2015 Summer Movie Pool

9/4/15

Final Top 10:

                   

Final recap time!!!

The 2015 SMP is overrrrrrrr. It was an interesting summer, as 8 was the magic number for success. I find it fascinating that the veterans on the left-hand side of the Standings who have played in this pool for many years nearly completely overlooked the #5 film (Pitch Perfect 2). Meanwhile, 17 players from the center to the right side of the Standings were geniuses for selecting it. And that's what's great about this pool. The newest players can be smarter than those of use who think we know what the heck we're doing. I mean, two other movies that made Top 10 (San Andreas and Straight Outta Compton) had a whopping 6 selections between them. Nobody knows anything.

Let's congratulate Lion, Mad Mark and Ali D for being the only ones to get 8 right. For a short while it appeared that Mark had this pool locked up for the second straight year, as there was NO CHANCE for Compton to even hit $100M and become a threat to the list. Especially not with an August 14 release date. But after seeing 2 August movies make the Top 10 last year when only 8 made it in our first 16 years, should we really have been surprised that it happened once again? Mark certainly was, as his dreams of back-to-back were shattered. Thanks to Spy falling out, Mark fell from 9 to 8 correct selections, tying only Mario and Ali. And based on having the best Deviation Score our 2015 winner is Mario Nelson. Mario's been playing for 10 years, and after being the subject of some great Chapman posters (Littleman, Pride Fades, The Gay-Team, Transgenders, and my favorite: Alabama Mario and the Shia LeBeouf Man-Crush) it's great to see things finally turn around for his first victory. Nice job!!

Mario Nelson - 23 (1,1,1,1,0,0,2,2,6,9) - (2) perfect picks and (4) 1's. Only clunkers were Terminator: Genisys and Fantastic Four, but still held on.
Mark Adolphus - 26 (1,1,0,0,5,1,2,3,3,10) - (2) perfect picks and (3) 1's. 10 on Ted 2 was pretty painful.
Alison Davis - 37 (3,1,3,2,3,1,4,1,5,14) - (3) 1's was a nice start, but 14 on Fantastic Four killed any chances.

Mario wins the 1st Place prize of $350, Mark Adolphus wins the 2nd Place prize of $70, and Alison Davis wins the 3rd Place prize of $30. It's always great to have a new winner of the SMP, and Mario is now our 13th different person in 18 years to win. In fact, this is the 6th straight year of a new face winning the pool. Just remember, everyone has a shot at winning this thing!

And that brings us to one of our favorite Bonehead Award winners, Tina Swartz, who managed the second-worst performance ever of $100K for Beyond the Brick: A LEGO Brickumentary. Definitely not a sequel. Congrats on your $10 prize, and for tying Kristen Fritz as a three-time Bonehead winner!

To recap, this year's payouts are as follows:

1st Place - $350.00 - Mario Nelson
2nd Place - $70.00 - Mark Adolphus
3rd Place - $30.00 - Alison Davis
Bonehead Award - $10.00 - Tina Swartz



Some observations from this summer:

1) If comic book adaptations are king, then what does that make dinosaurs?? In any other year Avengers: Age of Ultron would be touted as the gem of the summer. But even after $457M all people remember are the dinosaurs of Jurassic World. How could $457M be such an afterthought? The remaining superhero films were a mixed bag, as Ant-Man succeeded with $169M while Fantastic Four fantastically bombed with only $52M. What the hell happened there? You know Marvel is demanding their beloved property back.

2) But those dinosaurs. $643 million worth of dinosaur-mania. It was the fastest movie to every single $50M milestone (from $100M to $500M) in history. And it wasn't even all that great of a movie. Regardless, it's now pushing Titanic as the #2 domestic film of ALL TIME. (Titanic got that $57M bump in the 3D re-release back in 2012. Weak.)

3) Animation Domination was back with a vengeance this summer, as both Pixar and Universal were winners. Inside Out and Minions eclipsed $300M to finish #3 and #4. Dreamworks was nowhere to be found. Their loss.

4) Deadline.com has identified this summer to be on pace as the second-best ever with $4.36B earned worldwide (7% higher than 2014's total). You would think that a summer that saw a domestic total of nearly $1.8B for only the top four movies would have shattered any record in its path. June set a record and July was the second highest-grossing ever. But as thewrap.com pointed out, "The rising tide not only didn't lift all boats, it capsized several of them. Because the hits weren't spread around, the benefits of the extra marketing weren't either. Universal and Disney were the only studios to get the boost from the extra marketing and trailers, which made their dominance more pronounced." Apparently the difference overall was $300M. I'll keep it simple and assign blame to crappy Ted 2 and F4. Those two alone should have been better flicks which would have sealed the deal for 2015. Jerks.

5) 58 movies grossed $1M+ this summer. 2014 had 63 movies earning that amount. 2014 had 70 movies. This trend isn't a bad thing, as studios appear to be spreading around their movies through the year to escape the summer glut.

6) The biggest surprises of the summer? Well, $643M for Jurassic World is an easy one to identify. The biggest has to be Pitch Perfect 2, which earned $183M (finishing #5) on just a $29M budget, right? 6.3x success! You could also argue for Straight Outta Compton. Not just becuase it earned $135M on only a $28M budget (4.8x success!), but that it made that amount in just 17 days in the second half of August. That had been an impossibility until now. And while only 4 people expected San Andreas to succeed, it finished #8 with $154M. We should have had more faith in The Rock.

7) How about the surprise bombs? The current poll question indicates that 66% of SMP players believe Fantastic Four to be the biggest bomb of the summer. $52M earned on a budget of $120M (thanks, Wiki) makes a good argument. Right behind it should be Terminator: Genisys, which earned only $89M on a $155M budget. Each one of them has sequels currently planned with release dates, and early word is that they'll both now be cancelled. Ouch! How about Ted 2 which only earned $81M after the original surprised everyone with $218M? I saw the sequel. It was painful. One of the worst moviegoing experiences ever. I don't know why I stuck around, as I didn't even pay for it. Pixels only did $71M on a $88M budget. What's really being overlooked is Tomorrowland, which earned only $93M on a $190M budget. I still don't know what it's about. You could perhaps say Magic Mike XXL, whose $65M earned is a far cry from the original's $113M. But note that MMXXL was only made for $14M. You can buy a lot of sunless tanner with those profits.

8) We cannot overlook the worst individual performances of the summer. Our friend Peter failed to submit his picks in time, so he wasn't a threat to finish near the bottom of the Scoreboard this summer. And Gray also decided to take the summer off after his 4-movie performance last year. That opened the door this year for a triple attack of 4s: Ted Venable, Christopher Walker and Tina Swartz certainly picked up the slack in making the rest of us look good. I've seen some really bad Deviation Scores over the years, but that 172 for Tina HAS to be a record.

9) Only 10 new entries to the Hall of Boneheads this year (17 in 2014). Most finished $21M+, so they were just movies that didn't meet expectations. But then you have Ted's I'll See You In My Dreams, which never went wide release. Interesting choice, as I hadn't heard anything about it before the summer started. Tina, meanwhile, managed to select a movie that tied for the second-worst SMP performance EVER. She must be a real LEGO fanatic :)

10) I may not have won, but I beat Chapman once again. That's all that really matters.

Lastly, my favorite movies of Summer 2015, in terms of 'most enjoyable' experiences (not necessarily the 'best' films). Saw 9 movies this summer (I need to step it up), and my favorites were:
1) Mad Max: Fury Road - This one has the honor of earning the highest RT score of the summer (99%), so I can also call it the "best". What a blast! Last summer I identified it as my most anticipated, and it was just ridiculously awesome.
2) Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation - Bring on M:I6. Now. Oooooooooo... MI6. Could have some fun with that one.
3) Ant-Man - Simply a fun movie. Enjoyed it more than Avengers 2. Looking forward to seeing more of Ant-Man in Captain America: Civil War.
4) Avengers: Age of Ultron - Really liked James Spader as Ultron. And me likey things blow up big.
5) The Man From U.N.C.L.E. - Totally dug the 60's vibe, as well as the blend of action/humor. Pretty much enjoy anything Guy Ritchie directs. A shame it got lost in the summer glut.

I regret not seeing Inside Out and Straight Outta Compton. Should have walked into Inside Out that night instead of stupid Ted 2. And despite all the horrific reviews, still kinda wish I saw Fantastic Four at the theater. In IMAX, of course.

