Boom, Bust, or Meh: June 2017

Hello, GUG fans, and hello summer! 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 film destined to be a blockbuster hit.
Bust: A film destined to be a blockbuster flop.
Meh: A film destined to be a little of both.
With that introduction, let’s crank open the month of June vault!

The Results

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

1. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 – BOOM!

Rotten Tomatoes
Critic Score: 81%
Audience Score: 90%
Box Office
Production Budget: $200 million
Worldwide: $793 million
Trey: To me personally, it was better than the first.
Our Review!

2. King Arthur: Legend of the Sword – Bust.

Rotten Tomatoes
Critic Score: 28%
Audience Score: 76%
Box Office
Production Budget: $175 million
Worldwide: $117 million
Our Review!
Trey: For some reason, it is really hard to get King Arthur right on the big screen.

3. Alien: Covenant – Meh…

Rotten Tomatoes
Critic Score: 71%
Audience Score: 61%
Box Office
Budget: $97 million
Worldwide: $160 million
Trey: I personally enjoyed it for what it was despite its flaws.
Our Review!

4. Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales – Meh…

Rotten Tomatoes
Critic Score: 32%
Audience Score: 71%
Box Office
Budget: $231 million
Worldwide: $326 million
Trey: Am not surprised to be honest.
Our Review!

5. Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Long Haul – Bust. 

Rotten Tomatoes
Critic Score: 18%
Audience Score: 38%
Box Office Production
Budget: $22 million
Domestic: $18 million
Trey: Called it. That’s all I’m going to say.
Each “Boom, Bust, or Meh” article will include each writer’s current record next to their name. My current prediction record is (54-35), Juliana is (4-1), Lucas is (2-3), Sarah is (2-3), and Josh Odom at (0-0).

Wonder Woman

Rating: PG-13
Release Date: June 2, 2017
Synopsis: An Amazon princess finds her idyllic life on an island occupied only by female warriors interrupted when a pilot crash-lands nearby. After rescuing him, she learns that World War I is engulfing the planet, and vows to use her superpowers to restore peace (Rotten Tomatoes).
Director: Patty Jenkins
Starring: Gal Gadot, Chris Pine, Connie Nielson, Robin Wright, Danny Huston, David Thewlis

