And I could see why projections for The Meg might be modest.  While not running with a statistically valid sample size, nobody I asked knew what The Meg was about.  I had to look it up myself on Monday night to get the brief on it.  And when I did read up on it, I wasn’t all that impressed by the idea of another shark movie in a world where the Sharknado series, set to release the sixth and promised last installment in the franchise, seemed to have sucked all the oxygen out of the shark tank.

I mean, I love me some Jason Statham, but I wasn’t sure he was going to be enough to carry The Meg very far given my perceived obstacles.

So I did my Monday night picks and felt I needed to keep an eye on Slender Man to see if it was going to hit the high end of expectations or not.  That was the anchor to which I was expecting I might swap.

The movie news sites seem to be past their summer box office obsession now that the blockbusters have passed as well.  It wasn’t until Wednesday that Box Office Pro showed up with some forecasts, and they only deigned to call a top five rather than the ten they were doing earlier in the season.

But in that top five there was BlacKkKlansman estimated at $12 million, ahead of Slender Man, which was only in for $10 million in their estimate.  If true, that made the Spike Lee film very much under-priced and a very likely candidate for the best performer of the week.  It was also clearly going to be the filler of choice, delivering the most box office for the buck.

They were less enthusiastic about The Meg however, calling it at just shy of Mission: Impossible, the latter expected to top the week.

So I swapped by lineup around, going with 2x Mission: Impossible, 5x BlacKkKlansman, and 1x Ant-Man and the Wasp.

Summer Movie League – My Week Eleven Picks

Box Office Pro tends to be a bit optimistic on its calls, so I felt that my other plan, 1x Mission: Impossible, 7x BlacKkKlansman might not be optimal for a league with no best performer bonus.  However, that pick went to all my other leagues.

That is where I left things until I saw the Thursday night preview estimates pop up on Twitter.  Actually, I only saw one estimate before lock time for all of the other leagues, the estimate for The Meg, which was $4 million.

That seemed like a lot.

There is always the question as to how much one should value the Thursday night previews, with talk of multipliers between 5x and 8x depending on a range of factors.  But I was thinking that if Mission: Impossible did $6 million in its preview and topped $60 million, then The Meg was most certainly going to get well past the meager $20 million forecasts.

And so, minutes before the final lock, I swapped all my still unlocked leagues to 1x The Meg and 7x BlacKkKlansman.

And then, of course, The Meg did $45 million for the weekend, more than double Mission: Impossible.  Warner Bros. did a last minute social media campaign that helped lift it past modest projections.  The Meg was the way to go, with the optimum pick for the league being 2x The Meg, 3x BlacKkKlansman, 1x The Incredibles 2, 1x The Darkest Minds, and an empty screen!

Summer Movie League – Week Eleven Perfect Pick

A perfect pick with an empty screen is a pretty rare bird, so it isn’t surprising that nobody went for it, and only two people were on board with The Meg, leaving the scores for the week looking like this:

  1. Corr’s Carefully Curated Cineplex – $121,319,505
  2. Goat Water Picture Palace – $97,034,466
  3. Wilhelm’s Abyssal Pocket Playhouse – $97,034,466
  4. Joanie’s Joint – $90,687,957
  5. Po Huit’s Sweet Movie Suite – $81,631,751
  6. Too Orangey For Crows – $78,904,468
  7. Miniature Giant Space Hamsterplex – $74,657,452
  8. Darren’s Unwatched Cineplex – $73,483,913
  9. SynCaine’s Dark Room of Delights – $68,495,990
  10. Ben’s X-Wing Express – $55,706,528

Only ten people got their picks in for the week, which I think is a new low.  Ah well.

Corr won the week, with Goat and I tied for second with the same pick.  The tables were turned from last week, when Corr and I different in lineup only on the main anchor.  I chose right that time, going with Mission: Impossible over Christopher Robin.  This time he got the anchor right.

Meanwhile Po, who went with The Meg as anchor as well, was pulled down by betting heavily on the under-performing Dog Days. which was in seventh spot for pricing but ended up in twelfth for box office.

Slender Man, while about spot-on for the price, was not a good option in the face of two over performing titles.  So much for my wildcard theory.