Here's hoping everyone had a fun time playing in the SMP this year. Glad to see a SMP veteran as a brand new winner. 2016 is already looking intense with Captain America: Civil War, X-Men: Apocalypse, Finding Dory (yes, Finding Nemo 2), Independence Day 2, Star Trek Beyond, Bourne 5 and Suicide Squad. And that's just the half of it. Hope everyone's back next year to take a shot at these films... and Mario

Lastly, on a recommendation I'm seeing if anyone is interested in assembling a fantasy football league among SMP participants. I'm in, as it could be a great venue for some good smack talk. I know of one player who'd like to take me down. This is your chance. I already run a couple leagues and can easily throw another one together on ESPN. Will need 10+ players to make it work, so shoot me an email at sberg23@yahoo.com if interested. Gotta move fast as the NFL season starts on Thursday, September 10.

See you all next year!!

9/1/15

Congrats to our Biohorizons crew (current and former) for sweeping all of the prizes in this year's SMP! I hear that quitting really pays off (unless you're Chapman), as Mario finally won the big one in his 10th year (he did take 2nd Place in 2013). Great to see a pool veteran win their first one. Nice job!! Mark and Alison were the only other players to get 8 picks right, though their efforts fell a bit short of the title. Still, there's 2nd and 3rd Place money coming their way. And we can't overlook Tina's unprecedented THIRD Bonehead Award. Not sure what's more impressive... Bonehead #3, or a Deviation Score of 172 on just 4 correct picks. Still, she wins more money than the rest of us combined. Boom.

The Current Standings and Scoreboard pages are now final, as they include Monday's box office. I'll have the Final Recap posted in the next couple days. Will need that time to collect my thoughts.

Enjoy the photographic tribute. We all know who created it.

 

8/30/15

Current Top 10:

                   

Both M:I5 (-27.5%) and Ant-Man (-24.7%) had great holds this weekend, allowing M:I5 to barely surpass The Ant to secure the #6 spot. Keep in mind that these are just weekend estimates and not actuals, so there could be further adjustment on the Scoreboard page. We still have a day to go, as the SMP runs through August 31. I'll post the Final Recap once Monday's actuals are revealed.

8/27/15

     

Final weekend of the SMP, and three more films to ignore. Box Office.com believes that M:I5 will earn just enough this weekend to edge Ant-Man. All we can do is sit back and watch Mario and Mark duke it out for 1st. Best of luck, guys!

Boxoffice.com's predictions for this weekend:
1) Straight Outta Compton - 14.2M (135.2M)
2) War Room - 8.4M (8.4M)
3) We Are Your Friends - 8.2M (8.2M)
4) Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation - 8M (170M)
5) No Escape - 6M (7.8M)
6) The Man From U.N.C.L.E. - 4.4M (34.1M)
7) Sinister 2 - 4.1M (18M)
8) Hitman: Agent 47 - 3.9M (15.4M)
9) Ant-Man - 3M (169.1M)
10) The Gift - 2.9M (35.7M)
11) Minions - 2.8M (324.7M)
12) American Ultra - 2.7M (10.4M)

Rotten Tomatoes freshness ratings:
No Escape = 41% (32% by the Top Critics)
We Are Your Friends = 41% (43% by the Top Critics)
War Room = None (None by the Top Critics)

Theater count:
No Escape = 3,355
We Are Your Friends = 2,333
War Room = 1,135

8/23/15

Current Top 10:

                   

A bit of shake up this weekend, as with one weekend remaining Straight Outta Compton finalized our Top 10 listing. #s 1-5 will all stay intact. M:I5 jumped up a couple spots to #7, and that 6/7 placement between it and Ant-Man will go surely down to the final day (every placement movement matters in this battle for 1st Place). #s 8-10 should remain in the same order, as I don't see SOC making up the $42M difference to catch #9. All this adds up to Mark and Mario currently being TIED in Deviation Score with eight days remaining (Monday is August 31). Alison appears to have have 3rd Place all locked up.

I've done a v3 of my Possible Scenario document, but I'll just sit on it and let things play out. Keeps it more interetsing :D Stay tuned!

8/21/15

     

Just playing out the final two weeks at this point. Three new movies and they all suck. Straight Outta Compton is just killing it at the box office (terrible pun), and will become our new #10 by Sunday.

Boxoffice.com's predictions for this weekend:
1) Straight Outta Compton - 32.5M (117.2M)
2) Sinister 2 - 14.5M (14.5M)
3) Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation - 11.5M (157.3M)
4) American Ultra - 9M (9M)
5) Hitman: Agent 47 - 8M (8M)
6) The Man From U.N.C.L.E. - 7M (26.2M)
7) The Gift - 4M (30.7M)
8) Fantastic Four - 3.9M (49.9M)
9) Ant-Man - 3.8M (164.2M)
10) Minions - 3.6M (319.6M)
11) Ricki and the Flash - 3.1M (20.3M)
12) Vacation - 3M (52.1M)

Rotten Tomatoes freshness ratings:
Sinister 2 = 13% (18% by the Top Critics)
American Ultra = 46% (42% by the Top Critics)
Hitman: Agent 47 = 8% (9% by the Top Critics)

Theater count:
Sinister 2 = 2,766
American Ultra = 2,778
Hitman: Agent 47 = 3,100

8/17/15

Current Top 10:

                   

Props to the two players who had the balls to to pick a movie that came out in mid-August, as the $56M opening for Straight Outta Compton puts it right on track for #10 with two more weekends to go (the actuals appear to be more like $60M thanks to a surprisingly stong Sunday hold). While I don't expect to see a 50% hold in weekend #2, I still expect another Top 10 shakeup that will boot Spy (sadly just as it appeared to be able to hold off Trainwreck). As expected, Ant-Man finally jumped up to #6, and M:I5 climbed up to #9 (pretty soon it'll be the new #6). And in its own battle, with another $500K San Andreas may have pulled away from Mad Max for good to stay a spot ahead.

Should Compton be able to keep the pace and take advantage of a weak #10 this summer (the last "weak" #10 was Salt with just $113M in 2010), we'll have three players finishing with 8 correct picks: Mark, Mario and Alison. And after calculating Deviations Scores for each (based on my 2015 Possible Scenario v2 spreadsheet found in the Weekly Spreadsheets page), I show Mario edging out Mark by a score of 22-26. There isn't much wiggle room that remains for either, though if F4 doesn't step it up it won't make up necessary ground to help Mario. Alison sits with 36 pts.

Next weekend: There are no more summer selections remaining by any of our players, other than The Transporter Refueled and Pan that got bumped out completely.

8/14/15

   

Well hold on a second. Some extra drama has been added to the summer, as with only three weekends left Straight Outta Compton (selected by 2 players) may indeed crash the party. While tracking projections had increased over the past month, it surprised everyone with $5M in Thursday night shows (Mad Max opened to $3.7M, Pitch Perfect 2 to $4.3M and M:I5 to $4M). $40M+ is a very realistic possibility, with some predictions as high as mid-50's. I am definitely rooting for it (I have no chance this summer), however there are also box office concerns pertaining to theater security and moviegoer safety. With all of the recent actions and shenanigans going on (that leaf blower prank in CA was asinine), the Wall Street Journal is reporting that Universal is footing the bill for additional security for this weekend's showings. Here's hoping it's a safe weekend for all.

As long as Spy/Trainwreck is sitting there at #10 with only $110M, SOC has a strong chance of screwing up someone's summer. We've had movies released on 8/8 (TMNT 2014), 8/9 (XXX in 2002), and 8/10 (American Pie 2 in 2001) make the Top 10, but never anything later in the month. So while Mark is currently sitting in first with hopes for back-to-back victories, his chances hinge on Spy holding on at #10. If it doesn't, Mario and Alison jump back in on the tiebreaker fun. Exciting! I've already done the math, but won't bother disclosing until the weekend is over.

As fun as The Man From U.N.C.L.E. looks, no one selected it and it won't be a threat to crack the list. I'm looking forward to seeing it.

