Boom, Bust, or Meh – July 2017

What up, GUG fans? Hope you are staying cool this summer because we have some cool films for you (terrible pun, I know). Welcome to this month’s edition of Boom, Bust, or Meh, 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 near priceless film that you will highly recommend to see.
Bust: A box office blow that you will highly recommend to avoid.
Meh: A somewhat good film that you will recommend to see once and avoid after.
With that introduction, let’s crank open the month of July vault!

The Results

Before we get to our film predictions, let us take a look at the outcome of our Jun predictions!

1. Wonder Woman – BOOM!

Rotten Tomatoes
Critic Score: 92%
Audience Score: 91%
Box Office
Production Budget: $149 million
Worldwide: $660 million
Trey: Honestly, it is the best superhero origin film I have ever seen.
Our Review!

2. The Mummy – Bust.

Rotten Tomatoes
Critic Score: 15%
Audience Score: 42%
Box Office
Production Budget: $125 million
Worldwide: $345 million
Our Review!
Trey: Not the best start to the Dark Universe.

3. Transformers: The Last Knight – Bust. 

Rotten Tomatoes
Critic Score: 15%
Audience Score: 54%
Box Office
Budget: $217 million
Worldwide: $278 million
Trey: Is this really a surprise?
Our Review!

4. Cars 3 – Meh…

Rotten Tomatoes
Critic Score: 67%
Audience Score: 76%
Box Office
Budget: $175 million
Worldwide: $147 million
Trey: It definitely makes up for Cars 2, I’ll tell you that. Can we get an Incredibles 2 now?
Our Review!

5. All Eyez on Me – Bust.

Rotten Tomatoes
Critic Score: 19%
Audience Score: 63%
Box Office Production
Budget: $40 million
Domestic: $4 million
Trey: I liked the concept, but it just didn’t hold through the film.
Our Review!
Each “Boom, Bust, or Meh” article will include each writer’s current record next to their name. My current prediction record is (57-34), Juliana is (7-4), Sarah is (5-5), and Josh Odom at (2-3).

Spider-Man: Homecoming

Rating: PG-13
Release Date: July 7, 2017
Synopsis: Thrilled by his experience with the Avengers, Peter returns home, where he lives with his Aunt May, under the watchful eye of his new mentor Tony Stark. Peter tries to fall back into his normal daily routine–distracted by thoughts of proving himself to be more than just your friendly neighborhood Spider-Man–but when the Vulture emerges as a new villain, everything that Peter holds most important will be threatened (Rotten Tomatoes).
Director: Jon Watts
Starring: Tom Holland, Robert Downey Jr., Michael Keaton, Zendaya, Donald Glover, Tony Revolori, Marisa Tomei

The Prediction

Trey Soto (57-34): BOOM! – Spider-Man was my first comic book story I read as a kid, and he was my ultimate favorite hero for many years. Despite this, I’m not gonna lie and say that I am excited for the new Spider-Man film, because I’m not. When you grow up seeing the same Peter Parker over and over again in the 2000’s, a new one does not come off that interesting. That being said, as a whole, the film will do significantly well. So far, early screenings and reviews have been highly positive which is something that cannot be ignored. Here’s to hoping that this Spider-Man will stay!
Josh Odom (2-3): BOOM! – Of course this movie is going to make gobs and gobs of money. It’s part of the ginormous cash cow that is the MCU. Deeper than just the money though, this movie is a shot at redemption for Spider-Man on the silver screen. Sam Raimi ultimately killed his franchise with the cringe-inducing travesty that is Spider-Man 3 while Marc Webb made a valiant, although fruitless, attempt at a reboot. This time around, instead of starting a whole new franchise AGAIN, Spider-Man is thrust into the middle of the action, already having fought with the current incarnation of the Avengers. Jon Watts is a mostly unknown director, but had recent sleeper hits in Clown and Cop Car so I have hope. Early audience reactions have been full of praise so I believe that this will finally be the Spider-Man movie we deserve.
Juliana Purnell (7-4): BOOM – The vast majority of fans know about the problems surrounding the rights to this iconic superhero. After Sony controversially rebooted the franchise with two sub-standard films, fans only became keener to see him return and interact with the other characters in Marvel’s cinematic universe. While Tom Holland’s version of the character has already made an appearance in Captain America: Civil War, it hasn’t dampened the excitement for seeing Spider-Man in his very own Marvel movie (distributed by Sony, naturally). Spider-Man: Homecoming appears to be more lighthearted than Spidey’s previous outings, with Peter Parker dealing not only with his newfound identity as an Avenger, but also with navigating the minefield that is high school. With a demographic that reaches out to both old followers and new, Spider-Man: Homecoming will be the must-see film for July.
Sarah Bennett (5-5): BOOM! – Baby, nerdy Spider-man? Sign me up. Looks like the powers that be are injecting the latest version of Peter Parker with some overload-cute-geekiness, along with a dose of tongue-in-cheek humor. The box office will bow in awe to the newcomer joining Iron Man on screen. Even though we’ve had Tobey McGuire and Andrew Garfield, who were fine in their own movies, watching Tom Holland try to fit in with the big boys will be a good flick. Writers have learned from the past and leaped forward.

