Fantasy Movie League 2016 Fall Week 2 Picks

In case you missed it in The Chatter over the weekend, I ran some numbers on patterns in Perfect Cinemas (PCs) that look like this (updated here to reflect the results of Week 1):

61 out of 68 FML weeks: PC has cost at least FB$950 (89.7% of the time, including last week).  The only times that hasn’t been the case, the PC in question contained x7 or x8 of one screen (for example, Fall ’15 Week 1)

Best Performers (BPs) come in more shapes and sizes.  42 of 68 weeks (61.8%) BP has cost between FB$7 and FB$106 and 51 of 68 (75%) BP was between FB$7 and FB$206.  Only 7 of 68 weeks (10.2%) BP has cost more than FB$507.  The average BP cost over the 68 weeks of FML play is $183.5.

What about big swing weeks?  If you measure that as the difference between PC and the Most Popular cinema (last week was around $7M), the biggest delta was Week 1 of the 2015 Summer Season (aka the first week ever of FML) when that delta was just over $143M.  Clearly people were still learning how to play.  The next biggest was Summer ’15 Week 9 when Trainwreck surprised.  Over 75% of the time, though, that delta was less than $25M with an average of just over $21M despite those previously mentioned big swings.

So there are some guidelines for you given past history.  For this week . . .

Week 2 Summary Table

As always, here is the summary table that I use to assess the results of my model (see the full table at http://analyzer.fmlnerd.com/model):

2016fallweek2summarytable

Week 2 Perfect Combo Probabilities

When I plug the Use column into my model (which are also loaded in to the FML Lineup Calculator for your use), here’s what it comes up with (see the full output at http://analyzer.fmlnerd.com/model):

2016fallweek2winprobabilities

For a couple different reasons, this proves to be a difficult week.  First, the inaccuracies of both ProBoxOffice.com and ShowBuzzDaily have been well documented throughout the summer and this week I find myself feeling oppositely about our two highest priced options this week.  In addition, we again have several films new to FML that are not forecasted by the pros, so we’re left to our own devices.  Third, related to the second, theater counts and showtime numbers that come out on Thursday, not to mention any Thursday preview numbers, will be especially important this week given all the variability we have to wade through.

The first scenario to consider is if the pros are right about “Sully” and “The Wild Life”, both of which they think will have value above $82K.  As Patrick and I discussed on the podcast this week, “Sully” outperforming “Captain Phillips” $25.7M opening weekend, which would seem like a decent comparable in the “Fall release where Tom Hanks does something heroic” category of films, seems like a stretch.  Not only do the pros think that, but they think it’ll over-perform that guideline by a significant margin.

Similarly, the pros think that “The Wild Life” will play out more like “Norm of the North” than the late summer release from Lionsgate I would choose from last year, “Shaun the Sheep”.

Even with that, the model finds a great deal of churn with the average of the pro forecasts finishing as the 6th most likely Perfect Combination, which is highly unusual.  That means that small fluctuations in the pro forecasts produce very different outcomes.

What about large fluctuations?  I really don’t understand ProBoxOffice’s logic on “When the Bough Breaks”.  Go ahead and follow that link above and read their reasons for not thinking it will do as well as the Morris Chestnut post-Labor day violent love triangle from last year, “The Perfect Guy”.  Namely, that “Don’t Breathe” will take audience from it.  Huh?

I don’t get that at all and think it is much more likely to follow the $25.9M “The Perfect Guy” brought in a year ago than come in below $20M.  If you’re with  me on that and have less faith in “Sully” and “The Wild Life”, something more like two screens of “When the Bough Breaks”, five screens of “Kubo” and a low end filler looks attractive.

What about some of the other smaller films?  “No manches Frida” had a healthy Friday-Saturday-Sunday last weekend of $3.9M in only 362 theaters.  Past behavior of small releases would tell us that it would have to at least double that theater count to get around $3.5M this week and compete for Best Performer.  If it is in less than 600 theaters, you can probably throw it out as a possibility.

“The Disappointments Room” is harder to judge since it is at so few theaters and is on a review embargo.  It has to get up to $4M or so to make a BP impact, which even if the pros are off by 100% it won’t get there.

So how are we to decide which version is closer to what will actually happen?

Using the HSXSanity Thursday preview numbers to help us, “Captain Phillips” brought in $600K on a full weekend of $25.7M.  Certainly if “Sully” is above $1M that’s a sign that I’m wrong and the pros are right.  Unfortunately we aren’t likely to get similar guidance on “The Wild Life” (school night) or “When the Bough Breaks” (there were no Thursday previews for “The Perfect Guy” to compare with).

Pay close attention to the showtimes count on Thursday, which will appear on my analyzer.fmlnerd.com/showtimes page when available, as that will tell you more about the upper limit for each of these films.  I’d especially look at that number for “The Wild Life”, which some have reported on the Chatter as not being available on all movie house brands in major markets.

There are more things to consider here than in any week in quite some time, so be sure to stay on top of new information on Thursday and Friday.

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