Fantasy Movie League 2016 Fall Week 5 Picks

Do distributors matter?  Meaning, if in some simulated world same film were distributed by Buena Vista (Disney) and then again by Relativity would it have the same results?  In this extreme example, it absolutely would have a different result.  Disney owns huge numbers of TV and radio properties, including those specifically targeting different demographic groups and Relativity has had financial problems to the point where they’ve delayed film releases multiple times.

As I posted on the Chatter this week and will repeat here, we may have seen a subtler version of this last week with “Storks”.  If you go to my comp finder (http://analyzer.fmlnerd.com/comps/) and you filter on theater count between 3500 and 4000, Fall, Digital Animation you get 5 results:

– Open Season
– Legend of The Guardians: The Owls of GaHoole
– Puss in Boots
– Free Birds
– Hotel Transylvania 2

Then throw out HT2 and PiB since they are part of larger franchises and “Free Birds” based on it being a much smaller distributor. When last week started, I assumed the best comp was Open Season.

From that, the low $30Ms is what you would expect and what the pros were likely depending upon for their forecasts last week. Throw in some good social media numbers and you get the $35Mish they forecasted.

In hindsight, though, “Storks” acted more like Legend of The Guardians: The Owls of GaHoole despite different source material and a very different tone. Take a look at its adjusted BoxOffice Mojo page.  If you take that Per Theater Average (PTA) and multiply it by Storks’ 3,922 theaters, you get $20M, much closer to the $21.3M it actually brought in.

What do these two films have in common? Warner Bros.

I discounted this comp because it was based on an existing story, but the distributor seems like it carries more weight here. Again, that makes sense in hindsight given that WB doesn’t have nearly the same marketing channels at this target audience that some of its competitors do.

If this comp holds, the 2nd week PTA and a theater hold would put Storks at $12.9M next week (pro average forecasts have it at $12.5M).

So what does that all mean for “Queen of Katwe”, which has the most efficient distributor and an Oscar winner behind it but an extremely poor limited release last week?  Or “Masterminds”, which has had its opening delayed twice and an embargo on reviews but a deep, well known cast?

Week 5 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):

2016fallweek5summarytable

Week 5 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):

2016fallweek5winprobabilities

We are likely looking at another down weekend and the forecasts from ProBoxOffice.com and ShowBuzzDaily for  two new big films show us a downturn in the momentum for both (http://analyzer.fmlnerd.com/lrf/).  That’s why “Sully” is part of that top model output, although it is a bit deceptive.

Remember that my model varies each of the top six Best Performer candidates by +/- 15% and what the top item in the model shows is that when “Sully” gets a +15% or others get -15% it becomes the obvious BP choice.  However, that math starts with the assumption that the Tom Hanks disaster film will only drop 33% despite the presence of a Mark Wahlberg disaster film with more explosions.  Combine that with the fact that even with a significant theater count expansion last week, “Sully” didn’t beat the third week drop of “Captain Phillips”, so I don’t see it having a better drop than last week when it is bound to lose theaters this week.  And that floor on the top model combo should scare you too.

In addition to our two big films, “Queen of Katwe” is one of two more difficult than usual movies to judge this week.  On one hand, it had a terrible small opening last week but on the other it’s a Disney release with a highly recognizable Oscar winner as its marketing centerpiece.  Earlier in the week, I was very high on this one but when its theater count went from 1500 to 1200 it’s a much harder sell.

The other hard film to weigh is “Masterminds”, whose release date was moved more than once but has a recognizable cast who is active on the talk show circuit this week in support of the film.  Relativity may have to buy an audience, though, since reviews are still under embargo, which I always think makes for a risky lineup.  If you believe in it, though, it fits 8x and would be a bold play.

Regardless of what the pros say, the most viable combinations this week involve four films that can be used together in similar combinations.  Pick the new release, either “Miss Peregrine” or “Deepwater Horizon” you like the best and you think will win the weekend outright.  Play it twice.

Then take whichever long tail hold over you like the best between “Suicide Squad” and the Best Performer from last week, “Don’t Breathe” and play it 6x.  The one way that doesn’t quite fit is  the “Miss Peregrine”/”Don’t Breathe” pairing  but 4x the latter and 2x “Hell or High Water” does.  That’s four combinations to choose among and the showings report on Thursday (http://analyzer.fmlnerd.com/showtimes/) may shed some light on which way to go, especially if the premium format number for “Deepwater Horizon” is large.

Right now, I’m partial to either “Miss Peregrine” x2 + “Suicide Squad” x6 or “Deepwater Horizon” + 6x “Don’t Breathe”.  The first was my coma lineup on Monday but I’m thinking about adding a “when in doubt, pick the movie with the biggest star” rule to what I wrote last week and going with the second.

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