Do you fancy yourself an amateur movie mogul? Do you feel like the Oracle of Delphi when it comes to forecasting weekend box office totals? Do you like low-stakes yet highly addictive competitive games to play with your friends and Internet strangers? Then have we got something for you. For the month of July, Nerdist will be teaming up with Fantasy Movie League for a rousing, month-long competition that will see us do righteous battle in the Thunderdome that is programming an imaginary movie theater. That’s right, it’s you versus us versus you versus the rest of the Nerdist audience — and you could win some fabulous prizes, to boot.
All you have to do to get started is click right here.
What Is It?
In Fantasy Movie League, you run a hypothetical movie theater. You have 8 screens that you have to program every week and a budget of $1,000 with which to program those screens. Movies can be purchased and assigned to the screens in your theater for a price that changes from film to film and from week to week. How much money those films make in real life — at the box office — is how much money they make for your fantasy movie theater. Whoever has the most money at the end of the contest wins. It’s that simple.
One of the fine folks behind the Fantasy Movie League is none other than Matthew Berry, ESPN’s Senior Fantasy Sports Analyst and, by all accounts, a titan in the world of online fantasy sports. So why trust a fantasy sports fanatic about the inner workings of Hollywood? For starters, it’s a business that Berry knows intimately.
“I have had a weird career. I was a Hollywood screenwriter for about fifteen years before transitioning to sports,” Berry explained. “I’m actually a Razzie nominee for my work as the co-writer of Crocodile Dundee in Los Angeles, thank you very much.”
But Fantasy Movie League isn’t just some flash in the pan idea; it’s a game that Berry and his pals have been honing and fine-tuning for more than ten years.
“I’ve been playing some version of fantasy movies with my friends for over a decade. I used to live in LA for a long time, so we did it, we enjoyed it, and we used to use an Excel spreadsheet. Every year more people would want to join, so eventually we said, ‘Let’s put this online!’ I wanted to come up with a way to make Fantasy Movies fun and easy to understand, but also with a bit of a challenge. The salary cap — or the budget, if you will — is what keeps it from being too easy,” Berry explained. “Because you have to keep it within the confines of that. You can’t just throw Captain America: Civil War on every screen because then it’s no fun.”
So what sort of strategy does Berry recommend? We asked him for his best protips to help you maximize your chances of winning.
“You still have to play other movies. There’s a real strategy that goes into figuring out what your perfect lineup is. Every week it resets, and you get $1,000 budget and new prices on the movies. My big hint to Nerdist readers is that you can use a movie on more than one screen. Sometimes people think you can only use each movie once, and that’s not true. The trick to winning is maximizing your screens. Obviously as long as you stay under the budget.”
For those of you looking to do some research before diving deep, Berry recommends looking no further than the Fantasy Movie League site. In addition to providing the tools to play in and run fantasy movie leagues of your own, the site has experts with backgrounds in entertainment and box office analysis who offer thoughtful commentary, answer audience questions, and provide tips and tricks to help you turn your virtual multiplex into the hottest ticket in town. And the experts aren’t the ones who are quick to give you the inside scoop — the Fantasy Movie League forums are chockablock with friendly, helpful users who want to discuss all things entertainment with you.
“We have a crazy active message board that is very nice,” Berry said. “It’s almost not on the Internet, you know what I mean? That’s how nice people are on this message board. They’re very welcoming to new members.”
Okay, okay, now that you know what you’re getting yourself in to, you should know who from Team Nerdist you’ll be playing against:
Rachel Heine, editor-in-chief
Dan Casey, senior editor
Alicia Lutes, managing editor
Kyle Anderson, associate editor
Michael Arbeiter, East Coast editor
Michelle Buchman, social media manager/Classic Films columnist
Now, the only person missing from this fantastical fantasy league is…you!
Okay, sure, but what will you win? I’m glad you asked! There will be prizes awarded to whomever has the highest score at the end of each week, at the end of the season, as well as a random prize given to one lucky competitor simply for signing up and playing with us for the month-long extravaganza.
Weekly Winner: a Nerdist T-shirt
Season High Score: $500 Fandango Gift Card
Season Second Highest Score: $300 Fandango Gift Card
Season Third Highest Score: $100 Fandango Gift Card
Season Random Ticket Winner: $50 Fandango Gift Card and $10 Nerdist Gift Card
Just think of all the free movies you could go see simply by signing up to play in our free-to-play Fantasy Movie League! Considering the awesome films coming your way this summer — both blockbuster and indie-wise — that should be a massive incentive to join up.
How to Sign Up
Signing up to play is simple. Head to http://fantasymovieleague.com/nerdist, make an account, join our league, and you’re good to go!
So there you have it, folks! We look forward to seeing you on the popcorn-and-peanut M&M-littered battlefield of the Fantasy Movie League.
Will you be signing up? What’s your team name? Who do you think will reign supreme? Let us know in the comments below.
Images: Fantasy Movie League