Fantasy Box Office – 2019 Summer Draft

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Well, it’s that that time of year again, on the cusp of spring we start to look forward to the summer months and the summer movie slate. And with that comes the long-running Fantasy Box Office league that myself, Chris, Greg, Tim, and Paula participate in. After a dominant 2018, I’m looking to stay on the mountaintop, but I have to admit that it will be very difficult this year. This summer is incredibly stacked, so much so that we decided to extend the summer rosters from 7 to 8 and our auction budgets from $70 to $80. It made for an interesting draft and some unique rosters and calculations on everyone’s part, which should make for a fun summer. Let’s take a look at the rosters, going in order from last season’s last place to first.

Tim:
$37 Toy Story 4 – 6/21
$33 The Lion King – 7/19
$1 The Hustle – 5/10
$1 Wonder Park – 3/15
$2 Ma – 5/31
$2 UglyDolls – 5/3
$1 Missing Link – 4/12
$2 Late Night – 6/7
+$1

Tim clearly did not want to end up in last place. And so he went and spent most of his budget on two movies that are pretty much assured to hit the $250 million earning cap, Toy Story 4 and The Lion King. It’s definitely not a bad strategy. It pretty much assures that you won’t end up in last place. Winning, however, depends on what you add around them. And considering that he only had $10 left to spend on a max of 6 spots, I think Tim did well for himself. Tim often likes to target the animated movies, and here he was able to pick up three are bargain basement prices. And they’ll all probably perform at least decently. It would not shock me if those three combined netted him $100 million combined. Tim has a legit shot to win.

 

Chris:
$38 Captain Marvel  - 3/8
$12 John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum – 5/17
$1 Child’s Play – 6/21
$4 Artemis Fowl – 8/9
$7 Brightburn – 5/24
$5 Longshot – 5/3
$7 Yesterday – 6/28
$2 Ad Astra – 5/24
+$4

Chris, on the other hand, probably does not have a shot to win. Look, Chris is a great editor in chief of the OnStage Blog. He’s even good at producing podcast content. However, I’m beginning to think that maybe the movies aren’t for him and that the stage really is his true calling. It probably doesn’t help that he was draft via Skype while driving and checking into a hotel room for the first half of the draft. Captain Marvel is going to cap. After that, John Wick 3 is probably going to come in somewhere around $100 million. Outside of that, it doesn’t look like he has any big earners. Maybe Artemis Fowl is the next big YA novel adaptation, but that comes out in August and earning cuts off at the end of the month. I’m very excited for Brightburn, but that is a smaller movie. Longshot and Yesterday and Child’s Play are probably making anywhere from $30-60 million each. And Ad Astra is a space film starring Brad Pitt, but is it closer to Gravirty or Solaris? Probably Solaris. I think Chris is the likeliest to end up in last place.

Greg:
$40 Avengers: End Game – 4/26
$16 Secret Life of Pets 2 – 6/7
$7 Detective Pikachu 5/10
$2 Dark Phoenix  - 6/7
$12 Us – 3/22
$1 Pet Semetary – 4/5
$1 17 Bridges – 7/12
$1 Little – 4/12

Say what you will about Greg, and BELIEVE ME, there are things to say, but one thing you can’t say about him is that he drafts poorly. Except for one truly awful draft in the summer of 2017, Greg consistently comes out of these auction drafts with an enviable roster. This one is no exception as he spent half his budget on Avengers: End Game, a movie that could cap on its opening weekend. Somehow, he managed to end up with Secret Life of Pets 2 for only $16, a sequel to a movie that did cap back in the summer of 2016. Those two movies should give him a starting point of $500 million or close to it, similar to Tim. After that, he bought up Detective Pikachu at a price that could be a steal, Dark Phoenix at a price that actually could be a real value, and got Us for a decent figure too. Greg figures to be in the mix in the end.

Paula:
$13 Dumbo 3/29
$17 Men In Black: International – 6/14
$35 Spider-Man: Far From Home – 7/5
$3 New Mutants – 8/2
$1 Captive State – 3/15
$2 Best of Enemies – 4/5
$3 Angry Birds 2 – 8/16
$6 Rocketman – 5/31

Paula had her best showing ever in the Fantasy Box Office league last year, ending up within striking distance of first place. I don’t think her roster is quite as strong this time around, but it certainly cannot be dismissed. Spider-Man is a likely cap candidate and Dumbo is another Disney live-action reimagining, the first of three this summer. I suspect it will be the lowest of the three, but it should still do good numbers. Men in Black: International moves the franchise beyond Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones and re-teams Tessa Thompson and Chris Hemsworth as a comedy duo (last seen together in Thor: Ragnarok). That could be a big comedy hit. I’m curious to see how New Mutants is after a few delays. Rocketman, though, could be a real steal if it finds as big of an audience as Bohemian Rhapsody did this past year. If so, she could be a contender.

Ken:
$11 Shazam! – 4/5
$5 Hellboy – 4/12
$9 Once Upon a Time in Hollywood – 7/26
$22 Aladdin – 5/24
$14 Godzilla – 5/31
$14 Hobbs & Shaw – 8/2
$1 Scary Stories To Tell in the Dark – 8/9
$1 Stuber – 7/12
+$3

I will admit, I do not think I had the best draft, have the best chance to win, or executed my draft strategy exactly how I would’ve preferred. However, I do not hate my chances. My strategy, such as it was, was to avoid blowing my budget while others did and then hope to catch at least one heavy hitter and then supplement it with a strong middle class. Shazam! was the first movie I got, and I didn’t mind spending $11 on it. Right after that, though I made a miscalculation in throwing out Hellboy for $5 and hearing crickets. I should’ve nominated it for $1 because I wasn’t really interested in owning it, so bad job on my part. Tarantino’s Once Upon a Time in Hollywood should be a crowd pleaser and the only other movie he released in the summer was Inglorious Basterds, which made $120 million a decade ago. Aladdin was my heavy hitter. It’s a risk, because there is some concern out there with the trailers that we’ve seen, and Guy Ritchie is no sure thing as a director. But this would have to be an outright disaster to not make significant money. Godzilla and Hobbs and Shaw join Shazam! and Once Upon a Time in Hollywood as the strong middle class movies I was hoping for, and Scary Stories and Stuber are stabs in the dark hoping they find an audience and exceed expectations. My roster is high risk, high reward, which normally I try to avoid. If Aladdin caps or comes close and I can get roughly $100 million each from my middle class movies, I’ve got a shot.

So there you have it. The game is afoot for 2019. And it’s anyone’s game. Except for Chris. Probably. A reminder, the winner makes the last place loser watch a punishment movie. Worst of luck to the others. We’ll check in periodically throughout the spring and summer to update the standings and handicap where things might be headed.