Boxoffice.com's predictions for this weekend:
1) Straight Outta Compton - 55M (55M)
2) Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation - 18.5M (140.5M)
3) The Man From U.N.C.L.E. - 14M (14M)
4) The Gift - 7.2M (24.5M)
5) Fantastic Four - 7M (41.5M)
6) Vacation - 6M (47.8M)
7) Ant-Man - 5M (157.2M)
8) Ricki and the Flash - 4.8M (14.9M)
9) Minions - 5.7M (312.8M)
10) Trainwreck - 4.3M (98.6M)

Rotten Tomatoes freshness ratings:
Straight Outta Compton = 87% (78% by the Top Critics)
The Man From U.N.C.L.E. = 66% (47% by the Top Critics)

Theater count:
Straight Outta Compton = 2,755
The Man From U.N.C.L.E. = 3,638

8/9/15

Current Top 10:

                   

Wow, what a punch in the gut for all who selected Craptastic Four. After only a 9% Rotten Tomatoes rating and a C- CinemaScore (each being the very lowest on record among consensus picks in the SMP), its $26M opening barely eclipsed 2012's Ghost Rider: Sprit of Vengeance ($22M) as one of Marvel's worst efforts ever. Yes, it's THAT bad. Of course, Marvel is probably screaming bloody murder at Fox for continuing to further embarass their beloved property. There's a F4 sequel currently dated for 6/9/17, but I could easily see that date disappearing completely... or the franchise going the way of Spider-Man as with the recent Sony/Marvel collaboration. Either way, it's safe to say that director Josh Trank (with all of his madness) is done at Fox, and likely all other major studios. And don't think that Fox's hands are clean of this mess, either. There's more than enough dirt floating around the interwebz to make everyone look bad.

As for the Top 10 (not that F4 will ever catch a whiff of it), what you see now could very well be the final listing for the summer. As I've done around this time every year, using the "rule of 50%" I have projected the final box office grosses for this summer's top 24 films (can be found on the Weekly Spreadsheets page). With only three weekends remaining it's a pretty easy projection, but I now expect that by September 1 Trainwreck will lose out to Spy by approx $5M, and Mad Max will ever-so-slightly edge San Andreas by just $100K. I cannot see any way how Straight Outta Compton, as good as the reviews may be, will earn $110M in only two weekends. So thanks to the tankjobs that are Tomorrowland, Terminator: Genisys, Ted 2 and F4, it appears that Mark Adolphus may very well hang onto the title with 9 correct selections. Eight of us are currently sitting tied with 8 correct selections, and a quick Deviation calculation shows the 2nd/3rd Place battle coming down to Mario Nelson and Clint Touart. Looks like I'll just miss placement in the tiebreaker this year... but as long as I beat Chapman all is right in the world.

Next weekend: Not that it matters for the Top 10, but we do have two players who selected Straight Outta Compton. Those of us in our 30s and 40s know the story of NWA quite well, and the RT reviews are already impressive at 92% fresh. A shame that it came out so late.

And the Poll question answer for the first comic appearance of the Fantastic Four is 1961. Two players got it right.

8/6/15

         

Ah, welcome to August, where studios dump their wannabe hits in a flurry. Get ready for an onslaught of 14 wide releases in 4 weekends, starting with 5 right now. And these 5 movies are allllll over the place regarding expectations. Who'd have thought that one of the most anticipated movies of the summer (Fantastic Four - selected by 30 players) would stink up the joint with a RT score of only 9%. NINE! Heck, the Top Critics only gave it a 7% score. Pathetic. Thanks for screwing up another F4 movie, Fox. We know it's hard enough for a movie to hit 100% by the Top Critics, but would you have ever guessed that we'd have TWO movies in the same weekend with that score? Well, both Shaun the Sheep Movie (which opened on Wednesday) and The Gift managed to get it done. Sheep doesn't really surprise me... but I would have never expected that kind of score from The Gift. Now I have to see it. And we have Ricki and the Flash and the newly-wide Irrational Man. The end.

Boxoffice.com's predictions for this weekend:
1) Fantastic Four - 43M (43M)
2) Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation - 28.5M (108.5M)
3) Ricki and the Flash - 9M (9M)
4) The Gift - 8.5M (8.5M)
5) Vacation - 8.3M (36.4M)
6) Minions - 7.5M (302.8M)
7) Ant-Man - 7.2M (146.8M)
8) Pixels - 6.2M (58.5M)
9) Trainwreck - 6M (90.9M)
10) Shaun the Sheep Movie - 5.8M (7.5M)
11) Southpaw - 4.5M (40.5M)

Rotten Tomatoes freshness ratings:
Shaun the Sheep Movie = 99% (100% by the Top Critics)
Fantastic Four = 10% (7% by the Top Critics)
Ricki and the Flash = 56% (48% by the Top Critics)
The Gift = 93% (100% by the Top Critics)
Irrational Man = 38% (38% by the Top Critics)

Theater count:
Shaun the Sheep Movie = 2,202
Fantastic Four = 3,800
Ricki and the Flash = 1,800
The Gift = Nationwide. Thanks.
Irrational Man = 925

8/2/15

Current Top 10:

                   

Looks like the lowball projections were way off, as Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation nearly perfectly nailed Box Office.com's prediction with a $56M weekend. The effort nearly matched the 2000 Memorial weekend opening of M:I2 ($57M), the highest in the series (for some reason M:I4 started with a limited release in December 2011 and just $12M, but still ended up with $209M). We can surely expect it to be a Top 10 lock, as it will likely take the #9 or 10 spot as early as next Saturday. Vacation, on the other hand, is over thanks to an embarassing $14M three-day opening ($21M through five). No magic for Ally this summer. And what to say about Tina, who's now looking at her third Bonehead Award in seven years thanks to an impressive $43K opening for Beyond the Brick: A LEGO Documentary. Take THAT, Kristen! And Ted just had $10 stolen from his pocket.

I'll root for it all I can, but I no longer believe that Spy will finish #10. While it had great reviews and excellent weekend holds, the same can be said (and then some) for Trainwreck. It's presently at $79M after a third weekend drop of only 43% (Spy was at $75M through three weekends). I expect Trainwreck to be at $89M by next Sunday, and will then only need $21M more through the next four weekends to barely eclipse Spy. Crap.

Next weekend: This is it. The last of the "consensus" selections, as 30 players selected the Fantastic Four reboot (but not me). This pool is really still up in the air now, so once the weekend plays out we'll finally be able to identify who the real contenders are. No reviews just yet... which could be concerning for a movie of this magnitude.

7/29/15

     

Box Office.com pretty much stands alone with that $57M projection for M:I5, as most sites are hovering in the low-40s. The 90% RT score is pretty sweet, though, which will definitely help word of mouth. Vacation, on the other hand, probably should have stayed in October. And then there's Beyond the Brick: A LEGO Documentary. Oooooooo sorry, Tina... it's not a sequel.

Boxoffice.com's predictions for this weekend:
1) Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation - 57M (57M)
2) Vacation - 17M (24M)
3) Ant-Man - 13.7M (133.2M)
4) Minions - 12.7M (287.7M)
5) Pixels - 11.3M (46.7M)
6) Trainwreck - 11.2M (81.3M)
7) Southpaw - 9.3M (33.3M)
8) Paper Towns - 5.3M (24.7M)
9) Inside Out - 5.2M (330.2M)
10) Jurassic World - 4.7M (632.4M)

Rotten Tomatoes freshness ratings:
Vacation = 28% (26% by the Top Critics)
Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation = 90% (85% by the Top Critics)
Beyond the Brick: A LEGO Brickumentary = 53% (50% by the Top Critics)

Theater count:
Vacation = 3,411
Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation = 3,800
Beyond the Brick: A LEGO Brickumentary = 93

7/26/15

Current Top 10:

                   

Three new entries to the SMP, and none of them became threats to the Top 10. The saddest thing was seeing NONE of them surpass $24M to claim the weekend. Ant-Man finally crawled into the Top 10, mercifully kicking Terminator: Genisys to the curb. Spy keeps hanging in there, however, as its potential replacements keep dwindling by the week. Tomorrowland is currently hanging on by a thread, but that will change shortly as...

Next weekend: Another "consensus" film of the summer makes its appearance, and Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation (selected by 39 people) should be a lock. At least that's what BoxOffice.com has to say, as it is projecting numbers in the $60M/$178M range. Sounds good to me! The movie was originally planned for a Christmas Day release, but due to this year's holiday congestion Paramount decided to bump it up five months. Oh, and recall how I mentioned the box office boosts that both Furious 7 and Jurassic World received from the Fandango/blu ray deals? Well M:I5 is now getting the same treatment, as I just saw the deal on display at Best Buy. Expect its #s to be inflated as a result. But more free movies!! And then there's Ally's secret weapon this summer in Vacation. She's been waiting for this one for a long time, and was the one who identified that it needed to be added to the SMP list after also getting a date change. Let's see just how smart she is this go around.

7/23/15

       

Really surprised to see Pixels projected to do $39M. That's a huge drop from BO.com's last weekend projection of $54M. And I assure you, NO ONE ELSE has it even this high. Not with those pathetic reviews. Back to Netflix for you, Mr. Sandler. I guess the only excitement this weekend will be seeing Jurassic World surpass The Avengers to become the new #3 domestic film of all time.