The Prediction

Trey Soto (50-32): BOOM! – People say that the summer of 2016 was the summer of superheroes but to me personally as a comic book fan, I believe it will be 2017. While we had some major battles and face-offs in both Marvel and DC, it showed to be more about quantity than quality. So far, Logan and Guardians proved to be highly about quality in storytelling and hopefully Wonder Woman will do the same.
To be honest, I was quite surprised with the casting of Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman, considering her film history is pretty small compared to people like Ben Affleck and Henry Cavill in the DCEU. That being said, I gave her a chance when Batman v. Superman premiered in 2016 and I was not disappointed at all. As far as early reviews are going, the film is looking to be promising. It won’t come as a surprise if the film makes a significant amount of money but if it does well let alone great, then the DCEU may have hope after all.
Furthermore, I cannot express how excited I am to finally see a superhero film on the big screen where the main character is a strong female. Being a feminist, it has taken a while to see female superheroes accurately and appropriately portrayed on the big screen, from character development to representation. Until now, a large amount of female superheroes have been portrayed both poorly and in a sexist/stereotypical way such as Catwoman (2004), Elektra (2005), and even Scarlette Johansson’s Black Widow in Marvel’s Avengers: Age of Ultron (2010). A female lead: Check. A dominant female cast: Check. A female Director: Check. This is a very significant moment for women in both film and comic books that I am happy to witness.
Josh Odom (0-0): BOOM! – It is no secret that the DCU has been a failure. Superman can’t act and it appears Batman now kills people. Also, let us not forget, that both of their mothers’ names are Martha! Now, Wonder Woman has the monumental task of righting the ship before Justice League releases later this year. The previews and cast (led by Gal Gadot and the always reliable Chris Pine) lead me to believe that the DCU will finally have a good movie to call their own! It is also worth noting that the garbage fire Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice grossed over $800,000,000 worldwide. So regardless of quality, Wonder Woman will make money.
Juliana Purnell (4-1): BOOM! – I really hope this film is a success. DC needs a hit. Desperately trying to catch up with Marvel’s long-standing, rather extensive, comic book universe, DC’s last two attempts (Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, Suicide Squad) notoriously featured overloaded plots. They crammed as many characters and set up as many future films a story could handle, as though they could bypass the many years that Marvel had already invested into its franchises. While they both earned back their respective budgets at the box office (and Suicide Squad even took out an Oscar), the quality of the stories were abysmal, leaving bitter fans in its wake.
However, I do believe that Wonder Woman will end DC’s losing streak. Seeming to only feature one Justice League member, the story may actually have the time to relax, develop characters, and maybe, just maybe, have a little fun along the way! Wonder Woman is also the only female-centric comic book adaptation in a rather long time, unfortunately due to the commonly held belief by producers that such stories don’t make money. I’m truly hoping this film shatters that myth, surprising investors by not only drawing in this genre’s typical crowds, but a lot more of the female demographic as well.
Lucas Sharley (2-3): BOOM! – Princess Diana of Themyscira is here to break things! This is a movie about an interesting and fairly well-known character, and the first female superhero movie. Wonder Woman has a gloriously weird origin and rogues gallery that I can’t wait to see on film. The film’s palette looks more varied than previous DC movies in terms of both cinematography and tone. They may even have left out the ponderous self-importance.
The early trailers left me concerned that because Diana is a feminist character they had made her too much like a 21st-century feminist sent back to World War I. But later trailers suggest that the movie is about the nature of warfare and legitimate violence–themes that Wonder Woman is positioned to explore better than most superheroes. I’m excited. Father, in your mercy please allow us a DC movie that doesn’t suck.
Sarah Bennett (2-3): BOOM! – Full disclosure: I am a sucker for comic-to-movies, with few exceptions. And, I had Wonder Woman Underoos. And props to Gal Gadot for filming while pregnant, even if they were reshoots. That is a true Wonder Woman moment. I think the studios shoveled copious amounts of money on this flick because it has a solid cast and story. I’m anxious to see the build-up of her history and parentage, then interaction with the “modern day” world. By the trailer, the filmmakers are giving us plenty of comedic relief to inject into the dramatic plot. As always, I’ll be waiting for all of the credits to finish rolling.

The Mummy

Rating: PG-13
Release Date: June 9, 2017
Synopsis: Thought safely entombed in a tomb deep beneath the unforgiving desert, an ancient princess whose destiny was unjustly taken from her is awakened in our current day, bringing with her malevolence grown over millennia and terrors that defy human comprehension (Rotten Tomatoes).
Director: Alex Kurtzman
Starring: Tom Cruise, Boutella, Annabelle Wallis, Jake Johnson, Russell Crow

