Tag Archives: Toy Story 4

Summer Movie League – Toy Story 4 Merely Dominates the Week

Were done with week three and there already seems to be a pattern for this summer’s Fantasy Movie League and the box office in general.

And that pattern is “under performance.”

For the third week in a row the top new releases of the week have failed to hit their expected numbers.

This past week saw Toy Story 4 dominate the weekend as expected, and even set a Pixar record for Friday numbers… which included the Thursday night previews… and yet fall short of expectations.  The film was being projected to bring in between $145 and $160 million.

Instead it barely broke the $120 million barrier.

That is still literally dumpsters full of cash being hauled in for a movie that is well reviewed.  Everybody I know who saw it recommends it.  Even Jason Scott called it “… the best and most well made unnecessary sequel I’ve seen.”

It just didn’t get to where the industry thought it would.  Is this just not a summer for movies?  Because the other two new films, Child’s Play and Anna, both missed their estimates as well.

Anyway, I went all in on Toy Story 4.  Taking advantage of the lack of penalty for empty screens, I went with the Friday + Saturday pick I mentioned in last week’s post, leaving blanks.  That wasn’t an awful pick in hindsight, but it wasn’t as good as the full lineup I went with for other leagues.

With Toy Story 4 pulling up the way it did, the scores for the week ended up looking like this:

  1. Goat Water Picture Palace – $95,542,794
  2. Miniature Giant Space Hamsterplex – $89,080,065
  3. Cyanbane’s Neuticles Viewing Party – $88,349,964
  4. grannanj’s Cineplex – $87,148,187
  5. Wilhelm’s Qeynosian Kinetoscope – $86,931,732
  6. Conical Effort – $86,931,732
  7. Joanie’s Joint – $86,648,508
  8. Too Orangey For Crows – $85,698,734
  9. SynCaine’s Dark Room of Delights – $83,672,691
  10. Ben’s X-Wing Exp(r)ess – $43,148,969

The perfect pick for the week was 1x TS4 Friday, 1x Child’s Play, 1x Aladdin, and 5x John Wick 3, the last being the best performer, which was good for $109 million.  But nobody in the league got that.

Goat got first going with Friday TS4, Sunday TS4, 2x John Wick 3, 1x Avengers: End Game, and three empty screens. and getting in

Hamster rang in second with 1x TS4 Friday, 2x Child’s Play, 1x Dark Phoenix, and 1x Avengers: End Game, earning an extra $2 million because Dark Phoenix was the worst performer of the week.

Conical and I both went the 1x Friday TS4, 1x Saturday TS4, and six empty screens route.  I only came in ahead because I had the better estimate on the tie breaker.

Of note is SynCaine, the only person on the list without Toy Story 4 in their lineup.

Unfortunately, the most common pick was forgetting to pick this week.  Ben’s pick was a roll over of his pick from last week and several people past 10th place were in the same boat.

All of which left the overall scores as:

  1. Goat Water Picture Palace – $256,899,574
  2. Wilhelm’s Qeynosian Kinetoscope – $246,793,598
  3. Too Orangey For Crows – $237,172,334
  4. SynCaine’s Dark Room of Delights – $233,860,872
  5. Joanie’s Joint – $224,306,550
  6. Miniature Giant Space Hamsterplex – $220,641,904
  7. Cyanbane’s Neuticles Viewing Party – $219,431,873
  8. grannanj’s Cineplex – $183,864,990
  9. Ben’s X-Wing Exp(r)ess – $176,726,850
  10. Conical Effort – $171,160,273

There is still not an insurmountable gap between 1st and say 7th place yet.  That could be made up over the next ten weeks of the season with small wins.  Anybody below that is probably going to need a big win or for the front runners to pick badly or miss a week.  It has been known to happen, especially over the summer.

