In which a perfect storm occurs.
Coming off of last week there was no doubt that Despicable Me 3 would rule the box office. Nothing else huge was opening against it and the champions of the past weeks were worn out, still earning millions but no longer the dominate players. And so it goes as the weeks of summer progress.
This summer league has made me pay more attention that usual to the movies and what is releasing when. I like the movies, but aside from a few well promoted productions, I do tend to only know what is playing when I look up what is playing at the local cinema. Now I am keeping an eye on what is opening every week and have the Variety film section in my RSS feed.
The week five options for the league were:
Despicable Me 3 $840 The House $198 Transformers $175 Wonder Woman $131 Baby Driver $110 Cars 3 $102 47 Meters Down $36 Beguiled $32 The Mummy $26 Pirates of the Caribbean $26 Rough Night $23 All Eyez on Me $19 Captain Underpants $19 Guardians of the Galaxy 2 $15 Beatriz At Dinner $12
Despicable Me 3, expected to earn over $90 million in its opening weekend was priced to match that goal. Theoretically, if the Monday box estimates are correct, the pricing should reflect what the movie should do. Or, to put it another way, if the estimates are dead on, spending your full budget should get you the same result no matter which movies you pick. Given the list above, eight screens of Baby Driver ought to be worth just a bit more than one screen of DM3.
Of course, the estimates are just that. They are industry guesses.
So DM3 was up at the top. The House was expected to be in second place, slated to pull in about $20 million. Then, in the $10-20 million range were the past champs, Transformers, Wonder Woman, and Cars 3. Then there were the spent forces and lower earners, the movies that you would need to pad out your eight screens if you picked DM3. From this lower end often comes the surprise pick of the week, the best price to earning champion that yields a $2 million per screen bonus in the game.
And in the middle was Baby Driver. Pegged at $10-12 million at the start of last week, it looked like a movie you might consider for your mix because you couldn’t get eight screens of Wonder Woman or Transformers.
The week went on, reviews started to come in, early opening revenues started to be counted, and the field began to shift. Estimates for DM3 started to soften some, but it was The House that got hit hard, with poor reviews. Estimates dropped in half. Meanwhile, Baby Driver was looking strong, with high marks on Meta Critic and a strong opening night. It went from possibly the best performance pick to almost a sure thing. The question was how many screens do you run it on. If it was going to end up being the number two movie of the week, which looked like a distinct possibility, the answer had to be “all of them.”
Thursday afternoon I was pestering my daughter to go do her picks. As she looked at the choices she asked me what I chose. I generally stay mum on that, but this time around I figured I would share. I told her I decided to go with all Baby Driver. She gave me that, “Old man, are you crazy?” look, but when I explained how the week had progressed, she had to admit I had something to back up my decision. Still, she couldn’t bring herself to go all in on Baby Driver, and led with Transformers and seven screens of my pick.
And then Baby Driver pulled in a little more than $20 million over the weekend while DM3 “only” managed $72 million, both results quite a bit off from the view of the world at the beginning of the week… although it appears that the studios took a four day weekend like a lot of people in the US, so rather than getting the final numbers on Monday night for a Tuesday post, here I am on Wednesday night putting together a post just to make sure it is up before the week six deadline hits on Friday morning.
Anyway, that much pull in the US box office made going all Baby Driver the “perfect pick” of the week. The perfect pick is the one that results in the highest score, and this week almost two thousand of the over sixteen thousand active player went with it, including both Liore and I.
So the scores for the week had the two of us at the top.
- Dr Liore’s Evil House of Pancakes – $185,426,560
- Wilhelm’s Clockwork Lemon Multiplex – $185,426,560
- Ocho’s Octoplex – $167,005,690
- Void’s Awesomeplex – $146,190,015
- Murf’s Matinee Mania – $129,149,255
- Syl’s Fantasy Galore Panopticum – $120,144,635
- Moderate Peril’s Sleazy Porno Theatre – $110,805,100
- Bel’s House of Horrors – $108,193,142
- Pasduil’s Popcorn Picturehouse – $89,165,906
- Braxwolf’s Waffleplex – $83,798,882
(Clockwork appears to have stopped playing, failing to update picks over the last two weeks, so has been removed from the list for now.)
The win for the week went to Liore because… I don’t know, it looks like a tie to me, but she got the credit.
If you are mathematically inclined you might look at the score Liore and I ended up with, subtract the amount earned by eight screens of Baby Driver, and find us with $21 million extra in our total. That is because you get $2 million per screen for picking the best price/performer for the week, so eight screens gives you $16 million, plus $5 million overall for having the perfect pick for the week.
On the overall score front I managed to not fall further behind, but sharing the picks with Liore meant not gaining any ground on her lead either. The rest of the pack however saw the gap between them and first place grow by quite a bit, leaving the standings at the end of week five looking like this.
- Dr Liore’s Evil House of Pancakes – $601,699,181
- Wilhelm’s Clockwork Lemon Multiplex – $576,012,223
- Ocho’s Octoplex – $531,959,640
- Void’s Awesomeplex – $510,920,719
- Moderate Peril’s Sleazy Porno Theatre – $481,943,596
- Pasduil’s Popcorn Picturehouse – $471,472,045
- Murf’s Matinee Mania – $454,458,439
- Bel’s House of Horrors – $450,265,922
- Braxwolf’s Waffleplex – $441,965,254
- Syl’s Fantasy Galore Panopticum – $404,391,260
The main pack looks to be vying for fourth or fifth place now with Liore way out in front, while Ocho, Void, and myself bridge the gap, ahead of the pack but still way behind Liore as we go into week six.
For week six the line up looks like this.
Spider-Man FRIDAY $501 Spider-Man SATURDAY $448 Despicable Me 3 $404 Spider-Man SUNDAY $339 Baby Driver $143 Wonder Woman $104 Transformers $70 Cars 3 $47 The House $46 47 Meters Down $30 The Big Sick $28 The Beguiled $21 The Mummy $14 Pirates $13 Guardians of the Galaxy 2 $8
As you can see, Spider-Man has been broken up into three entries. FML sometimes does this on weeks when there is only one big contender for the week’s box office, splitting the big movie into Friday, Saturday, and Sunday box office results. So when picking one would likely want to anchor their screens on Spider-Man, but which one? You can’t get all three days, and if you go with two of the days your other picks are strictly limited. Do you go with two days and hope for a big run or pick just one and fill out your line up with pictures on the decline hoping for an optimum pick bonus?
Another thing to note is that, in an unusual yet expected turn, the screen price for Baby Drive went up compared to last week. Since it far exceeded initial expectations it went up from $110 per screen to $143.
That is where things stand going into week six.