Tag Archives: Summer Movie League

Summer Movie League – The Final Cut

Our Summer Fantasy Movie League has come to and end.  It is now time to tally up the final scores.

As these things sometimes go, the final week was a mild affair.  While we got a four day weekend for the 13th week, there were no big new titles for Labor Day.  That left us all piecing together lineups from 14 movies we had all worked with before, with one minor new title that showed up at the bottom of the pricing list.

As a holiday, the Labor Day weekend seemed to be looking longingly back at summer rather than forward towards the coming of autumn.  And nostalgia never pays off quite as well as the first big rush, so the week ended up with moderate scores.  In the question on which title to anchor on, Angel has Fallen or Good Boys, the answer for the perfect pick turned out to be two of each, with 4x Spider-man: Far From Home, the best performer of the week, rounding out the lineup.  That was good for a little past $90 million.  However, none of us went that route and the scores for the week ended up looking like this.

  1. SynCaine’s Dark Room of Delights – $76,603,372
  2. Joanie’s Joint – $74,977,924
  3. Vigo Grimborne’s Medieval Screening Complex – $74,253,384
  4. Too Orangey For Crows – $73,628,176
  5. Cyanbane’s Neuticles Viewing Party – $72,245,584
  6. Wilhelm’s Qeynosian Kinetoscope – $70,318,741
  7. Conical Effort – $69,904,101
  8. Miniature Giant Space Hamsterplex – $68,145,628
  9. Po Huit’s Sweet Movie Suite – $62,206,360
  10. grannanj’s Cineplex – $25,166,100

It was a conservative week and the only outlier was Po, who went all-in on The Overcomer in hopes of a big score.  That did not come to pass.

And with that, we have the final scores for the season.

  1. Wilhelm’s Qeynosian Kinetoscope – $1,199,390,085
  2. Too Orangey For Crows – $1,178,588,387
  3. SynCaine’s Dark Room of Delights – $1,089,791,074
  4. Cyanbane’s Neuticles Viewing Party – $1,052,262,247
  5. Conical Effort – $1,023,045,552
  6. Joanie’s Joint – $1,019,636,134
  7. Miniature Giant Space Hamsterplex – $996,749,080
  8. Po Huit’s Sweet Movie Suite – $954,183,431
  9. grannanj’s Cineplex – $780,060,250
  10. Goat Water Picture Palace – $557,351,870

I managed to hold of Bhagpuss and keep first place, with him falling just over $20 million behind.  If the season had gone one more week, things might have ended different.  The first week of the fall season sees the opening of It: Chapter Two, which is the sort of big week that can change the lineup.  SynCaine held onto a solid third place, running away from the pack that had been vying for the spot for several weeks running.

Then there is the alternate scoring, with the number of weeks won in parenthesis.

  1. Wilhelm’s Qeynosian Kinetoscope – 93 (2)
  2. Too Orangey For Crows – 90 (2)
  3. SynCaine’s Dark Room of Delights – 77 (3)
  4. Cyanbane’s Neuticles Viewing Party – 73
  5. Miniature Giant Space Hamsterplex – 72 (2)
  6. Joanie’s Joint – 64
  7. Conical Effort – 61 (1)
  8. grannanj’s Cineplex – 55 (1)
  9. Po Huit’s Sweet Movie Suite – 47
  10. Goat Water Picture Palace – 45 (2)

The top four remained the same in both scoring systems, after which things varied.  With a season where only 7-12 people were picking on any given week, being consistent and picking every week was enough to remain mid pack, while a couple of winning weeks could keep you in play.

And so it goes.  Thank you for playing another summer season.  As I noted, I will keep the league running, but won’t be posting about it on a weekly basis.  I might return for the winter (or awards) season.  There is a Star Wars movie coming along with a few other titles that might make things interesting.

I will say that I did like the rules variation.  The lack of penalty for empty screens and the $2 million bonus for the worst performer made for some interesting picks and I enjoyed seeing weeks where the perfect pick for the TAGN league was different from the standard league rules.

Different Rules are Different

I just wish you could set the season duration.  I think a shorter season, maybe six weeks, might be more interesting.  At some point during the 13 week march an inevitability starts to set in as to who is in contention and who is out of the running.  But I get why FML might not want to have a bunch of out-of-sync leagues.  Maybe some day.

I did reset the deadline for picking to the 9am Pacific Time Friday standard for the league.

Thanks again for joining in!

Summer Movie League – Saved by a Fallen Angel

Week twelve of our Fantasy Movie League is now done and gone, leaving us just one week to go.

After getting trounced in week eleven, squandering my once substantial lead by not paying attention, you would have thought I would have done some serious research for this week.

But I didn’t, really.  I sort of winged it again, running mostly with my Monday.  Actually, if I had just stuck with my Monday pick I would have done better.  But I persisted with Angel has Fallen as my anchor, not really feeling it for anything else.  I thought Good Boys was too dear at the price, Here I Come was too risky, and The Overcomer unlikely to get enough of an audience.

And, as it turned out, I was about right.  If I had stuck with my 3x Angel has Fallen anchor, I would have been set, but for some reason I cannot recall I decided that Dora had a shot at best performer, so I loaded up on that for filler, losing a screen of Angel.

My final lineup was 2x Angel has Fallen, 1x Hobbs & Shaw, 5x Dora.  That was enough for third place and, more importantly, enough to stay ahead of Bhagpuss.