The scores for the season now look like this:

  1. Corr’s Carefully Curated Cineplex – $1,014,013,866
  2. Wilhelm’s Abyssal Pocket Playhouse – $1,000,863,301
  3. Goat Water Picture Palace – $967,074,533
  4. Miniature Giant Space Hamsterplex – $900,240,793
  5. I HAS BAD TASTE – $890,174,972
  6. SynCaine’s Dark Room of Delights – $886,033,509
  7. Ben’s X-Wing Express – $874,876,673
  8. Darren’s Unwatched Cineplex – $874,791,320
  9. Vigo Grimborne’s Medieval Screening Complex – $874,563,834
  10. Po Huit’s Sweet Movie Suite – $864,197,348
  11. Joanie’s Joint – $818,064,804
  12. Too Orangey For Crows – $817,567,373
  13. grannanj’s Cineplex – $813,493,200
  14. Kraut Screens – $689,378,141
  15. Paks’ Pancakes & Pics – $641,653,028
  16. Biyondios! Kabuki & Cinema – $639,347,136
  17. Skar’s Movies and Meat Pies – $611,478,501
  18. aria82’s Cineplex – $605,936,381

I am going to have to go back and note, for the final season scores, how many weeks people missed.  The cut to make the list this week was $600 million.  Next week I think it will be $700 million.

Last week I was $10 million ahead of Corr.  This week he is now $13 million ahead of me.  Again, we can see how quickly that close of a lead can change, though it does require the leader to make a mistake, so I am depending on Corr to blow it if I am to have a chance.

All of which brings us to week twelve of the season, the choices for which are:

Crazy Rich Asians      $358
The Meg                $356
Mile 22                $296
Mission: Impossible    $193
BlacKkKlansman         $129
Christopher Robin      $128
Alpha                  $89
Slender Man            $84
The Spy who Dumped Me  $61
Mamma Mia 2            $56
Hotel Transylvania 3   $55
The Equalizer 2        $51
Ant-Man and the Wasp   $43
Incredibles 2          $39
Dog Days               $23

This week sees Jurassic World, Teen Titans GO!, and The Darkest Minds fall off the list.

Coming in we have Crazy Rich Asians, Mile 22, and Alpha.

Crazy Rich Asians, another comdey-drama, this time set at a rich wedding in Singapore. It leads the pack in pricing this week, though only by a hair. The last long range forecast has it running at about $15 million for the week, though it has been trending up. Either somebody thinks it is going to do significantly better than that or they think that The Meg, priced two dollars less, is going to drop precipitously from its $45 million week eleven opening. In addition, Crazy Rich Asians opens today, so there will be no Thursday night previews to pile onto the weekend total, but we’ll be able to see how it does on its opening night before the league closes.

Mile 22 is Marky Mark back as an action hero. There is also John Malkovich in it as well.  Mark Wahlberg always strikes me as a stand-in for a real action hero, like he is somebody you go with when your first choice isn’t available.  But that might just be me.  Anyway, this is supposed to be the launch of a new action franchise, if the film does well. Long range forecasts had it at $18 million for the weekend, which I guess either means that such forecasts aren’t really worth mentioning or that the people who do FML pricing have better sources than I do (most likely the latter), because it looks like somebody thinks it will only do 83% of what Crazy Rich Asians will make over the weekend.

And then there is Alpha, a prehistoric tale of a boy and his dog. Seriously. It is about an ice age hunter who befriends a wolf. Early estimates put it in for around $7-10 million.  That puts it awkwardly in the crowded high end filler section.

Which leaves me trying to decipher the FML late summer pricing strategy. Last week FML got it badly wrong on two films, and while they have given BlacKkKlansman the usual over-perfomers pricing punishment I cannot figure out the plan for The Meg.

If The Meg drops 60% from its opening, which would be a big drop, it still lands at around $27 million, which is more than any estimate I can find for Crazy Rich Asians. Is The Meg a one-week-wonder, destined to collapse completely? I don’t know, but for my Monday Hot Takes picks I wasn’t inclined to believe that, so I went with 2x The Meg, 1x The Spy Who Dumped Me, and 5x Ant-Man and the Wasp. File that under “things that make sense on Monday night.”

But now it is Wednesday morning and the league is going to lock in less than 24 hours so be sure to go and make your picks.

Summer Movie League – Silly Old Bear

Week ten of our Summer Fantasy Movie League is done and gone.

This week saw a match up between a new release and a title in its second week with the choices looking like this:

Christopher Robin        $513
Mission: Impossible      $512
The Spy who Dumped Me    $268
The Darkest Minds        $154
Mamma Mia 2              $136
The Equalizer 2          $126
Hotel Transylvania 3     $131
Teen Titans GO!          $93 
Ant-Man and the Wasp     $88
Incredibles 2            $76
Jurassic World           $70
Death of a Nation        $55
Skyscraper               $45
Eighth Grade             $32
The First Purge          $16

The pricing indicates that somebody at FML expected Christopher Robin to best Mission: Impossible, if only by a small amount. So for the top end anchors it depended on whether or not you believed FML or not.

I was not buying the FML line however, at least not at the start of the week. My Monday Hot Takes pick anchored on Mission: Impossible, followed up by six screens of The Incredibles 2, with the last slot taken up by Eight Grade.