The Prediction

Trey Soto (50-32): Bust. – I have never really been psyched about this movie at all, just by the cast alone. Sure, the story might be somewhat entertaining, but I cannot picture Tom Cruise in a film like this. The second trailer came off as if it was a Mission Impossible spin-off with Tom Cruise surviving crazy plane and bus crashes. His relationship with Annabelle Wallis’ character by just the few scenes they have together appears to be one-dimensional and boring. That being said, I am interested to see how Russell Crowe’s Dr. Jekyll will play out now that Universal has opened up about the monster shared universe. But other than that, I’m really not expecting much from this film, both in positivity and in the box office.
Josh Odom (0-0): Meh… – If aliens came to earth and asked us to show them a movie star, there is a good chance we would introduce them Tom Cruise. He has successfully tackled every major movie genre. More than just a pretty face, this Hollywood stud, can act. But will all of his superstar charisma and charm make this another successful outing? It’s hard to tell. It has been proven that Tom Cruise alone cannot save a movie (Valkrie). So while the spectacle of seeing Tom Cruise in a new movie will attract multitudes of loyal fans, there is a greater multitude of people who don’t want to see a Mummy reboot. And is it really necessary to make this a shared Universal Monster universe? Yes, we get it, Marvel has been incredibly successful with theirs, but that doesn’t mean every movie needs a shared universe.
Juliana Purnell (4-1): BOOM! – The Mummy trilogy wasn’t the greatest series in existence, but I feel that a lot of people look back on those films with fondness. There has been some skepticism regarding the shift in tone from kitsch humor to straight horror, along with reboot fatigue, though the curiosity as to whether the film will ultimately pull it off will drag audiences into the cinema. It’s nostalgic, yet fresh, and I predict that this may be a winning combination. Even if this film’s storyline does end up being hopeless, it will boom at the box office.
Lucas Sharley (2-3): Meh… – Tom Cruise is still a legitimate action star (How does he do it?) and The Mummy name has a lot of positive connotations, so I think this will do pretty well. It won’t however, be the franchise-carrying success that Universal wants. Star power is still real but it’s holding on by the fingernails and doesn’t work automatically. Everyone wants the take-it-to-the-bank return of a Marvel movie but nobody wants to do the hard work and moderate risk-taking that made the MCU. If you want your own Avengers, you have to make your Iron Man first.
Will this movie itself be any good? I have no idea. Seven writing credits suggests a lot of fingers in the pie, which is usually a bad sign. But on the other hand, the rating suggests an attempt to recapture the vibe of The Mummy, which is no bad thing. You pay your money and you takes your chances. Or you waits for the review, I guess.
Sarah Bennett (2-3): Meh… – Anyone else as creeped out by the multi-irised mummy as I am? While I’m kinda looking forward to the new villain, I’m not holding my breath on much else. I expect Tom Cruise will be “Mission Impossible: In The Desert” and the plot will be a poor man’s telling of the original 1999 movie, with gender swapping and lots more bugs.

Transformers: The Last Knight

Rating: PG-13
Release: June 21, 2017
Synopsis: Humans and Transformers are at war, Optimus Prime is gone. The key to saving our future lies buried in the secrets of the past, in the hidden history of Transformers on Earth (IMDb). 
Director: Michael Bay
Starring: Mark Wahlberg, Anthony Hopkins, Josh Duhamel, Laura Haddock, Izabela Monet, Tyrese Gibson

The Predictions

Trey Soto (50-32): Meh… – The only reason I give this film a “meh” is because of the amount of money it constantly makes from audiences. Critics hate it, but fans love it and if it hadn’t been for that, I would have given this film a “bust.” I am not a fan of the Transformers series due to its constant predictability, one-dimensional characters that are anything but relatable, and the over glorifying of staged explosions. Please, Paramount, just let the series die already.
Josh Odom (0-0): BOOM! – Mark Wahlburg? Check. Giant robots? Check. Mark Wahlburg’s eyebrows? Double check. That is not counting Anthony Hopkins, Josh Duhamel, Tyrese, AND John Turtorro. The cast alone is worth the price of admission. In all seriousness, this movie could be the second coming of Spiderman 3 and will still earn north of $700,000,000. Michael Bay, love him or hate him, knows how to make cash cows. I so badly want this to be a great movie instead of a 2 and a half hour commercial for Transformer toys, but I will be entertained either way. Darn you Michael Bay and your pretty explosions.
Juliana Purnell (4-1): Meh… – Transformers: Age of Extinction was the worst film I watched in 2014. Created not so much for fans, but rather to earn the production company money, it was an utter slap to the face to all the artists, screenwriters, and directors out there with better stories in their hearts, constantly struggling to have their movies financed. I’ve never cried during a film because of a movie’s production values before, but considering Age of Extinction was a nauseating $1 million per minute, and it wasn’t even at the very least entertaining, I shed a few angry tears while I imagined where in the world this money could have been better spent. True story.
Now there’s another one. Yippie. I dearly hope this ends up a bust. This entire franchise is the epitome of the negative summer blockbuster stereotype; complete with its insufferable banality and creative rot that infects the industry as a whole. But the cynic inside me knows that people will still pay money to see this film, regardless of its quality. Yet this time around it is up against the juggernaut that is Wonder Woman, along with The Mummy’s fierce advertising campaign, and the remnants of Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales, leaving previously burned audiences plenty of other cinematic options. It will earn back its budget, though China is a wildcard. Age of Extinction was heavily marketed towards Chinese audiences, though The Last Knight hasn’t utilized the same strategy, with most of the production this time taking place in the United Kingdom. Will Chinese viewers remain loyal? I predict it’ll make a tidy sum of money at the box office, but it won’t achieve the same level of success as its predecessors. Therefore, meh!
Lucas Sharley (2-3): Meh… – An Arthurian-chivalric drizzle over the giant pile of raw potatoes that is a Transformers movie? I am almost interested in this film. A bit crushing that these movies need to steal their most fundamental aesthetic and narrative components from thousand-year-old myths. But it would be funny, wouldn’t it, if Transformers did King Arthur more successfully than King Arthur? Funny is one word, I suppose.
But let’s not kid ourselves. These movies have all been different flavors of bad. Wooden scripts, dull performances, besser-block plots, and the most egregious failure of all: ugly giant robots. If the voice of Anthony Hopkins can’t give your trailers gravitas then you’re doomed. The Last Knight will make some money on franchise power before being tossed into the cinema gutter like all its siblings before it.
Sarah Bennett (2-3): Meh… – No one puts Bumblebee in a corner! Even if it’s Optimus Prime, back from the dead and pummeling my favorite radio spouting Camero. I think the explosions will be Michael Bay huge and melodramatic. Mark Wahlberg will save the day with his cute, new sidekick, who, of course, is a girl. There are a couple of new writers this time around, so I’m hoping that it’ll breathe new life into this franchise. That said, I think it’ll be the same regurgitated plot with lots o’ stuff blowing up.

