Boom, Bust, or Meh: July 2018

Welcome to the height of summer GUG fans! And welcome to the July BBoM, 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: The film is the epitome of what a summer blockbuster should be: rave reviews, great return on investment, and smiles all around.

Bust: A studio’s worst nightmare. Not only did they not make their money back, but no one liked it either.

Meh: A perfectly fine piece of entertainment, but not something that will be remembered this time next year.

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 June predictions!

1. Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom – Meh

Rotten Tomatoes

Critic Score: 51%

Audience Score: 60%

Box Office

Production Budget: $170 million

Worldwide: $795+ million

Juliana: This was a terrible sequel, though that certainly hasn’t slowed its cash flow!

Our review!

2. Incredibles 2 – BOOM!

Rotten Tomatoes

Critic Score: 94%

Audience Score: 87%

Box Office

Production Budget: $200 million

Worldwide: $540+ million

Juliana: This sequel was a hit with critics and audiences alike, with some even saying it superseded the original!

Our review!

3. Ocean’s 8 – Meh

Rotten Tomatoes

Critic Score: 67%

Audience Score: 47%

Box Office

Production Budget: $70 million

Worldwide: $185 million

Juliana: Many people found that this caper was lacking originality and tension. Its box office earnings have crawled to a halt overseas.

4. Adrift – Meh

Rotten Tomatoes

Critic Score: 71%

Audience Score: 70%

Box Office

Production Budget: $35 million

Worldwide: $31 million

Juliana: A serviceable but forgettable film… and judging from its pitiful performance at the box office, it seems that this movie was overlooked as well.

Our review! 

5. Hereditary – Meh

Rotten Tomatoes

Critic Score: 89%

Audience Score: 57%

Box Office

Production Budget: $10 million

Worldwide: $56 million

Juliana: Ouch, it hurts to label this one as a “meh” as opposed to a well-deserved BOOM! But I guess an artist is never appreciated in their own time? A ground-breaking film that is sadly misunderstood.

Our review!

Each “Boom, Bust, or Meh” article will include each writer’s current record next to their name. My current prediction record is (43-27) and Tyler Hummel’s is (19-10).

Ant-Man and the Wasp

Rating: PG-13

Release Date: July 6, 2018

Synopsis: As Scott Lang balances being both a Super Hero and a father, Hope van Dyne and Dr. Hank Pym present an urgent new mission that finds the Ant-Man fighting alongside The Wasp to uncover secrets from their past. (IMDB)

Director: Peyton Reed 

Starring: Paul Rudd, Evangeline Lilly, Michael Douglas

The Predictions 

Juliana Purnell (43-27): BOOM! – I must confess; my excitement for this feature has waned. I’ll be merely watching this film to see how it ties into Infinity War. I found the first Ant-Man to be a perfectly serviceable, average movie, but after such seriousness from the last Avengers flick, a bout of frivolity may be a welcome change. I don’t see anything stopping Marvel’s barrage of success, where even their mediocre films manage to please most audiences. So it’s a BOOM!

Tyler Hummel (19-10): BOOM! – I’m not really excited about this one. The first Ant-Man was fun because nobody had any expectations for it after Edgar Wright left the project. Now shy of that auteur’s hand I’m not sure what there is to be confident about other than some vague fan service concepts. Still, Marvel’s hand is strong and worst case scenario it’ll be loosely on par with lessor recent films. Also, expect that the final moments of the film to tie into Infinity War.

Ian Hancock (7-3): BOOM! – While the first Ant-Man film wasn’t the biggest box office hit (at least not by Marvel’s standards), its sequel has a significant advantage in that it’s coming hot off the hype that Infinity War generated. The events of the third Avengers title had speculations and fan theories flying around like crazy, many of them concerning the absence of Ant-Man and his possible role in the bigger picture.

People are hoping for answers in the upcoming installments, and Ant-Man and the Wasp have the honor of the first one people will flock to in search of them. Word of mouth may dry up attendance if the movie doesn’t offer any new information of note, but I’d still bet that it will have a strong opening weekend.

Sarah Bennett (28-26): BOOM! – Marvel churning out another blockbuster? Sure! Ant-Man has been a long-time favorite of mine and I’m looking forward to the addition of the sassy Wasp. I don’t think anything will touch this movie in the box office for weeks, if not months.

