Game Rules - How to Play!

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Game Rules - How to Play! Empty Game Rules - How to Play!

Post by Admin on Fri Jun 23, 2017 9:41 pm

The "Create a Year of Movies" game is a collaborative, online, forum-based box office simulation game spun off from the Box Office Theory forums. The players of the game, together, create a release schedule for an entire year of theatrically-released movies - then get to see how their creations fare at the box office and during awards season! You can do anything from testing the waters with a single project to building up your own "film studios," with franchises and cinematic universes that span across the in-game years!

The basics of the game are quite simple, with possibilities limited primarily by your own creativity. Each "year" of the game is broken up into four stages which will be detailed below.

Part One - Creating the Release Calendar

This is the part where you make and submit your own movies! We have a basic template for movie submissions that you can fill out, including optional sections to enhance your immersion. Here's the form and a guide on how to make your movies:

Insert Title Here
This one's a given. Pick a title for your movie! It's best to choose a title that's not already used by either a well-known real life movie or a prior movie in this game.

Release Date:
Pick a release date for your movie! You can choose from any of the dates listed on the Release Schedule. Strategically positioning the release date for your movie is an important factor in box office success! In general, if you want to be successful, try to avoid releasing your movie too close to the release of another, similar film - or a major blockbuster that's expected to dominate the box office. Also keep in mind real-world moviegoing patterns - for example, big blockbusters tend to draw better crowds in the summer (though this rule is increasingly less important), horror movies can see an uptick in October, and movies about holidays really ought to be released on or near said holidays. Also keep in mind the traditional 'dump periods' for movies: the gap between the summer blockbuster season and autumn/holiday awards season (from late August through September), the first weekend or two following Thanksgiving, and effectively the entire months of January and February are typically considered no-go zones for big, expensive movies unless their studios have more or less written them off and expect them to flop. You're of course free to release whatever you want during these periods, but your expectations for box office returns on expensive films should be lowered accordingly. There is a limit of six movies for each slot on the release schedule. However, it's probably smart to avoid a release slot that already has three or more releases, especially if they're expected to be big hits.

Note that for simplicity's sake, most dates on the calendar are restricted to Fridays. This makes it much easier to calculate opening weekend results for movies. Exceptions are made for certain holidays where movies are often released mid-week in the real world. In Year 1, these include Valentine's Day, Independence Day, the day before Thanksgiving, and Christmas.

The name of the studio releasing the movie. You're not allowed to use real studio names, but otherwise you can call your studio whatever you want as long as another player isn't already using the name. One player can have as many different studios as they want. For realism's sake, try to avoid grouping releases by the same studio too close together, especially if they're of the same genre.

The genre of your movie. You can be as basic or specific as you want; anything from "Action" to "Sci-fi Apocalyptic Calypso Musical Adventure" is fine.

The director, or directors, of your movie. You can use real world directors or made-up ones. As a general rule of thumb, a single director is limited to two films a year, so if there are already two films by the director you want on the release schedule you will need to pick a different director or wait until the next in-game year. Exceptions may be made, at forum staff's discretion, if the desired director released no films in the prior year.

OPTIONAL. The producer or producers of your film, or at least the ones you want to note specifically. You can use real world producers or your own fictional ones. If desired, you can specify more specialized roles like "executive producer," "consulting producer," "line producer" and the like. Producers are limited to five films a year.

OPTIONAL. The writer or writers of your film. You can use real ones or writers of your own creation. If desired, you can specify things like "story by" or "rewrite by" credits. If your movie is an adaptation of an existing work, you can credit the creator or creators of the original work here as well.

OPTIONAL. The cinematographer / director of photography for your film. Again, you can use real cinematographers or make up your own. Cinematographers are limited to three films a year.

OPTIONAL. The music score composer or composers for your film. Can be a real composer or made-up. Composers are limited to six films a year.

Theatre Count:
The number of theatres your movie will be released in for the domestic market, comprising the USA and Canada. The number should be realistic considering the type of film it is. For reference, Box Office Mojo presently defines any release under 600 theatres as a "limited release," releases from 600-1,999 theatres as "wide," releases from 2,000-2,499 theatres as "very wide," releases from 2,500-2,999 theatres as "saturated," and releases in 3,000+ theatres as "super saturated." In practice, very few significant releases play in any less than 2,000 theatres. Bigger-budget, blockbuster type films with wide audience appeal tend to get wider releases than lower-budget films or movies in more "niche" genres. The mean average theatre count for movies that opened in wide release in 2016 was 2,864. The widest release of 2016 was the animated family film The Secret Life of Pets, in 4,370 theatres.

