Fantasy Movie League 2016 Fall Week 9 Picks

The tough choice we all had to make between “Ouija 2” and “Boo! A Madea Halloween” made for an even tougher result when both films over performed, but the latter so much more so.  In fact, at more than $58M last week was the 5th highest difference between Perfect Cinema and Most Popular in Fantasy Movie League history:

2015 Summer Week 1: $143,200,190

2015 Summer Week 9: $96,183,938

2015 Awards Week 4: $92, 525,248

2015 Awards Week 6: $62,439,766

2016 Fall Week 7: $58,168,771

The first week of FML people were clearly still figuring out how to play lineups.  Later that summer, “Trainwreck” exploded in its first week much to the disappointment of “Ant-Man” fans.  Awards Week 4 was possibly the biggest upset in FML history when “Daddy’s Home” did twice what pros predicted it would do (somewhere StarChip weeps) and “The Forrest” would come close to repeating the feat two weeks later.

What about this week?  With only one new wide release, will returning films hold?  What about that other holiday that most American’s don’t celebrate but over a billion people worldwide do?

Week 9 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):

2016fallweek9summarytable

Week 9 Perfect Combo Probabilities

2016fallweek9winprobabilities

As much as everyone loves Tom Hanks and as good as The Da Vinci Code was (as a book and movie, in my opinion), there’s not a whole lot of faith out there that “Inferno” will crack $30M this week, which it needs to be competitive in FML.  We just had a much better Tom Hanks film in “Sully” and the market has largely rejected what feel like add ons to franchises we haven’t heard from in awhile.  Add to that the World Series starting and what will likely be millions of Halloween parties makes for not a great weekend for a wide release.  I’d stay away from America’s Dad this week.

What about a small one, though?  One that caters to a very specific audience on a celebratory holiday weekend?  “Ae Dil Hai Mushkil” is a Hindi romantic comedy being released in 290 theaters on what most of North America is unaware is Diwali weekend.  Distributor FIP has been releasing Indian imports in the US the past few years, but this will be their largest to date.  The cautionary tale here is that their most successful prior release, “Prem Ratan Dhan Payo” was one of the highest grossing Bollywood films of 2015 and a difficult comparison to make.  Still, “Ae Dil Hai Mushkil” only has to reach $1.5M or so to be competitive for Best Performer.

Of the returning films, the two big winners from last week could have strong holds.  The typical Tyler Perry movie drops off 55% or so in its second week, but having the theme of “Boo!” match the holiday weekend may help it and the best 2nd week in the series belongs to the Christmas edition, which dropped only 46.7% albeit on a smaller opening weekend.  Similarly, “Ouija 2” has much stronger reviews than its predecessor, which only dropped 46% in its second week despite competition in the horror market that weekend.

Lost in the shuffle last week was that “Jack Reacher 2” also exceeded expectations.  The Tom Cruise adventure was predicted to bring in $19M by ProBoxOffice.com last week but instead did $22.8M.  Hmm, action movie led by major star with October release in the mid $20Ms sounds familiar, doesn’t it?  If “The Accountant” and its second week is any indicator, and it might not be, a 44% drop for “Jack” would make it a BP contender as well but it is the BSA this week.

So where does that leave us?

I’m not particularly inclined to believe everything ProBoxOffice has to say this week on what they thing will be a down overall weekend and we find ourselves with our third straight week without a ShowBuzzDaily prediction, so be wary of the model output this week.  It shows a whole lot of “Jack Reacher” but because it only varies the top 6 Best Performer candidates based on the pro forecasts, it completely misses “Ae Dil Hai Mushkil”.  This is among the enhancements to the model I hope to make soon.

That said, if you like “Ae Dil Hai Mushkil” to get above $1.5M now that has a relatively high theater count, it fits on five screens with high fillers of “Inferno” and 2x “Boo!”.  That combination looked a lot better before the ProBoxOffice forecast showing “Inferno” below $25M though.

If Tom Cruise will act like Ben Affleck, 5x “Jack” with a number of low end fillers might be to your liking,  In particular, 3x “Ae Dil Hai Mushkil” fits nicely there.

In a cruel irony for those that didn’t score big with “Ouija 2” last week, should it have a nice hold this week, you can play it on seven screens with a single screen of “Boo!”.

I’m leaning towards a hedge, especially after Patrick expressed a lower opinion of “Boo!” than I expected on the podcast.  That would mean 2x “Boo!”, 3x “Jack” and 3x “Ae Dil Hai Mushkil” which spreads choices out a bit.

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