Then there is the alternate season score:

  1. Goat Water Picture Palace – 26
  2. Wilhelm’s Qeynosian Kinetoscope – 23
  3. Miniature Giant Space Hamsterplex – 19
  4. Too Orangey For Crows – 15
  5. SynCaine’s Dark Room of Delights – 15
  6. Cyanbane’s Neuticles Viewing Party – 14
  7. Joanie’s Joint – 13
  8. Ben’s X-Wing Exp(r)ess – 10
  9. Vigo Grimborne’s Medieval Screening Complex – 9
  10. grannanj’s Cineplex – 9

That is, of course, much tighter.  Win a few weeks and you’ll be on top or vying with those who are.

All of which brings us to week four of the season.  The choices for the week are:

  1. Toy Story 4 – $752
  2. Annabelle Comes Home – $319
  3. Yesterday – $136
  4. Aladdin – $126
  5. The Secret Life of Pets 2 – $74
  6. Child’s Play – $73
  7. Men in Black International – $69
  8. Avengers: Endgame – $59
  9. Rocketman – $41
  10. John Wick 3 – $38
  11. Godzilla – $23
  12. Shaft – $22
  13. Anna – $18
  14. Late Night – $17
  15. Dark Phoenix – $16

We have an off week for blockbusters, so Toy Story 4 is fully expected to hold on to first place by a large margin this week.  Given a standard 50% drop it ought to be worth $60 million at the box office.

There are two new films on the list this week.

The first is Annabelle Comes Home, the latest entry in the Conjuring universe, which includes The Conjuring series, the Annabelle films, and The Nun.  Horror, especially during the summer, is always a wildcard for me.  The Annabelle movies have done well in the past, often better than expected.  But what happens when Annabelle is sharing theaters with Child’s Play?  Does a supernaturally evil doll care about one that is evil via a software issue?  And does the fact that some drive-ins are doing the pair as a double feature have any impact?

The long range forecast is for $31 million.  However, the long range forecasts have also been too optimistic pretty much every week so far, so how much stock do you put in them now?

Given the $60 million estimate for TS4, the FML pricing seems to indicate that they think $25 million is more on par.  Do you take two Annabelles as an anchor or one TS4?  Maybe?

The other new film is Yesterday, which features Himesh Patel as the only person who remembers the Beatles.  Something happened and they are no longer part of our timeline, only for whatever reason one musician remembers them and their songs… and, of course, can play them and remembers all of the lyrics to the key hits.

So he spends a while trying to figure out why nobody has heard of the Fab Four, then proceeds to make bank by introducing the songs of the Beatles to the world, claiming them as his own.  Along the way, hilarity no doubt ensues.

Now this brings up a decent late night dorm room discussion, which is whether or not the Beatles catalog is timeless and would become hits no matter when they appeared in history, or if they are part of their time and might not get noticed today.  Does I Want to Hold Your Hand go anywhere in a world with 50 Cent?  Can Elenor Rigby make a dent against the last know pop song ever, Uptown Funk?  Would Hey Jude have to be Hey Dude as the trailer suggests?

Feel free to argue about that in the comments.

The film was written by Richard Curtis, whose works are well known, and directed by Danny Boyle of Trainspotting fame, but I am having a hard time getting behind it, if only because I know in my gut the ending has to restore the Beatles to the timeline and it will be all for naught or end up with Paul McCartney suing or something like that.  Amusing premise, likely has no satisfying ending.

And the long range forecast seems to agree, pegging this at around $10 million.  Decent, but no summer blockbuster.  The FML pricing likewise puts it around that point.  On the other hand, this is the Beatles we’re talking about here, which probably means my 70 year old aunt and all her UC Berkley friends will want to go see it.  I don’t know.

And the rest of the field is just leftovers from past weeks.

So what do you pick?  Do you go with the likely stability of Toy Story 4 and back fill with some titles that might break out or be under priced based on their previous week performance?  That might get you 1x Toy Story 4, 1x Yesterday, and 6x Anna.

Or do you bet on a pair of Annabelles, with something like 2x Annabelle Comes Home, 2x Yesterday, 1x Rocketman, and 3x Dark Phoenix, the latter being the worst performer in week three, which might make it subject to over-conservative pricing?

I am leaning towards Annabelle, but the filler is still wide open for me.