Boxoffice.com's predictions for this weekend:
1) Pixels - 39M (39M)
2) Paper Towns - 26M (26M)
3) Ant-Man - 25.8M (108M)
4) Minions - 25.5M (265.8M)
5) Trainwreck - 18.5M (62.8M)
6) Southpaw - 14M (14M)
7) Inside Out - 7.8M (321M)
8) Jurassic World - 7.5M (624.5M)
9) Mr. Holmes - 3M (6.6M)
10) Terminator: Genisys - 2.3M (85.6M)
11) Magic Mike XXL - 2.2M (63.5M)

Rotten Tomatoes freshness ratings:
Pixels = 19% (12% by the Top Critics)
Paper Towns = 62% (70% by the Top Critics)
Southpaw = 55% (63% by the Top Critics)
Mr. Holmes = 87% (82% by the Top Critics)

Theater count:
Pixels = 3,723
Paper Towns = 3,031
Southpaw = 2,772
Mr. Holmes = 684

7/20/15

Current Top 10:

                   

It might have just slightly underachieved with "only" a $58M opening, but thanks to an 'A' CinemaScore and a decent Rotten Tomatoes rating (in addition to all the bombs this summer) Ant-Man can now be considered a lock for the Top 10. Yeah, it was one of the lowest openings for a Marvel movie since the new generation began in 2008, but give it another weekend and it'll jump up to #8. And it was a FUN movie! In other news this weekend we saw Terminator: Genisys join the Top 10 party at the expense of Ted 2, Jurassic World hit $600M, Inside Out hit $300M, and both San Andreas and Mad Max hit $150M. And for those paying close attention there's STILL a chance that Spy hangs on with only $110M. Think about it. MI:5 should be a lock, but Terminator is fading fast and might not even hit $100M. All it takes are subpar openings/reviews for Fantasic Four and next weekend's big release and we'll have one of the biggest steals in SMP history. Unless Trainwreck has long legs.

Next weekend: It's a busy weekend with three wide releases, and the headliner should be Pixels (selected by 2 players). Not sure what to think here, as Adam Sandler has become such a bust at the box office that he had to take his act to Netflix. The trailers for this just make me cringe... and they're EVERYWHERE. There's also Southpaw (selected by 2 players), which looks pretty slick in the hands of Antoine Fuqua. Hopefully it's more Training Day than Olympus Has Fallen. And lastly we have the YA novel-turned-film, Paper Towns, which no one picked. Here's hoping that more kids go see that over Pixels :)

7/17/15

   

Our second of three Marvel movies this summer is the headliner, but it's Amy Schumer's flick that's got the better reviews. Sounds like a fun weekend for a double-dip!

Boxoffice.com's predictions for this weekend:
1) Ant-Man - 64M (64M)
2) Minions - 58M (226M)
3) Trainwreck - 30M (30M)
4) Inside Out - 11.8M (306.5M)
5) Jurassic World - 10M (609.7M)
6) Terminator: Genisys - 6.8M (82.3M)
7) Magic Mike XXL - 5.5M (59.6M)
8) The Gallows - 3.5M (17.4M)
9) Ted 2 - 2.6M (77.3M)
10) Self/Less - 2.4M (10.5M)

Rotten Tomatoes freshness ratings:
Ant-Man = 79% (76% by the Top Critics)
Trainwreck = 86% (82% by the Top Critics)

Theater count:
Ant-Man = 3,856
Trainwreck = 3,158

7/12/15

Current Top 10:

                   

No surprise this weekend as Minions made nearly exactly as projected ($115M), becoming the second biggest animated opening of all time (2007's Shrek the Third opened with $121M). That immediately dropped it onto the #7 spot on our summer list, and we can expect it to settle in at #4 by next Sunday. Don't look now but this could be the second time ever where we get FOUR movies to hit the $300M mark: 2007 gave us Spider-Man 3 ($336M), Shrek the Third ($321M), Transformers ($309M) and Pirates 3 ($308M). Shoot, last summer there wasn't even a single movie that hit $300M. And this will be the second time we've had two movies hit the $400M plateau: 2012 gave us The Avengers ($618M) and The Dark Knight Rises ($426M). Interestinginly, this year will duplicate 2012's success with both a 600+ and a 400+ film, as Jurassic World will eclipse the mark by next Sunday. It's already the #4 domestic movie ALL TIME, and #3 The Avengers is within reach.

Next weekend: Only three "consensus" films remain this summer, and one of them will open next weekend: Ant-Man (taken by 37 players). There was a lot of doubting made last year when Marvel had the balls to release the little-known Guardians of the Galaxy in the summertime. Of course, it went on become the #1 movie of the summer despite opening on August 1. In no way am I saying that Ant-Man will become this summer's #1 film. It's just probably not wise to question the moves that Marvel makes. I am absolutely certain, however, that this movie will easily eclipse Paul Rudd's largest leading-man opening of $23M (Dinner For Schmucks). And there's also the Amy Schumer comedy, Trainwreck (selected by 1 person). Judd Apatow hasn't had a movie open to greater than $30M, and the early buzz makes this one seem to fit right in at that amount.

7/10/15

     

Three new releases, but only one matters. Despite poor reviews it's going to be Minion domination.

Boxoffice.com's predictions for this weekend:
1) Minions - 114M (114M)
2) Jurassic World - 17M (589.5M)
3) Inside Out - 16.5M (283.5M)
4) Terminator: Genisys - 12.5M (68M)
5) The Gallows - 12M (12M)
6) Magic Mike XXL - 7.5M (45.3M)
7) Ted 2 - 5.8M (71.8M)
8) Max - 4M (34.5M)
9) Self/Less - 3.8M (3.8M)
10) Spy - 3.5M (104.1M)

Rotten Tomatoes freshness ratings:
Minions = 55% (33% by the Top Critics)
The Gallows = 13% (11% by the Top Critics)
Self/Less = 21% (4% by the Top Critics)

Theater count:
Minions = 4,302
The Gallows = 2,720
Self/Less = 2,353

7/5/15

Current Top 10:

                   

Geez, that's three straight bombs for the SMP, as this weekend we witnessed the five-day failures that were Terminator: Genisys ($44M) and Magic Mike XXL ($26M). These last few weekends have been all Jurassic World (now sitting at $558M) and Inside Out (now at $246M), and everything else has fallen by the wayside. Just look at Ted 2, which dropped a whopping 67% in weekend #2. That's just atrocious. What does this all mean? Well, for one thing the bar has now been set lower for the #10 cutoff. Perhaps $120M? And for each movie that busts the chances increase for Spy (with it's fantastic holds) to hang on in the Top 10. For those of us who took Ted 2, I recommend taking a screenshot of the Home page, as it's Top 10 includion will be very short-lived.

Next weekend: After back-to-back disappointing weekends we get a bit of normalcy with Minions (selected by 42 of 45 players). This one was a total no-brainer as the predominant selections in the SMP were in the 2-3 range. Inside Out had a really nice head start in the animation race this summer, busting out with $91M a few weeks back. Despicable Me 2 opened with $83M in 2013, and with all the minion love in the world I could easily see this one topping that number.

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7/1/15

   

Early posting this week, as we get two big movies on Wednesday plus an expanded release to lead the holiday weekend. However, just one day in and neither of them is faring as well as projected. Hope your 4th is more exciting than the box office.

Boxoffice.com's predictions for this weekend:
1) Inside Out - 32.5M (246M)
2) Jurassic World - 30M (555.5M)
3) Magic Mike XXL - 29M (48.5M)
4) Terminator: Genisys - 28M (45M)
5) Ted 2 - 15.5M (62.7M)
6) Max - 7M (25M)
7) Spy - 5.3M (97.7M)
8) San Andreas - 3.3M (147.8M)
9) Me and Earl and the Dying Girl - 1.5M (4M)
10) Dope - 1.3M (14.4M)
11) Faith of Our Fathers - 1.3M (1.8M)

Rotten Tomatoes freshness ratings:
Magic Mike XXL = 58% (58% by the Top Critics)
Terminator: Genisys = 25% (21% by the Top Critics)

Theater count:
Magic Mike XXL = 3,355
Terminator: Genisys = 3,758

6/28/15

Current Top 10:

                   

Kaaaaaaaboom! After just $33M ($20M+ below expectations) Ted 2 is now our first bomb of the summer. The original was very fortunate in 2012 as it quickly pounced on the available late-June slot (up from late-July) once G.I. Joe: Retaliation pulled the plug on the summer at the last minute (no, I will NOT let that go). The result was a mostly uncontensed month of July - thanks to the dissapointment that was The Amazing Spider-Man - en route to $215M. This year, however, there was no magic as the sequel got swallowed up by another ridiculous weekend for Jurassic World ($54M in weekend #3).

