Boom, Bust, or Meh: January 2020

Welcome to 2020’s first Boom, Bust, or Meh, ladies and gentlemen! This is where we focus on five films released during the month and have some fun predicting their success! As with every BBoM article, each film receives one of the following scores:

Boom: A film you’ll remember for the rest of the year.

Bust: A film you’ll regret watching.

Meh: A film that entertains during the moment, but has no lasting impact.

With that introduction, let’s crank open the month of January vault!

The Results

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

1. Jumanji: The Next Level – BOOM!

Rotten Tomatoes

Critic Score: 71%

Audience Score: 87%

Box Office

Production Budget: $125 million

Worldwide: $481 million

Juliana: The critics know it’s flawed, but have admired this fun sequel nonetheless. Plus it’s doing well at the box office. 

2. Cats – Bust

Rotten Tomatoes

Critic Score: 19%

Audience Score: 54%

Box Office

Production Budget: $95 million

Worldwide: $39 million

Juliana: While general audiences have warmed to this more than expected (who are you people!?), that won’t save this film’s horrible financial issues. 

3. Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker – Meh

Rotten Tomatoes

Critic Score: 54%

Audience Score: 86%

Box Office

Budget: $275 million

Worldwide: $761 million

Juliana: It appears the last film in this trilogy is a bad film, but a good Star Wars story that has satiated most fans. 

Our review!

4. Little Women – BOOM!

Rotten Tomatoes

Critic Score: 95%

Audience Score: 93%

Box Office

Budget: $40 million

Worldwide: $39 million

Juliana: A heartwarming tale that has come at just the right time–Christmas.

Our review!

5. Black Christmas – Bust

Rotten Tomatoes

Critic Score: 40%

Audience Score: 30%

Box Office

Budget: $5 million

Worldwide: $17 million

Juliana: If you’re looking for a Christmas flick that’s filled with wonderful female role models… then check out Little Women

Our review!

Each “Boom, Bust, or Meh” article will include each writer’s current record next to their name. My record is (84-63), and Tyler Hummel is at (66-50).

The Grudge

Rating: R

Release Date: January 3, 2020

Synopsis: A house is cursed by a vengeful ghost that dooms those who enter it with a violent death. (IMDB).

Director: Nicolas Pesce

Starring: Tara Westwood, David Lawrence Brown, Junko Bailey, John Cho

The Predictions

Juliana Purnell (84-63): Meh – I’m an absolute sucker for this franchise, as it greatly contributed to the J-Horror genre back when it was all the rage (which then started the weird obsession with adapting Asian horror movies). I am however very surprised to discover that another one has been made (an American production, no less) given that the genre had seemingly run its course, never managing to evolve into something more. As such, I don’t envision this movie achieving anything new or out of the ordinary. Instead it’ll operate like a rehash of the previous films, but now it’s for a new generation.

Tyler Hummel (66-50): Bust – Horror remake coming out in January? Like all January releases, Hollywood is just taking out its trash.

Bad Boys For Life

Rating: R is predicted.

Release Date: January 17, 2020

Synopsis: The Bad Boys Mike Lowrey and Marcus Burnett are back together for one last ride in the highly anticipated Bad Boys for Life. (IMDB).

Directors: Adil El Arbi, Bilall Fallah

Starring: Will Smith, Martin Lawrence, Vanessa Hudgens, Joe Pantoliano

The Predictions

Juliana Purnell (84-63): Meh – It looks fine, really. Decent. I’m sure it’ll be somewhat entertaining. Yet it’ll really need a fantastic set piece or tightly choreographed sequence to stand out from the multitude of other action films that grace the screen every month. With two directors that haven’t helmed a franchise as big as this, I personally predict they’ll keep things too safe and make an average film.

 Tyler Hummel (66-50): Meh – Not the worst looking action movie trailer ever, but there’s little reason to be hopeful. If the studio thought they had a latent hit they’d give it a February-April release date or release it in August. There’s little chance it’ll be on par with the two Michael Bay movies in the franchise.


Rating: PG

Release Date: January 17, 2020

Synopsis: A physician discovers that he can talk to animals. (IMDB).

Director: Stephen Gaghan

Starring: Robert Downey Jr., Tom Holland, Emma Thompson, Ralph Fiennes

The Predictions

Juliana Purnell (84-63): Bust – As an animal lover, I feel like I should have more of an affinity with any sort of Dr. Dolittle property. Yet they’ve always left me cold. Once the novelty of being able to speak to animals wears off, there’s usually nothing left to keep the story afloat. This version appears to be a big budget spectacle piece, though the trailer is relying very heavily on its stunning visuals, only dropping hints towards its saccharine-drenched narrative. I’m sure it’ll look gorgeous on the big screen, but it will leave much to be desired in other areas.

Tyler Hummel (66-50): Meh – Robert Downey Jr.’s first post-Avengers role takes place within a CGI adventure film with talking animals. Seeing the trailer for this really makes me wonder why he even wanted to leave the MCU for a role like this…

Weathering With You

Rating: PG-13

Release Date: January 17, 2020

Synopsis: A high-school boy who has run away to Tokyo befriends a girl who appears to be able to manipulate the weather. (IMDB).

Director: Makoto Shinkai

Starring: Kotaro Daigo, Nana Mori, Sei Hiraizumi

The Predictions

Juliana Purnell (84-63): BOOM! – I fee like I’m cheating because I’ve already seen this one. It has been living in cinemas for a number of months in Japan, whilst the United States is one of the last to enjoy its worldwide release. No, it’s not as good as Makoto Shinkai’s previous smash hit, Your Name, but it’s still a film that will greatly please its niche audience.

Tyler Hummel (66-50): BOOM! – A film following up the success of the ultra-successful and internationally acclaimed, Your Name? Color me interested!

The Gentlemen

Rating: R

Release Date: January 24, 2020

Synopsis: A British drug lord tries to sell off his highly profitable empire to a dynasty of Oklahoma billionaires. (IMDB).

Director: Guy Ritchie

Starring: Matthew McConaughey, Charlie Hunnam, Michelle Dockery, Colin Farrell, Hugh Grant

The Predictions

Juliana Purnell (84-63): Meh – The trailer has me worried, mainly because after watching it several times, I cannot discern what the actual plot is about. It seems to be a rather derivative story with a shiny veneer. Otherwise this film has a lot going for it: great cast, Guy Ritchie’s dialogue, and out of all of the January releases, this is the one I’ve seen advertized the most. Yet this isn’t always a recipe for success, and sometimes a movie can be too big for its boots. The Gentlemen will either be a return to form for Guy Ritchie, or a horrid incoherent mess. Unfortunately I’m getting the impression it’ll be the latter.

Tyler Hummel (66-50): Bust – I don’t like Guy Ritchie films…

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 your predictions? What film are you looking forward to most in January?

Juliana Purnell

After obtaining a Bachelor of Dramatic Arts, Juliana Purnell has enjoyed a successful acting career, working within theme parks, businesses, and on film sets. She has also taken on crew roles, both in film and theatrical productions. When Juliana isn't working, she enjoys watching movies of all genres at the cinema, writing, and playing with Samson, her pomeranian.

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