And then it was something of a busy week and I spaced a bit on the movie front and forgot to change anything up before Thursday morning at 9am Pacific Time, when the TAGN League locked. So my Monday picks were also my Thursday picks.

Summer Movie League – My Week Ten Picks

Of course, about an hour later I realized that I had missed my window for change on the TAGN League, but figured I had better do some poking about for the Friday leagues. One thing that came up over at Box Office Mojo was that Eighth Grade was getting a much bigger theater expansion that was expected, going from 158 to almost 1,100, which made it suddenly look like a a shoe-in for best performer of the week.

I was also coming around on Christopher Robin. Box Office Pro seemed to think it was going to be close between Christopher Robin and Mission: Impossible, so I flopped over to CR, put seven screens of Eighth Grade behind it, then removed one and replaced it with the highest value title that would fit, which turned out to be The Spy Who Dumped Me and copied that to all my remaining lineups.

My picking methodology exposed.

But I just couldn’t stick with CR and flipped back, replacing it with Mission: Impossible and called it closed just before the wire on Friday morning.

As it turned out my gut pick for Mission: Impossible was correct, giving me about $10 million over CR. My TAGN pick wasn’t perhaps what I would have gone with by Thursday, but it was anchored on Mission: Impossible as well and without bonuses the fact that I wasn’t all-in on Eighth Grade didn’t really matter.

The perfect pick for the week ended up being 1x Mission: Impossible, 1x The Equalizier 2, 3x Ant-Man and the Wasp, and 3x Eight Grade.

Summer Movie League – Week Ten Perfect Pick

Nobody in the league got the perfect pick this week.  The scores for the week ended up like this:

  1. Goat Water Picture Palace – $71,097,943
  2. Wilhelm’s Abyssal Pocket Playhouse – $68,056,099
  3. Skar’s Movies and Meat Pies – $66,159,041
  4. Darren’s Unwatched Cineplex – $65,268,895
  5. Vigo Grimborne’s Medieval Screening Complex – $64,376,188
  6. SynCaine’s Dark Room of Delights – $63,914,522
  7. Ben’s X-Wing Express – $63,147,833
  8. I HAS BAD TASTE – $60,660,286
  9. Corr’s Carefully Curated Cineplex – $58,689,526
  10. grannanj’s Cineplex – $56,781,124
  11. Po Huit’s Sweet Movie Suite – $48,786,336
  12. Joanie’s Joint – $47,808,556
  13. Too Orangey For Crows – $46,688,999

I decided just to list people who made their pick on any given week, so that list may vary in size relative to the overall score, where I am listing everybody who hasn’t totally disappeared.

Goat got the top spot and, through much of the weekend looked like they had the perfect pick as well.  But come the final numbers a different lineup took the honors.  I managed second and wasn’t too far behind.

The top three all anchored on Mission: Impossible, but amongst the first eight there were people who anchored on Mama Mia 2 and Hotel Transylvania 3 who were competitive.

Those who anchored on Christopher Robin or The Spy Who Dumped Me fell to the back of the pack, with the poor performing The Darkest Minds acting as an extra anchor on a couple of people.

That left the overall scores for the season looking like this:

  1. Wilhelm’s Abyssal Pocket Playhouse – $903,828,835
  2. Corr’s Carefully Curated Cineplex – $892,694,361
  3. I HAS BAD TASTE – $876,537,592
  4. Goat Water Picture Palace – $870,040,067
  5. Vigo Grimborne’s Medieval Screening Complex – $847,579,299
  6. Miniature Giant Space Hamsterplex – $825,583,341
  7. Ben’s X-Wing Express – $819,170,145
  8. SynCaine’s Dark Room of Delights – $817,537,519
  9. Darren’s Unwatched Cineplex – $801,307,407
  10. Po Huit’s Sweet Movie Suite – $782,565,597
  11. grannanj’s Cineplex – $781,282,567
  12. Too Orangey For Crows – $738,662,905
  13. Joanie’s Joint – $727,376,847
  14. Kraut Screens – $689,378,141
  15. Paks’ Pancakes & Pics – $641,653,028
  16. Biyondios! Kabuki & Cinema – $639,347,136
  17. aria82’s Cineplex – $605,936,381
  18. Skar’s Movies and Meat Pies – $586,269,435

Corr and I went on different paths for anchors, with Corr choosing Christopher Robin over Mission: Impossible, though at least in one league we had otherwise identical picks.  That put a little more daylight between Corr and I, though we are still close enough that either could end up ahead for the season.

