This past Sunday night my Fantasy Movie League conducted our auction draft for the 2017 Summer League. The league has been running for several years now, and this is the 3rd “season” that I am sharing on this blog, having posted about the 2016 Summer and Fall leagues and doing weekly write-ups about them last year.
This year, we decided to tinker just a bit with the schedule. Originally, the Summer League ran from the first weekend in May to the end of August and box office profits were counted until the end of September. In 2016, we bumped it back to the middle of March to get in Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice, but kept everything else the same. This year, we have pushed it back to the opening weekend of March to account for the release of Logan and we are capping the box office profits at the end of August.
Basic ground rules, each person has $70 to spend on a roster of up to 7 movies that release from March to the end of August. Revenue comes from multiplying a film’s box office profits by its Rotten Tomatoes T-meter, the better the reviews, the more of a films money you get to keep. The revenue cap in the summer is $250 million, to keep things competitive. The winner gets to choose a “punishment” film that the person in last place must watch and write a running diary of their viewing experience. Last Summer, I lost and had to watch Star Trek: The Motion Picture. This past Fall, Chris lost and it was announced at the draft that his punishment is the 1999 Freddie Prinze Jr. movie Wing Commander. May God have mercy on his soul.
Below is a breakdown of how the auction draft unfolded as well as some commentary of each round. The order was determined by the standings of the Fall League, so the order for throwing movies out for auction was Greg, Tim, Paula, Joe, myself, and Chris. The name of the person who nominated the movie for bidding is in parenthesis and the person who won the bidding as well as the winning bid amount is listed after the movie title. I was also going to include a breakdown of each team’s roster, but I’m going to break that off into a separate post as otherwise this thing post would be 3,500 words long.
1. (Greg) The Fate of the Furious – Tim ($26)
2. (Tim) Beauty and the Beast – Me ($41)
3. (Paula) Logan – Joe ($28)
4. (Joe) Spider-Man: Homecoming – Paula ($31)
5. (Me) Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 – Greg ($39)
6. (Chris) Wonder Woman – Joe ($17)
Auctions drafts in fantasy sports are always different and unique, and the same is true here, with The Fate of the Furious being the first movie thrown out there. Sometimes there is strategy involved in what movies get thrown out and when and by whom, because they want to get people bidding on movies they’re not interested in and want other people to spend their budget. None of the movies in this first round of six are a surprise. Certainly not a surprise, either, that four of the movies are superhero movies. After spending $41 to get Beauty and the Beast I wanted to be sure to throw out a big movie that would get someone to spend money as I spent nearly 60% of my budget on Beauty and the Beast. Joe came out of the first round with two movies and Chris was not willing to commit significant money to any of these movies, ultimately.
7. (Greg) War for the Planet of the Apes – Tim ($20)
8. (Tim) Despicable Me 3 – Paula ($31)
9. (Paula) Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales – Chris ($8)
10. (Joe) Dunkirk – Chris ($22)
11. (Me) Power Rangers – Joe ($5)
12. (Chris) Kong: Skull Island – Chris ($10)
Either Chris was biding his time or he felt the pressure to make a move after a good chunk of the big ticket items had been taken off the board. He grabbed three movies this time through, landing the 5th Pirates of the Caribbean movie, Christopher Nolan’s WWII epic Dunkirk, and Kong: Skull Island. At this point, Chris and Joe both have three movies. Perhaps more impressive, though, is Paula snagging Despicable Me 3 to pair with Spider-Man: Homecoming. That is potentially a lethal pairing and maybe makes Paula the one to beat this summer. I was in on the Despicable Me 3 bidding, but given that I only had $29 left to spend, I was only willing to go to $26 or $27 in the bidding. Overall, still no real surprises in terms of what these movies ended up going for. War for the Planet of the Apes should be a solid earner for Tim and I thought it could end up being a steal for somebody, but at $22 Tim essentially paid full price for it.