Saturday saw the estimates with me in second place, while Sunday dropped my into third, which carried me into the final totals, leaving the scores looking like this:

  1. Miniature Giant Space Hamsterplex – $79,826,830
  2. Conical Effort – $79,143,562
  3. Wilhelm’s Qeynosian Kinetoscope – $77,485,569
  4. Joanie’s Joint – $73,148,120
  5. Too Orangey For Crows – $73,148,120
  6. SynCaine’s Dark Room of Delights – $72,072,088
  7. Po Huit’s Sweet Movie Suite – $65,327,083
  8. Cyanbane’s Neuticles Viewing Party – $61,665,007
  9. grannanj’s Cineplex – $23,471,704

The perfect pick was 3x Angel, 1x Hobbs & Shaw, and 4x Peanut Butter Falcon, the latter scoring the best performer nod.  Nobody got that lineup here… it is the same as the normal rule perfect pick, and only 16 people got that total… but Hamster and Conical did go with 3x Angel for anchors, getting them the top spot.

After the top three, the next three were heavy on Good Boys, which wasn’t a bad anchor.  It didn’t get punished by pricing as much as I thought it was.

And then there was Cyanbane and Po, who seemed to have bit on the idea of Ready or Not doing just badly enough to get worst performer, get the $2 million bonus for that, and turn into a solid anchor.  Unfortunately, it did too badly, or not goodly enough, or something… maybe they thought it would do well… but it didn’t go as planned regardless.

All of which leaves the season scores looking like this:

  1. Wilhelm’s Qeynosian Kinetoscope – $1,129,071,344
  2. Too Orangey For Crows – $1,104,960,211
  3. SynCaine’s Dark Room of Delights – $1,013,187,702
  4. Cyanbane’s Neuticles Viewing Party – $980,016,663
  5. Conical Effort – $953,141,451
  6. Joanie’s Joint – $944,658,210
  7. Miniature Giant Space Hamsterplex – $928,603,452
  8. Po Huit’s Sweet Movie Suite – $891,977,071
  9. grannanj’s Cineplex – $754,894,150
  10. Goat Water Picture Palace – $557,351,870

There was no change in the ranking.  Bhagpuss fell back a bit, but remains just about $24 million behind me, a gap a good week could easily cover.

The alternate scoring ended up looking like this:

  1. Wilhelm’s Qeynosian Kinetoscope – 88
  2. Too Orangey For Crows – 83
  3. Miniature Giant Space Hamsterplex – 69
  4. SynCaine’s Dark Room of Delights – 67
  5. Cyanbane’s Neuticles Viewing Party – 67
  6. Conical Effort – 57
  7. Joanie’s Joint – 55
  8. grannanj’s Cineplex – 54
  9. Po Huit’s Sweet Movie Suite – 45
  10. Goat Water Picture Palace – 45

Bhagpuss is just five points behind me, so there are a number of final week possibilities that could end up with me in second place.  Third place is also in play, with three people in very close proximity.

Which leads us all to the final week’s lineup:

  1. Angel has Fallen – $216
  2. Good Boys – $161
  3. Lion King – $143
  4. Hobbs & Shaw – $129
  5. The Overcomer – $123
  6. Angry Birds 2 – $100
  7. Ready or Not – $98
  8. Dora and the Lost City of Gold – $84
  9. Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark – $83
  10. Once Upon a Time in Hollywood – $74
  11. The Peanut Butter Falcon – $72
  12. Spider-man: Far From Home – $60
  13. Toy Story 4 – $59
  14. Don’t Let Go – $54
  15. 47 Meters Down 2 – $46

Two films dropped from the list, The Art of Racing in the Rain and
Blinded by the Light.  They were replaced by one new film and one returnee.

The new film is Don’t Let Go, a supernatural thriller that is showing up at the bottom of the list and has no long range forecast.  Unless it breaks out, I am not sure how to rate it.

The returnee is Toy Story 4, which was in 17th place last week at the box office.  I am going to guess that it is going to get a theater expansion this coming weekend to have made it back up into the list.

Why would Toy Story 4 get a theater expansion this week?  It is Labor Day weekend in the US, the holiday that pretty much declares summer is over and everybody has to get back to school… though my daughter has been back to school for more than two weeks at this point.  This is the last big family weekend, so if you don’t have a trip planned then maybe a movie will do you.

That also means that this is a four day box office, Friday through Monday, so good luck getting estimates that match your needs.

As for my Monday gut pick, I went with 3x Angel has Fallen, 1x Good Boys, and 4x 47 Meters Down.  That seemed “safe,” but we’ll see what estimates look like as the week goes.

Also, as noted, this is the last week of the season.  With the end of summer I will also stop writing about the league every week, save for the final season wrap up.  I’ll leave it running, because why not, but I won’t be watching it closely.  If somebody else wants to run a league though, I’ll join up.

So get your picks in.  The league locks for the last time this season tomorrow night.

Summer Movie League – A Good Week for Good Boys

Week eleven of our Fantasy Movie League went on past and it is clear that I should have been paying more attention.

Being the leader overall I sought to play something of a conservative lineup.  Back on Monday night that meant 3x Hobbs & Shaw and 5x Hollywood, because the early estimates put that as pretty safe.  The was even a hint that it might be the top earner again, confidence in the new titles being somewhat sketchy.

And then… well… I am blaming the coming of WoW Classic for distracting me because I didn’t really go back and look at forecasts or which way the wind was blowing for the weekend.  And given that everybody else seemed to have picked up on where the week was headed… well, it was a bad week for me.

Bhagpuss even gave me a hint, mentioning that Good Boys seemed to be looking very good on Wednesday of last week, but I didn’t take the clue, so when the league locked and became visible on Friday, I was clearly the odd man out.  Everybody else who picked had at least one screen of Good Boys.

When the Saturday estimates came it, I was in 7th out of seven who picked, a situation that only got worse come Sunday.  The final results did not make things better, with Good Boys piling up $21.4 million, well past all estimates, so the results for the week ended up looking like this:

  1. SynCaine’s Dark Room of Delights – $128,365,213
  2. Po Huit’s Sweet Movie Suite – $125,762,910
  3. Too Orangey For Crows – $125,633,270
  4. Conical Effort – $107,071,667
  5. Cyanbane’s Neuticles Viewing Party – $89,391,600
  6. Joanie’s Joint – $86,197,240
  7. Wilhelm’s Qeynosian Kinetoscope – $80,944,180
  8. grannanj’s Cineplex – $44,487,408
  9. Miniature Giant Space Hamsterplex – $30,509,473

Remember week 4, where I was the only one who went all-in on Yesterday?  Well, this was the opposite of that week.  A least I stayed ahead of the two people who did not pick but still had some viable screens carried forward.

