The Oscars are finally here, GUG fans! And welcome to the BBoM of March, where we focus on five films of the month and the predictions we have for them! As with every BBoM article, each film receives one of the following scores:
Boom: A film that stands out from the crowd to the extent that it deserves a little golden statuette or at least a nod.
Bust: A film that stands out from the crowd… for all the wrong reasons.
Meh: That film the studios don’t even bother entering into competitions, because they know there’s nothing special here, despite some decent returns at the box office.
With that introduction, let’s crank open the month of March vault!
Before we get to our film predictions, let us take a look at the outcome of our February predictions!
1. Black Panther – BOOM!
Critic Score: 97%
Audience Score: 79%
Production Budget: $200 million
Worldwide: $727 million
Juliana: Not just your typical superhero movie, critics have certainly taken a liking to the deeper themes this Marvel film explores. It’s also a boom at the box office.
2. The 15:17 to Paris – Bust
Critic Score: 26%
Audience Score: 44%
Production Budget: $30 million
Worldwide: $45 million
Juliana: Clint Eastwood took a risk by casting the real heroes in the film. It didn’t pay off. Instead, audiences have said they feel embarrassed for them; those men deserve better than this and to be honored in another way.
3. Peter Rabbit – Meh
Critic Score: 58%
Audience Score: 60%
Production Budget: $50 million
Worldwide: $75 million
Juliana: While no one on the GUG team has been game enough to spend money on this film yet, maybe we all have judged it too soon? Reviews are seemingly mixed. As expected, the purists hate it, but others have found it at least entertaining for its target demographic. It’s still not a great film, but it isn’t the disaster everyone expected. Meh.
4. Early Man – Meh
Critic Score: 81%
Audience Score: 57%
Production Budget: $50 million
Worldwide: $7 million
Juliana: Wowzers, these stats are everywhere! The critics loved it, audiences found it mediocre, but it seems those who actually saw it are few and far between, judging from those abysmal box office returns! To be fair, it was up against Black Panther, and it is still yet to release in a number of countries. But Lionsgate may have to rethink whether they want to continue doing cinematic releases for Aardman products in the future. Still, despite the horrible cash flow, it seems the movie is decent–so it’s a “meh” for us.
5. Annihilation – Meh
Critic Score: 86%
Audience Score: 66%
Production Budget: $40 million
Domestic: $12 million
Juliana: Despite decent reviews, it wasn’t enough for Paramount/Skydance. Getting cold feet, they have scaled things back and have negotiated distribution rights with Netflix, with the USA, Canada, and China now the only countries getting theatrical releases. While the studios know they don’t have a box office winner on their hands, critics seem to think it’s still worth a look. Meh.
Each “Boom, Bust, or Meh” article will include each writer’s current record next to their name. My current prediction record is (32-19), Sarah Bennett’s is (22-23), and Tyler Hummel’s is (4-6).
Release Date: March 9, 2018
Synopsis: After the disappearance of her scientist father, three peculiar beings send Meg, her brother, and her friend to space in order to find him. (IMDB)
Director: Ava DuVernay
Starring: Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Chris Pine, Bellamy Young, Oprah Winfrey, Storm Reid, Reese Witherspoon
Juliana Purnell (32-19): Meh – I must confess my complete and utter ignorance of this property. I’ve heard of A Wrinkle in Time before, but certainly not enough to drag me into a cinema. That said, it seems to have a strong fan following. A Disney film, it’s helmed by Oscar nominee Ava DuVernay and features a star-studded cast. It also has absolutely no competition for its intended demographic at the box office. So things are looking good for it… except judging from the trailer (and the fact Disney has placed a strict review embargo on the movie), I’m wondering if this will go the same way as Tomorrowland, Oz the Great and Powerful, and The BFG. That is, it’ll have its fans, but not much love from anyone else.
Sarah Bennett (22-23): BOOM! – I am one of many looking forward to this book’s adaptation by Jennifer Lee, the writer of Wreck-It-Ralph, Frozen, and Zootopia. Coupled with the well-known actors, this film will not only smash box office records but rekindle a new love for a sci-fi classic.
Tyler Hummel (4-6): BOOM! – Ava DuVernay’s Selma was one of the best films of 2014. Now she’s on the verge of a massive breakout into mainstream Hollywood success with Disney’s newest live-action film A Wrinkle in Time. It’s the first major Hollywood blockbuster with a budget of its size to yet be directed by a woman of color and DuVernay’s prior work suggests it may be quite excellent!
Release Date: March 16, 2018
Synopsis: Lara Croft, the fiercely independent daughter of a missing adventurer, must push herself beyond her limits when she finds herself on the island where her father disappeared. (IMDB)
Director: Roar Uthaug
Starring: Alicia Vikander, Hannah John-Kamen, Walton Goggins
Juliana Purnell (32-19): Meh – I grew up with the Tomb Raider games. Yes, the blocky, pixelated, endless stone-pushing 3D platformer. I adored it. My love for the franchise made me overlook the flaws of the original two films starring Angelina Jolie. Yet, setting aside my bias, and my desire for this to be a hit, let’s face it–it’s a movie adaptation of a game. This never ends well! I’m clinging to some hope, believing it’ll be better than most, but it’s not going to defy the odds and be a runaway success. It’ll do well at the box office, but not with critics.