13. (Greg) Cars 3 – Tim ($20)
14. (Tim) Alien: Covenant – Greg ($14)
15. (Paula) Transformers: The Last Knight – Greg ($6)
16. (Joe) The Dark Tower – Chris ($4)
17. (Me) Ghost in the Shell – Joe ($12)
18. (Chris) Baywatch – Me ($11)
Here is where things got a little wonky. Normally, grabbing any Pixar movie would be a pretty safe bet, but in my opinion $20 is way too much to pay for Cars 3, and I’ll get into why when I look at Tim’s roster. Alien: Covenant, Ghost in the Shell, and Baywatch are a trio of films that are part of the fairly robust middle class of summer movie earners this year, likely to make somewhere between $60 and $100 million depending on a few factors. The Dark Tower is a complete wild card, given it’s long road to the big screen and the unknown of whether it has an audience or not.
19. (Greg) The Mummy – Chris ($12)
20. (Tim) Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets – Joe ($4)
21. (Paula) King Arthur: Legend of the Sword – Greg ($6)
22. (Joe) The Boss Baby – Me ($7)
23. (Me) CHiPS – Me ($1)
24. (Chris) The House – Chris ($8)
The Mummy is right in that same middle class group I mentioned last round, though I think its downside is greater than those other three movies. Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets could be a sleeper or it could be a dud. I was not planning on getting The Boss Baby, but I was ok with getting it for $7. CHiPs was the first real misstep I felt like I made in the auction. I threw it out for $1 expecting/hoping someone would say $2, but all I got was crickets, which left me stuck with it. Worse, though, was that it pretty much cost me the chance to get The House, which went right after it. At that point, I had $10 left, and I would have had to go to $9 to get it. I would have been more comfortable going to $9 if I could have spent $1 on 2 more movies.
25. (Greg) Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie – Me ($5)
26. (Tim) Rock That Body – Greg ($4)
27. (Paula) The Circle – Paula ($3)
28. (Joe) Going in Style – Joe ($1)
29. (Me) Life – Joe ($2)
30. (Chris) Snatched – Chris ($5)
Captain Underpants was a bit of a value pick on my part, though I had ranked it ahead of quite a few movies that had gone for more money elsewhere. Rock That Body could be a legitimate steal for Greg at only $4. Joe and Chris both rounded out their rosters at this point, so they were done with nominating movies for auction, which dropped the next round down to only four people bidding. I thought Snatched was really good value at $5 and where it went for Chris.
31. (Greg) An Inconvenient Sequel – Tim ($2)
32. (Tim) T2: Trainspotting – Tim ($1)
33. (Paula) The Zookeeper’s Wife – Paula ($1)
34. (Me) Bad Dads – Me ($1)
This is a weird round. To my knowledge, there has never been a documentary rostered in these fantasy leagues, yet Greg shockingly threw out the sequel to Al Gore’s documentary, An Inconvenient Truth. Even more shocking, Tim raised the bid to $2 and got it. It actually could be a smart move as the first one made nearly $50 million and got a 93% on the T-meter. On the flipside, T2: Trainspotting it’s unknown if T2: Trainspotting will even get a wide release. And Bad Dads, a sequel/spinoff of 2016’s Bad Moms, only has a release date. No cast, no director, no news about its production. To be fair though, at this time last year we had little to no news on Bad Moms either.
35. (Greg) The Emoji Movie – Greg ($1)
36. (Tim) Smurfs: The Lost Village – Paula ($1)
37. (Paula) All Nighter – Paula ($1)
38. (Me) Girls Trip – Me ($1)
Yup, The Emoji Movie is a thing. And it’s on Greg’s roster. I stayed far, far away from that one. Same with the latest Smurfs movie. No thank you. Girls Trip is a movie I am unlikely to see, but it has a few target audiences (women and the black community) that could come out for it. It’s in the vein of Bad Moms and the The Hangover.
39. (Tim) Gifted – Tim ($1)
40. (Paula) Annabelle 2 – Paula ($1)
These could best be described as filler, though both have some upside. With everybody else out and both of them down to their last dollars, both Tim and Paula could call their shots here.