The perfect pick for our league was 5x Good Boys, 1x Lion King, and 2x empty, worth a little over $134 million, which made it more valuable than the perfect pick for the standard rule set, which rang in a million behind.

But nobody got the perfect pick, though SynCaine was close.  The scores then go down based primarily on how many screens of Good Boys people went with, with filler separating the close picks.

All of that left the the overall scores looking like this:

  1. Wilhelm’s Qeynosian Kinetoscope – $1,051,585,775
  2. Too Orangey For Crows – $1,031,812,091
  3. SynCaine’s Dark Room of Delights – $941,115,614
  4. Cyanbane’s Neuticles Viewing Party – $918,351,656
  5. Conical Effort – $873,997,889
  6. Joanie’s Joint – $871,510,090
  7. Miniature Giant Space Hamsterplex – $848,776,622
  8. Po Huit’s Sweet Movie Suite – $826,649,988
  9. grannanj’s Cineplex – $731,422,446
  10. Goat Water Picture Palace – $557,351,870

I stayed in the lead, but Bhagpuss is now less than $20 million behind me and, as we just saw, during a chaotic week jumps of that amount are totally possible.  He just closed the gap between us by $40 million after all, so I need to pay attention.

SynCaine got a solid jump as well.  He would need another big week to be a threat to first place, but it could happen.  Without any big moves, the nearest fight seems to be for fifth position.

The alternate scoring looks like this:

  1. Wilhelm’s Qeynosian Kinetoscope – 80
  2. Too Orangey For Crows – 77
  3. Cyanbane’s Neuticles Viewing Party – 64
  4. SynCaine’s Dark Room of Delights – 62
  5. Miniature Giant Space Hamsterplex – 59
  6. grannanj’s Cineplex – 52
  7. Conical Effort – 48
  8. Joanie’s Joint – 48
  9. Goat Water Picture Palace – 45
  10. Po Huit’s Sweet Movie Suite – 41

I did make the executive decision that I would award no points for a zero score, which means that Goat is no longer accruing alternate scoring points.

Bhagpuss closed the gap between us here as well and, frankly, could have made it a tie race if he had made it to first.  The buffering effect of the alternate scoring means that there is still a tight race for third place, with Cyanbane holding onto that spot for the moment.

And so it goes.

All of which brings us to week twelve, the next to last week, and a lineup of choices that looks like this:

  1. Angel has Fallen – $253
  2. Ready or Not – $175
  3. Good Boys – $167
  4. Overcomer – $148
  5. Hobbs & Shaw – $114
  6. Lion King – $114
  7. Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark – $81
  8. Angry Birds 2 – $78
  9. Dora and the Lost City of Gold – $71
  10. Once Upon a Time in Hollywood – $69
  11. 47 Meters Down 2 – $59
  12. The Art of Racing in the Rain – $38
  13. Blinded by the Light – $33
  14. The Peanut Butter Falcon – $26
  15. Spider-man: Far From Home – $25

Gone from the list are Toy Story 4, The Kitchen, The Farewell, and Where’d You Go, Bernadette, while last week’s top priced picks are decidedly mid-pack, save for Good Boys, which got the usual pricing punishment that best performers tend to receive.

At the top of the list this week is Angel has Fallen, which is the sequel to London has Fallen and Olympus has Fallen, though the films have been so chaotic that, despite having seen both, I did not realize that London and Olympus were actually connected movies.

Shows what I know.

Olympus grossed $30 million its opening weekend, while London hit $20 million.  The LRF puts Angel has Fallen at around $18 million.  That seems a little optimistic for a third sequel, but it is also opening up against less direct competition than the previous two titles.

Next up is Ready or Not, a “black comedy” that sees a possibly Victorian era bride (just judging by the poster) who realizes her soon-to-be in-laws’ plan for a game of hide-and-seek has turned into a game to hunt and kill her.  She turns the tables and hilarity ensues.

Didn’t we have another Most Dangerous Game rip-off already planned for this summer? The Hunt I think?  It was pulled due to recent mass shootings, or because the president criticized the idea, or possibly because preview audiences didn’t like it.  But Victorians killing each other is fine.  Most people killing each others in movies is fine I guess.  I’m sure Angel has Fallen will be knocking off more than a few.

There is no LRF for Ready or Not, but given the Angel estimate and the FML pricing, $12-13 million seems like what somebody thinks it ought to do.  I guess.  There are B-list names in the cast, but nobody who is a draw in and of themselves, so I really don’t know.

Then there is the Overcomer, a Christian faith-based drama about a high school basketball coach finding himself in Christ.  Written, directed, and starring a former pastor who is on his sixth such film, the LRF is calling for $3-8 million depending on how things play out.  The films by this group have never done less than $6 million, while the FML pricing seems to indicate $10 million is expected, so maybe count on that end of the spectrum?

And, finally, there is The Peanut Butter Falcon, a retelling of Huckleberry Finn staged around a man with Down’s Syndrome who runs away to achieve his dream of becoming a professional wrestler.

Already in limited distribution in 47 theaters, it is expanding this week.  The theater count will influence this.  The reviews are excellent, so it is a wild card, though the name might be fighting against it as much as anything.  It’s position near Spider-man: Far From Home seems to predict at least a $1.5 million box office for it, and its low price means that it doesn’t need to go beyond $2 million to be a best performer contender.

So what to pick?