Whichever way you go, get your picks in soon.

Summer Movie League – Shaft Shafted but The Dead Don’t Die

Week two of our Summer Fantasy Movie League is in the books and there were some big misses.

First up there was Men in Black International which was expected to land close to the $40 million mark.  Lukewarm reviews, other viewing options, and probably the previous two movies, conspired to chop that down to $30 million over the weekend.  If you anchored on this, you were not having a good weekend.

But your weekend wasn’t as bad as anybody who bet on Shaft.  The sequel to the year 2000 film of the same name was expected to coming in around $23 million, but instead landed just shy of $9 million for the weekend.  Even that $2 million Worst Performer bonus can’t fix that bad landing.

Late Night was on a more even keel.  Expected to make about $5 million in its limited engagement, it brought in $5.2 million.  Right on the mark for somebody.

And finally there was The Dead Don’t Die, which seemed to me to be the prime contender for best performer.  It was also the one film I went and saw this past weekend.  Cracking $2 million would have made it a solid pick at the price, so when it ended up hauling in $2.5 million it was difficult to see anything else taking away its best performer bonus.  John Wick 3 and Booksmart were the next closest two, and they were both a ways from making the cut.

With all of that in place, the scores for the week ended up looking like this:

  1. SynCaine’s Dark Room of Delights – $80,306,365
  2. Wilhelm’s Qeynosian Kinetoscope – $80,306,365
  3. Too Orangey For Crows – $76,868,694
  4. Joanie’s Joint – $72,344,312
  5. Goat Water Picture Palace – $70,251,452
  6. Cyanbane’s Neuticles Viewing Party – $68,493,131
  7. Ben’s X-Wing Exp(r)ess – $57,592,078
  8. Miniature Giant Space Hamsterplex – $54,331,713
  9. grannanj’s Cineplex – $52,655,472
  10. Po Huit’s Sweet Movie Suite – $49,774,361

The perfect pick was 2x Secret Life of Pets 2, 1x Rocketman, and 5x The Dead Don’t Die.  Nobody went with that, though two of us were close.

SynCaine and I tied (he got first place via the tie breaker) on 2x Secret Life of Pets 2, 1x Godzilla, and 5x The Dead Don’t Die.  Given the pricing, Godzilla just seemed like the right pick last week.  Bhagpuss took third on 2x Secret Life of Pets 2, 1x Rocketman, 1x Ma, 3x The Dead Don’t Die, and 1x Detective Pikachu.  Joanie scored a fourth place finish going all in on Elton John with 7x Rocketman and 1x John Wick 3.  And Goat got fifth with 2x Secret Life of Pets 2, 2x Rocketman, 3x Booksmart, and 1x blank, making them the only one to take advantage to the lack of empty screen penalty this week.

At the bottom end of the list were those who bet on a MiBI + Shaft double anchor, except for Po who doubled down on Shaft, but was somewhat redeemed by four screens of The Dead Don’t Die.

All of that leaves the season scoring looking like this:

  1. Goat Water Picture Palace – $161,356,780
  2. Wilhelm’s Qeynosian Kinetoscope – $159,861,866
  3. Too Orangey For Crows – $151,473,600
  4. SynCaine’s Dark Room of Delights – $150,188,181
  5. Joanie’s Joint – $137,658,042
  6. Ben’s X-Wing Exp(r)ess – $133,577,881
  7. Miniature Giant Space Hamsterplex – $131,561,839
  8. Cyanbane’s Neuticles Viewing Party – $131,081,909
  9. Po Huit’s Sweet Movie Suite – $126,711,141
  10. Vigo Grimborne’s Medieval Screening Complex – $117,754,888

It is a tight race at the top.  But it is also just week two and there are some weeks ahead where you may end up with lineups that add up to more than your total score right now.

