Fall Movie League – Jigsaw Puzzle

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Week nine of our fall Fantasy Movie League is now past and the pre-Halloween weekend was a boon for scary movies.

The week started off with a toss up over which movie would make a solid anchor based on the initial pricing and revenue estimates.  The choices were:

Jigsaw                        $277
Boo! 2: A Madea Halloween     $214
Subrubicon                    $150
Geostorm                      $126
Happy Death Day               $90
Thank You for Your Service    $89
Blade Runner 2049             $67
Only the Brave                $59
The Foreigner                 $55
It                            $38
American Made                 $31
Kingsman                      $29
Same Kind of Different As Me  $27
Victoria & Abdul              $27
The Snowman                   $26

The top two new players on the list were Jigsaw, a continuation of the Saw series of movies, and the Clooney/Coen brothers film Suburbicon, with last week’s top earner, Boo! 2, stuffed in between.  The initial box estimated put them at about $12, $10, and $8 million respectively, which meant that you could build a pretty solid lineup out of any of them.

And then Jigsaw started getting some traction in the press.  While the die hard Saw fans were saying that no picture in the franchise had ever opened for less than $18 million, Variety and a couple other sites coming out mid-week with estimates in the $20 million range made that a more solid statement.

Meanwhile Suburbicon, always a stretch given the rather rarefied air in which the Coen brothers can operate, started to tank in estimates.  $8 million became $6 million which became $4-5 million, all of which scared any watcher of the industry off of it as an anchor choice.

So Jigsaw became the clear anchor.  At anything close to $20 million it would not only take the week but also be the best price performer.  I estimated that if it could just get past $16.6 million it would be a shoe-in for both.  Then it would be a matter of what five films would fill in the other screens.

I went with the maximum three screens of Jigsaw, two screens of It, and three screens of American Made, a mix which happened to also spend my entire $1,000 budget.

My Fall Week Nine Picks

And then we were off to the movies.

As it turned out, Jigsaw did better than initially projected, but broke the “$18 million or more” streak that the Saw fans were touting in support of the film.  That number is now $16.6 million.

$16.6 million was also the number I felt it had to get past to be the best price/performer, and in not managing get over that hurdle I was at least correct in it not hitting that goal.  Instead it came down to a tight race between It and The Foreigner which It won in the end.  That made the perfect pick three screens of Jigsaw, three of It, and two of Victoria & Abdul.

Fall Week Nine Perfect Pick

Two people in the Meta League, SynCaine and Elly, both managed to get the perfect pick for week nine, a feat they shared with 736 other players, netting them each $71,714,400.  The standings for the week ended up as:

  1. SynCaine’s Dark Room of Delights (T) – $71,714,400
  2. Elly’s Elemental E-Plex (M) – $71,714,400
  3. Darren’s Unwatched Cineplex (T) – $66,269,674
  4. Wilhelm’s Films from New Eden – $64,035,847
  5. Corr’s Carefully Curated Cineplex (M) – $59,991,939
  6. Aure’s Astonishingly Amateur Amphitheatre (M) – $59,195,899
  7. Paks’ Pancakes & Pics (T) – $55,345,800
  8. Logan’s Luxurious Thaumatrope (M) – $54,933,396
  9. Ben’s X-Wing Express (M) – $53,631,625
  10. Kraut Screens (T) – $51,618,295
  11. Dan’s Decadent Decaplex (M) – $49,834,984
  12. I HAS MOVIES (T) – $41,511,450
  13. The Filthy Fleapit (T) – $22,861,476

Meta League Legend:

  • TAGN Movie Obsession – players from it marked with a (T)
  • MCats Multiplex – players from it marked with an (M)

The $2 million per screen price/performance boost plus the $5 million perfect pick bonus lifted SynCaine and Elly ahead of the pack.  That latter bonus is pretty much all that stands between those two and Darren who only failed to go with Victoria & Abdul as his final two screens.

Meanwhile The Filthy Fleapit was all in on Suburbicon, with six screens of it in play, and paid the price as the film didn’t even clear the revised low-ball estimates, hitting only $2.8 million.

That left the overall season scores as:

  1. Corr’s Carefully Curated Cineplex (M) – $713,575,565
  2. Aure’s Astonishingly Amateur Amphitheatre (M) – $696,474,327
  3. Elly’s Elemental E-Plex (M) – $665,149,476
  4. Ben’s X-Wing Express (M) – $657,200,029
  5. SynCaine’s Dark Room of Delights (T) – $649,461,284
  6. Wilhelm’s Films from New Eden – $642,534,788
  7. Dan’s Decadent Decaplex (M) – $628,121,469
  8. Logan’s Luxurious Thaumatrope (M) – $610,758,036
  9. Paks’ Pancakes & Pics (T) – $606,814,839
  10. Kraut Screens (T) – $521,195,924
  11. The Filthy Fleapit (T) – $513,988,818
  12. I HAS MOVIES (T) – $503,564,714
  13. Darren’s Unwatched Cineplex (T) – $360,657,754

The big changes on the list were Elly jumping up to third place and SynCaine passing me to take the lead in the the TAGN league and fifth spot overall.  Again, the weight of the bonuses is seen both.  The gap between us now adds up to the bonus for one screen of It and the perfect pick bonus.  He has won four of nine weeks in the league, but the bonus is what put him in the passing lane.  Kraut Screens also passed The Filthy Fleapit largely on the latter’s poor showing this week.  Thanks a lot Suburbicon.

And now we’re looking at week ten with Halloween behind us and another superhero blockbuster weekend with Thor: Ragnarok hitting the screens.  As often happens in such weeks, Thor is expected to dominate so hard that it has been broken up into three picks for Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.  Certainly Bad Mom’s Christmas, another new title this week, isn’t going to threaten it.  The lineup is:

Thor - Friday              $479
Thor - Saturday            $443
Thor - Sunday              $300
Bad Moms Christmas         $201
Jigsaw                     $71
Boo! 2                     $46
Geostorm                   $27
Happy Death Day            $26
Blade Runner 2049          $23
Thank You for Your Service $22
Only the Brave             $21
The Foreigner              $20
It                         $18
Subrubicon                 $16
Victoria & Abdul           $14

Amazingly, or perhaps optimistically, Suburbicon stayed on the list this week.  Just barely, but there it is.

I think the lesson from past three day splits is to avoid Friday and take some combo of Saturday and/or Sunday plus the right mix of low price titles to fill in your screens.  Getting the right mix there can make or break your bid, as we saw in week nine, and there are a lot of possible choices at the low end.



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