Safe seems to be an anchor on Angel, but there is a gap where Ready or Not could under-perform just enough, around $11 million, to grab worst performer, which would ironically make it an excellent choice.  Good Boys could pull that off as well, thanks to the rules of the league.  But that is a pretty thin line to walk.

(Also, I was wrong previously, or it got changed, but the FML Cineplex Builder takes the odd rules of our league into account so long as you select our league from the drop down.)

A mix between Angel and Peanut Butter could work, if you believe the latter will break out.  That is my Monday night lineup.  We’ll see if I stick with that.  All I know is that I need to pay more attention this week.

Anyway, get your picks in soon.  The league locks late tomorrow night.

Summer Movie League – Hobbs and Shaw and Pets

With the passing of week nine of our Summer Fantasy Movie League we have just four weeks left in the season.

And four weeks isn’t a lot of time to make up ground, especially since this past week might have been the last big week of the summer.

Or not.

Fast & Furious presents: Hobbs & Shaw was supposed bring balance to the box office or something… anyway, somebody said it was good for $90 million over the three day weekend.

Instead, it delivered $60 million which, admittedly was what the studio initially forecast, so I guess that means it only missed some expectations.  Maybe?  By Thursday morning people were dialing back on that $90 million number, but $75 million was still being floated.

All of which means that if you went in hard on Hobbs & Shaw you probably didn’t have a good week.  The ultimate commitment to the brand was to take advantage of the lack of empty screen penalty we have this season and anchor on two screens of the Friday showing.

I played with that sort of lineup during the week.  But as estimates started to soften I decided to go for a what seemed like a safer lineup.

When the Saturday estimates came it, it looked like safety paid off, an outlook that did not change with the Sunday estimates.

And, with the final numbers in, the scores for the week looked like this:

  1. Wilhelm’s Qeynosian Kinetoscope – $78,074,303
  2. grannanj’s Cineplex – $73,114,102
  3. Cyanbane’s Neuticles Viewing Party – $73,050,33
  4. Joanie’s Joint – $68,584,764
  5. Too Orangey For Crows – $59,788,055
  6. Conical Effort – $58,924,351
  7. SynCaine’s Dark Room of Delights – $55,436,530
  8. Po Huit’s Sweet Movie Suite – $49,397,356
  9. Miniature Giant Space Hamsterplex – $48,967,508
  10. Goat Water Picture Palace – $8,745,264

I went from last place of those who picked last week to first place this week.  My lineup was 3x Hollywood, 1x Toy Story 4, 1x Yesterday, and 3x Secret Life of Pets 2.  The twist was that in last week’s post I declared that SLOP2 was going to be the worst performer, so I went with it for the $2 million per screen bonus.  Instead, it was the best performer.  Same bonus, but a bit more money on my score.

Grannanj was in second anchoring on The Lion King and Saturday Hobbs & Shaw, boosted by five screens of The Avengers: End Game, which did get the worst performer bonus.  That was worth an extra $10 million in that lineup.

Empty screens started at 6th place and hit heaviest with SynCaine, Po, and Hamster, who all anchored on two screens of Friday Hobbs & Shaw.

Goat did not pick this week.

The perfect pick had no Hobs & Shaw at all, being 1x The Lion King, 1x Hollywood, 1x Toy Story 4, and 5x Secret Life of Pets 2.  That was worth $84 million.

That left the season scores looking like this:

  1. Wilhelm’s Qeynosian Kinetoscope – $868,854,439
  2. Too Orangey For Crows – $803,415,181
  3. Cyanbane’s Neuticles Viewing Party – $771,258,116
  4. Miniature Giant Space Hamsterplex – $761,842,340
  5. SynCaine’s Dark Room of Delights – $757,051,520
  6. Joanie’s Joint – $730,573,472
  7. Conical Effort – $717,319,444
  8. Po Huit’s Sweet Movie Suite – $654,565,332
  9. grannanj’s Cineplex – $587,852,975
  10. Goat Water Picture Palace – $554,377,130

Winning the week opened my lead a little bit more.  Cyanbane had the biggest change in the lineup, jumping ahead in the race for third place.

The alternate score ended up like this:

  1. Wilhelm’s Qeynosian Kinetoscope – 67
  2. Too Orangey For Crows – 59
  3. Cyanbane’s Neuticles Viewing Party – 51
  4. Miniature Giant Space Hamsterplex – 51
  5. SynCaine’s Dark Room of Delights – 47
  6. Goat Water Picture Palace – 44
  7. grannanj’s Cineplex – 41
  8. Joanie’s Joint – 39
  9. Conical Effort – 38
  10. Po Huit’s Sweet Movie Suite – 30

Inertia keeps the alternate scoring from changing radically, keeping Goat mid-pack even after several weeks of not picking.  Still, it does seem to be lining up with the overall scores more so.

Which leads up into week ten with this lineup:

  1. Hobbs & Shaw – $445
  2. Dora and the Lost City of Gold – $369
  3. Lion King – $334
  4. Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark – $206
  5. Once Upon a Time in Hollywood – $171
  6. The Kitchen – $170
  7. The Art of Racing in the Rain – $133
  8. Spider-man: Far From Home – $81
  9. Toy Story 4 – $74
  10. The Farewell – $48
  11. Brian Banks – $45
  12. Yesterday – $26
  13. Aladdin – $20
  14. Crawl – $16
  15. Annabelle Comes Home – $7

That represents a big change in the options.  Even with Hobbs & Shaw collapsing down to a single pick, three titles were knocked off the list as well, Stuber, The Secret Life of Pets 2, and the long running Avengers: Endgame.  That means there are five new films hitting this week.

First up is a big screen adaptation of the children’s program Dora the Explorer.  I am kind of surprised, given the emphasis on Spanish the series has, that they didn’t go with “El Dorado.”   Maybe they were afraid I would roll up blasting that song on the Repo Man sound track or something.  Whatever.