The number of theatres your film plays in will affect box office performance, as if a movie is playing in an especially small number of theatres, fewer people will be able to go see it whether they want to or not. That said, a very wide release is no guarantee of box office success. Also note that, while limited releases are allowed, there are no "platform releases" in this game. A "platform release" is when a movie starts out in a limited number of theatres and then gradually expands into more locations in the following weeks. This is forbidden in CAYOM as films typically don't expand unless they do very well in their initial, smaller releases - and when you're planning your release, you won't know how it's going to do on its opening weekend.

Special Formats:
OPTIONAL. Any special release formats your movie will be released in. These include 3D, IMAX, IMAX 3D, 70mm film, Dolby Vision, 4DX, and if you want, premium sound formats like Auro, Dolby Atmos, or DTS:X. These may have a small effect on box office performance thanks to higher ticket prices for these showings and the "prestige" associated with them. There is no limit on the number of 3D, Dolby Vision, 70mm, 4DX, or special sound format releases each weekend, however, if there are multiple releases in these formats on the same weekend it will reduce any box office advantage they have thanks to the formats as they will need to compete for compatible auditoriums. IMAX releases are limited to one per week, whether in 2D or 3D.

Production Budget:
The money spent actually making your film. This does not include advertising and distribution costs, which for the purposes of this game are not used. You can budget your films at whatever you like, but try to keep it realistic considering the type of film it is. Trying to make a world-spanning sci-fi adventure for $5 million will result in a lackluster product that will probably fail at the box office. Likewise, a $100 million slasher flick would be a colossal waste of money. For reference, Wikipedia claims the most expensive film ever made, adjusted for inflation, is Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides with a cost of $403 million. Most movies, even major blockbusters, cost much less; only around fifty films have ever cost more than $200 million adjusted for inflation.

MPAA Rating:
The rating of your film based on its content - G for general audiences, which in practice makes a movie viewed as "strictly for little kids," PG for parental guidance suggested, which is where most family films fall, PG-13 for suggested viewing by those 13 or older, which is where the majority of major releases, especially blockbusters, wind up nowadays, R for restricted to those 17 and over unless accompanied by an adult, which is fairly common for raunchy comedies or especially violent action or horror films, or NC-17 for no one 17 or younger admitted period, reserved for pornographic or absurdly gory content. Keep in mind the genre and the audience you expect to show up when selecting a rating. Also note that most theatres will refuse to show NC-17 films, so they pretty much need to be limited releases. The widest NC-17 release ever was Showgirls in 1,388 theatres (which was highly abnormal; the second-widest only had 339 theatres).

Running Time:
The length of your film. Generally wide release feature films are at least 80 minutes long, though dips into the high to mid 70s are possible. The longest modern wide release American film was Malcolm X at 202 minutes (or 3 hours and 22 minutes). The length of a film may affect box office, as shorter films can have more showtimes scheduled per day.

Major Cast:
OPTIONAL. Any cast members you want to specifically mention, and their roles in the film. Real or made-up actors are fine. Actors are limited to six films a year, though there is leeway for small roles and cameos.

Plot Summary:
The most important part! A description of the plot of your film. It can be anything from a short blurb like you'd find on the back of a DVD box to a full-on treatment. There's no word minimum or limit. That said, more detailed film submissions are more likely to be awards contenders.

During Part I, you can also post in the Awards Consideration thread in order to suggest your movie be considered for Oscars. It's as simple as posting the movie you want to be considered and what awards you want it considered for. Movies not suggested for consideration by the players who made them are not eligible to be nominated.

If you want to make a movie based on a real-world franchise, book, TV show, video game, comic or the like, you will need to reserve the rights to that property in the Franchise Rights threadon a first-come, first-serve basis, though people coming in from the Box Office Theory forum version of the game get priority. People who have the rights to these franchises on BOT and have released or scheduled a film in that franchise in the past two game years at BOT will have those rights "reserved" for them during Year 1 here, provided no real world film in that franchise has come out in the past five years. If they do not join this forum and claim the rights before film submission for Year 1 ends, the rights will become available.

