FlickPicks: Like Fantasy Football, For Movie Geeks

There are divergent views on the reporting and discussion of box office numbers, which is a fairly recent addition to the daily dialogue around the movie business. Many see box office as a crucial part of writing about movies, and if you're reporting on the business, that's very true. Others (including me) see box office returns as a concern best left to distributors and exhibitors, and a distraction from really discussing film as a medium.

But if you have to talk box office, the best way might be to put it in the context of a game. So here's FlickPicks, which basically operates like a fantasy football or baseball league, with players cast as theatre owners looking to maximize their returns.

Cinematical pointed us to the online game. The basics of FlickPicks are easy to grasp: you own a movie theatre, and between Monday and Thursday you've got time to figure out what you'll program for the weekend, and how many screens each film gets. On Friday your selections are set for the weekend, and as numbers come in the site tallies your returns and assigns a point score to your theatre's performance. You'll start with seven screens to play with, but can add more as you earn points.

Those points are your theatre's lifeblood — in addition to more screens, they allow you to program a film on more than one screen at a time, and they'll affect your ranking in whatever division you happen to be in. You can challenge other theatres to a one on one match to make a few extra points each week.

What I like about this system is the same thing that Cinematical points out: the game theoretically can point out how difficult the exhibition biz can be. Knowing a few theatre owners and programmers I've seen many instances where there's a conflict between what you might like to program and playing what will be certain to pay the bills.

Check out a little how-to video FAQ below, then head to FlickPicks and start programming.