Dora the Explorer, live action or not, is clearly a kids movie in a market where The Lion King and Toy Story 4 are still holding out in most multiplexes.  The long range forecast has the film at $28 million, which seems a bit generous, but would make it the biggest of the new releases this week.  That will still put it solidly behind Hobbs & Shaw unless it drops off more than 50% from last week.

Next up is Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark, another adaptation, this time from a children’s book series.  As noted, kids movies are packed in right now, though this is rated PG-13 so it isn’t really a kids movie.  But is it enough of a horror movie to draw in that crowd?  It is a bit of a wild card to my mind.  The long range forecast for it stands at $11 million for the weekend.  Is that too tepid?

Then there is The Kictchen, which I had to go look up, but realized I had seen a trailer for it.  The name just did not stick.  This is a crime drama set in New York’s Hell’s Kitchen about the wives of mobsters who have to take over while their husbands are in jail.

The film has some names to support it, with Melissa McCarthy, Tiffany Haddish, esteemed character actress Margo Martindal, and that woman from The Handmaid’s Tale in thecredits.  But expectations seem modest.  I also think there might be some confusion here.  I am not saying that Melissa McCarthy cannot do serious work, but she is so associated with comedy that I think you might need to emphasize “comedy/not comedy” if she is your headliner.  The long range forecast last had it at $11.5 million, but FML priced it well behind Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark, so govern yourself accordingly.

The Art of Racing in the Rain is the one new film this week that I have seen some traction from.  It is a Disney film, so the marketing budget is there I guess.  My recollections are mostly of a scene or a man driving in a red sports car with his dog and a race track where it is raining.  I didn’t really get that the main character in the film is the dog, voiced by Kevin Costner.  I guess that is why We Rate Dogs was all over this on Twitter.  The long range forecast puts it at around $8 million.  I guess a strong dog lover demographic could make this a wild card, at least if they know it is about the dog.  I didn’t.

And the last new film on the list is Brian Banks, the tale of an NFL football player of the same name who was falsely accused of rape, pled guilty to avoid a long prison sentence, and was later exonerated.  On the plus side, there is a strong story about how the criminal justice system uses its weight to extract guilty pleas from the innocent.  On the down side, I am not sure “false rape accusation” or “man beats rape charge” is going to play well in a world where Jeffery Epstein and Harvey Weinstein are in the news.  There is no long range forecast, but where it is priced I would be surprised if it managed to get past $2 million.

As it tends to be, here on Monday evening when I am writing this, the safe move seems to be a lineup like 2x Hobbs & Shaw, 1x Toy Story 4, and 5x Annabelle Comes Home.  The anchor does all the heavy lifting.

But if the feel good doggie film breaks out even a bit, say making it to $10 million, which it could do in the estimated 2,800 theaters it is supposed to launch in, then a lineup of 7x The Art of Racing in the Rain and 1x whatever fits in that last screen is hard to pass up.  But is that me just wish casting or can We Rate Dogs push this pic into best performer territory?  With a low review score so far, who can tell?

Whatever you plan to go with, get your picks in soon.  The league locks tomorrow evening.

Next week we face the wrath of Angry Birds Movie 2, indicating that the high days of summer are gone and that we’re just marking time as Labor Day approaches.

Summer Movie League – The Lion and Hollywood

Week eight of our Fantasy Movie League has come and gone.  I am in a day earlier than usual for this post because I already have the usual month in review post slated for tomorrow and in the probably vain hope that if I post a day earlier less people will forget to pick.

This week we saw Disney expected to dominate the box office again with The Lion King, while Quentin Tarantino’s Once Upon a Time in Hollywood was set to open for a different audience.

There didn’t seem an obvious anchor, so I started off the week with what I considered a safe pick, 2x Saturday The Lion King, because it was still expected to be big enough to be worth splitting across three days.

I bounced back and forth between that and Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, but was not convinced that a long, R-rated QT film was going to break out despite the glowing reviews it was getting.  There are few things Hollywood loves more than itself, so the buzz felt like it could be as much about that as anything.  By the time the Thursday lock hit, I was back on The Lion King as I started.

And then Friday morning rolled around and showed Hollywood doing very well, so I quickly changed all of my unlocked picks to be to anchor on 1x Hollywood and 2x Spider-man, which did better than The Lion King as an anchor.  As the weekend bore on Hollywood seemed to be the winning anchor, with both Saturday and Sunday estimates going that way.

Of the people who picked this week, and only seven of us got our picks in on time, four went with Hollywood as an anchor while three went with The Lion King.

The results for the week looked like this:

  1. Miniature Giant Space Hamsterplex – $78,670,869
  2. Joanie’s Joint – $74,238,403
  3. SynCaine’s Dark Room of Delights – $74,164,982
  4. Cyanbane’s Neuticles Viewing Party – $70,680,359
  5. Too Orangey For Crows – $70,010,961
  6. Po Huit’s Sweet Movie Suite – $69,797,719
  7. Wilhelm’s Qeynosian Kinetoscope – $68,964,454
  8. Conical Effort – $64,618,622
  9. grannanj’s Cineplex – $35,905,264
  10. Goat Water Picture Palace – $19,178,404

Even with Hollywood being a requirement of the perfect pick, for our league the rankings were mixed together, with less than $10 million between first and seventh place.  The clincher was the best and worst performers, Annabelle Creation and The Farewell respectively, which each brought $2 million more per screen with them.

Hamster won the week, boosted by three screens of Annabelle followed by Joanie who had two screens of The Farewell.  SynCaine, in third place, was the outlier anchor, with one screen of The Lion King and then four screens of Toy Story 4 as his anchor.

The bottom three on the list did not pick, though Conical Effort got a bit of luck in that his pick from last week rolled over and wasn’t completely out of the ballpark.  It was good that The Lion King remained split across three days.

