Boom, Bust, or Meh – January 2023

Welcome to 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 from each participating GUG film critic:

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.

At the end of each month, each of the films will be arbitrarily judged and the critic’s ongoing tally will be updated (the score is written beside their name: correct predictions – incorrect predictions).

Let’s see what January has to offer after we look at last month’s results!

The Results

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

1. Violent Night – Meh

Rotten Tomatoes Critic Score: 73%

Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score: 88%

IMDB Score: 6.8

Box Office

Production Budget: $20 million

Worldwide: $73 million

Violent Night came so close to being a BOOM, with some wishing it just went that extra bit further. But it still surprised many, quickly becoming a more adult-orientated Christmas movie fave.

2. Avatar: The Way of Water – BOOM!

Rotten Tomatoes Critic Score: 77%

Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score: 92%

IMDB Score: 7.9

Box Office

Production Budget: $350-460 million

Worldwide: $1.4 billion

Avatar: The Way of Water is famously stated to need $2 billion to turn a profit, so essentially it needs to be one of the highest grossing films of all time. It’s actually on track! It’s a cinematic marvel with many people wishing to make a return visit to theatres.

Our review!

3. Puss in Boots: The Last Wish – BOOM!

Rotten Tomatoes Critic Score: 95%

Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score: 93%

IMDB Score: 7.8

Box Office

Production Budget: $130 million

Worldwide: $135 million

In a surprising turn of events, Puss in Boots: The Last Wish delivers a highly entertaining time, with banter between Antonio Banderas and Salma Hayek being cinematic gold.

4. Whitney Houston: I Wanna Dance With Somebody – Meh

Rotten Tomatoes Critic Score: 43%

Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score: 92%

IMDB Score: 6.9

Box Office

Production Budget: $45 million

Worldwide: $28 million

Critics found this biopic of Whitney Houston’s life to be too formulaic, though fans still enjoyed the musical aspects of the film.

5. Babylon – Bust

Rotten Tomatoes Critic Score: 55%

Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score: 49%

IMDB Score: 7.4

Box Office

Budget: $78-80 million

Worldwide: $10 million

Many found Babylon to be all style and no substance, with three hours of showcasing grandiose attitudes but not clarifying what exactly it was trying to say about such excess.

New Releases

Each “Boom, Bust, or Meh” article will include each writer’s current record next to their name. My record is (117-98), and Tyler Hummel’s is (92-82).

Warning: This is a horror film and the trailer contains scary imagery and bodily harm.


Rating: PG-13

Release Date: January 6, 2023

Synopsis: A robotics engineer at a toy company builds a life-like doll that begins to take on a life of its own. (IMDB)

Director: Gerard Johnstone

Starring: Allison Williams, Violet McGraw, Jenna Davis

The Predictions

Juliana Purnell (117-98): Meh – Tough call. I’ve seen M3GAN advertised fairly heavily, meaning the studio has some confidence in this horror flick. James Wan is also attached to the project, though in the role of producer and he helped to create the story (Akela Cooper is credited for writing the screenplay, and this duo worked together previously on the bonkers-yet-wonderful Malignant). However, at the helm is a relatively new director, Gerard Johnstone, so there’s a wildcard element when it comes to this film’s potential quality. The trailer shows a fantastic escalation of events, though the movie’s success will hinge on its ending, and I think it’ll need something really special for it to score high enough to be considered a BOOM. I predict it’ll be popular amongst horror fans, but won’t impress the general masses.

Warning: This is a R-rated hostage movie and contains images of people dying from headshots.


Rating: R

Release Date: January 13, 2023

Synopsis: A pilot finds himself caught in a war zone after he’s forced to land his commercial aircraft during a terrible storm. (IMDB)

Director: Jean-François Richet

Starring: Gerard Butler, Mike Colter, Yoson An

The Predictions

Juliana Purnell (117-98): Meh – Plane looks like your standard Gerard Butler action flick. It’ll entertain and serve its purpose. The trailer’s giving just about the entire movie away; it’s trying to sell the movie just that little bit too hard. So I’m definitely not expecting some phenomenal filmmaking here. But I’m sure good times will be had.

The Devil Conspiracy

Rating: R

Release Date: January 13, 2023

Synopsis: A cult steals the Shroud of Turin for wicked purposes. (IMDB)

Director: Nathan Frankowski

Starring: Alice Orr-Ewing, Joe Doyle, Eveline Hall

The Predictions

Juliana Purnell (117-98): Meh – The Devil Conspiracy looks like it’s going to deliver that epic Lucifer verses Michael fight that was teased but never paid off in the Supernatural TV series. There’s a market for this, though angel flicks typically don’t do too well. But it if pulls it off, then it will be one of a few. I’m not sure how I feel about what is essentially Bible fanfiction, but I’m happy to see a return of some aspect of Christian lore back on the big screen (Left Behind: Rise of the Anti-Christ also comes out this month). A film from the Czech Republic, I have a feeling this will find more success in overseas markets than in the United States. The film has potential, though I think general audiences might find it too serious for its own good.

Warning: This trailer contains images from a sex scene.

Alice, Darling

Rating: R

Release Date: January 20, 2023

Synopsis: A young woman trapped in an abusive relationship becomes the unwitting participant in an intervention staged by her two closest friends. (IMDB)

Director: Mary Nighy

Starring: Anna Kendrick, Kaniehtiio Horn, Charlie Carrick

The Predictions

Juliana Purnell (117-98): BOOM! – On the surface, Alice, Darling doesn’t seem anything special, but a quick read through the comments on the trailer reveals there are a lot of women that are finding this tale hitting a little too close to home. There’s starting to be a surge of films that are depicting the harrowing experience of being in an abusive relationship, though they must be careful in not crossing that Woke line—irritatingly preachy, self-righteous, and overly simplistic in its portrayal of serious issues. Women Talking also comes out this month, and while it’s also tackling similar issues to Alice, Darling, it does seem to be spiralling closer to being Woke. If Alice, Darling’s screenplay manages to stay grounded and honest, then it could easily end up being the go-to film psychologists refer to for its depiction of toxic relationships.


Rating: PG-13

Release Date: January 20, 2023

Synopsis: Under Wraps. (IMDB)

Directors: Nicholas D. Johnson, Will Merrick

Starring: Nia Long, Amy Landecker, Storm Reid

The Predictions

Juliana Purnell (117-98): Meh – Tricky to predict. Searching was a breakout hit, cleverly using the tired found footage format to spin an almost real-time search for a missing person, detailing a complex bond between a father and daughter in the process. From the same creators, Missing is essentially the same thing, making it a seemingly unrelated sequel with a few narrative beats changed up. Searching was popular because it was a fresh idea—can lightning hit twice here? It’ll depend on the ending; if the film broaches too many cliches (e.g. Columbian drug cartels) then it’ll be an entertaining but unmemorable movie. I think it’ll perform well, but considering we’ve literally seen this type of film before, I don’t think it’ll score as high.

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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