The person who has the rights to a franchise/property is the only user who can make movies based on it. If they wish, they can use the Franchise Rights Thread to transfer their rights to another player if they aren't going to use them anymore. If a player submits no films at all for two consecutive in-game years, they lose all their franchise rights and they will become available to claim again.

Franchise rights will only be available for properties that have not had a theatrical film released in the US & Canada based on them in real life for the past five years prior to the rights being requested. For example, as of now, you couldn't make a Ninja Turtles movie since one actually came out in 2016. If, for whatever reason, you wanted to give a BloodRayne movie another go, you'd be fine since the last one of those came out in 2011. This is done so that real-world box office results for that franchise have a minimal influence on the results in-game. It is acceptable to claim rights to a franchise that has a film scheduled for the future but has not had a release in the past five years. However, Part One of the game year in which the fictional film is released must conclude before the actual film comes out in real life. So it's probably not a good idea to claim rights to a franchise that has a film coming out in, say, a few months. Once you've cleared that hurdle and a film in your franchise has been included in the finished release schedule for a game year, and that game year has moved on to Part Two, no real-world events will affect your rights to the property.

Also note that while true stories are fair game, adaptations of specific tellings of said events require franchise rights. For example, anyone could make a movie about the idea of the infamous, allegedly-haunted house in Amityville, but to make a movie telling the same story as the actual book The Amityville Horror and its movie adaptations, you would need franchise rights to The Amityville Horror specifically.

Part Two - Predictions and Reviews

Once the release schedule has been reasonably filled, or a set deadline for film submissions has passed, Part One of the game year will end and Part Two will begin. During Part Two, the Movie Submission Thread and Awards Consideration Thread will be locked. The Box Office Prediction thread and the Movie Reviews subforum will be opened. Players will then have a set amount of time to predict the box office performance of the year's films as well as evaluate them critically.


Box office predictions are done in the Box Office Prediction thread. Simply make a post where you list however many submitted films from that year you wish, and predict, at a minimum, their final domestic theatrical gross. You can make predictions for as many or as few films as you like. If you want to, you can also predict the films' opening weekends and/or global final totals. Player predictions play a major role in the eventual box office performance of a film. However, they are not binding and surprise flops or breakout hits can happen. Please try to keep your predictions realistic. Researching similar real-world films and their box office performance can help you make informed predictions. You are allowed to make predictions for your own films.


Movie reviews are done in the Movie Reviews subforum. To review movies, you make your own personal review thread for the year. You can review as many or as few movies as you like, in as much or as little depth as you wish. Scoring systems are optional. It's highly recommended you make a list of your top 25 movies of the year, as this will form the basis for the Critical Consensus of the year. You are not allowed to review or rank your own movies.


At the end of Part Two of the game year, the reviews subforum and predictions thread will be locked, and the Critical Consensus for the year will be posted, based on the top 25 lists in players' review threads. Every movie that any one or more players included in their top 25 will be ranked here. The reviews and consensus for the movies will affect box office performance - primarily a film's "legs," or staying power. This is especially true of "serious" films like awards contenders and dramas. Niche genres like horror will be less affected.

Part Three - Box Office Results

After the end of Part Two, whoever is assigned to do the box office actuals for the year will gradually post box office results on a weekend-by-weekend basis, listing the top ten films on each weekend and what they made. Once this is done for the whole year, final box office tallies for the films' entire runs - both domestic and worldwide - will be posted. These numbers are generally not up for debate, but if you feel especially violated you can request a review by forum staff. There is no actual penalty for a movie of yours failing at the box office. However, for realism's sake, we do request that you not produce sequels to obvious box office flops.

Part Four - Awards

Part Four takes place over the course of three stages. In the first stage, players publicly nominate movies that were submitted in the Awards Consideration thread for Oscars by posting their nominations in the Awards nomination thread. Nominate five films in each category. The movies with the most player nominations in each category will be the official nominees! In the event that two or more movies have the same number of player nominations, but there are not enough official nomination slots for them all, a tie-breaker will be held in which users vote on which of the tied films should receive the nomination.

Once the official nominees are selected, voting for the award winners will take place via private message to the player (usually a staff member) who has been put in charge of counting votes and giving out awards that game year. You send the person a ranking of each nomination, putting your preferable choice as number one and your least preferable choice as number five. Based on the ranking average, the vote is then tallied.

Finally, after the time period allowed for voting has ended, the votes will be tallied and the results posted in the Awards Ceremony thread!


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