FMLnerd's Week 3 Picks

Pete Johnson

There are difficult weeks, and then there are REALLY DIFFICULT WEEKS.

If you are joining us from The View or Jason Bourne contests, welcome! I swear, this game usually isn't this difficult but this week we have a ton of unknowns. My model, which will get discussed in detail below, usually comes up with 8-12 possible winning combinations for the week in the 729 variance simulations it considers. This week? 23 possible winners and I don't like any of them.

Week 3 Summary Table

To start things off, here is the summary table that I use to assess the results of my model (full table):


The PBO column came from the forecast this week and the SBD from ShowBuzzDaily. The Use column applies the average of the Value column to non-forecasted films based on their FB$, averages the pro forecasts where possible, and is the full list of what I use in my model. The Value column divides the Use by the FB$.

Week 3 Perfect Combo Probabilities

When I plug the Use column into my model (which are also loaded in to the FML Comparator for your use), here's what it comes up with (full image):


Out of all the weeks I've been writing this column and out of all the weeks I've been writing computer models for this game, I've never liked an output less than I do this week.

Let's start with "Alice", which the pros like to bring in $5.4M, a drop of 52% compared to last week and the leading candidate for Best Performer according to them. Almost universally seen as terrible, it is now in its third week, which means that theaters nationwide are no longer obliged to keep it like they were last week as part of the two week rule. While its much more widely liked predecessor dropped 45% in its third week, I think a better comp is another classically bad Disney/Johnny Depp film, "The Lone Ranger".

That masked ouch-fest dropped 62% in its third week and lost more than 1,600 theaters. Should more like that kind of drop apply to "Alice", it would fall out of BP contention. On Thursday, be on the look out for theater counts and if "Alice" has less than 1,500 I'd look elsewhere. Even if it does, this is a risky play given how poor the reviews have been without the two week contractual net to help bolster its presence.

So how about "Warcraft"? We've never seen a film based on a Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Game with $7.5M subscribers before. We almost never see a film with reviews this bad either. In fact, prominent Chatterer BSwhite1970 has this film as his "BSA" this week (if you're new, think PSA for movies you should not play). Take a look at that thread for a more comprehensive discussion of this one, but I'm staying away from it as well.

There hasn't been a horror film in awhile, so "Conjuring 2" deserves consideration, right? Well, all other forecasts being equal, it would have to get in the mid $40M's in order to have a shot at BP. That's more than the original, which really means the $FB cost of this film makes it prohibitive to play despite the loyalty of horror film fans.

If you extrapolate off the pro averages, "The Lobster" would have to earn more than its disappointing last week and "Love & Friendship" would have to drop less than 20% to be in consideration. Ditto "X-Men", which would have to drop less than 50%. "Me Before You", which I liked earlier in the week, would have to drop less than 40% to be the first ever back-to-back Best Performer when it looks a lot more like "The Time Traveler's Wife" which had a 47% drop its second week.

Geez, we're starting to run out of movies here and this is turning into the longest picks article I've written in quite some time.

Of the new films, I like "Now You See Me 2" as a solid choice this week, which should have a pretty narrow window between its floor and ceiling. In the past, we've seen movies flop their first week, but because theaters are contractually obligated to keep a new release for two weeks those flops can sometimes have a smaller than expected drop in their second week. That's why I like "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles" to meet or beat its pro forecast with a 56% drop, which happens to be the same second week drop as its immediate predecessor in the series.

But what about a multi-screen Best Performer candidate? While it has its flaws and hasn't yet met an expectation, as I sit here on Wednesday evening I like "Civil War". "The Winter Soldier" saw a bump in its drop during its 5th week, losing only 26% compared to its 4th week. Should "Civil War" drop only 40% compared to last week, it becomes a Best Performer candidate, albeit a risky one. Be on the look out for theater counts on Thursday, though. A count of less than 2,700 would scare me off of "Civil War", but for now it remains the film I dislike the least and I have "Now You See Me 2" + "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles" + 6x "Civil War" set on my main account pending Thursday data.