Fantasy Box Office – October

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Ken Jones

*In lieu of Guess the Box Office due to Greg being under the weather, OnScreen presents an update of the Fantasy Box Office season through the month of October and a preview of November releases. Guess the Box Office will resume next week.

RECAP: SEPTEMBER & OCTOBER

When last we left our intrepid bunch of movie lovers, the fall movie season was on the cusp of kicking off, the rosters were set, and I was ready to defend my crown after winning the summer league. So what has happened in the interim?

OnStage founder Chris Peterson paid off his last place finish by watching his punishment movie, Freddie Got Fingered, a truly miserable experience that he livestreamed to the delight of the rest of us, especially me.

Since the launch of the fall league, seven movies that were rostered have been released in theaters through the end of October. Of those seven, Chris saw three of his movies released: Smallfoot, Night School, and Halloween. Those movies propelled Chris into the early lead, thanks in large part to the strong performance and reviews of Halloween; through two weekends it has made $148.6 million, which is $117.4 million for Chris given the 79% T-meter on Rotten Tomatoes. To my knowledge, there isn’t a clear-cut comp for Halloween’s performance. It maybe, but it made significantly more money last year releasing in September. Smallfoot and Night School combined to give Chris an added $74.5 million combined, with Smallfoot being the better reviewed movie and higher earner for him.

Not far behind Chris, and with only two movies released so far is Greg. Greg paid $25 in the auction for A Star Is Born and has been richly rewarded for it, with it already taking in $133.7 million though four weekends. It’s been an incredibly steady and consistent earner through it’s theatrical run; most movies experience a 50% drop from one weekend to the next in the 2nd or 3rd weekend, but A Star Is Born has yet to have a drop of greater than 33.7% in weekend revenue which is really impressive. I think it’s a pretty safe bet to keep making a steady amount of money through November, and I also wouldn’t be surprised if it gets a re-release in January when award season kicks into gear, which often happens if a movie receives multiple Oscar nominations. It’s a bit of a long shot, but Greg might have a chance to see this movie cap at $200 million. Where A Star Is Born has lived up to or exceeded expectations, First Man definitely had a disappointing box office run. Expectations for this movie ran close to $100 million, and as of the last weekend in October it hadn’t even cracked $40 million. If that is because of the ridiculous American flag controversy, then shame on people.

Perhaps the biggest surprise of October, though, belonged to Paula in the form of Venom. It was pretty much savaged by critics, even I wrote that the movie was far from great even if overall it was shockingly entertaining. Audiences did not seem to care, though, as they made Venom the best opening October film of all time. By the end of the month it had made $187.1 million, which translated into $56.1 million for Paula because of the 30% T-meter. But, she only paid $6 for it, so that is a great return on investment. Again, who knew? That movie looked, to borrow a line of its own dialogue, like a turd in the wind.

My lone release so far was The House with the Clock in Its Walls, which I only paid $2 for and have already seen $43.9 million in profit. Tim has yet to get in on the action yet, as he does not have a release until 11/9.

PREVIEW: NOVEMBER AND BEYOND

So, what lies ahead as the calendar moves into November? Business is about to pick up. Nine movies are scheduled for release in November; four of which belong to me, two of which come out this weekend:
11/2: The Nutcracker and the Four Realms, Bohemian Rhapsody

11/9: The Grinch

11/16: Widows

The Nutcracker has reviewed poorly, 34% T-meter as I write. I expected Bohemian Rhapsody to also review pretty poorly, and some of those reviews have been pretty harsh, but it seems to be hovering around 60% on Rotten Tomatoes. I expected something closer to 45 -50%. I don’t expect Bohemian Rhapsody to rival the revenue of A Star Is Born, but something over $100 million is possible, and if I end up taking home $60 million I’ll consider it a win. It sounds like The Nutcracker was a troubled shoot with two directors credited, one having been brought in during post-production; never a good sign. I have high hopes for the earning power of The Grinch, but it does give me pause that there have been no early reviews for it yet. That usually portends bad reviews. If that’s still the case Wednesday I might be hyperventilating. Widows has already gotten rave reviews; it’s one of the reasons I picked it up.

Elsewhere, Greg has what is likely to be the biggest release of the month, Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindewald, opening on November 16th, which also happens to be the same release day as one of his other movies, Instant Family. I suspect that one will take in considerably less money. Chris and Paula are both quiet on the release front until December, but Tim has The Frontrunner, Creed 2, and Ralph Breaks the Internet coming out this month.

A few modifications to rosters have been made. Paula and Chris both had a movie pushed back to a later date. Chris lost Alita: Battle Angel and replaced it with Ben Is Back. Paula lost Hellboy and has yet to replace it. Greg decided to take a $5 million penalty and drop Roma for Clint Eastwood’s The Mule, which was probably a good move.

I suspect that at the end of the month the standings will be as follows:

1. Greg

2. Ken

3. Chris

4. Tim

5. Paula

The current standings are found below.

 

ROSTERS

1. Chris - $191.9 million

$8 Smallfoot (9/28) – (75% X $72.6 = $54.5)

$8 Night School (9/28) – (28% X $71.4 = $20)

$25 Halloween (10/19) – (79% X $148.6 = $117.4)
$0 Ben Is Back (12/7) – (82%) (22 reviews)

$4 Mortal Engines (12/14)

$6 Bumblebee (12/21)

+$3

 

2. Greg - $167 million

$25 A Star Is Born (10/5) – (90% X $148.6 = $133.7)

$10 First Man (10/12) – (88% X $37.8 = $33.3)

$22 Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindewald (11/16)

$1 Instant Family (11/16)

$0 The Mule (12/14) – (-$5 million penalty)

$1 On the Basis of Sex (12/28)

 

3. Paula - $56.1 million

$6 Venom (10/5) – (30% X $187.1 = $56.1)

$13 Spider-Man: Into the Spiderverse (12/14)

$21 Aquaman (12/21)

$10 Glass (1/18)

 

4. Ken - $43.9 million
$2 The House with the Clock in Its Walls (9/21) – (66% X $66.5 = $43.9)

$11 The Nutcracker and the Four Realms (11/2)

$11 Bohemian Rhapsody (11/2) (54% X $) (84 reviews)

$13 The Grinch (11/9)

$3 Widows (11/16) – (96%) (68 reviews)

$20 Mary Poppins Returns (12/21)

 

5. Tim - $0

$1 The Frontrunner (11/9) – (67%) (30 reviews)

$13 Creed 2 (11/23)

$34 Ralph Breaks the Internet (11/23)

$6 Holmes & Watson (12/21)

$3 Vice (12/21)

$3 Serenity (1/25)