Likewise, Isey in third place is not out of the running, nor is Goat with a couple more winning weeks.  But beyond the top four somebody has to win very big while the top four makes some extremely poor picks in order to win the season.

There are only four more weeks left, and week eleven has the following options:

The Meg                 $334
Mission: Impossible     $260
Christopher Robin       $177
Slender Man             $171
BlacKkKlansman          $84
The Spy who Dumped Me   $83
Dog Days                $69
Mamma Mia 2             $65
The Equalizer 2         $63
Hotel Transylvania 3    $62
Ant-Man and the Wasp    $52
The Darkest Minds       $38
Incredibles 2           $41
Teen Titans GO!         $31
Jurassic World          $29

This week we lose Skyscraper, The First Purge, Eighth Grade, and the unfortunate Death of a Nation off the list of options.

In their place we have The Meg, Slender Man, BlacKkKlansman, and the aptly named for this time of year Dog Days. Were are certainly in the dog days of summer around here.

The Meg is not, as I first thought, a movie version of The Mick. This is the sort of logical jump your brain makes when you leave reruns of The Simpsons running in the background on FX while you build up a new computer; the commercials seep into your brain. The title actually refers to the star of the movie, a 23 meter long prehistoric shark known as the Megalodon.

So, yes, it is a Jaws knock-off, with its twist being the shark is really, really big.  It is practically Jurassic Shark.

But Jason Statham is the co-star, so I am going to guess that he catches the shark by going to its house, opening its front door a crack, ringing the doorbell then, when he sees the peephole darken, he kicks the door in, stunning the beast and proceeding to beat the shit out of it.  Also, there is a car chase.  I’d watch that on TV on a Friday night, but I am not sure I need to see it on the big screen.

Then there is Slender Man, which I thought was Slenderman, but I guess either usage is okay. Originating as a meme on Something Awful, the Slender Man has made it to the big screen, though it has been referenced in things from Minecraft to My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic. The plot sums up as two girls investigating the disappearance of a friend who then end up being haunter by the Slender Man. That might sound familiar due to the 2014 case where two girls obsessed with Slender Man attempted to murder a friend to appease the made up horror. There is an HBO documentary about that.

BlacKkKlansman is Spike Lee film about the first African-American detective in the Colorado Springs Police Department who sets out to infiltrate the local Ku Klux Klan to expose them for what they are.

And finally there is Dog Days, tagged as a comedy-drama, which follows four people and explores how their dogs influence their lives. It was directed by Dan Marino, who has been in many things over the years, but whom I mostly associate with the now 25 years in the past show The State.

I suppose you can tell by my descriptions that I am not excited for anything showing up this week, though I imagine that the internet fame of Slender Man, and the lack of recent summer horror films in the options, might make it exceed expectations.  But it is a real wild card, and the long range tracking for it has been trending down sharply, currently standing at about $15 million, but with a possible range as high as $25 million.

The Meg, which is expected to open on almost four thousand screens, is estimated to pull in almost $24 million for the weekend, while Dog Days is shooting for a modest $4 million and BlacKkKlansman has no revenue estimate at the moment, but should open on about 1,500 screens.

So my Monday Hot Takes league pick is a conservative one, going with 3x Mission: Impossible, 2x Equalizer 2, and 3x Teen Titans GO!.  But if the vibe for Slender Man picks up this week, I might swap to 5x Slender Man, 2x Ant-Man, and 1x The Incredibles 2 before the Thursday lock.  I think that is the “go for broke” play this week.

As always, the Thursday lock is less than 24 hours from when this post goes live, so make your picks soon!

Summer Movie League – Tom Cruises

Week nine is now in the books for our Summer Fantasy Movie League.  It is also August and it feels like the end of summer is looming now.

This past week saw what one might consider the last real blockbuster of the season hit theaters. Box office expectations for new releases going forward are considerably more modest. But, in reality, a $30 million opening weekend is very good for most films.

Anyway, this week saw the following choices.

Mission: Impossible        $756
Mamma Mia 2                $227
The Equalizer 2            $201
Hotel Transylvania 3       $157
Teen Titans GO!            $149
Ant-Man and the Wasp       $116 
Incredibles 2              $89
Jurassic World             $76
Skyscraper                 $61
Blindspotting              $41
The First Purge            $28
Eighth Grade               $26
Unfriended 2               $18
Sorry to Bother You        $18
Three Identical Strangers  $16

Another installment in the Mission: Impossible franchise was clearly going to rule the box office. And, from what I have heard, the film was a good entry in the series, living up to the action expectations previously set. But was it worth three quarters of your weekly budget for a single screen?

On Monday I thought it was. For the Monday Hot Takes league I went with 1x Mission: Impossible, 2x Jurassic World, and 5x Sorry To Bother You. I then copied that pick to all of my leagues, which I do every Monday just to be sure I don’t end up with a “no pick” entry if I forget to check back before things lock.