We knew there wasn't enough room for 12 legit movies, and while Ted should have a decent 2nd weekend thanks to the upcoming holiday, I don't see how it can keep pace with all the other major releases. America has spoken. So assuming Ted cannot hit the expected $150M cutoff, we're still looking at only our current Top 6 so far. And that means Mario and Alison are each in the driver's seat with 5 of those 6 selected thus far, and nothing else. In fact, they have identically-selected movies going forward. Ooooooohhh. Right now they're the ones to watch. Only one person selected all 6 (nice!), but he also jacked things up with Tomorrowland and Aloha (not nice).

Next weekend: It's a July 4th holiday weekend... but this year the 4th falls on a Saturday, keeping the weekend #s at just three days. Not sure which of the two new releases will perform better. Magic Mike XXL (selected by 12 players) hopes to improve on its 11th place finish in 2012. The ladies and Justin will be screaming for it to do well. Terminator: Genisys (selected by 27 players) also hopes to improve on its own 12th place finish in 2009. But does anyone even care about the franchise anymore??? Just end it already.

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6/27/15

Ohhhhh, I got my hands on some good stuff! For those of you who don't know Chapman personally, he recently made the big boy move to head West to take advantage of a work opportunity in La La Wood. Yet after only a short while he realized that his heart was truly back East. Not where he originated from in Atlanta... but instead in Birmingham, Alabama to be with those he loved. And to show just how much they loved him back, I present to you these wonderful gifts that were bestowed upon Mike when he returned. Enjoy!

   

6/25/15

   

Two new releases, and both with pretty crummy reviews. But America will still likely spend big $$$ on Ted 2. People are dumb.

Boxoffice.com's predictions for this weekend:
1) Jurassic World - 55M (503M)
2) Ted 2 - 54M (54M)
3) Inside Out - 53M (186.5M)
4) Max - 15M (15M)
5) Spy - 7.5M (88.2M)
6) San Andreas - 5.5M (142.3M)
7) Dope - 3M (12M)
8) Insidious: Chapter 3 - 2.3M (50.2M)
9) Pitch Perfect 2 - 2.1M (181.7M)
10) Mad Max: Fury Road - 1.8M (147.2M)
11) Avengers: Age of Ultron - 1.7M (452.5M)

Rotten Tomatoes freshness ratings:
Ted 2 = 43% (43% by the Top Critics)
Max = 45% (39% by the Top Critics)

Theater count:
Ted 2 = 3,442
Max = 2,855

6/21/15

Current Top 10:

                   

Hello, Inside Out... goodbye, Hot Pursuit. The Top 10 is really starting to take shape, and only two sub-$50M movies remain on the list. To no real surprise Inside Out blew away the conservative projections, with its $91M being the 2nd biggest opening ever for Pixar. That first weekend instantly put it #6 on our list, and in no time should be sitting at #3... at least until Minions comes out (that'll be an nteresting battle). But the real story is Jurassic World, which shows no sign of stopping thanks to an amazing 51% drop in weekend #2 (for reference, Age of Ultron opened with $191M and suffered a 59% drop in its 2nd weekend). By next weekend Jurassic will become our new #1... and most likely stay there.

It's still wayyyyy early, but if you believe that $150M will be the cutoff this year then we're looking at six current movies that should make Top 10: Ultron, Jurassic, Inside Out, Pitch, Mad Max and San Andreas (Mad Max and San Andreas should both be able to nudge their way to the $150M mark). And I don't see anyone that has all six of them on their list. But with six movies already on pace for $150M, and six more big-name and widely-selected movies remaining this summer, something's got to give. Either we have a couple busts on the horizon, or the #10 cutoff will become an all new high for this pool.

Next weekend: Whoooooo likes raunchy humor? Well this weekend you get it. Remember back in 2012 when Ted came out of nowhere (picked by only three people) to open with $54M and end up at #5 with $215M? Yeah, that sucked for everyone but Sponge, who ended up 10-for-10. This time 40 players picked it, and early projections have it matching the original's opening. We'll see how things look on Wednesday. We also have Max which was picked by 2 players. Not sure if they intended to select the family-friendly dog film, or of they really meant to select Mad Max. Too late now.

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6/20/15

   

Two new releases, and both have received amazing RT scores. The projected #s look really good for the new Pixar release, which is a shame for the 7 players who overlooked it.

Boxoffice.com's predictions for this weekend:
1) Jurassic World - 105M (400.5M)
2) Inside Out - 65M (65M)
3) Spy - 10.5M (74.2M)
4) Dope - 8M (8M)
5) San Andreas - 7.5M (131.3M)
6) Pitch Perfect 2 - 3.7M (177.7M)
7) Insidious: Chapter 3 - 3.5M (44.5M)
8) Avengers: Age of Ultron - 3M (449.6M)
9) Mad Max: Fury Road - 2.9M (143.6M)
10) Tomorrowland - 2.8M (88.5M)

Rotten Tomatoes freshness ratings:
Inside Out = 98% (98% by the Top Critics)
Dope = 90% (90% by the Top Critics)

Theater count:
Inside Out = 3,946
Dope = 2,002

6/14/15

Current Top 10:

                   

Ok, who really saw this coming?? Forget the original projection of $130M and the updated $150M and $175M estimates. We're now looking at a potentially historic opening weekend of $204.6M for Jurassic World. Deadline.com says Universal is playing it conservatively at the moment with that estimate, with other sources saying the The Avengers' 2012 record of $207.4M will be shattered this evening... even with game 5 of the NBA Finals on tap. And that's just domestic, as the $511M worldwide opening already IS the highest in history. With this year's Avengers sequel stagnating to a current total of $444m after a near-record $191M opener back in early May, thanks to Jurassic's 'A' CinemaScore we very well may be looking at our new #1 film of the summer in just a couple weeks. Should be a fun race to the finish. And if it does end up at the top we can all congratulate Greg Tilson (Greggorio) for being the only one select it #1. Nice work.

I do find something very peculiar with Universal's box office grosses this year, however. If you aren't aware, for the second time since April Universal is running a huge Best Buy/Fandango promo on their blu ray movie catalog. The first one was for Furious 7 where you could purchase each of their first six movies on blu ray for $6.99 and then get a code for a free ticket ($7.50 max) for F7. So whether you want to look at it as a free blu ray or a free movie ticket, Universal was basically giving away their blu rays to inflate their box office grosses. I personally bought all six blu rays and went to see six movies at the theater until the deal expired. Each of the six movies at the theater had to be a Fandango purchase for F7, which didn't matter to me as I simply walked into showings of Age of Ultron and Mad Max. Am I the only one who did this? Of course not. Did it hurt the latters' own box office grosses? Sure it did. But I know how to play he game. Helps better explain why F7's current tally is $350M when the previous franchise high was $238M. And now we're likely seeing the same for Jurassic as Best Buy and Universal just launched the same Fandango deal for a list of action blu rays including the first three Jurassic Park films. And yes, I loaded up once again :D

I haven't seen Jurassic yet, but will probably do IMAX 3D the middle of this week. Would love to hear from anyone who's seen it, including anyone who saw it in 3D.

Next weekend: We finally get our first animated movie of the summer in Pixar's Inside Out (selected by 42 of 49 players). Why it took eight weeks for an animated film to be released is beyond me (the first one since Fox's Home came out in late-March), as in just three more weeks we'll have our second major animated film of the summer. And all they'll do is cannibalize each other. A real missed opportunity for Pixar (should have flip-flopped Inside Out and Tomorrowland, in my opinion).

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6/12/15

 

Just one release this weekend, but it's a doozie. Only a 70% RT rating?? By this summer's trending I guess that means it'll earn $650M this weekend alone. Too bad for the one player who didn't pick it.

