Final Top 10:

The 2019 Summer Movie Pool is over, and what comes next is the recap that my good buddy Chapman has been dreading for weeks.

After 4 months of summer releases (some good, and some just awful) our pool came down to a 12-way tie among players with 9 correct picks. But unlike last year’s double performance, no one was able to nail the Perfect 10. That only made the final weekend even more exciting, as the difference between 1st and 2nd Place ended up being just $2.9M. Even closer, the difference among 1st and 5th Places was just FIVE Deviation Points. Wow.

So what did we learn this summer? Well for one thing, Disney is king. Even ignoring Avengers: Endgame, which raked in $858M as a non-summer movie (per our rules), Disney still released 3 of the top 4 movies for more than $1.3B. BILLION. And that “other” movie? Yeah they’ll still get their cut of box office revenue from Sony for Spider-Man: Far from Home ($383M). We also learned that R-rated movies can kill it. Zing! Only about a third of the pool selected either John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum ($170M) or Once Upon a Time In Hollywood ($128M), and in the end the majority of players were wrong as both were big hits. And of course, big-brand animated movies are pretty much locks. $518M for The Lion King. $428M for Toy Story 4. $157M for The Secret Life of Pets 2. Even Pokemon: Detective Pikachu got in on the fun with $144M.

But of course if there are hits there are also going to be misses. BIG misses. We had 2 movies that were major failures, each having been picked by about 3/4 of our players. Both movies had budgets exceeding $100M, with Dark Phoenix reaching $200M. Super mega bust!!

#12 Men In Black: International – $79M – 42 players – avg placement 7.4
#15 Dark Phoenix – $65M – 43 players – avg placement 7.4

Once again we had to calculate Deviation Scores to determine our winner. Of the 12 players with 9 correct picks, the top 5 were all within 5 points of each other. By the third wekeend in August our leader was Dennis Berg, who for the second year in a row was holding the lead with mere weeks remaining. After getting burned by his best bud Jason Statham last summer with The Meg (I still don’t understand the appeal of this film), he just needed his chum to take a dive in 2019 with Hobbs & Shaw. Statham might’ve been on board as a solo effort, but Statham AND The Rock are simply too much combined star power for America to stay away. So much testosterone! And the biggest beneficiary of the film’s success appeared to be Dennis’ #1 favorite son. But the race wasn’t quite over going into the final weekend, as suddenly what went from a lead, to a tie, to a deficit (all in the final days) became a real chance for a final tie result IF… Hobbs & Shaw could earn just $3M more to surpass The Secret Life of Pets 2 at #6 before the Sunday 9/1 cutoff. Surely Dennis’ pal Statham could finally come through after torturing him for a full year, right???

The Deviation Score breakdown for the top 5 players with 9 correct picks ended as follows:

Steve Berg – 11 (0,0,0,2,2,0,3,0,2,2) — (5) perfect picks. No busts, with nothing greater than 3. Hobbs & Shaw earned juuuuust enough to finish #7 and stay there.
Dennis Berg- 13 (0,0,0,0,0,3,3,0,3,4) — (6) perfect picks, including the top 4 in order. But a little too much faith in Men In Black and not enough in his boys Hobbs & Shaw.
Nate Austin – 14 (0,0,0,2,2,1,3,1,3,2) — (3) perfect picks and (2) 1’s. Nothing greater than 3, but just not enough 0’s.
Jen Ballard – 15 (0,0,0,1,5,0,0,4,1,4) — (5) perfect picks and (2) 1’s. Smart enough to pick John Wick, but the mistake was putting it too low.
David Logan – 16 (0,0,1,2,3,2,3,1,3,1) — (2) perfect picks and (3) 1’s. Nothing greater than 3, but again not enough 0’s.

With this final result I won my 7th SMP title, and first since 2009. After seeing first-time winners take the last 9 titles, it’s nice to find myself relevant again 🙂 The First Place prize (and the Idol) are mine. Now where is that Idol?? I cannot wait to display it on my living room mantle, as my wife will be soooooo proud I’m sure. I win $430.00 for First Place.

After last year’s cruel ending I really wanted to see Dennis Berg (dad) win this thing. And then I was rooting for the tie… but it just didn’t shake out that way. While a victory wasn’t possible, there was still the matter of holding off multiple others to not watch it all slip away once again. And thanks to SIX perfect picks (the best of anyone this summer) Dennis was able to hang on by just 1 point to finish with his best performance yet in this pool. Dennis gets $80.00 for Second Place. Nice picking, dad!

The fight for Third Place was equally close, and while Nate Austin didn’t have as many perfect picks as those around him, he also didn’t suffer from any deviations greater than 3. That gave him the 1-point edge over 2018’s runner-up, and his own best performance. Nate gets $30 for Third Place. Congrats!

For the first time in 9 years the Bonehead Award didn’t go to a bottom-scraping movie. We have to go all the way back to 2011 to find a Bonehead selection that earned more than this year’s Brightburn ($17.3M). The prior 6, in fact, never broke $2M. So congrats to our “winners” Jesse Lumen and Logan Scott for still getting Bonehead recognition thanks to no one else making any of the truly awful selections we usually see. Both guys split the $10.00 award. Note – because The New Mutants and Artemis Fowl both got bounced from the summer those flicks did not qualify for the Bonehead Award. Doh!

In keeping with the standard 80%/15%/5% prize structure (minus the server/domain maintenance fees), this year’s payouts are as follows:

1st Place – $430.00 – Steve Berg
2nd Place – $80.00 – Dennis Berg
3rd Place – $30.00 – Nate Austin
Bonehead Award – $10.00 (tie) – Jesse Lumen and Logan Scott

Here’s hoping everyone had a fun time playing in the SMP this year! 2020 is already looking like your average summer with prequels, sequels, and reboots. Wonder Woman 1984 might be the most anticipated, but we also get the Black Widow origin story, Fast & Furious 9, Pixar’s SoulTop Gun: MaverickMinions: The Rise of Gru, and Ghostbusters 2020. Hopefully Christopher Nolan can save us with something fresh and original.

And a shout out to both Mike Chapman and David Logan for their huge efforts in keeping this pool running along, both on the front and back ends. Thanks guys!

See you all next summer!!

– SB

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