That left the overall season scores looking like this:

  1. Wilhelm’s Qeynosian Kinetoscope – $790,780,136
  2. Too Orangey For Crows – $743,627,126
  3. Miniature Giant Space Hamsterplex – $712,874,832
  4. SynCaine’s Dark Room of Delights – $701,614,990
  5. Cyanbane’s Neuticles Viewing Party – $698,207,783
  6. Joanie’s Joint – $661,988,708
  7. Conical Effort – $658,395,093
  8. Po Huit’s Sweet Movie Suite – $605,167,976
  9. Goat Water Picture Palace – $545,631,866
  10. grannanj’s Cineplex – $514,738,873

Despite having the worst actual pick of the week, I maintained my lead, though Bhagpuss closed the gap a bit.  Hamster pulled out in front in the race for third place with their win this week.  Two weeks of not picking have put Goat and Grannanj well behind the pack.

The alternate scoring is also changing up some:

  1. Wilhelm’s Qeynosian Kinetoscope – 57
  2. Too Orangey For Crows – 53
  3. Miniature Giant Space Hamsterplex – 49
  4. SynCaine’s Dark Room of Delights – 43
  5. Cyanbane’s Neuticles Viewing Party – 43
  6. Goat Water Picture Palace – 43
  7. Conical Effort – 33
  8. Joanie’s Joint – 32
  9. grannanj’s Cineplex – 32
  10. Po Huit’s Sweet Movie Suite – 27

Because the alternate scoring dampens the effect of big wins and losses, I’m just four points ahead of Bhagpuss, a gap that could be closed in a single week, while Goat is still mid-pack, in a 3-way tie for fourth place, even after two weeks missing picks.

So that is the way things rounded out for week eight, which means that we are off to week nine.

The week nine lineup is:

  1. Lion King – $572
  2. Hobbs & Shaw FRI – $483
  3. Hobbs & Shaw SAT – $353
  4. Hobbs & Shaw SUN – $284
  5. Once Upon a Time in Hollywood – $276
  6. Spider-man: Far From Home – $108
  7. Toy Story 4 – $97
  8. The Farewell – $53
  9. Yesterday – $42
  10. Crawl – $34
  11. Aladdin – $30
  12. Annabelle Comes Home – $13
  13. Stuber – $10
  14. Avengers: Endgame – $9
  15. The Secret Life of Pets 2 – $9

This week the only thing to drop off the list was Midsommar, while the one new addition was Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw.

I was probably premature is saying that The Lion King was the last blockbuster in the season because we have a Fast & Furious movie here.  The problem for me, which may apply elsewhere, is that it has been billed as just Hobbs & Shaw various places, which didn’t spark any recognition.

Still, this spin-off from the main F&F story, featuring Dwayne Johnson and Jason Statham, with Idris Elba as the villain, is slated to make around $90 million this coming weekend according to Box Office Pro, enough for the film to be split across the three days.

That leaves The Lion King as the most expensive pick, as it is expected to do better than any single day of Hobbs & Shaw, though Friday will be close.  That leaves a lot of variety in anchoring options.

My main question is how strong will Hobbs & Shaw really be?  I must be the wrong demographic because I cannot recall seeing any ads or trailers for this, and this summer I have been waist deep in ads for stuff like Stuber or the upcoming Angry Birds 2 movie.  So has there been enough build-up to support a $90 million weekend?  An early studio forecast had it at only $60 million.  Is just being related to F&F good enough for a 50% in the forecast?  Will this be another failure to meet expectations?

My Monday night lineup was 1x The Lion King, 1x Hobbs & Shaw Saturday, 1x Aladdin, and 5x The Secret Life of Pets, that last because it feels like it ought to have fallen off the list, so even at a $9 price it seems likely to be the worst performer, and we all love that $2 million bonus.  That seems like a safe-ish lineup.

But if Hobbs & Shaw is getting more hype than I have seen… are they running ads on League of Legends Twitch or some other place I never venture… then Friday could be a day worth picking.  Friday, Saturday, and then some filler… and we have lots of cheap filler this week… would be  strong.

Anyway, whatever you pick, pick soon.  Don’t forget to pick this week.  This could be the last big weekend, as there is nothing else on the long range forecast for the season expected to bring in more than $20 million.  It will be all The Lion King as anchor after this.

Summer Movie League – The Lion is King

Week seven of our Fantasy Movie League is now in the bag and it looks like the box office numbers broke their trend at last.

Well, sort of.  As I noted last week, at one point the estimates for the live action remake of The Lion King were as high as $200 million.  Then as the box office forecasts began to be overstated week over week, estimates got more conservative, dropping ast low as $130 million for the three day weekend, with $150 million being somewhat of a median.

So when the weekend totals starting showing north of $180 million there was much rejoicing.

On the FML front that meant anchoring on The Lion King was pretty much essential, as it exceeding its forecast meant this was a big money week.  It was also a very bad week to forget to pick, which happened to a few people.  Fortunately, everybody who did pick at least got in on some of that sweet Lion King action.

Come the Saturday morning estimates it looked like the Friday pick was going to be the best performer, putting SynCaine on top with his 2x Friday anchor.  I was jealous as to why I did not think of that.

Sunday estimates shifted things.  2x Friday was still good, but the perfect pick shifted to 1x Friday, 1x Saturday, and 4x Yesterday, the latter picking up the best performer nod.  Conical Effort had that lineup so was vaulted into first place.

But when the final numbers, the perfect pick changed yet again, ending up as 1x Friday, 1x Sunday, 5x Yesterday, and 1x The Art of Self Defense, the latter having been boosted in value by getting the $2 million per screen worst performer bonus.

That actually made it a different perfect pick from the standard rules, where 1x Friday, 1x Sunday, 5x Yesterday, and 1x Annabelle won the day.

