Fantasy Movie League Fa15 Wk1 Picks

The very first week of the Fall 2015 Fantasy Movie League season offers some interesting challenges.  Two new films are at our disposal this week in the form of Robert Redford’s “A Walk in the Woods” and the French thriller franchise continues with “The Transporter Refueled” but screen count activity with older films will impact choices as well.  Last week, “Jurassic World” added 665 screens and saw a bump in revenue.  Many other films do the same this week, which throws the usual examination of weekly box office drops into a bit of a mess.

My Estimate Comparator

I’m thrilled to have the official Fantasy Movie League site start to republish some of the content from my fan blog, so for new readers let me give a quick explanation of the selections I suggest each week.  Especially in light of the new scoring rules for the Fall Season that not only gives a $3M per screen bonus for Best Performer but also a $10M bonus for a Perfect Combination, analysis of which combination you should choose each week largely depends on what film will be Best Performer.


To help me with that, I wrote a simple Javascript estimate comparator that anyone is free to use:

Each Wednesday, I take the Weekend Forecast and plug it into my estimate comparator.  Those forecasts typically contain 10-12 films and my past research has found they are highly accurate within a bounds of -20% to +10%.  For films without a formal weekend forecast, I assume they will drop 40%.

With that as starter data, anyone can then adjust the sliders on the right hand side to what they think the actual box office returns will be for each film at our disposal.  As you do so, the Best Performer table will update to show you how your estimate change impacts which film will get that coveted $3M per screen bonus.  The table at the bottom left, showing the best scoring combinations given the most recent slider change, will update automatically as well.

There’s a little more detail to it than that, but those are the basics.

Best Performer Analysis

When you plug in those starter values this week, the Best Performer table you get looks like this:


The first item that draws attention here is how big a difference there is in the default numbers between “A Walk in the Woods” and everything else.  We’ll play with some scenarios here in a moment but as spreads for Best Performer score go, that’s a pretty big gap between the first choice and the second.

Another thing to notice is that “Mission Impossible” and “Minions” aren’t predicted to drop, but predicted to gain.  Screen counts aren’t typically available until Friday but clearly knows something because usually you see a steady decline the longer a film is out instead of a gain like that.

So now let’s play out a scenario where “A Walk in the Woods” does poorly and the other films on this list to better than expected.  My previous research shows that the estimates usually fall between -20% of their forecast and +10%.  With that as a guide, let’s assume that “A Walk in the Woods” does roughly -20% its forecast and the other Best Performer candidates all do roughly +10%.  When you adjust the sliders accordingly, the table changes to this:


“A Walk in the Woods” still wins, albeit barely.  Ultimately what this math tells us is your selections this week hinge largely on what you think of the forecasts for these five films.

Fantasy Movie League Week 1 Picks

This week is especially difficult because of the presumably increased screens for a number of films.  However, even if “A Walk in the Woods” performs on the low end of the typical accuracy it is still the presumptive Best Performer.  “Hitman: Agent 47” got terrible reviews, so even if “A Walk in the Woods” should falter, “Mission Impossible” seems like a smarter play for Best Performer.  With that in mind, here are my picks this week:

1 – I’m going to hedge a bit here and use a combination of “Mission Impossible” and “A Walk In The Woods”.  This mix doesn’t play out as the Perfect Combination in the scenario where either is Best Performer, but it scores well on both possible outcomes.


2 – In the event of all other films hit their forecast, the following is the best candidate for Perfect Combination even when “A Walk in the Woods” falls to -20%:


3 – If you have no belief at all in “A Walk in the Woods”, when it falls well below -20% of its forecast and all others hit theirs, this is the best combination:


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