FML 101: Scoring, Bonuses, and Weekly Calendar

This is the first in a series of three posts intended to educate new players on different aspects of Fantasy Movie League.  Special thanks to Ari and M37 for contributing to this entry.

Welcome to Fantasy Movie League (FML)!

You’ve taken the first step into a larger world. Pretty soon, you may find yourself getting emotional over the Thursday returns of cinematic classics like “Jem and the Holograms” or spend your lunch hour trying to find weekend theater counts. Just know that you aren’t alone, many of us are similarly afflicted.

This first educational post for new players will cover the FML scoring system, the importance of understanding the bonus system, and present an outline of the weekly calendar of significant events so you can start to know what to look for and when to look for it.

Scoring

The basics of scoring are pretty straightforward. You get 8 screens and $1000 FML Bux (commonly abbreviated FB$). Each week, there are 15 movies to choose from and you can enter any combination of those movies into those screens (including using the same movie multiple times) as long as you don’t exceed that FB$1000. Your score is based on the weekend returns (Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, sometimes abbreviated as FSS) for the films in your screens.

“Based on” is an important detail, though, because there are bonuses and penalties to consider. For example, if you choose not to fill all your screens, you will take a $2M penalty for each empty screen. Occasionally it makes sense to select a combination that leaves one empty screen but it almost never to your advantage to leave more than that empty.

Bonuses

There are two key bonuses to consider each week, beginning with the Best Performer bonus (abbreviated as BP). Divide the box office returns for a film by its FB$ price and you get its BP score, which is a measure of the value you get for spending FB$ on each film. Each week, the film with the highest BP number gets a bonus of $2M per screen it is used on. For example, in Week 8 of the Fall 2015 season, a common combination was 7x “Bridge of Spies” and 1x “Woodlawn”. That’s because many people predicted that “Bridge of Spies” would take the BP bonus that week and that combination maximized the effects of that possibility, producing an extra bonus to the weekly score should that prediction some true (it did).

The second bonus is given each week to the Perfect Combination, meaning the best possible score, which gives an additional $5M. In a typical week, less than 1% of FML players predict the Perfect Combination and are awarded with this difference making $5M bonus. The Perfect Combination has always involved using the film that gets the BP bonus, although it is a mathematical possibility for it not to be.

Special Case: Super Movie X

There is one special scenario for the 15 movies to pick from, called Super Movie X in the Chatter.  Sometimes a particular movie is expected to bring in so much revenue, it is broken up into its daily values (Friday, Saturday, and Sunday) instead of its full weekend.

For example, during Week 12 of the Fall Season FML split the opening of “The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2” into daily values.  That meant that you could pick Friday, Saturday, or Sunday for the Hunger Games as its own screen for your Cineplex, and at a combined total of $1,523 you had to choose how (if at all) to use “Mockingjay” wisely.  The next Super Movie X expected dominate the box office in its opening weekend is “Star Wars: The Force Awakens”.

What This Game Is REALLY About

New players typically think that FML is about figuring out which film takes in the largest box office each week. Because of the bonus system, nothing could be further from the truth. FML is really about finding the film that will earn the BP bonus, and by extension, be in contention in combination with other films for the Perfect Combo bonus. Each FML season is 12-15 weeks long so you don’t have to be right every week (nobody is), but guess correctly more often than not and you’ll do well.

Weekly Calendar

It is helpful to understand the weekly calendar of events:

  • Monday: By 5p Pacific, the new slate of movies in play along with their prices are announced
  • Wednesday: A batch of professional forecasts are published
  • Thursday: My weekly picks article is published that narrows choices and examines possibilities
  • Friday: By 9a Pacific, selections for the week are due
  • Saturday: Usually by noon Pacific, early estimates for the week are used to calculate a tentative score
  • Monday: Usually by early afternoon, final weekend box office revenues are recorded and scores calculated, but not posted until 5p Pacific with the new prices

ProBoxOffice.com is the official scoring source for FML and occasionally there are smaller release films that aren’t covered in the Saturday or Sunday estimates.  When this happens, you’ll see “Why isn’t <movie Z> estimated?” threads in the Chatter and the answer is, because ProBoxOffice.com doesn’t have an estimate for it.

Next Week . . .

Next week the FML 201: Resources post will focus on places you can use to get more information that might help make more informed choices while a later FML 301: Analysis Guidelines post will discuss trends seen in prior seasons.

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