Boxoffice.com's predictions for this weekend:
1) Jurassic World - 130M (130M)
2) Spy - 16M (57.5M)
3) San Andreas - 13M (121.6M)
4) Insidious: Chapter 3 - 7M (37.1M)
5) Mad Max: Fury Road - 4.2M (138.7M)
6) Pitch Perfect 2 - 4.1M (168.8M)
7) Entourage - 4M (25.5M)
8) Tomorrowland - 3.5M (83.6M)
9) Avengers: Age of Ultron - 3M (444.3M)
10) Love and Mercy - 1.6M (4.6M)

Rotten Tomatoes freshness ratings:
Jurassic World = 70% (61% by the Top Critics)

Theater count:
Jurassic World = 4,273

6/7/15

Current Top 10:

                   

I just can't make sense of the SMP this year. Silly me for thinking that Americans would spend their hard earned cash on movies that actually rated well. As I mentioned on the tagboard, Spy only gets a $30M opening despite a 95% RT rating. Mad Max only gets $45M despite a 98%. But Pitch Perfect 2 (68%) gets $69M and San Andreas (48%) gets $54M. Ughhhhhhhhh. $30M might not seem like enough to finish Top 10, but we can't totally rule it out considering the box office history for McCarthy/Feig. In 2011 Bridesmaids opened to $26M yet finished #8 with $168M. Then in 2013 The Heat opened to $39M and finished #8 with $157M. We also had Salt make the cut after a $36M opening in 2010, and The Proposal make it with a $33M opening in 2009. I can still dream!!

Insidious Chapter 3, which no one picked, pulled in $23M, but the real disappointment was Entourage with only a $10M weekend after a 2-day opening of $7M. Guess that's not what the producers were hoping for when they got the gang back together.

Next weekend: A big mamma jamma in Jurassic World (selected by all but one player - oops). It's been 14 years since JP3 snoozed its way to $181M. The first and second did $402M and $229M, respectively. I expect this new one to finish #2 on the the JP list, as we seem to all have it in the 2-4 range this year.

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6/5/15

     

Three new releases with a combined 24 selections among them. We even have Entourage as #3 on a list. Good luck!

Boxoffice.com's predictions for this weekend:
1) Spy - 40M (40M)
2) San Andreas - 25.5M (98.7M)
3) Insidious: Chapter 3 - 25M (25M)
4) Entourage - 18M (29.5M)
5) Mad Max: Fury Road - 8M (131M)
6) Tomorrowland - 7.2M (76.2M)
7) Pitch Perfect 2 - 7M (160.1M)
8) Avengers: Age of Ultron - 6M (437.7M)
9) Aloha - 4.3M (17.5M)
10) Poltergeist - 3.3M (44.9M)

Rotten Tomatoes freshness ratings:
Spy = 95% (91% by the Top Critics)
Insidious: Chapter 3 = 59% (62% by the Top Critics)
Entourage = 30% (24% by the Top Critics)

Theater count:
Spy = 3,711
Insidious: Chapter 3 = 3,002
Entourage = 3,108

6/1/15

Yeah, I was just waiting for this one after Chapman took 2014 off. We'll see who's crying once it rakes in $50M+.

 

5/31/15

Current Top 10:

                   

Uh oh, we now have a surprise contender for the Top 10 as San Andreas just snuck in with $53M. So it gets shredded with a 49% RT rating but still earns an A- CinemaScore from moviegoers. I guess people really do want to see California ripped off the map. Good for the four of you who took it. Unfortunately, each of you lost your advantage by selecting some other clunker, or already missed out on Pitch Perfect 2 (sitting at $147M). And Aloha tanked as expected. Nothing to see here.

I've just edited the Current Standings to properly include movies have earned a minimum of $1M despite not being selected by any players. Apparently Bollywood films have now invaded our domestic box office (I can't even add one of them to the Standings due to not having its own page on Box Office Mojo).

Next weekend: This time we get three wide releases with Entourage (selected by 8 players) on Wednesday, followed by Spy (18 players) and Insidious: Chapter 3 (no players) on Friday. Entourage hasn't released any reviews just yet (not good), while Spy is killing it early with a 96% rating through 26 reviews. Cmonnnnn Spy. Big bucks, no whammies!

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5/30/15

   

Two wide releases this weekend in San Andreas and Aloha. San Andreas (taken by 4 people) is aiming to become the highest-grossing opener for The Rock as the lead star. His successes have nearly all come from ensemble efforts, save for Journey 2 in 2012 which is his only solo-starring role that hit $100M. Is everyone ready for another West coast destruction film? I personally think it was already done well in last year's Godzilla and 2004's The Day After Tomorrow. And who doesn't want to see ANOTHER cliche story of an estranged couple reuniting in a time of crisis? *raises hand*

Unfortunately for the 1 person who took Aloha, the review embargo was finally lifted on Thursday, and the reviews for Cameron Crowe's latest have been pathetic (just 18% positive). Oops. Goodbye.

Boxoffice.com's predictions for this weekend:
1) San Andreas - 37M (37M)
2) Tomorrowland - 17M (66.8M)
3) Pitch Perfect 2 - 16M (148.9M)
4) Mad Max: Fury Road - 14.5M (117M)
5) Aloha - 14M (14M)
6) Avengers: Age of Ultron - 11.2M (427.5M)
7) Poltergeist - 8.2M (38.7M)
8) Hot Pursuit - 2.2M (33.2M)
9) Far from the Maddening Crowd - 1.7M (8.7M)

Rotten Tomatoes freshness ratings:
San Andreas = 49% (47% by the Top Critics)
Aloha = 18% (21% by the Top Critics)

Theater count:
San Andreas = 3,777
Aloha = 2,815

5/25/15

Current Top 10:

                   

Hope everyone here had a nice extended weekend! Because those of you who took Tomorrowland ($41M) or Poltergeist ($25M) just lost your chance at perfection. Their failure allowed Pitch Perfect 2 and Mad Max to be the #2 and #3 movies of the weekend, and Avengers 2 to cross $400M. Still, added up ($190M total) this was the worst Memorial Day weekend box office since 2001. Oops.

Next weekend: A quiet weekend with another two wide releases that were barely selected. We get the newest disaster flick, San Andreas (selected by 4 players), and Cameron Crowe's latest, Aloha (selected by just 1). I'm a sucker for city destruction movies, but I don't think even the Rock can save this one. He's great in ensemble flicks, but as a lead... no thanks. Two reviews in so far... one fresh and one splat. Sounds about right.

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5/22/15

   

Another two wide releases this Memorial Day weekend in Tomorrowland and Poltergeist, but neither is expected to exceed $40M through FOUR days. Ouch. The reviews haven't been that great, so it looks like a strong weekend #2 for both Pitch Perfect 2 and Mad Max. Joy for the latter.

Boxoffice.com's predictions for this 4-day holiday weekend:
1) Tomorrowland - 40M (40M)
2) Pitch Perfect 2 - 39M (126.5M)
3) Mad Max: Fury Road - 34M (97.7M)
4) Poltergeist - 33M (33M)
5) Avengers: Age of Ultron - 28M (411.2M)
6) Hot Pursuit - 3.7M (29.1M)
11) Far from the Maddening Crowd - 2.3M (5.4M)

Rotten Tomatoes freshness ratings:
Tomorrowland = 50% (51% by the Top Critics)
Poltergeist = 37% (46% by the Top Critics)

Theater count:
Tomorrowland = 3,800
Poltergeist = 3,240

Hope everyone has a SAFE and fun holiday weekend!

5/18/15

Current Top 10:

             

Ok, girls win. Pitch Perfect 2 shattered ALL expectations with $70M in three days. Knowing that the original opened to just $5M on its way to a TOTAL of $65M, this is just insane. And we've found our chick flick of the summer. We are now sitting on two definite locks in Avengers and PP2, and of the 17 who took PP2 seven have only those films. They're our leaders at the moment. Mad Max, meanwhile, perfectly matched expectations with $45M. 26 of us are hoping that the very strong critic reviews, word-of-mouth and remaining time in the summer can carry it. Unfortunately, one has to look no further than last year to find a film that opened early in the summer in the 40's (Neighbors on May 9 to $49M) and suffered no worse than a 49% drop in any of its next four weekends (-48.9%, -44.1%, -42.4% and -34.1%), yet still missed the cut. Being an R-rated film, MM will need the cutoff this year to be in the 130-140 range to make it.

Next weekend: Two major releases, with one being an original story (Tomorrowland - selected by 31 players) and the other a remake of a classic (Poltergeist - selected by 3). I guess Tomorrowland looks kinda interesting (76% rating on RT so far), but I don't know if I want to shell out $$$ to see it. I'd rather pay for MM again. And did we really need another horror remake. I mean, the commercials are all jump-scares. Stupid lazy kids these days. Seriously, go see MM instead.

