There is no right way to play the league. I barely won, just barely. I never felt confident, I was always worried; I never had a lead in which I felt safe. You could have a stellar week, pick up two or three points and then crash the very next week and gain no points. However, if you want some advice, I’m willing to give them. You may already use these tips or you can completely discard them and play at your own pace. Remember, I just barely won; all of these tips can be a complete wash.
Wait. It’s easy to get your predictions out of the way early in the week but you should wait. Also, don’t stick with your numbers until the deadline. If you’re ever unsure about the predicted figures, edit them. Also, wait until Friday…
Friday is the day early predictions are released and are constantly updated. These give you the most accurate range to ballpark your guess. Also, don’t just blindly guess. Do your homework. It takes maybe fifteen minutes, but it’ll make a world of difference.
Industry sites are your best bet; every Hollywood studio reads these sites. Journalists get all their info from unnamed correspondents working for the studios and other people whose job is purely the weekend box office. However, it’s not 100% certain. Movies can over perform and exceed expectations. I had the largest prediction for Ted ($44 Million) and I was still ten million under. Other films like Magic Mike, The Avengers and Snow White and the Huntsman were the summer’s biggest surprises for their box office debut. But it can go the other just as easily.
Theatre counts are not always a good indicator of how to pick your numbers. Movies that open in more than 4000 theatres are expected be the biggest movies of the year. Once you start getting to movies in the 3000 range is where it starts to get iffy.
3D is a double-edged sword. At this point of time, 3D isn’t a guarantee for success. The Avengers got a reported $30 million bump in its opening weekend for opening in 3D. But it wasn’t because people wanted to see a 3D movie; it was because people wanted to see The Avengers regardless of what format it was. The same thing will probably happen again this December once The Hobbit comes out. People will suffer the cost of 3D to see if the movie is big enough to warrant it.
The hardest prediction to make: the total weekend figures. I never scored a single point in this category and those who scored that point rarely did it week in and week out. Honestly, I don’t have much advice to give for this one. Either all of your predictions are largely accurate for all the films you guessed on are in close approximation, or certain films picked up more money than the others and leveled out the total in reaction.
Don’t underestimate the Limited Releases. Six of points I got during the Box Office League were from the indie releases by simply betting higher than everyone else. Here’s how I judged the smaller releases:
1) If the film was in the festival circuit, then it could do well.
2) Prestige Filmmakers: Wes Anderson and Woody Allen are prestige filmmakers. Bet big.
3) If the movie is only playing in two to four theatres, it’s most likely playing in New York and/or Los Angeles.
4) Big stars don’t make these indie films perform better. Morgan Freeman headlined a Rob Reiner film, was released in four theatres and made $10,367. Beasts of the Southern Wild, opened in four theatres, had no recognizable stars, but it was shown at Sundance and Cannes; made $169,702.
5) If a movie is getting awards buzz, bet big.
6) If all else fails, just guess.
Play against your opponents. There is no shame in the one-dollar higher bet. It’s been a viable strategy on The Price is Right for years.
When in doubt, change your avatar to Mary Elizabeth Winstead. She is the lucky charm of the Box Office Winners League.
Here’s the most valuable advice I can give: have fun. In a time where Screened had been sold, Matt Rorie had been let go and the community was generally stagnant, irritated and worried about the site’s direction and what’d happen to the community, the Screened Community Box Office Winners League emerged. Big kudos toand for thinking of it, and give your thanks to for running the entire league again and again for almost three months. Without him, this competition would of faded in popularity after the first month. It’s still amazing how this brought everyone together.
It’s hard to look at Disney’s track record during the 90’s and go away unimpressed. The Disney Renaissance produced animated classics like The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast, The Lion King, Aladdin and other box office hits like Pocahontas, Hercules and Mulan. Even the 3D computer revolution of Toy Story played well in Disney’s favor. However, the black sheep of this winning record was a film released in 1990 called: The Rescuers Down Under. It was the only animated film under Disney’s banner in that decade that didn’t feature any musical numbers, was the first Disney animated sequel, and had one of the earliest implementation of CGI in animation.
The plot revolves around a ten-year-old boy named Cody who rescues a trapped golden eagle named Marahute. The two of them quickly bond and she shows him her nest with three unhatched eggs. Immediately after, Cody falls into a trap and is kidnapped by McLeach (voiced by George C. Scott) who is hell-bent on finding the rare Marahute. Two small rodents, Bernard and Bianca, of the Rescue Aid Society are sent to Australia to rescue the boy from captivity. Bernard (Bob Newhart) and Bianca (Eva Gabor) join up with an albatross named Wilbur (the late John Candy) as they begin their journey.
Disney has a knack for making memorable villains, but McLeach is oddly more sadistic than the rest of them. First of all, he kidnaps a ten-year-old boy and coerces him to reveal the location of Marahute to make him rich. Then he threatens Cody by throwing knives beside his head and goes on to lock him up in an animal cage. McLeach even tosses Cody’s backpack into a river full of crocodiles to make the rangers believe that he was eaten alive.
Despite its dark undertone of child endangerment, The Rescuers Down Under still is an adventurous ride. Better yet, it maintains a sense of humor that isn’t outright dated. John Candy is endearing as ever voicing Wilbur, along with a lizard named Frank getting an equal amount of laughs in a short appearance. But the goanna lizard named Joanna steals the show as McLeach’s reptilian lackey that is motivated simply by being rewarded with eggs. There is a great scene in which Joanna continually outsmarts McLeach to steal his eggs and it really showcases the wonderful animation. Even with the malevolent personality of McLeach, George C. Scott gives an over the top performance that is well tailored to a Disney villain.
People seem to reflect on the moment when Belle and the Beast are dancing in the ballroom and the camera sweeps around them, or the wildebeest stampede in The Lion King as those remarkable moments of classical animation blended in with CGI. However, Disney’s CAPS (Computer Animation Production System) was developed in part with Pixar and used for the first time in The Rescuers Down Under. The technology allowed 3D objects to be used in the background or the foreground to be blended in with the traditional hand drawn animation. In the film it was primarily used on McLeach’s truck, the opening scene where the camera speeds across the Australian outback, and when Wilbur is flying through New York and in between the Sydney Opera House. By today’s standards it’s dated, but it stands as a stepping-stone for what was to come for Disney’s animated films.
The Rescuers Down Under did in fact gross a modest amount at the box office. However, compared to the major success found with The Little Mermaid the previous year, it was deemed a disappointment by Disney executives. The franchise also died off well before the days of Disney’s direct to DVD approach to its library. While it may live on as a the least appreciated film to join the single best decade Disney ever had, The Rescuers Down Under remains an entertaining and fun film to this day.