Chief Film Critic
This past month brought some changes in the standings of our league. In previewing the month of November, I predicted that the standings would be:
I was pretty close. Currently, I’m actually in first place and Greg is in 2nd, but only about $15 million separates us. What accounts for that? Well, the big reason for that is likely Fantastic Beast: The Crimes of Grindewald. I didn’t expect glowing reviews, but I also did not expect a T-meter of 39% for it either. The first Fantastic Beasts was favorably reviewed at 74%. I expected a modest drop off, perhaps somewhere in the 60s or bottoming out in the mid-to-high 50s. 39% is a steep drop and that drop is impacting its revenue too, as it is lagging nearly $50 million compared to the first film at this point. That severely limits Greg’s chances to win.
Elsewhere in November, I had four films released this month, which catapulted me to the top. I underestimated the box office potential of Bohemian Rhapsody, which has outperformed practically every expectation analysts had for it. It also turns out that my concerns for the lack of early reviews for The Grinch were well-founded as it only has a 58% T-meter rating. Thankfully, it has proven to be somewhat critic-proof as it has still made over $200 million at the box office. The Nutcracker turned out to be a serious waste of money on my part, $11 spent bidding on a movie that won’t even earn me $20 million.
Tim gave himself a punchers chance with Creed II and Ralph Breaks the Internet showing up for Thanksgiving and dominating the box office. Both were very well received by critics and audiences. In fact, both films are currently outpacing their predecessors through two weekends; if that continues, it could be a boon to Tim’s chances.
Chris and Paula had very little movement with the rosters as neither had films released in November.
Preview: December & January
The holiday season is upon us and this month should decide who is winning this thing. Let’s take a look at everyone’s best path to victory.
For me, Mary Poppins Returns is the last movie I have left. There are no reviews yet, as they have been embargoed, but early buzz is that it could be an Oscar contender for Best Picture. If that is the case, then this Disney sequel could be a crowd-pleaser and critical darling. If that is the case, then maybe it hits the $200 cap for me. If that happens, this thing is over.
For Greg, he needs to wring as much revenue out of A Star Is Born as possible, hoping it stays in theaters through award season, which could happen. He needs to make up ground lost by the underperforming Crimes of Grindewald, so Clint Eastwood’s The Mule needs to perform like Sully or Gran Torino and On the Basis of Sex needs to capture about 200% of the Ruth Bader Ginsburg zeitgeist out there.
I think Chris has the least likely path to victory. I don’t think most people expect Mortal Engines to be good. For Chris to win it has to turn out to be better than the average “produced by Peter Jackson” film, the movies that trade on the reputation of the Lord of the Rings without actually being from the director of them. He also needs Bumblebee to not be your average Transformers movie and actually be better than any other Transformers movie that has come before it. Lastly, Ben Is Back needs to be a sleeper that comes out of nowhere to grab some award season buzz.
Tim needs Ralph Breaks the Internet to continue to outperform Wreck-It Ralph. Hitting the cap would be huge. Holmes & Watson needs to capture the magical comedic chemistry of Will Ferrell and John C. Reilly. Vice has to hit with audiences like The Big Short did a few years ago and be as favorably reviewed. And honestly, he should probably look into dropping Serenity and picking up anything else that is releasing sooner than Jan. 25, because that’s only one weekend of revenue.
Last but certainly not least, Paula is far behind in the standings, but she is about to shoot up the leaderboard. Spider-Man: Into the Spiderverse is getting rave reviews and looks poised to make at least $100 million for her, and probably more. Things also look quite promising for Aquaman, so maybe that actually comes close to capping for her. Glass is one of the early movies of 2019 with high expectations. The problem for Paula is that she lost Hellboy,a movie she bid $10 on, when it got pushed back in 2019. More importantly, she still has not replaced it, despite having a free add/drop to make because of it. She could’ve gotten The Mule instead of Greg. There are scant few options left and time is running out. Honestly, if Aquaman is as good as early word of mouth says it is, Paula has a chance to win this thing, and with every day that she doesn’t add anything to shore up her roster feels like a missed opportunity.
1. Ken - $312.2 million
$2 The House with the Clock in Its Walls (9/21) – (66% X $68.4 = $45.1)
$11 The Nutcracker and the Four Realms (11/2) – (34% X $51.1 = $17.3)
$11 Bohemian Rhapsody (11/2) (62% X $164.3 = $101.9)
$13 The Grinch (11/9) – (58% X 203.7 = $118.1)
$3 Widows (11/16) – (90% X $33.1 = $29.8)
$20 Mary Poppins Returns (12/21)
2. Greg - $298.7 million
$25 A Star Is Born (10/5) – (90% X $193.7 = $174.3)
$10 First Man (10/12) – (88% X $44.7 = $39.3)
$22 Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindewald (11/16) – (39% X $134.5 = $52.5)
$1 Instant Family (11/16) – (82% X $45.9 = $37.6)
$0 The Mule (12/14) – (-$5 million penalty)
$1 On the Basis of Sex (12/28) (76%) (21 reviews)
3. Chris - $213.6 million
$8 Smallfoot (9/28) – (76% X $82.2 = $62.5)
$8 Night School (9/28) – (29% X $77 = $22.3)
$25 Halloween (10/19) – (79% X $159.2 = $125.8)
$0 Ben Is Back (12/7) – (81%) (32 reviews)
$4 Mortal Engines (12/14)
$6 Bumblebee (12/21)
5. Tim - $172.9 million
$1 The Frontrunner (11/9) – (58% X $1.6 = $0.9)
$13 Creed 2 (11/23) – (83% X $81 = $67.2)
$34 Ralph Breaks the Internet (11/23) – (88% X $119.1 = $104.8)
$6 Holmes & Watson (12/21)
$3 Vice (12/21)
$3 Serenity (1/25)
4. Paula - $61.6 million
$6 Venom (10/5) – (29% X $212.3 = $61.6)
$13 Spider-Man: Into the Spiderverse (12/14) – (100%) (65 reviews)
$21 Aquaman (12/21)
$10 Glass (1/18)