War on the Planet of the Apes

Rating: PG-13
Release Date: July 14, 2017
Synopsis: In War for the Planet of the Apes, the third chapter of the critically acclaimed blockbuster franchise, Caesar and his apes are forced into a deadly conflict with an army of humans led by a ruthless Colonel. After the apes suffer unimaginable losses, Caesar wrestles with his darker instincts and begins his own mythic quest to avenge his kind. As the journey finally brings them face to face, Caesar and the Colonel are pitted against each other in an epic battle that will determine the fate of both their species and the future of the planet (Rotten Tomatoes).
Director: Matt Reeves
Starring: Andy Serkis, Woody Harrelson, Karin Konoval, Terry Notary, Amiah Miller, Steve Zahn

The Prediction

 Trey (57-34): BOOM! – What I have greatly enjoyed about the Planet of the Apes franchise is the fact that they take their time on developing each sequel. It has been three years since Dawn of the Planet of the Apes (2014) and six years since Rise of the Planet of the Apes (2011). The writing constantly improves, the actors are chosen well, and the directing is well paced, and the CGI is absolutely priceless when it comes to depicting the Apes. With Director Matt Reeves returning to the series along with the writers, I can honestly say that I have full confidence in this film.
Josh Odom (2-3): BOOM! – I like to think of this as the little franchise that could. When Rise of the Planet of the Apes came out, no one knew what to expect. Prior to Rise, the last time we saw a Planet of the Apes movie, Mark Wahlberg was kissing a monkey. Somehow though, in big part thanks to Andy Serkis’ amazing motion capture, it was a hit. It was a big enough hit to launch its own franchise! Its sequel, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, was also very successful, but still under a lot of people’s radars. Well I think this finally changes with the series’ most recent iteration. With boosted marketing and a now loyal fan base, I believe this movie will be a huge hit and may even pass the $1 Billion mark globally.
Juliana Purnell (7-4): BOOM! – Im hesitant to label another film as a boom, mainly because 2017 has been unusually flooded with summer blockbusters, with the split focus causing box office performances to drop. This new direction of the Planet of the Apes franchise has been refreshing, with lovely financial returns worldwide along with critical acclaim. Yet despite its success on paper, it still manages to dodge a lot of hype, unlike films revolving around comic book figures. Like a prairie dog, it burrows underground and is mostly forgotten, until it pops its head back up.
So it’s a question as to whether War For the Planet of the Apes will be lost in the shuffle. I don’t believe so. It’s the third in what is shaping up to be a magnificent trilogy, with the action and story arcs reaching their climax. Whispers from the few people who have seen it have claimed that it’s fantastic, and any positive word of mouth will only assist in convincing people to part with their money to see this one. Snatching the audiences who saw Spider-Man: Homecoming early, while dragging in the older generation (who may be fond of the decades-old franchise) a solid week before Dunkirk, I believe there is enough room in the schedule for another Hollywood success story.
Sarah Bennett (5-5): Bust. – Regurgitated storyline. Undertones of political correctness worked in. New monkeys. Different humans. But in the end, it’ll feel the same. While the box office may respond, count me out.

Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets

Rating: PG-13
Release: July 21, 2017
Synopsis: In the 28th century, Valerian and Laureline are a team of special operatives charged with maintaining order throughout the human territories. Under assignment from the Minister of Defense, the two embark on a mission to the astonishing city of Alpha–an ever-expanding metropolis where species from all over the universe have converged over centuries to share knowledge, intelligence, and cultures with each other (Rotten Tomatoes).
Director: Luc Besson
Starring: Dane Dehaan, Cara Delevingne, Clive Owen, Rihana, Etha Hawke, John Goodman

The Predictions

Trey Soto (57-34): Meh… – I’ll be honest, I’m actually interested in this film. I guess you could say it is the sci-fi adventure nerd inside me along with a splash of graphic novel adaption. While it does seem entertaining, there is a lot going into this movie, production and budget-wise due to the high amount of CGI needed. My concern is that it might end up like the John Connor film where the budget was high and the film flopped big time. Of course, both films are significantly different that being said, it does come off as a worry for me. The cast seems great along with the plot, therefore, I am meeting halfway with a “Meh…” prediction.
Josh Odom (2-3): Meh… – I think this movie will be great. Just like The Fifth Element and Lucy, people will be talking about this movie years from now as a sci-fi classic. Having said that, I don’t think it will be well-received by audiences upon initial release. Who is this movie for? Luc Besson fans will see it, but most mainstream moviegoers don’t know who he is. The movie is based on a French comic book that has run for 43 years so maybe it will make all of its money overseas. The director and material are too niche and won’t appeal to the average everyday movie goer.
Juliana Purnell (7-4): Bust. – I really wish I could rate this as a boom. I love companies taking a risk on new franchises, particularly in the sci-fi fantasy genre, as Marvel and DC need some opposition. Based off the landmark French comic, Valerian and Laureline, this film adaptation already has a fanbase albeit the European market. It is also directed by Luc Besson, and the movie marks his return to the space opera genre since The Fifth Element, made twenty years ago. So the project has garnered some critical buzz, though the question is whether mainstream audiences will care?
With the summer schedule so bloated with blockbusters, I fear Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets might travel down the same doomed path as John Carter and, more recently, King Arthur: Legend of the Sword. These films suffered more from bad luck and bad timing as opposed to being terrible, and I can foresee Valerian merely being overlooked. Not getting a release in China also does not bode well for its bottom dollar. With little appeal to mainstream audiences and a poor release date in regards to competition, the success of this film lies solely in the hands of the critics. It will need exceptional reviews to bolster enough positive word of mouth, though opening weekend will still be sluggish. Personally I’m not optimistic enough to predict that will happen.
Sarah Bennett (5-5): Meh… – There were a lot of big bucks poured into this movie, along with a high profile lead actress. But there is also a screenplay writer/director who has dazzled audiences with classics like The Fifth Element and The Professional. Not everything he touches is gold, though. I’m just not sold on the premise and hope the storyline will carry the film, rather than the special effects. Oh, Luc Besson…prove me wrong!

Dunkirk

Rating: PG-13
Release: July 21, 2017
Synopsis: Allied soldiers from Belgium, the British Empire, Canada, and France are surrounded by the German army and evacuated during a fierce battle in World War II (IMDb).
Director: Christopher Nolan
Starring: Tom Hardy, Mark Rylance, Kenneth Branagh, Cillian Murphy, Fionn Whitehead, Aneurin Barnard

The Prediction

Trey Soto (57-34): BOOM! – In the category of Directing, Christopher Nolan has delivered priceless films where none have flopped on major scales. Throughout his career, he has taken on new heights of genres, settings, adaptions, and so much more that all have proven to be significant in their own ways. With his take on the famous Dunkirk story of WWII, I can honestly say that my confidence is fully in him and the crew.  While this opinion may seem bias since I am a sucker for nonfiction WWII stories and Nolan’s films, this prediction comes from the heart.
Josh Odom (2-3): Meh… – In the recent past, Christopher Nolan releases have carried a sense of anticipation and excitement that few movie releases do. For some reason, currently unbeknownst to me, Dunkirk doesn’t seem to carry that same weight. Maybe people are burnt out after the over pretentious Interstellar. Maybe people are burnt out on war movies. Or maybe people don’t know what to make of Christopher Nolan making a war movie. From the man who has made movies ranging from superheroes to space/time travel to dreaming, maybe a war story seems kind of tame. At the end of the day, this will be a good to great movie. It boasts a strong cast and an emotional story that will surely do well with critics. Unfortunately, I can’t say the same for audiences.
Juliana Purnell (7-4): BOOM! – Christopher Nolan is one of the few directors in Hollywood that has the Midas touch. With a ridiculously strong filmography, I wouldn’t be surprised if producers simply just handed him piles of money and told him to just go make a movie, no questions asked. With Tom Hardy headlining Dunkirk, it’s almost unnecessary to utilize star power, as Christopher Nolan is a brand name in itself, one that is usually synonymous with high quality. Audiences have a whet appetite when it comes to war films, as shown by the bombardment of movies in the genre this year alone (Churchill, Their Finest, Wonder Woman, The Zookeeper’s Wife), so Dunkirk will fit in rather nicely.
What will make this movie a success is its appeal across multiple demographics; geeks will be lured into the cinema purely because Nolan helms it, while older audiences will relish the historical aspects of the story. People are craving something new–something that isn’t yet another comic book movie–but they don’t tend to take too many risks with their wallet. Though with Nolan’s previous film record, people will be willing to invest their time (and money) on this one.
Sarah Bennett (5-5): BOOM! – I’m a sucker for movies based on true stories, and war stories are even more of an investment. Christopher Nolan grabs the steering wheel as both the writer and director on this one. And from the past, when he’s in the driver’s seat, it’s a ride worth watching. Drop in one of my all-time favorite actor/director Kenneth Branagh and actor Tom Hardy, and I’ll forgive casting Harry Styles for now.

