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This League Puts You in the Movie Mogul’s Seat

I hate Fantasy Football.

This Federalist article explains why, even if the tongue in cheek nature went over the heads of some overly serious responders. But thankfully none of my criticisms of fantasy sports apply to Fantasy Movie League.

The service turns cinematic profits into a prediction game.

How to Play Fantasy Movie League

Fantasy Movie League is similar in many ways to other fantasy sports leagues. Each player has $1,000 available every week to pick eight movies for their weekend lineup. Every weekend is, of course, the equivalent of game day for Hollywood.

That’s when most of us do our cinema going.

Each week in FML there are about 30 films available to choose from. The films in question are priced according to its projected earnings. Usually the most expensive film is whatever mainstream movie is opening that week.

The bigger the projected earnings, the more expensive the film will be to add to your lineup.

FAST FACT: Fantasy Movie League was co-founded by Matthew Berry, a former Hollywood scribe and ESPN Fantasy Football guru.

The winning strategy rarely involves shelling out your cash for the biggest earner. If a film in a major franchise like “Jurassic Park” or “Star Wars” is on the table it might cost a player almost half their money to pick that film once. That might sound smart until you realize you can pick the same film as many times as you can afford.

In other words it often isn’t advantageous to buy that week’s big movie more than once, if at all.

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Lets say the latest Marvel film is coming out this week. It might cost $350. So I could buy it twice for $700 but that means I only have $300 for my other six picks. So my remaining picks will all have to be very cheap and likely won’t make that much money.

It could be better to buy a film that is on its third week but has been generating consistently large amounts of money. That film, a horror film lets say, might cost $150. So if I bought it six times I would have $100 left to buy my last two films. And that means I get its earnings 6 times.

If it earns $50 million then I made $300 million (in terms of points) and I would beat the guy who shelled out for the Marvel film that earned $100 million that weekend.

FML has many advantages over fantasy sports. For one it’s simple and straightforward. You don’t have to pay attention to thousands of players and monitor everyone’s health on your roster.

Despite its simplicity there’s a lot of strategy that can go into setting your film roster. You could do in-depth research and try to predict based upon what kind of weekend is coming up (holiday weekends are often big) or you can just casually pick 8 films that seem like they’re gonna do well to you. Each week is like a new league so you don’t have to worry about the long term.

Another big advantage?

FML runs all year long because Hollywood doesn’t operate in seasons. New films are always coming out. And because setting your roster or lineup isn’t dependent on a particular group of athletes, if you choose to start your own league it isn’t limited to a certain amount of players. You can add as many as you want.

This probably won’t appeal to die hard Fantasy Sports fans. There isn’t that head to head competitive vibe. Its much more casual. But that lightness will be a benefit to most people. It’s free and easy to join up to start competing immediately.

If you’ve a cinephile (or dream of running your own studio) it’s worth checking out.

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