Cars 3

Rating: PG
Release: June 16, 2017
Synopsis: Lightning McQueen sets out to prove to a new generation of racers that he’s still the best race car in the world (IMDb).
Director: Brian Fee
Starring: Owen Wilson, Kerry Washington, Nathan Fillion, Larry the Cable Guy, Armie Hammer, John Ratzenberger

The Prediction

Trey Soto (50-32): Meh… – It is really difficult to predict this film. The first one did fairly well while its sequel was an absolute mess. Though the film is going back to its roots of the Cars series, I am not really expecting much from this film. That being said, I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s better than expected based on how the trailers performed, and the fact that a new director has been chosen.
Josh Odom (0-0): BOOM! – Confession: I have not seen either of the Cars movies. I love Pixar as much as the next person, but a movie about talking cars never really did it for me. This movie will appeal to fans of the original two movies and will also to Pixar fans in general. Some people would say that Cars 2 was Pixar’s first stumble, but the $500+ million made at the box officer would beg to differ. At some point Pixar will stumble, but this is not that time.
Juliana Purnell (4-1): Meh… – I feel like this is the trilogy that audiences never wanted. To be fair, this franchise is underrated. It’s an enjoyable romp with a fulfilling story, except it is out-shined by Pixar’s other, more popular productions. The setting of Cars has never sat comfortably with audiences. It’s as though Pixar simply wanted to make a film about automobiles, as opposed to creating a fully fleshed-out world, scant of nonsensical issues. However, the trailer for Cars 3 hints that this franchise may drift away from its whimsical roots, instead exploring a new, dark, and gritty territory.
Pixar is a trusted production company and Cars 3 will do well at the box office. It has no competition, having a two-week head start on its nearest rival, Despicable Me 3. The youngest demographic is the easiest to please, with many parents not necessarily caring about the quality, instead using the cinema merely as a way to entertain the kids for a while. They also tend to go multiple times, which is ultimately good for Cars 3’s bottom dollar. While this film will earn its production budget back, it’s not popular enough to draw in older crowds, unlike Finding Dory, while the darker tone may turn off the parents of tinier kids. I predict decent reviews, and it’ll be close to a boom, but it’ll just miss that milestone.
Lucas Sharley (2-3): BOOM! – Kids love dark stories as long as there’s resolution. This looks like a pretty grim look at Lightning McQueen trying to overcome creeping obsolescence. The terror of age resonates with kids and with the family members who take them to the movies, and Pixar may be able to communicate on two wavelengths while holding a younger audience’s attention. Here’s my pointless gripe: at one point you see McQueen-licensed cleaning spray. Who could possibly use it? Everyone’s a car! They don’t have any thumbs! You too can ponder these deep philosophical questions, as you watch a red creepy anthropomorphic car drive faster around a track than the other creepy anthropomorphic cars.
Sarah Bennett (2-3): Meh… – This is a border “Bust” for me. The first time around, this was a fun concept. The second time, it was a stretch, even with the additional characters. But a third time? Probably not. I think this plot will be predictable and have its funny moments, but not even close to the blockbuster Cars had. The few upshots? Nathan Fillion…yes, please. And who doesn’t love Mater? He has the best lines in the entire franchise.