If I has stopped there, or went into a coma five days, or otherwise left my picks alone for the rest of the week, I would have been pretty well set. Mission: Impossible ended up being the anchor for the perfect pick for the bonus-free TAGN league. If I had gone with Unfriended 2 rather than Sorry to Bother You, competing $18 picks, I would have been in first place.

Summer Movie League – Week Nine Perfect Pick

And, as it was, I would have been tied for first with Vigo, who also went with my Monday pick. But then I went off and researched the week, read updates and forecasts and all that, and messed everything up.

Which isn’t to say that research is bad. There have been weeks when last minute data has made obvious the right pick. I remember the week last summer when 8x Baby Driver was the go-to once the Thursday night previews were announced just before the league locked.

But there are weeks when research just messes with your head, where there isn’t a clear enough path so you start second guessing yourself, which is what I managed to do for the rest of the week.

I had, based on some reading in FML chatter, most notably the Bonus Bar discussion, decided that Mission: Impossible really needed to be close to $70 million in order to be worth the price as an anchor. I was wrong on that, clearly, since it made the cut with around $60 million. But I arrived at that number mostly by over estimating how much everything else was going to do. I set targets as to how much a potential anchor pick is going to have to make to be worthwhile, but sometimes in making that guess I mentally anchor my view of its potential there, even if I am just pulling that number out of my hindquarters.

Looking at possible anchors I got a bit fixated on The Equalizer 2. With Mission: Impossible tracking between $50-60 million, I could get four screens of Denzel for almost the same price as a screen of Tom Cruise and would come out close or possibly ahead in the bargain. I didn’t think Mamma Mia 2 was going to hold up any better, certainly not enough to be worth the price, and I remain simply biased against Hotel Transylvania.

And then there was Teen Titans GO! Given the holy war between fans of Teen Titans and fans of Teen Titans Go!, I was not prepared to go anywhere near that title. Add in the fourth wall breaking nature of the movie, wherein the Teen Titans want to star in a movie, and I was well past any hope for that as an option.

Come the Thursday morning lock for the TAGN league I was in for 4x The Equalizer 2, 1x The Incredibles 2, 1x Skyscraper, 1x The First Purge, and 1x Sorry to Bother You.

Summer Movie League – My Week Nine Picks

Normally I follow the strategy of trying to keep the number of different titles in my pick as low as possible. That was in a new player guide I read back when I started, where it said that winning lineups rarely exceed 4 different titles. But then last week’s perfect pick for the TAGN league had six titles in it, so I was ready to go in with more titles to spend as much of my budget as possible.

There I was, locked in, when Box Office Pro published their weekend forecast, and they were calling Teen Titans GO! at $17.5 million. I had already figured that anywhere north of $14 million or so would make that pick the only possible anchor, so now it was Thursday afternoon and I felt I had missed a huge opportunity. But I still had the remaining leagues that locked on Friday morning. I changed over to a 6x Teen Titans anchored lineup and copied it to all of those leagues. At least I wouldn’t be left out there.

And then, of course, Teen Titans GO! ended up making $10.4 million. Six screens still kept you not that far from the leaders, at least in the TAGN league, but it wasn’t the resounding victory that Box Office Pro predicted.

Meanwhile, my Thursday pick, anchored on The Equalizer 2, kept me ahead of those on the Teen Titans GO! bus, but only just barely. Then there was my Monday pick which, as I said, I would have been better off sticking with and eschewing any research. And so it goes.

The scores for the week shook out as follows:

  1. Vigo Grimborne’s Medieval Screening Complex – $81,564,959
  2. Goat Water Picture Palace – $81,258,669
  3. Corr’s Carefully Curated Cineplex – $77,772,503
  4. I HAS BAD TASTE – $76,212,668
  5. Wilhelm’s Abyssal Pocket Playhouse – $72,267,827
  6. Too Orangey For Crows – $71,412,269
  7. Ben’s X-Wing Express – $71,412,269
  8. SynCaine’s Dark Room of Delights – $70,920,659
  9. grannanj’s Cineplex – $70,169,864
  10. Darren’s Unwatched Cineplex – $69,609,716
  11. Skar’s Movies and Meat Pies – $66,702,069
  12. Miniature Giant Space Hamsterplex – $62,286,338
  13. Joanie’s Joint – $65,895,544
  14. Po Huit’s Sweet Movie Suite – $65,030,230

Only 14 people picked this week, and FML isn’t displaying all the people who forgot, so I’ll just list out those who did pick.