5/15/15

     

Two more wide releases this weekend in Pitch Perfect 2 and Mad Max: Fury Road, and both are projected to do $40M+ (PP2 is expected to kill it with $50+). But while PP2 is dragging along with a 68% RT score, check out MM with an overall 99%. 99%!! The highest rated movie of 2014 was a 98%. The highest of 2013 was 97%. The highest of 2012 was 96%. The highest of 2011 was 96%. Have to go back to 2010 to find another 99% (Toy Story 3). For those of us that took it, I'm expecting MM to have legs this summer with this kind of score. LOTS of time for each to earn bucks, and 9 players took them both. Looking good for them. Jerks.

We also had a player take a chance on the indie film I'll See You In My Dreams (opening in 3 theaters total). Not a good choice... unless he has the Bonehead Award in mind ;) Meanwhile, Avengers 2 is expected to pass $350M.

Boxoffice.com's predictions for this weekend:
1) Pitch Perfect 2 - 56M (56M)
2) Mad Max: Fury Road - 44M (44M)
3) Avengers: Age of Ultron - 38M (371.1M)
4) Hot Pursuit - 6M (23.9M)
10) Far from the Maddening Crowd - 1.2M (2.5M)

Rotten Tomatoes freshness ratings:
Pitch Perfect 2 = 68% (67% by the Top Critics)
Mad Max: Fury Road = 99% (98% by the Top Critics)
I'll See You In My Dreams = 91% (100% by the Top Critics)

Theater count:
Pitch Perfect 2 = 3,473
Mad Max: Fury Road = 3,702
I'll See You In My Dreams = 3

5/10/15

Current Top 10:

     

Crash and burn for Hot Pursuit, as it didn't come close to its projected $18M. And D Train was non-existent with only $469K. Won't even list it until it cracks $1M. Interestingly, Avengers 2 also fell short of its projected amount for the 2nd straight weekend with "only" $77M.

Next weekend: A HUGE weekend with a combined 43 selections on the line (including 9 players who took both), as we get Mad Max: Fury Road and Pitch Perfect 2. Early estimates are in the 40s for each film, but it's PP2 that has people talking near-50. PP2 has an early 76% rating on RT, while MM hasn't revealed any yet. Pretty much a guys vs. girls weekend. I'll be doing my part in seeing MM!

5/9/15

Finally had an opportunity to look over all of our 2015 Summer Movie Pool picks... and the results were pretty much what I expected. Fewer players meant fewer risks, as of the 29 films selected overall only 2 appear to be Bonehead-worthy (The Transporter Refueled and Pan don't count as they were already pushed to the fall - doh!). I personally found there to be 15 legit contenders for Top 10 status, but we all know any of the remaining 10 could sneak in and ruin the summer for the majority of us.

The Current Standings grid is formatted with the most veteran players to the left and the newest folks on the right. Just as I say every year, don't look too deeply into how the veterans' picks were made, as we again had a new winner last year (Mark A.). If you ever want visual proof of this just look at the 2010 Final Grid. Pretty ugly on the left-hand side. Crazy things can happen, and EVERYONE has a chance (unless you're gunning for the Bonehead).

Here are the numbers that we should keep an eye on for each 'major' movie (10+ selections this year):

Avengers: Age of Ultron - May 1
49 people / Avg placement = 1.1 / Highest placement = 1
A no-brainer as everyone picked it. Only two didn't make it their #1, with one of them having it at #8. Oops.

Mad Max: Fury Road - May 15
26 people / Avg placement = 7.3 / Highest placement = 4
The first true wildcard this summer. And easily the best trailers of any summer movie. I'm there!

Pitch Perfect 2 - May 15
17 people / Avg placement = 7.3 / Highest placement = 2
Another wildcard. While the first one grossed a total of $65M, this one is already tracking for a $49M opening weekend. Uh oh.

Tomorrowland - May 22
31 people / Avg placement = 7.0 / Highest placement = 3
They kept the storyline under wraps until just recently. Robot police shooting laser guns at George Clooney?? Perhaps if they revealed that kind of action sooner I might have considered it.

Spy - June 5
16 people / Avg placement = 8.9 / Highest placement = 5
Not too many believe the third time is also the charm for McCarthy & Feig. I do.

Jurassic World - June 12
48 people / Avg placement = 2.8 / Highest placement = 1
Not super excited for another Jurassic Park movie, but most everyone was wise enough to select it AND make it Top 5. Big bucks.

Inside Out - June 19
42 people / Avg placement = 4.5 / Highest placement = 2
After failing to release a summer movie in 2014, Pixar is back with an original idea. I don't see any way how it's not a lock for Top 10, but apparently seven people disagree.

Ted 2 - June 26
40 people / Avg placement = 6.5 / Highest placement = 1
This movie is all over our rankings from 1 to 10. The first one came out of left field with $218M. Will lightning strike twice?

Magic Mike XXL - July 1
12 people / Avg placement = 8.2 / Highest placement = 5
The first one alllllmost made the cut in 2012, finishing 11th with $113M. But wonder if this will go the same route as Sex In the City 2.

Terminator: Genesys - July 1
27 people / Avg placement = 7.2 / Highest placement = 2
Just how far has this franchise fallen? The words 'Terminator' and '4th of July weekend' SHOULD equate to big bucks, but far too many here don't believe so. Even I was reluctant to pick it. Sad.

Minions - July 10
45 people / Avg placement = 3.0 / Highest placement = 2
The minions get their own film, and most everyone is buying in. A no-brainer.

Ant-Man - July 17
37 people / Avg placement = 6.5 / Highest placement = 3
I thought last summer's Guardians of the Galaxy was a risk for Marvel. If this one hits it out of the park I'll never doubt them again.

Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation - July 31
39 people / Avg placement = 6.1 / Highest placement = 3
Interesting to see this fifth M:I film get the bump up from Christmas Day to summer. They're just so much fun! And they make bank.

Fantastic Four - August 7
30 people / Avg placement = 8.4 / Highest placement = 4
Ah, the last wildcard of the summer. 2014 proved once again that a movie can still make Top 10 with only four weeks of earning power. But can Fox be trusted to properly handle this Marvel reboot after the first two were such disappointments?

Some other observations and rants: two limited release movies were selected (you better hope for wide expansions... unless Bonehead is the plan). I love ridiculing Adam Sandler's summer releases these days, but Pixels looks like silly fun. A shame that only two people believe in it (one as high as #3). Surprised to see only four people take San Andreas. I love a good disaster flick, and this one stars The Rock. And Alexandra Daddario. Schwing! There's always a horror movie of some kind in the summer, and the one people went with this year was the Poltergeist remake. The kids who see this instead of the 1982 original are REALLY making a mistake. Guess they need their little jump-scares. Eight movies only have one person selecting them. Not a bad way to go, as if yours hits and you are the only one to benefit... score! I think Straight Outta Compton looks great, but three weeks just won't cut it. Sorry. We seem to have only a little bit of variation this summer, so I'm expecting this to come down to a tiebreaker. Again.

And I may not have picked all of them, but these are the movies I really want to see the most in theaters: Avengers: Age of Ultron, Mad Max: Fury Road (my most anticipated), San Andreas, Ant-Man, Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation, and Fantastic Four.

I hope everyone enjoys this summer as much as I will. And the best part for me..... no one has my same picks :D Good luck!

5/8/15

   

Two wide releases this weekend in Hot Pursuit and The D Train ("wide" being a stretch for this one), but neither are expected to do much at all. One player took a chance on Pursuit, but looks like he picked the wrong chick-flick this summer (just look at those horrific Rotten Tomatoes scores). Meanwhile, Avengers 2 is expected to pass $300M. On to $400M!

Boxoffice.com's predictions for this weekend:
1) Avengers: Age of Ultron - 84M (319.5M)
2) Hot Pursuit - 18M (18M)
11) The D Train - 1.2M (1.2M)

Rotten Tomatoes freshness ratings:
Hot Pursuit = 6% (3% by the Top Critics)
The D Train = 43% (48% by the Top Critics)

Theater count:
Hot Pursuit = 3,003
The D Train = 1,009

5/4/15

Current Top 10:

 

So when is a $187M+ opening a disappointment? Well, when the sequel is expected to easily exceed its predecessor yet misses its mark by 15%, it is. For the record, it actually beat Sunday's estimates with an actual total of $191M, but that is still a far cry from the projected $221M. Whether that is due to the heavy sports weekend led by Saturday Night's Fight of the Century (over 2.5 million PPV purchases), or the subpar 75% RT rating, or perhaps the "been there, done that" feeling by moviegoers, Avengers: Age of Ultron wasn't able to meet the highest of expectations. But I don't think anyone here is complaining, as there is no doubt it'll be our #1 movie of the summer. $400M is a certainty.

