Summer ’15 Week 10 offers new movie openings with teen ties. Sort of. Adam Sandler’s video game extravaganza “Pixels” is an idea with roots in my own ’80s teen years where I’d regularly blow my weekly allowance playing Pac Man, Centipede, and Donkey Kong. Also opening this week is the teen mystery “Paper Towns”, based on a novel my 13-year old daughter loves and which I have to admit looks pretty cool. Finally, whenever I see any reference to a Jake Gyllenhaal movie, I get freaked out all over again thinking about “Donnie Darko” (in which he played a teen).
A big shift in the analysis this week centers on the estimates for “Pixels”. As recently as last Wednesday, July 17, ProBoxOffice.com’s long range forecast predicted $54M for the Adam Sandler video game film but today, presumably based on the horrible reviews it received, their weekend prediction went down to $39M. Given its FB$302 price tag, that takes it out of the running for any optimal combinations. Similarly, the outlook for “Paper Towns” went from $31M to $26M in the ProBoxOffice.com predictions, which dampens but does not eliminate its favorable combination possibilities.
If you take those weekend estimates from ProBoxOffice.com for the top ten movies this week and assume a 50% loss on the other five choices at our disposal, the candidates for Best Performer (box office prediction in the thousands divided by FB$) form a very tight race:
- “Minions”: 159.34
- “Southpaw”: 159.09
- “Inside Out”: 159.18
- “Jurassic World”: 159.57
- “Magic Mike XXL”: 157.14
Unlike last week, where “Trainwreck” showed obvious value above others, this week gives us a toss-up when it comes to that crucial $2M per screen bonus.
Top of Lineup Analysis
According to my nerdy bin packing Monte Carlo simulator, out of the 437,846 raw combinations this week and the 6,600 valid ones, here are the top of lineup combinations worth considering:
- “Minions” x5 = $127.5M, FB$200 left over
- “Minions” x6 = $153M, FB$40 left over
- “Paper Towns” x2 + “Trainwreck” x3 = $107.5M, FB$266 left over
A solid top of lineup needs both good value and a high FB$ figure to fill up enough of the FB$1000 quota we get each week with box office dollars. Out of those five Best Performer choices, “Minions” dominates because of its FB$160 price tag, hence the first two combinations. If, however, “Minions” falls off even 10% of its predicted $25.5M, then the “Paper Towns”/”Trainwreck” combination becomes attractive, especially if you can combine it with some Best Performer candidates.
My Fantasy Movie League Picks
I like going all in on “Minions” this week. It has a good chance to get the bonus and that potential $12M extra is hard to pass up. That potential upside makes it more attractive than the possible downside of being wrong.
1) My pick this week isn’t the maximum score if you assume the estimates are true, but it’s close and lets me hedge just a little in the case where “Minions” doesn’t get the Best Performer bonus, but “Magic Mike XXL” does.
2) This combination is rated slightly higher by my simulator, but has little to no bonus chance if “Minions” falters as explained above.
3) If you want to hedge a little more away from “Minions” and have shot at a bonus $4M with “Southpaw” x2, this third combination is for you.
Wildcard) If “Minions” doesn’t interest you at all, this final combination nets just under an estimated $150M and has a shot at $6M in bonuses should “Southpaw” do well.
Happy movie going!