As noted, Vigo went with the winning anchor, betting on Mission: Impossible and two screens of Jurassic World. Of the top four, only Corr had something different, going with three screens of Hotel Transylvania 3.

Then there was me and me bet on Denzel, which put me a step ahead of the next three on the list, who were all anchored up on Teen Titans GO!, which SynCaine having what ended up being my Friday pick.

After that people were dragged down by unfortunate filler choices, with Blindspotting being the dead weight of the week, the worst price/performer.

That left the overall standings looking like this:

  1. Wilhelm’s Abyssal Pocket Playhouse – $835,772,736
  2. Corr’s Carefully Curated Cineplex – $834,004,835
  3. I HAS BAD TASTE – $815,877,306
  4. Goat Water Picture Palace – $798,942,124
  5. Miniature Giant Space Hamsterplex – $798,312,590
  6. Vigo Grimborne’s Medieval Screening Complex – $783,203,111
  7. Ben’s X-Wing Express – $756,022,312
  8. SynCaine’s Dark Room of Delights – $753,622,997
  9. Darren’s Unwatched Cineplex – $736,038,512
  10. Po Huit’s Sweet Movie Suite – $733,779,261
  11. grannanj’s Cineplex – $724,501,443
  12. Too Orangey For Crows – $691,973,906
  13. Kraut Screens – $688,649,141
  14. Joanie’s Joint – $679,568,291
  15. Paks’ Pancakes & Pics – $641,653,028
  16. Biyondios! Kabuki & Cinema – $639,347,136
  17. aria82’s Cineplex – $605,936,381
  18. Skar’s Movies and Meat Pies – $520,110,394

I remain just baby steps ahead of Corr, with the gap between us just short of $1.8 million.  That is as close as makes no difference, and with five weeks left to go there is plenty of time for somebody to secure a lead.

I will have to go back and check, but I think what really differentiates the top five in the season so far is that none of us have missed a week nor had a really bad pick so far.

Which brings us to week ten.  The options for the week are:

Christopher Robin        $513
Mission: Impossible      $512
The Spy who Dumped Me    $268
The Darkest Minds        $154
Mamma Mia 2              $136
The Equalizer 2          $126
Hotel Transylvania 3     $131
Teen Titans GO!          $93 
Ant-Man and the Wasp     $88
Incredibles 2            $76
Jurassic World           $70
Death of a Nation        $55
Skyscraper               $45
Eighth Grade             $32
The First Purge          $16

We say farewell to Blindspotting, Unfriended 2, Sorry to Bother You, and Three Identical Strangers.

Taking their places are Christopher Robin, The Spy who Dumped Me, The Darkest Minds, and Death of a Nation.

I am torn on Christopher Robin.  On the one hand, Winnie the Pooh was a staple of my childhood, both the original books and the Disney movies.  I can still know the lyrics to I’m a Little Black Rain Cloud and such.  But do I care about adult Christopher Robin, even one played by Ewan McGregor, having stuffed animal flash backs?  Isn’t that more of a Seth McFarland sort of thing?  Is that enough to dethrone Ethan Hunt and the Impossible Mission Force?  CR was forecast for about $30 million, so all Mission Impossible has to do is drop less than 50% in the first week to be worth the extra dollar.

I have no such conflict over The Spy Who Dumped me.  The premise is only so-so, the is cast bland, and the reviews are not promising.  Still, there are not a lot of comedies on the list right now, at least non-musical ones.  The long range forecast was $16 million, but had been trending down.  Still probably good for $14 million though.

If I understand the story correctly, The Darkest Minds is essentially an X-Men movie featuring young mutants without a Dr. Xavier to guide them.  Long range forecasts had this at $9 million.

And then there is Death of a Nation.  What to even say about this?  The poster… and I gather the movie itself… attempts to equate Donald Trump with Abraham Lincoln.  I guess the #MAGA crowd found their own version of Michael Moore.   Opening on more than a thousand screens, at least this kills the idea that the media is controlled by liberals.  A red state wild card I suppose, and maybe a barometer for the upcoming mid-term elections this November, but otherwise not a promising pick to my mind.

Given all that, my Monday Hot Takes picks were 1x Mission: Impossible, 6x The Incredibles 2, 1x Eighth Grade.  Betting it all on Tom, Pixar, and the filler that happened to fit.  Still, I am looking at Mama Mia 2 as a possible.  It had a big fall for week two, but people keep comparing it to Book Club when it comes to audience, so if it could soften its fall in week three and pull maybe $8 million, it could be a real contender.

As usual, the TAGN league locks in less than 24 hours from this post, so get your picks in now!

Summer Movie League – Board of Equalization

With week eight of our Summer Fantasy Movie League complete we are officially into the back half of this fourteen week run.