Next weekend: The week after Avengers brings us some counter-programming in Hot Pursuit, and one player is buckled up for the ride. Unfortunately a projected $18M won't be nearly enough (not having a RT score yet doesn't help either).

5/4/15

Back in town... and just in time for the first weekend recap. But first, after having to remove several players who didn't get their entry fees submitted by the required May 1 deadline (or surprisingly even by May 4), plus another player who didn't finalize their picks, our final tally for 2015 is 49 players. Hey, rules are rules. I'm happy to say that for everyone else listed on the Scoreboard page, your payments are accounted for. A big thanks to all of you!

We lost 24 players from last year's record number, but gained 10 newcomers including 4 who have played with us in the past. 49 is still our second-largest # of players ever, and it allows us to keep the 3rd Place prize. So now the hard part is done, and we can all sit back and watch the standings take shape over the next four months.

Of our original $490.00 pot, $30.00 will apply toward the administration of the website (domain and server maintenance). That leaves $460.00 for the winning payouts. The breakdown for 2015 will be the following (very similar to 2013's payouts):

1st Place = $350.00
2nd Place = $70.00
3rd Place = $30.00
Bonehead Award = $10.00


The Current Standings page has been updated with everyone's selections, and I've removed all non-selected movies. With 49 players it's a long list, but remember that there is the ability to hover your cursor over the tri-letter names to better identify the player. We've incorporated Display Names this year for a little fun, and the Scoreboard page will help reveal the players. You can also hover your cursor over any particular ranking in the Current standings grid to identify the name of the movie. Enjoy!

5/1/15

 

Is there any doubt what the #1 film of the summer will be? The first Avengers opened to $207M on 5/4/12, and ended with a final gross of $623M. SIX HUNDRED TWENTY-THREE. That tally earned it the #3 spot on the ALL TIME domestic box office chart. Allllllll tiiiiiiiime. Nothing else needs to be said.

Boxoffice.com's predictions for this weekend:
1) Avengers: Age of Ultron - 221M (221M)

Rotten Tomatoes freshness ratings:
Avengers: Age of Ultron = 75% (73% by the Top Critics)

Theater count:
Avengers: Age of Ultron = 4,276

I'll be heading out of town for the weekend (non-stop roller coasters!), so when I return I'll make any necessary edits to the player list. I'll also send out an analysis of all existing picks. Looking forward to thoroughly reviewing what you all submitted ;)

5/1/15

The pool is locked, the Current Standings page has been revealed, and we're ready to roll. Game on!!!

I've unfortunately had to delete 2 players due to incomplete picks. That brings our current tally to 54. I didn't really expect us to match last year's 63, so still happy with the turnout. It's our 2nd largest # of players ever :D That said, I am still waiting on 12 payments. I know of 6 that are on the way, so if no payment received from the other 6 by tonight's deadline I'll unfortunately have to remove their entries as well (emails just went out to those that are still unaccounted). Let's get those payments in!

Enjoy SMP 2015!!

4/30/15

This is it. Just 4.5 hours remain and we have 51 players registered so far. 49 have submitted picks, and 13 still need to get their payments in. Last year was a record 63 players, so we're getting close.

For those still wanting to play...

- If you haven't yet registered it's very easy to do. Just click the Register link and follow the basic steps.

- If you've already registered but haven't yet submitted your picks directly on the site, the deadline to do so is Thursday, April 30 at 11:59pm PST. The site will auto-lock at that point.

- If you've already registered and submitted your picks, the deadline for payment is Friday, May 1 at 11:59pm PST.

- If you've already done all the above... you're awesome.

I have opened the Scoreboard page of the website for viewing, so if you want to confirm whether your entry is good or not, check for your name. The column for # of Top 10 Picks won't be accurate this early in the summer, as our automated standings are in order by release date. Lots of small-time flicks mixed in with the big boys, but they'll get weeded out over the upcoming weeks. And that Deviation Score data is worthless at this time as well. It'll become more accurate once we get late into the summer.

SMP 2015 goes live on Friday, but I'll need to spend just a little bit of time tracking all of our players and payments. If we don't see payments by 11:59pm EST on Friday, May 1 those incomplete entries go bye bye. I've personally replied to any payments already made to my PayPal account (they've been pouring in over the past several days, so thank you very much).

The Standings page will be revealed on Friday morning. Stay tuned!

4/25/15

Just SIX days away from the start of SMP 2015... and trusting everyone is finalizing their picks. 24 entries in so far, and payments already received for others that haven't yet registered. To help out the newbies, here's an idea of what are NOT summer movies (and thus being released in April):

     

4/3/15

Fans of summer movies rejoice, as we get ready for Year #18 of the most awesome annual Summer Movie Pool ever! And things just got better for us all. New banner... check. Corrected Deviation Score calculation... check. New list of summer movies entered... check. Game on!!!

So you want to play? Then check out the details in the Rules of the Game page for all the info you need.

2014 still stings, as only four teenage mutant ninja turtles stood between me and perfection. And I still won't watch it. 2014 also shattered our previous record of 45 players with a new high of 63. Whoa! And for the fifth straight year we had a brand new winner (meaning there's always hope for everyone who plays). The race to victory came down to the very last weekend of the summer, where two players finished a perfect 10-for-10. But there could only be one winner, and after the tiebreaking Deviation Score was applied it was Mark Adolphus with 24 points (thanks to 2 perfect picks and 3 1's), taking home the $450 1st Place prize!

Our poor friend Sponge pulled a "Laura Logan" in finishing runner-up despite also going 10-for-10, thanks to an only slightly worse Deviation Score of 26. That resulted in a 2nd Place prize of $90. The 3rd Place prize of $40 went to me (Stephen Berg) for winning the tiebreaker of 9 correct picks among 17 total players (and slightly edging out Chapman - wheeeeee!). And we canít forget the $10 Bonehead Award, which for the first time was SPLIT between two sad selectors: Kristen Fritz and Tina Swartz. This wasn't their first rodeo as the Bonehead, as they have now combined to win the award five times. FIVE.

Regarding the 2014 movies, Marvel was once again supreme with the stunning result of August's Guardians of the Galaxy finishing #1 ($274M). There was also the Marvel/Fox X-Men: Days of Future Past finishing #4 ($233M) and the Marvel/Sony The Amazing Spider-Man 2 finishing #6 ($202M). With no Pixar release, animation bombed as How To Train Your Dragon 2 limped to #9 ($173M). We've never had a movie gross $150M and NOT make the cut, but wouldn't you know it happened to #11 Neighbors. Grrrrrr.

Here are our previous winners:

2014 - Mark Adolphus
2013 - Ally Mauro
2012 - Sponge
2011 - Kelly Peterson
2010 - Kurt Weierstall
2009 - Steve Berg
2008 - Justin Klein
2007 - Tim Driscoll
2006 - Steve Berg
2005 - Larry Pennington
2004 - Chic Meyers
2003 - Todd Fiore / Dave Logan / Jaime McGauley (tie)
2002 - Steve Berg
2001 - Steve Berg
2000 - Mike Chapman
1999 - Steve Berg
1998 - Steve Berg


The first Friday of the summer is May 1, and we will need time to confirm entries and track payments. As such, the deadline for submitting your picks will be Thursday, April 30 at 11:59pm PST. At that point the site will lock and no further entries will be accepted. The entire month of April is more than enough time to assemble your picks and submit them.


Have your picks submitted by May 1!!!


On May 1 all picks will be revealed on the Current Standings page. Enjoy... and good luck!!

3/26/15

Alriiiiiiiiiiight, SMP 2015 is ready to roll! The Current Standings and Scoreboard pages have been hidden. We now have a banner (thanks, Chapman)! And the Rules and Register pages have been updated to reflect new information. Everyone who wants to play in 2015 will need to register (this includes 2014 players, who will need to re-register). We have now added a field for Display Name, which will be the desired name that displays when you hover your cursor over your tri-letter identifer in the Current Standings. It will also now display in the Scoreboard. Wheeeeee!

Be sure to pay close attention to the criteria when filling in the name fields. If you seriously can't follow simple directions... you really shouldn't be playing. And you won't :D

3/12/15

It's early... and we're always working on this site. We bust out the good stuff in 2014, including a new format for registering and making your summer movie selections, as well as a Scoreboard with running Deviation Score. Our own Mr. X has helped make improvements to these pages the last couple weeks, so hopefully this is the end of Excel spreadsheets for me. *fingers crossed*

So for now feel free to check out the Previous Years, Official Posters and Hall of Boneheads links to reminisce. Stay tuned!