The Emoji Movie

Rating: PG
Release Date: July 28, 2017
Synopsis: This animated comedy takes place in Textopolis, a world inside a smartphone that’s inhabited by various emojis. There, an emoji named Gene is ashamed that he has multiple facial expressions while his colleagues only have one each, and he embarks on a quest to be like everyone else (Rotten Tomatoes).
Director: Anthony Leondis
Starring: T.J. Miller, James Corden, Ilana Glazer, Jennifer Coolidge, Maya Rudolph, Patrick Stewart

The Predictions

Trey Soto (57-34): Bust. – If you combine Pixar’s Inside Out (2015) and Warner Brothers’ The Lego Movie (2014) while mixing in poor scripting, writing, and concept, this is what you get. The movie that absolutely no one asked for is unfortunately coming to a theater near you! Just the announcement was horrible. A very small part of me was like, “Okay. let’s just wait for the trailer.”  As soon as I saw the trailer, anything that was positive about this films outcome died. Studios really got desperate with this one.
Josh Odom (2-3): BOOM! – It blows my mind that we live in a world where an Angry Birds movie already exists and a movie about Emojis is about to be released. Hollywood has smartly taken things that people use every day without even thinking and found a way to capitalize on them. Curiosity about how simple emotional icons could be featured in a full-length will send people of all ages to the theater. From the previews I have seen, it does look funny and the animation looks incredible. It also boasts an incredible voice cast with T.J. Miller, Maya Rudolph, Anna Faris, James Corden, Patrick Stewart, and many more. This movie will end up being another hit based on something that us millennials have made popular. Go us.
Juliana Purnell (7-4): Meh… – Yes, part of me is predicting a ‘meh’ for this one, simply because the film is about a meh! But in all seriousness, while adults around the world have cringed at the premise and wondered whether it’s possible for Hollywood to scrape even more from the bottom of the barrel, I’m not convinced this will be a bust. There’s only so many times parents can take their kids to see Cars 3 and Despicable Me 3 these holidays and still maintain their sanity.
Anyone who has worked at a cinema will know they’re used like two-hour day-care facilities, with parents watching whatever it takes to keep the kids entertained. Judging from the (very revealing) trailer, The Emoji Movie is playing it safe with its very familiar storyline about a misfit who wants to be accepted. Critics will find it bland, though it will still make back its budget, even if it may have to rely on international audiences to do so. Meh.
Sarah Bennett (5-5): Bust. – A movie about things happening inside that we can’t see? I am pretty sure we’ve seen something like this before…like Inside Out. Sure the characters may be different and the plot altered, but I think the average viewer will not be watching for plot twists or gaping holes. In fact, I think the only ones who will actually enjoy this movie will have an age with a single digit and will leave their trash on the theater floor. But Patrick Stewart as the Poop emoji voice?! “Engage” is a whole new meaning.

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!”

Are you looking forward to any of these films? What are you predictions? What film are you looking forward to most in July?

Trey Soto

Trey Soto holds a B.A. in Communication Studies from Biola University, emphasis in Interpersonal/Rhetorical Theory. He has been a Film Critic/Analysis for over a year at Geeks Under Grace and other websites such as Temple of Geek. In his spare time, he enjoys comic book literature, screenwriting, production assistant freelancing, photography, cosplay, and hosting his own film podcast T.V. Trey on Podbean and iTunes.

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