Hotel Transylvania 3: Summer Vacation

Rating: PG

Release Date: July 13, 2018

Synopsis: Mavis surprises Dracula with a family voyage on a luxury Monster Cruise Ship so he can take a vacation from providing everyone else’s vacation at the hotel. The rest of Drac’s Pack cannot resist going along. But once they leave port, romance arises when Dracula meets the mysterious ship Captain, Ericka. Now it’s Mavis’ turn to play the overprotective parent, keeping her dad and Ericka apart. Little do they know that his “too good to be true” love interest is actually a descendant of Abraham Van Helsing, ancient nemesis to Dracula and all other monsters. (IMDB)

Director: Genndy Tartakovsky

Starring: Adam Sandler, Andy Samberg, Fran Drescher, Mel Brooks

The Predictions 

Juliana Purnell (43-27): Meh – I haven’t gotten around to seeing any of the films in this franchise, and I’m certainly not going to start with the third in the trilogy. I suspect that others in a similar situation will also do likewise. Being a sequel, Hotel Transylvania 3: Summer Vacation has already limited its audience, though parents with young children may not be so picky. I’m sure this will provide adequate entertainment, though I’m not expecting a film that will push the boundaries of animation or be a revolutionary piece of art. It’ll be a fun yet forgettable cinematic experience that will please its target demographic. Meh.

Tyler Hummel (19-10): Meh – Genndy Tartakovsky is a modern legend in animation. Responsible for Cartoon Network classics like Samurai Jack, Dexter’s Laboratory and Star Wars: The Clone Wars. He also bizarrely worked on the Adam Sandler animated vehicles Hotel Transylvania 1 and 2. It’s a testament that something that could’ve been that cynical ended having as much life in it as it did. This third entry in the franchise looks like a gimmick but with the same creative team, it should be at least watchable and better than average.

Ian Hancock (7-3): Meh – While animated films released in summer tend to do at least okay-ish since people need something to bring their kids to, the first two Hotel Transylvania movies weren’t really smash-hits. Very few movies genuinely deserve a sequel, let alone a third movie; with the lackluster reviews garnered by its predecessors, Hotel Transylvania 3 is more likely to elicit fatigue or apathy than excitement.

Sarah Bennett (28-26): Meh – It looks cute! Dracula needs a vacation, on a cruise ship. Don’t know if it’ll get enough steam to push past the Marvel freight train. Hopefully, it’ll do well with the younger viewers.

Skyscraper

Rating: PG-13

Release Date: July 13, 2018

Synopsis: FBI Hostage Rescue Team leader and U.S. war veteran Will Sawyer now assesses security for skyscrapers. On assignment in Hong Kong, he finds the tallest, safest building in the world suddenly ablaze, and he’s been framed for it. A wanted man on the run, Will must find those responsible, clear his name and somehow rescue his family who is trapped inside the building…above the fire line. (IMDB)

Director: Rawson Marshall Thurber

Starring: Dwayne Johnson, Neve Campbell

The Predictions 

Juliana Purnell (43-27): Meh – Dwayne Johnson has already impressed me this year, starring in Rampage: the movie I never knew I needed. Gloriously dumb, that was a film that just came to play (I actually did enjoy it more than Avengers: Infinity War). So I’m ridiculously giddy about Skyscraper, which just looks like a stupider version of Die Hard.

I would have loved to sit in on that pitch meeting. Die Hard is such an iconic action film that subsequent movies in the genre have been compared to its storm in a teacup formula. “It’s Die Hard on a boat!” (Under Siege). “It’s Die Hard on a train!” (Under Siege 2: Dark Territory). It’s Die Hard on a bus!” (Speed). So how would Skyscraper have been described? “It’s Die Hard in a skyscraper… We’ll call it Skyscraper!” Ah, I think I’ve already fallen in love with the simplicity of this film! But will this poor man’s version of Die Hard be a hit? Ha! No. We know it’s not aiming that high. But if it gets the tone right, and manages to be wildly entertaining like Rampage, then it may just be forgiven for ripping off one of the best action films ever made. It could easily be a Bust, but I’m personally hoping for a Meh! Please, oh please, Skyscraper, be a refreshingly fun dumb movie, and not just plain stupid.

Tyler Hummel (19-10): Meh – Same Director as San Andreas + Dwayne The Rock Johnson + Die Hard = The funniest dumb movie of 2018!

Ian Hancock (7-3): Meh – I actually think that this one looks pretty good, but it’s the kind of movie that runs the risk of becoming just another generic action-shooter flick. If it does something unique and engaging with its subject matter, Skyscraper could take off. If it’s just hoping to coast by on the Dwayne Johnson name recognition, on the other hand, it’ll have a tough time gaining traction. I’ve learned not to be optimistic when it comes to movies like this, so I’m sticking in the “meh” camp for now.