The scores for the week ended up as:

  1. Conical Effort – $167,021,480
  2. Too Orangey For Crows – $163,570,810
  3. Joanie’s Joint – $161,622,694
  4. SynCaine’s Dark Room of Delights – $159,018,630
  5. Po Huit’s Sweet Movie Suite – $157,421,782
  6. Miniature Giant Space Hamsterplex – $155,129,305
  7. Wilhelm’s Qeynosian Kinetoscope – $150,821,653
  8. Cyanbane’s Neuticles Viewing Party – $147,046,670
  9. grannanj’s Cineplex – $56,866,987
  10. Goat Water Picture Palace – $30,768,032

Conical Effort stayed in first place, even without the perfect pick bonus, with Bhagpuss not too far behind.  SynCaine’s 2x Friday pick fell a bit behind, but was still pretty strong, as was Po Huit’s bet on Friday, Saturday, and 6x The Art of Self Defense.  Cyanbane came in last of those who picked, hampered by only a single screen of The Lion King.  Goat and Grannanj were in the top ten, but with picks that rolled over from last week, which dealt a blow to both of their season scores.   It is tough to miss a week, and all the more so when it is such a big week.

And, finally, week seven saw the end of Ben’s streak.  He picked on week one, then stopped playing, but his full lineup, 3x Rocketman, 1x Avengers, 4x John Wick 3, was viable all the way through week six.

All of which left the season scores looking like this:

  1. Wilhelm’s Qeynosian Kinetoscope – $721,815,682
  2. Too Orangey For Crows – $673,616,165
  3. Miniature Giant Space Hamsterplex – $634,203,963
  4. Cyanbane’s Neuticles Viewing Party – $627,527,424
  5. SynCaine’s Dark Room of Delights – $627,450,008
  6. Conical Effort – $593,776,471
  7. Joanie’s Joint – $587,750,305
  8. Po Huit’s Sweet Movie Suite – $535,370,257
  9. Goat Water Picture Palace – $526,453,462
  10. grannanj’s Cineplex – $478,833,609

I kept out in first place, though Bhagpuss closed the gap a bit.  There is still a pretty tight race for third place.  But the biggest blow was to Goat and Grannanj who, failing to pick on such a big week, fell down the stairs into the basement.  It is a tough climb back from there.

The alternate scoring was a bit kinder.

  1. Wilhelm’s Qeynosian Kinetoscope – 53
  2. Too Orangey For Crows – 47
  3. Goat Water Picture Palace – 42
  4. Miniature Giant Space Hamsterplex – 39
  5. Cyanbane’s Neuticles Viewing Party – 36
  6. SynCaine’s Dark Room of Delights – 35
  7. Conical Effort – 30
  8. grannanj’s Cineplex – 30
  9. Joanie’s Joint – 23
  10. Po Huit’s Sweet Movie Suite – 22

Another good week for Bhagpuss and he may be in first place in the alternate scoring.  Goat remained in third since their roll over picks were still enough to get a point.  But as with the seasonal score, there does seem to be contention for that third position.

We are past the half way point of the season.  Now for the first week of the back half we have the following lineup:

  1. Once Upon a Time in Hollywood – $545
  2. Lion King SAT – $440
  3. Lion King SUN – $370
  4. Lion King FRI – $334
  5. Spider-man: Far From Home – $173
  6. Toy Story 4 – $146
  7. Yesterday – $51
  8. Crawl – $46
  9. Aladdin – $39
  10. The Farewell – $33
  11. Stuber – $23
  12. Annabelle Comes Home – $16
  13. Avengers: Endgame – $15
  14. The Secret Life of Pets 2 – $13
  15. Midsommar – $9

Men in Black International and The Art of Self-Defense both fell off the list.

The big new item on the list this week is Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, a Quentin Tarantino alternate reality about Hollywood, the Manson Family, and the Tate/LaBinanca murders, which happened just shy of 50 years ago.  And since it is both Tarantino and alternate history, you shouldn’t expect things to work out the way they did back in 1969.

The long range forecasts have the take at around $45 million, the reviews are good, Tarantino has a strong following, the cast is well known, and a strong second weekend for The Lion King shouldn’t have much impact on the audience for this.  And, for once, he isn’t opening up against some other huge title, like Star Wars: The Force Awakens.  So it could be big.

On the flip side, $45 million is still a big take for an R rated movie, so it is not without risk.  At $45 million you have to have it, at something like $38 million you want another anchor.

The other new item on the list is The Farewell, and art house picture that seems pretty narrow in potential audience.  the reviews are good and its per theater take was high last week, though it was also only in four theaters.  The question is both how big its theater expansion will be and what sort of draw it will have among a more general audience.

Meanwhile, The Lion King still looms and is expected to have a big enough three day weekend that it remains split across three days for its second week.  In its second week Friday is now the low number in that mix with no previews to drive it.

So what to pick?

You can anchor on Once Upon a Time and have a screen of The Lion King, though it you pair it up with Saturday you get a three screen lineup with Avengers: Endgame and your budget is spent.  Worth it?  There is no empty screen penalty.

Or you double up on The Lion King and work on your filler game.

But maybe five screens of Spider-man are more your speed.

Even six screens of Toy Story 4 is a possible anchor, though it then gets tough to spend the rest of your budget.

Or you can mix it up.  There are lots of possibilities there.

Still, I think you have to be pretty contrarian to not have at least one screen of The Lion King in your lineup.

I don’t even have a lineup to share because I’ve changed my three times as I have written this.

Which ever way you go, get your picks in soon.  The league locks tomorrow evening.

Summer Movie League – Stuber Stumbles, Crawl Bawls

Week six of our Fantasy Movie League carried on the trend of new films failing to meet expectations.

In this case, the two new films for week six, Stuber and Crawl, both failed to hit the somewhat modest expectations set for them, keeping the summer theme going.

Stuber was expected to get in the range of $17 million, but ran out of gas about half way there, clocking in at $8 million.

Crawl was pegged at around $15 million and, while it didn’t fall off as badly as Stuber, it still came up short with $12 million, making it a less than ideal pick.

