fall movies fantasy league

Fall Movies Fantasy League Week 9: America Enjoyed a Little Come Play This Weekend

Come Play — it’s not just a fetish anymore! Photo-Illustration: Vulture and Focus Features

In Vulture’s Fall Movies Fantasy League, contestants stake their pride, and the respect of their peers, on their ability to predict the tumultuous next few months of cinematic releases.

As commissioner of the Fall Movies Fantasy League, I have occasionally caught myself holding out, as Bonnie Tyler once sang of Kevin Bacon, for a hero. First it was Tenet. Then it was overseas grosses. Then it was dads. All have come up short. Tenet’s Labor Day release was the cinematic equivalent of a polar-bear plunge — I’m sure they had their reasons, but everyone else took one look and thought, Hell, no. Europe, which once collectively spent $45 million seeing After We Collided in theaters, now has its own mess to deal with. And dads? Well, there are only so many of them. No one in Hollywood sets out to make “one quadrant” movies.

Which is to say, there will be no cartwheels in this column over the fact that the horror movie Come Play — which stars Gillian Jacobs as a mom trying to save her autistic son from a monster that shows up only on phone screens — pulled in $3.1 million to top the box-office charts over Halloween weekend. Horror movies open at No. 1 on Halloween. It’s what they do. Still, if you’re looking for good news, consider this: With a reported $9 million budget, Come Play could be the rare movie released this fall not to be a total disaster financially. And for those of you interested in the drama of the Vulture staff league, you may enjoy the fact that the film’s 11-point haul catapulted my editor, Katy Brooks, into first place, knocking off the juggernaut of Rachel Handler, who led the league for more than a month.

Otherwise, it was a pretty quiet week in FMFL-ville. (I wonder why!) The only other releases were two Netflix titles: the Emma Roberts rom-com Holidate, a piece of disposable fluff I’m sure the streamer will soon announce was watched by 148 million people, and the British Sudanese-refugee horror flick His House, which our critic Bilge Ebiri called “terrifying on just about every level.” He wasn’t alone; the film sports an impressive 100 percent fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes — a well-earned bonus for the owners who took a chance on the little social thriller.

On the same subject, I have a piece of unexpected bad news for those who drafted The Empty Man. When the film debuted last week, it didn’t have enough reviews for an official Rotten Tomatoes score. But now the critics have spoken, and they’ve given the James Badge Dale supernatural thriller a scathing 17 percent fresh rating, which means The Empty Man joins After We Collided, The War With Grandpa, and Ava in the Antebellum Memorial Wing of the Fall Movies Fantasy League Hall of Shame. My apologies to James Badge Dale!

Here’s the update for the staff league:

Week 9 Results

Katy Brooks
Come Play: October wide release (8) + Hitting scheduled release date (1) + Topping box-office charts (2) = 11 points

Total: 11 points

Hunter Harris
Holidate: October streaming release (4) + Hitting scheduled release date (1) = 5 points

Total: 5 points

Alison Willmore
Come Play: October wide release (8) + Hitting scheduled release date (1) + Topping box-office charts (2) = 11 points

Total: 11 points

Neil Janowitz
Come Play: October wide release (8) + Hitting scheduled release date (1) + Topping box-office charts (2) = 11 points

Total: 11 points

Current Standings

1. Katy Brooks: 59 points (8 movies)
2. Rachel Handler: 58 points (8 movies)
3. Neil Janowitz: 43 points (7 movies)
4. Hunter Harris: 37 points (7 movies)
5. Tolly Wright: 32 points (6 movies)
6. Jen Chaney: 30 points (6 movies)
7. Chris Murphy: 26 points (6 movies)
t-8. Justin Curto: 25 points (6 movies); Alison Willmore: 25 points (7 movies)
10. Jackson McHenry: 17 points (4 movies)

Staff fantasy-league teams are listed in full here.

Vulture’s Fall Movies Fantasy League is open to all readers. Enter and you can look forward to an exciting autumn of endlessly refreshing Box Office Mojo and Rotten Tomatoes and quibbling over the precise definition of “wide release.”

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America Enjoyed a Little Come Play This Weekend