Sarah Bennett (28-26): Bust – The only thing carrying this movie is The Rock—climbing and jumping from a super crane, being a vet, and an angry family man in the middle of stuff on fire and blowing up. I think this film will benefit from the Equalizer 2, which comes out the following week. If they’d been released side-by-side, Denzell always wins.

Mission: Impossible – Fallout

Rating: Not available – PG-13 is predicted.

Release Date: July 27, 2018

Synopsis: Ethan Hunt and his IMF team, along with some familiar allies, race against time after a mission gone wrong. (IMDB)

Director: Christopher McQuarrie

Starring: Tom Cruise, Rebecca Ferguson, Henry Cavill

The Predictions 

Juliana Purnell (43-27): BOOM! – There have been a few stumbles within this franchise (surprisingly the earlier films as opposed to the later ones), but for the most part, the Mission: Impossible films offer tightly-wound plots with an air of sophistication, along with tense action sequences to match. Like a good Bond film, they manage to please both critics and the general public. My only concern regarding this one’s success is that it may fly under the radar a little bit, particularly as it lands in the shadow of a Marvel release, and two other films in the genre (Skyscraper and The Equalizer 2). But if anything’s going to dethrone Ant-Man and the Wasp, it’s this one. I think its Rotten Tomatoes rating will speak for itself. BOOM!

Tyler Hummel (19-10): BOOM! – There really isn’t any consensus about which of the Mission Impossible films rank among the best ones. Some people like the first one by Brian DePalma. The third one by JJ Abrams has a large fan base and the two most recent ones by Brad Bird and Christopher McQuarrie both have their fan bases individually. Bringing back the latter for the potential final film in the franchise comes off as an overly safe solution to finding a way to conclude the six film arc of Ethan Hunt. That being said he did an excellent job with Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation and there is a solid chance we’re in for a solid form.

Ian Hancock (7-3): BOOM! – Ghost Protocol showed the Mission Impossible franchise certainly hasn’t died, and while Rogue Nation didn’t quite live up to its predecessor, there’s likely still enough brand power here to draw crowds. Tom Cruise reprising his role as Ethan Hunt will be another big attraction (now with bigger and badder stunts, apparently). Gimmicks and name power alone won’t be enough to keep the franchise afloat, though; it needs to have a script that can captivate audiences, as well as the series ever has, as a poor critical showing here just might shoot down the Mission Impossible movies for good.

Sarah Bennett (28-26): Bust – As Tom Cruise ages, the CGI helps. Pros: big explosions, car chases, gun battles, hanging precariously from helicopters. Cons: same recycled plot, overly dramatic close-ups, and at one point, Tom Cruise will be angry and slap his hand on something. Mark my words.

Teen Titans GO! To the Movies

Rating: PG

Release Date: July 27, 2018

Synopsis: A villain’s maniacal plan for world domination sidetracks five teenage superheroes who dream of Hollywood stardom. (IMDB)

Director: Aaron Horvath, Peter Rida Michail

Starring: Nicolas Cage, Kristen Bell, Will Arnett

The Predictions 

Juliana Purnell (43-27): Meh – Once again, I haven’t seen any other films within the Teen Titan franchise, though the trailer for this one certainly has me intrigued. It has a similar vibe to The LEGO Movie; it seems self-referential, meta, and just a blast of fun. It’s a good trailer and may drag in new people to the franchise, particularly since some of the characters are already familiar, thanks to pop culture’s current heavy obsession with superheroes. Once again, I’m not predicting a ground-breaking film; it’s not going to garner enough attention to be a BOOM! Yet I don’t see it completely flopping either. So it’s Meh from me.

Tyler Hummel (19-10): Bust – I’m not a fan of either version of the Teen Titans cartoon. I wasn’t into it as a kid and the new series came off as an awkward show for little kids. That said the big news on this film is that if it’s successful then there is a chance for the original Teen Titans cartoon to get rebooted in a style similar to Samurai Jack’s final season. I’m REALLY not a fan of massive media entities holding franchises hostage to the success of other franchises but if this is your thing then feel free throw all your money at it.

Ian Hancock (7-3): Bust – Teen Titans Go! faced a good deal of backlash from fans of the original Teen Titans series for its perceived debasement of what started out as deep and complex characters. Go! is meant to be a lighthearted spinoff that sacrifices substance for cheap laughs and essentially makes fun of the characters and show. While the humor might buoy the movie’s performance if it’s done well enough, I can’t imagine that show’s format lends itself well to a full-length movie, nor can I imagine that there are any great hordes of people who are all that eager to go watch this.

Sarah Bennett (28-26): Meh – I don’t think this’ll reach blockbuster status. One can hope, but its target audience is specific.

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 July?

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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