While we are past the $100 million launches, there are still a whole string of new films waiting to hit the screens while the early blockbusters hang on week after week. For week eight we had the following choices.

Mamma Mia 2               $526
The Equalizer 2           $403
Hotel Transylvania 3      $334
Ant-Man and the Wasp      $210
Skyscraper                $167
Incredibles 2             $149
Jurassic World            $135
Unfriended 2              $103
The First Purge           $61
Sorry to Bother You       $42
Sicario 2                 $29
Ocean's 8                 $24
Leave No Trace            $23
Uncle Drew                $21
Won't You Be My Neighbor  $20

As I noted, ten out of the fifteen films on the list are sequels, which I am sure says something. And the top new choices on the list also added to the sequel count, with Mama Mia 2 expecting to to the box office, followed by The Equalizer 2. After that we were into more sequels, with Skyscraper being the only anchor choice without an antecedent… and I am sure that it being the only original story in that group says something as well.

For the Monday Hot Takes league I decided to anchor once again on The Incredibles 2 again. However, as the week wore on a bit, I decided to break my five week affair with The Incredibles 2 and hop over to Jurassic World in my lineup. For the last few weeks the two films have been incredibly… erm… very close in box office result, and with Jurassic World cheaper again this week, I made the jump.

However, with my lineup of 7x Jurassic World and 1x Sicario 2, I felt like I hadn’t spent my money as well as I might have. So I swapped out Sicario 2 and a screen of Jurassic World for Skyscraper at the top and Leave No Trace at the bottom.

That was a mistake.

Not a huge, week wrecking mistake mind you, but not my best choice. My logic was that Skyscraper, after a disappointing opening, might at least have a soft landing for its second week, coming in ahead of The Incredibles 2 and Jurassic World. No such luck however, as it ended up doing about the same as the cheaper Jurassic World and less than The Incredibles 2. Though I will say Skyscraper did about what I budgeted for. It was the dinos and Parr family that beat my expectations.

Summer Movie League – My Week Eight Picks

Meanwhile, Leave No Trace was a gamble on good reviews and word of mouth and a hope that it would expand into many more theaters than the 311 it was in last week. However the theater count only rose by 50 and word of mouth wasn’t enough, so it ended up in sixteenth place for the week. Basically, anything else I could have put in that slot would have been a better choice. Still, at least it wasn’t the worst performer for the money. That honor went to Unfriended 2 though Uncle Drew was close on its heels and they traded positions a couple of times.

But at least I had the dinos. Jurassic World (and The Incredibles 2) lost very few screens and were still enough of a draw to keep my lineup alive. The winner of the week though was The Equalizer 2.

As the estimates came in it looked like Mama Mia 2 was on track for about the expected amount, somewhere around $35 million, despite an inexplicably savage review by Rex Reed. I mean, there are some lukewarm words about the film over on Metacritic, and there there is the big fat zero from Rex Reed. Not an ABBA fan I guess.

The surprise of the week was Equalizer 2 which, rather than loafing behind Mama Mia 2 by $6-8 million as expected, was running neck-in-neck with its musical, eventually passing it to take the top slot for the week, a performance that also made it the best performer in leagues that give a bonus for that. Not the TAGN league for sure.

Still, its run away box office made it the optimum anchor for the week in any league. It headed up the perfect pick for the TAGN league, which ended up being 2x Equalizer 2, 1x The First Purge, 1x Sorry to Bother You, 1x Sicario 2, 3x Won’t You Be My Neighbor.

Summer Movie League – Week Eight Perfect Pick

The scores for the week ended up as:

  1. Miniature Giant Space Hamsterplex – $84,297,170
  2. Wilhelm’s Abyssal Pocket Playhouse – $79,863,521
  3. Corr’s Carefully Curated Cineplex – $79,339,103
  4. I HAS BAD TASTE – $79,339,103
  5. Paks’ Pancakes & Pics – $77,556,503
  6. Joanie’s Joint – $70,923,433
  7. Too Orangey For Crows – $69,612,552
  8. Biyondios! Kabuki & Cinema – $68,524,263
  9. Goat Water Picture Palace – $64,255,715
  10. SynCaine’s Dark Room of Delights – $60,741,210
  11. grannanj’s Cineplex – $59,822,230
  12. Ben’s X-Wing Express – $46,953,336
  13. Po Huit’s Sweet Movie Suite – $44,638,270
  14. Kraut Screens – $39,318,422 (did not pick)
  15. Vigo Grimborne’s Medieval Screening Complex – $38,186,929 (did not pick)
  16. Darren’s Unwatched Cineplex – $37,555,835 (did not pick)
  17. aria82’s Cineplex – $26,248,436 (did not pick)

Hampsterplex was the only one to go with two screens of The Equalizer 2 as their anchor and so won the week.