For the alternate scoring, the list looks like this:

  1. Wilhelm’s Qeynosian Kinetoscope – 17
  2. Goat Water Picture Palace – 16
  3. SynCaine’s Dark Room of Delights – 13
  4. Too Orangey For Crows – 12
  5. Miniature Giant Space Hamsterplex – 10
  6. Joanie’s Joint – 9
  7. Ben’s X-Wing Exp(r)ess – 9
  8. Vigo Grimborne’s Medieval Screening Complex – 9
  9. Po Huit’s Sweet Movie Suite – 7
  10. Cyanbane’s Neuticles Viewing Party – 6

The alternate scoring isn’t very useful early on in the season, with lots of ties and wild changes in position, but at about the mid point it starts to shape up.

All of which leads us to week three where the elephant in the room is Toy Story 4.  Add Pixar magic to good pre-screening reviews and parents needing a summer movie to get the kids out of the house and the total looks like it will pass $150 million.  It will dominate so hard that it has, of course, been split into three days, leaving the week three picks as:

  1. Toy Story 4 FRI – $519
  2. Toy Story 4 SAT – $473
  3. Toy Story 4 SUN – $390
  4. Child’s Play – $170
  5. Secret Life of Pets 2 – $133
  6. Aladdin – $128
  7. Men in Black International – $124
  8. Rocketman – $63
  9. Dark Phoenix – $47
  10. Anna $46
  11. Godzilla – $35
  12. Shaft – $34
  13. John Wick 3 – $33
  14. Late Night – $28
  15. Avengers Endgame – $23

There is pretty much Toy Story 4 and then everything else.  There is no winning this week without some Pixar on your side.  It will be in all the theaters.

Still, there are two other new titles, Child’s Play and Anna.

Child’s Play is a remake of the 1988 horror flick of the same name that introduced the horrible Chucky doll to the world.  This title restarts the seven film franchise, with the change being that the new Chucky won’t be a doll possessed by a serial killer, but a robot doll run amok.  Chucky is said to be WiFi and Blue Tooth enabled, so no doubt that will play into things.

The studio has also been playing up the fact that it is opening against Toy Story 4, putting out posters of Chucky with objects implying that he had killed Woody, Buzz, and other members of the regular Toy Story cast.

The long range forecast for Child’s Play sat at $18 million for opening weekend the last I checked, but horror films are often a surprise during the summer, and a franchise like this has some additional draw, so I wouldn’t be surprised if it did better, positioned as a counter play to the obvious favorite.

And then there is Anna.  This is a Luc Besson title, which gives it a bit of a cult following as an opener.  He is responsible for such classics as Nikita, Leon: The Professional, and The Fifth Element. On the other hand, his followers in the states don’t number enough to guarantee success, as we saw with Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets two summers back.

The current long range forecast has the film pegged at about $4.5 million.  It hasn’t been marketed heavily and there hasn’t been much said or written about it, and what has been said makes it sound a lot like Nikita. The IMBd has it tagged with “one woman army.”  Oh, and there are no reviews yet, always a bad sign, but if you go look for reviews you’ll probably see them for the 2013 film of the same name, which got poor reviews, which people might not notice is the right film.

But it does play against the dominant title of the week, it has Helen Mirren in it (though she is almost unrecognizable in her role), and the Nikita formula worked for Luc Besson before, spawning an American remake and at least one TV series, though the sexy female assassin card has been played a lot since, most recently in Red Sparrow and Killing Eve I suppose.  Maybe it breaks out by being a new alternative this week, but it seems more likely to falter.

Which brings us to the big question of the week, which day of Toy Story 4 to go with?   It is summer, so who knows.  Friday will get the preview numbers rolled in, Saturday will no doubt be big on its own, and then there is always Sunday.  So if you want a full lineup of screens you can have Friday, Saturday, or Saturday and Sunday, all of which will leave you enough room in your budget for filler.

But you have to ask yourself, if there is no penalty for blank screens, do you just go with Friday and Saturday and leave the rest of the lineup empty?  If Toy Story 4 exceeds, that might be the way to go.

Or maybe you just take Friday, 1x Child’s Play, and 6x Anna and hope she breaks out and gets the best performer this week.

Make your picks soon.  The league locks late Thursday night Pacific time.