Sarah Bennett (22-23): Meh – This version is too soon for one generation to forget the predecessor (Angelina Jolie). With updated death-defying stunts, CGI, and a boosted soundtrack, this’ll do alright in the box office and with those who expect more of the same.
Tyler Hummel (4-6): Meh – Despite the excellent casting of Alicia Vikander (Ex Machina) as its lead character there’s a lot of reason to be wary of this. Video game adaptions of late such as Warcraft and Assassins Creed have been subpar and this film looks to be taking this way more seriously than an Indiana Jones parody should ever be.
Release Date: March 23, 2018
Synopsis: Jake Pentecost, son of Stacker Pentecost, reunites with Mako Mori to lead a new generation of Jaeger pilots, including rival Lambert and 15-year-old hacker Amara, against a new Kaiju threat. (IMDB)
Director: Steven S. DeKnight
Starring: John Boyega, Scott Eastwood, Adria Arjona, Tian Jing
Juliana Purnell (32-19): Bust – I feel like I’m one of the few who actually loved the original film. Sure, it was big, dumb, and loud, but I enjoyed watching giant robots battle monsters. It did well in setting up the film’s world, and the story had international appeal. However, I got the sense that while it was popular upon release, its shine wore off quickly, and soon audiences looked back upon the property and shook their heads in shame, wondering what they saw in it in the first place.
Uprising doesn’t look like it has the power to regain what little momentum the original had. Visionary director, Guillermo del Toro, is only producing this time around, while most of the cast from the first film won’t be returning. Instead, the movie is filled with fresh teenage talent, causing the trailer to reek like Power Rangers. It’ll do well with adolescent boys, but will flounder with critics. However, this film has scored a China release–I expect this will be another Warcraft story, where it’s a critical bomb but will find wild success at the box office thanks to strong support in Asia. But still it won’t be a film up for recommendation. Bust.
Sarah Bennett (22-23): Meh – I do believe this film will get a boost because of John Boyega’s appearance, but it still will fall much short of Transformers level.
Tyler Hummel (4-6): Meh – Pacific Rim is one of my favorite films ever and my favorite thing Guillermo Del Toro has ever directed (objectively Pan’s Labyrinth is better but I like this more). I’ve been waiting half a decade since the summer after I graduated high school for a proper sequel. While the trailers haven’t offered us proof that the film is going to be great yet there are small kernels of fascination in the edges of those trailers that make me think there’s a good chance for this film to be pretty good. Still, it’s looking rough.
Rating: PG is predicted.
Release Date: March 23, 2018
Synopsis: Garden gnomes, Gnomeo & Juliet, recruit renowned detective Sherlock Gnomes to investigate the mysterious disappearance of other garden ornaments. (IMDB)
Director: John Stevenson
Starring: Emily Blunt, Johnny Depp, James McAvoy
Juliana Purnell (32-19): Bust – Gnomeo & Juliet wasn’t a hit, but it was a piece of innocent fun that had the added benefit of introducing children to Shakespeare. No longer inspired by the famous playwright, Sherlock Gnomes won’t fill that same niche. It could have still been a cute idea, but having a trailer filled with potty jokes is not a good look and doesn’t impress critics or parents. With a plot that screams banality, I can’t imagine this film will go down well with those who are actually buying the tickets.
Sarah Bennett (22-23): Bust – Though the trailer looks funny, I’m not sure many will translate that into box office sales. And those that do, may find the “potty” humor a bit over the top. Although the voice talent alone might be worth it.
Tyler Hummel (4-6): Bust – Am I supposed to be excited about this?
Release Date: March 2, 2018
Synopsis: A family man becomes a vigilante killing machine when his family is violently attacked by robbers. (IMDB)
Director: Eli Roth
Starring: Bruce Willis, Vincent D’Onofrio, Elisabeth Shue
Juliana Purnell (32-19): Meh – Death Wish is a reimagining of the 1974 film of the same name. Bruce Willis is now in Charles Bronson’s role as a vigilante that relentlessly hunts down and shoots criminals in his local hood. I have a feeling, regardless of the quality of this film, that this will fall victim to bad timing. Black Panther is still dominating the box office, while Death Wish is going directly up against the other R-rated film on offer, Red Sparrow, which will steal the rest of the already-limited audience. I’m not American, so my ear is definitely not close to the ground, but I get the sense that it’s also not the best political climate to release a film like this, although the negative press regarding this film’s view on gun violence may spur strong support from those on the other side. Hard to predict, but I’m going to play it safe for now and say “meh”.
Sarah Bennett (22-23): Meh – Bruce Willis is a vigilante? Although I believe this will do well regarding the box office numbers, it seems like something we’ve seen from Willis before. Rinse, recycle and repeat.
Tyler Hummel (4-6): Meh – Charles Bronson was one of the greatest action stars ever. He was one of the few kinds of celebrities where the circumstances of his life were cool enough to rival those of his filmic persona. While sadly he was forced to leave us for the hereafter in 2003 his legacy of action films lives on. Eli Roth’s remake of the first film of his most famous franchise is looming. While I’m super excited to see an old-school action movie in theaters the safe bet is that it won’t work out entirely well.
Thanks for reading this month’s edition! Let us know your predictions in the comment section. Join us next month for another edition of “Boom, Bust, or Meh!”