But I was fairly sure those were both bad anchors when I saw them.  And shortly after last week’s post went live the box office predictions began to sag dramatically, confirming that feeling.

That left Spider-man and Toy Story 4 as likely anchor candidates.  You could get 1x Spider-man and 1x TS4, or 3x TS4 before you had to start working through the filler.

Po, myself, and grannanj went with 3x TS4. while Bhagpuss, Hamster, and Cyanbane anchored on 1x Spider-man and 1x TS4.

With the Saturday and Sunday estimates, Cyanbane had the perfect pick, as he went with all Men in Black for his filler, which looked to be the best performer.  However, when the final numbers came in, Avengers: Endgame stole the best performer title, making the perfect pick 1x Spider-man, 1x TS4, and 6x Avengers: Endgame, and leaving the final scores looking like this:

  1. Too Orangey For Crows – $85,834,456
  2. grannanj’s Cineplex – $79,899,938
  3. Cyanbane’s Neuticles Viewing Party – $79,610,550
  4. Wilhelm’s Qeynosian Kinetoscope – $78,930,155
  5. Po Huit’s Sweet Movie Suite – $78,396,66
  6. Miniature Giant Space Hamsterplex – $77,051,493
  7. Goat Water Picture Palace – $62,691,728
  8. Conical Effort – $61,416,139
  9. SynCaine’s Dark Room of Delights – $56,409,113
  10. Joanie’s Joint – $47,641,960

In the end, 1x Spider-man and 1x TS4 or 3x TS4 seemed to be on par as anchors.  The top six positions alternate between the two.  The key was filler, and Bhagpuss took the week because he had 3x Avengers: Endgame in his.

Seventh and eighth position were both anchored on 4x Crawl, which put them behind the pack, while ninth and tenth were both anchored on 4x Stuber.  Those two positions were revived a bit because Stuber got the worst performer bonus of $2 million per screen, making them $8 million better than they otherwise would have been.  The bonus for worst performer might be the best thing about this season so far.

That left the season totals looking like:

  1. Wilhelm’s Qeynosian Kinetoscope – $570,994,029
  2. Too Orangey For Crows – $510,045,355
  3. Goat Water Picture Palace – $495,685,430
  4. Cyanbane’s Neuticles Viewing Party – $480,480,754
  5. Miniature Giant Space Hamsterplex – $479,074,658
  6. SynCaine’s Dark Room of Delights – $468,431,378
  7. Conical Effort – $426,754,991
  8. Joanie’s Joint – $426,127,611
  9. grannanj’s Cineplex – $421,966,622
  10. Po Huit’s Sweet Movie Suite – $377,948,475

I managed to keep my lead, while Bhagpuss’ win this week, and Goat’s misfortune, had them swapping places.  Likewise, SynCaine and Joanie’s decisions to anchor on Stuber cost them in the overall ranking.

The alternate scoring looks like this at the end of week six:

  1. Wilhelm’s Qeynosian Kinetoscope – 49
  2. Goat Water Picture Palace – 41
  3. Too Orangey For Crows – 38
  4. Miniature Giant Space Hamsterplex – 34
  5. Cyanbane’s Neuticles Viewing Party – 33
  6. SynCaine’s Dark Room of Delights – 28
  7. grannanj’s Cineplex – 28
  8. Conical Effort – 20
  9. Vigo Grimborne’s Medieval Screening Complex – 18
  10. Po Huit’s Sweet Movie Suite – 16

I kept my lead going, though this week’s rankings put Bhagpuss and Goat in contention.

So now we get to see what week seven brings.  The lineup is:

  1. Lion King FRI – $481
  2. Lion King SAT – $399
  3. Lion King SUN – $341
  4. Spider-man: Far From Home – $177
  5. Toy Story 4 – $126
  6. Aladdin – $49
  7. Crawl – $43
  8. Stuber – $33
  9. Yesterday – $30
  10. Annabelle Comes Home – $23
  11. The Art of Self-Defense – $18
  12. Midsommar – $16
  13. The Secret Life of Pets 2 – $13
  14. Avengers: Endgame – $11
  15. Men in Black International – $8

What week seven mostly brings is The Lion King. That gets split into three days which, along with the addition of The Art of Self-Defense, pushes Rocketman, John Wick 3, Child’s Play, and Godzilla off the list.

The Lion King is the latest in Disney’s effort to remake their entire animated back catalog into live action pictures.  It may also be the final $100+ movie debut of the summer. (It: Chapter Two, the next big thing on the horizon, opens on the first week of the Fall season.)

Whether or not you feel that the beloved 1994 animated version needed to be remade, this title is well known and being advertised heavily.  Long range forecasts are calling for as much as $200 million currently, which seems a bit crazy. FML, by their pricing, seems to be closer to $165 in its guess.  And even if it falls a bit shy of that, you will have to be pretty contrarian to not anchor on at least one screen of it this week.  Even critic comments like this:

…a well-rendered but creatively bankrupt self-portrait of a movie studio eating its own tail…

…will probably not bring the movie down.

And then there is The Art of Self-Defense, about which I know little.  The Wikipedia entry on it uses the terms “dark comedy,” “off-kilter,” and “thriller-esque,” but I’m still at sea on it.  FML pricing, a dubious thing on which to hang your hat most weeks, puts it at less than half of Crawl, and Crawl is probably going to drop by 50%,  so maybe $2 million in box office over the three day weekend?

My Monday night gut pick, straight from the FML Cineplex Builder, is FRI, SAT, 1x Aladdin, 2x Midsommar, 3x TSLOP2.  That used up my whole budget, so it must be a winner.  We’ll see if I hold onto that until Thursday night.

If you want to bet against The Lion King, then anchors on 5x Spider-man or 7x TS4 are possible, as well as mixes of the pair.

Anyway, there we go.  The league locks tomorrow night, so get you picks in now.