After that was me and the dinos followed very closely by Corr and I HAS BAD TASTE who both went with six screens of The Incredibles 2 as their anchor.

Pak was in the running for second anchoring on three screens of Ant-Man and the Wasp.

But after that the scores starting falling off with mixtures of Hotel Transylvania 3 and Mama Mia 2 dragging people down. And then the filler started dragging people down, with Po getting the worst of it by riding on six screens of Unfriended 2. Ouch. And then there were people who didn’t pick. Is it the early cut off, the fact that it is summer, or a loss of interest that is causing us to see so many missed picks this season?

That left the overall scores looking like this:

  1. Wilhelm’s Abyssal Pocket Playhouse – $763,504,908
  2. Corr’s Carefully Curated Cineplex – $756,232,332
  3. I HAS BAD TASTE – $739,664,638
  4. Miniature Giant Space Hamsterplex – $736,026,252
  5. Goat Water Picture Palace – $717,683,449
  6. Vigo Grimborne’s Medieval Screening Complex – $701,638,152
  7. Ben’s X-Wing Express – $684,610,043
  8. Kraut Screens – $683,116,941
  9. SynCaine’s Dark Room of Delights – $682,702,338
  10. Po Huit’s Sweet Movie Suite – $668,749,031
  11. Darren’s Unwatched Cineplex – $666,428,796
  12. grannanj’s Cineplex – $654,331,579
  13. Paks’ Pancakes & Pics – $641,653,028
  14. Biyondios! Kabuki & Cinema – $636,639,570
  15. Too Orangey For Crows – $620,561,633
  16. Joanie’s Joint – $613,672,747
  17. aria82’s Cineplex – $605,936,381

I managed to hold the top spot, tip-toeing a millimeter or two further ahead of Corr. But the big change at the top was Vigo, whose failure to pick dropped him back a few spots. At this point staying in the top five is as much a matter of picking every week as it is getting a good win, though not getting a sour lineup does help.

But there are still six weeks left to go! Still plenty of time for anybody ahead of you to screw up, starting with the week nine lineup.

Mission: Impossible        $756
Mamma Mia 2                $227
The Equalizer 2            $201
Hotel Transylvania 3       $157
Teen Titans GO!            $149
Ant-Man and the Wasp       $116 
Incredibles 2              $89
Jurassic World             $76
Skyscraper                 $61
Blindspotting              $41
The First Purge            $28
Eighth Grade               $26
Unfriended 2               $18
Sorry to Bother You        $18
Three Identical Strangers  $16

This week we lose Sicario 2, Ocean’s 8, Uncle Drew, Won’t You Be My Neighbor, and Leave No Trace off the end of the list.

Dominating the list this week is the return of Tom Cruise to his Ethan Hunt role in Mission: Impossible – Fallout 76.  While not expected to come close to the $100 million mark with its opening, it is tracking for a good $60 million, which is nothing to sneeze at in the middle summer market.  And it is really the last BIG opening this summer.  But if you anchor on it you’re off to picking inexpensive filler.

Also at the upper end up the list is Teen Titans GO! to the Movies.  When we saw the trailer for this I said to my daughter, “You used to watch that.” which got an icy response of, “I used to watch Teen Titans, NOT Teen Titans Go!”  Pardon my ignorance.   While it is a youth focused movie opening in the summer market, it only comes up in fifth place, tracking for somewhere around $15 million.

Further down the list is Blindspotting, a crime thriller set in Oakland, which has good press but opened on only 14 screens last week, so needs to expand quite a bit to contend this week.

Then there is Eighth Grade, which follows a girl during his last week in middle school before moving on to high school.  It has been out for two weeks already, has good press, and did better than Blindspotting last week on 33 screens.  Again, its performance this week depends largely on how much it expands.

And finally there is the return of Three Identical Strangers to the list.  Had this been on the list last week it would have beat Won’t You Be My Neighbor and Leave No Trace.  Coming into its fifth week, I assume it is expected to expand onto more screens to justify its return over a title like Sicario 2.

Given those choices my Monday Hot Takes league picks were 1x Mission: Impossible, 2x Jurassic World, and 5x Sorry to Bother You.  My thought is that a film like Mission: Impossible is landing on fertile ground this week with, with only The Equalizer 2 offering up an alternative action option, so it could very well.  Still, The Equalizer 2 is cheap, so Tom Cruise needs to suppress the opposition as well as exceed expectations to be worthwhile.

We shall see if I hold to that position all the way to the Thursday morning lock time.

And, speaking of lock time, the league locks less than 24 hours after this post, so go make your picks now!