All Eyes on Me

Rating: R
Release Date: June 16, 2017
Synopsis: All Eyes on Me tells the true and untold story of prolific rapper, actor, poet, and activist Tupac Shakur. The film follows Shakur from his early days in New York City to his evolution into being one of the world’s most recognized and influential voices before his untimely death at the age of 25. Against all odds, Shakur’s raw talent, powerful lyrics and revolutionary mind-set propelled him into becoming a cultural icon whose legacy continues to grow long after his passing (Rotten Tomatoes).
Director: Benny Boom
Starring: Demetrius Ship Jr,  Kat Graham, Lauren Cohan, Hill Harper, Jamal Woolard, Danai Gurira

The Predictions

Trey Soto (55-32): Bust. – While I want to be positive about this film, I am honestly just not feeling it. When dealing with an artists like Tupac, the story has to be handled carefully as seen with Straight Outta Compton in 2015. Considering that the director is not really well-known and has a weak track record, I am more worried for the film than I am excited. As if that is not bad enough, the writers themselves have a small track record that just as weak. If it does well, great, but from what I am looking at, my confidence is nowhere to be found in this.
Josh Odom (0-0): Bust. – I will be the first to admit that I love rap music and anybody who loves rap music loves Tupac. There have been many documentaries, but no Hollywood movies about Tupac. The mystery surrounding his death seems to overshadow the man and rapper that he was. While this movie may try to buck that trend, it will ultimately fail. Straight Outta Compton was a unique film: one of the founding member’s sons played a younger version of himself, it had a recognized and successful director and a strong message that is still prevalent today. Will All Eyez on Me be able to replicate this uncanny series of events to be another successful rap biopic? I’ll take No for $600, Alex.
Juliana Purnell (4-1): Meh… – Biographies are typically a strong genre–it’s hard to come across a bad one. Detailing Tupac’s rise and tragic fall, the trailer for All Eyez On Me is oddly reminiscent of Straight Outta Compton. With Oscar-baiting roles and some hard truths to share, this bio-pic has everything going for it. However these films tend to be slow burners at the box office, relying more on word of mouth as opposed to the brute strength of its own advertising campaign. Preferring to fork out the cash on the more traditional blockbusters of the month, by the time audiences get around to seeing All Eyez On Me, it’ll either be out of cinemas, sadly fall victim to piracy, or it’ll be screening for so long that the production companies will profit only a fraction compared to what could have been made on opening weekend. Its advertising efforts for the international market have also been less than ideal. It’ll definitely recover its modest budget, though it may have to rely on a Netflix release to finally be appreciated.
Lucas Sharley (2-3): Meh… – I know nothing about Tupac. But it looks like this movie has fallen into the common bio-pic trap of treating its subject as a representative of a historical moment and forces rather than a human being. Tupac is presented as the intersection between Black Power and gangsta rap. But there is no sense of a personality at the centre of this story; only the familiar narrative of the corrupting ascent into stardom. I could be wrong, and I hope I am. Rap is one of the profound cultural forces in 20th century America. Tupac is one of the genre’s greats and he deserves half a dozen excellent bio-pics.
Sarah Bennett (2-3): Bust. – I remember the news when Tupac was shot. Since then, there have been several “true story” shows about his life and death, and I’ve seen a couple. He was a visionary and a rebel, even if his music wasn’t my cup of tea. Demetrius Shipp Jr. has an uncanny resemblance to Tupac Shakur, but I’m not sure what this movie will portray about his life that hasn’t already been told in one way or another. I get the feeling that this is just produced on a bigger monetary scale.

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 June?

Positives

Negatives

The Bottom Line

 

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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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