Wednesday, April 30, 2008


Since October of 2006, I've been participating in Fantasy Moguls. It's a site dedicated to playing a fantasy game based around movies, instead of sports. The rules of the game have changed quite a bit since I started playing, but it's always been a lot of fun to me. (I'm not sure why; it's probably because every round is an optimization problem with imperfect information.) It's actually pretty simple to play as's not as complex as fantasy football/basketball/baseball.

There are basically two types of games: Box Office and Ultimate. In both of these you start with $100 million and each film costs some amount of money to buy. You can have up to 8 films on your slate. For Box Office Moguls, you are concerned with one thing: total box office revenue. For Ultimate, you are concerned with 4 categories: total box office revenue, per theater average, weeks in the top 5, and IMDB score. (The last criteria means if you field less than eight films you get a '0' for any empty slot on your slate.)

One of the running jokes about this game is how I've managed to finish 2nd 4-5 times in leagues with my friends. We have people who have finished 1st multiple times but I can't seem to close out.

Finally, that streak ends as yours truly won both full-year and half-year leagues for Round 2 of the Ultimate Super Leagues. What are the Super Leagues you ask? They are public leagues started by rabid fans / columnists of the site as a way to play the game against the maximum number of people. Each round sees the bottom 10/20% cut from the league whereas the top 5% win immunity from elimination for the next round. (It looks like this immunity will come in handy as I am not looking too great in Round 3.)

I should also mention that Ultimate is my game, if it wasn't obvious from nearly being eliminated from Round 2 of the full year Box Office league!

For those of you who are curious, here is my winning slate, I used the same one in both leagues:

Hannah Montana/Miley Cyrus: Best of Both Worlds Concert TourJumperThe Bank JobDr. Seuss' Horton Hears a Who! Under the Same MoonDrillbit TaylorThe Flight of the Red BalloonThe Forbidden Kingdom

(Note that the poster for Under the Same Moon is incorrect.)

Here's an analysis of the slate:

Hannah Montana/Miley Cyrus: Best of Both Worlds Concert Tour($16) $65.22M 15 8 2.6
Jumper ($23) $79.17M 4 9 5.9
The Bank Job ($4) $29.21M 0 2 7.8
Dr. Seuss' Horton Hears a Who! ($31) $144.42M 7 16 7.6
Under the Same Moon ($3) $11.19M 7 0 7.7
Drillbit Taylor ($12) $29.78M 0 3 6.1
The Flight of the Red Balloon ($4) $127K 8 0 7.2
Forbidden Kingdom ($7) $21.4M 4 5 7.7
TOTAL $380.51M 45 43 52.6

I feel the major tech pick of this slate was Hannah Montana. At $16, not everyone had it but I believed in the power of Miley Cyrus and Disney. Yes, the IMDB is terrible but the TBO and PTA points more than make up for it. I also have three cheap picks with good IMDB (and PTA) to balance things out. Jumper and Horton gave me the TBO and Top5 points I needed. Forbidden Kingdom was also a good pick and helped out by debuting at #1 in the relatively weak month of April. Drillbit Taylor is quite the dud, not even reaching its projections but at the $12 level I don't know if Run Fat Boy Run, Married Life, or two weeks of Where in the World is Osama Bin Laden? would be worth it instead. Judging from the performances of all these films, I think Married Life would be better simply for the IMDB rating.

So now the question becomes, can I do it again? And can I win a league among my friends? I guess we'll see....

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