Boom, Bust, or Meh: May 2016

Good morning, good afternoon, and good evening, GUG readers, and welcome to this month’s edition of “Boom, Bust, or Meh,” where we take a look at five upcoming films of the month and give our predictions on how they will perform! Each prediction receives one of the following scores:
Boom: A film that should be bought the day it is released on DVD/Blue-Ray.
Bust: A film that deserves to remain in the barrel with other flop films at Walmart.
Meh: A film should be bought when the prices drop after its DVD/Blue-Ray release.
With that short introduction, let us crank open the movie vault on what is to be expected for this summer’s releases!

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The Results

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

1. The Jungle Book – BOOM!

Rotten Tomatoes
Critic Score: 94%
Audience Score: 92%
Box Office
Production Budget: $175 million
Worldwide: $684 million
Trey: Greatly exceeded the expectations of both film critics and Disney fanatics alike!
Our Review!

2. God’s Not Dead 2 – Bust.

Rotten Tomatoes
Critic Score: 10%
Audience Score: 62%
Box Office
Production Budget: $5 million
Worldwide: $19 million
Trey: This is what happens when a Christian focuses less on an actual engaging story and more on pushing the Gospel message in audience’s faces.

3. The Huntsman: Winter’s War – Bust.

Rotten Tomatoes
Critic Score: 16%
Audience Score: 52%
Box Office
Production Budget: $115 million
Worldwide: $130 million
Trey: As bad as its sequel if not worse.
Our Review!

4. The Man Who Knew Infinity – Meh…

Rotten Tomatoes
Critic Score: 68%
Audience Score: 78%
Box Office Production
Budget: $ N/A
Domestic: $88,134
Trey: As much as I wanted it to be a success, indie films only get so much attention. 

5. Hardcore Henry – Bust.

Rotten Tomatoes
Critic Score: 49%
Audience Score: 60%
Box Office
Production Budget: $2 million
Worldwide: $11 million
Trey: Was this really surprising? Didn’t think so.
Our Review!
Each “Boom, Bust, or Meh” article will include each writer’s current record next to their name. My current record is (17-12). Chris is at (28-15). Colby is at (7-8).

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Captain America: Civil War

Rating: PG-13
Release Date: May 6, 2016
Synopsis: After another incident involving the Avengers results in collateral damage, political pressure counts to install a system of accountability, headed by a governing body to oversee and direct the team. The new status quo fractures the Avengers, resulting in two camps-one led by Steve Rogers and his desire for the Avengers to remain free to defend humanity without government interference, and the other following Tony Stark’s surprising decision to support government oversight and accountability (Rotten Tomatoes).
Director: Anthony Russo & John Russo
Starring: Chris Evans, Robert Downey Jr, Sebastian Stan, Anthony Mackie, Scarlett Johansson, Elizabeth Olsen, Jeremy Renner, & Paul Bettany.

The Prediction

Trey Soto (17-12): BOOM! – While I have had my difficulties with standalone MCU films, the Captain America films have not let me down yet! The Marvel Civil War comic series is one of my personal favorites as it deals with government surveillance, ethics, and more, and as far as the film looks, I believe Captain America: Civil War will be a smashing hit and possibly even step into new territories for the MCU’s third phase. My guess is that they will kill of someone, and I am hoping they do because it would be a great shock for audiences everywhere (if you read the series, you know who gets killed).
Chris Hecox (28-15): BOOM –  At this point, most things Marvel puts out are massively successful, and with this continuing the saga left by The Winter Soldier, Civil War looks to do more than just set up Infinity War. I’m expecting a wonderful contender against Fox, and Marvel’s exciting foray into getting further away from the comical stylings typical of past films, and delving into more serious themes, as The Dark Knight trilogy did so well. However, I get the impression this one will still be able to keep its current fanbase and atmosphere without losing too much of the magic that makes the MCU so exciting.
Colby Bryant (7-8): BOOM! – As the escalating division between Tony and Steve hits its high, this looks to “out” Avengers: Age of Ultron from all indications, while still being a worthy addition to quite-possibly Marvel’s most consistent of quality film series within the MCU thus far. While I’m sure we’re going to get a refit Baron Zemo, deviating from the source material, I think everything looks on track to giving us as close to a perfect film trilogy as we’ve seen in the comic-book movie genre. Oh, and Spider-Man is now within Marvel’s creative reach; if that’s not worthy of a BOOM, what is?

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X-Men: Apocalypse

Rating: PG-13
Release Date: May 27, 2016
Synopsis: Upon awakening after thousands of years, Apocalypse is disillusioned with the world as he finds it and recruits a team of powerful mutants, including a disheartened Magneto, to cleanse mankind and create a new world order, over which he will reign. As the fate of the Earth hangs in the balance, Raven with the help of Professor X must lead a team of young X-Men to stop their greatest nemesis and save mankind from complete destruction (Rotten Tomatoes).
Director: Bryan Singer
Starring: James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Oscar Isaac, Jennifer Lawrence, Nicholas Hoult, Rose Byrne, Evan Peters, & Sophie Turner.

The Prediction

Trey Soto (17-12): BOOM! – Ever since X-Men: First Class (2011), the X-Men franchise has significantly skyrocketed in reviews and sales. The Wolverine (2013) outdid its previous installment despite the mixed reviews, X-Men: Days of Future Past (2014) paved the way for a new X-Men franchise, and Deadpool (2016) was successfully executed as a spinoff for future X-Men films. Considering these facts, along with Apocalypse being one of the X-Men’s greatest villains in comic book history, it should not be a surprise that the film will succeed.
Chris Hecox (28-15): BOOM! – If the more recent installments in the X-Men franchise are any indication of the oncoming success of this film, I think we are in for a real treat. X-Men: First Class was quite astonishing, and Days of Future Past easily wrote itself as my favorite comic book film. I can’t imagine this one flopping, and I actually expect it to succeed more than its predecessor. Count this as a huge win, folks.
Colby Bryant (7-8): BOOM! – I loved the X-Men film series growing up, as they really kickstarted the comic book movie craze. In our “film-universe”-minded appetites, it still continues to be its own thing. (Yes, I know Deadpool is now connected, but I can’t ever see him popping up in these films without toning him down.) With the First Class series, we’ve seen the 60’s, 70’s, and, now, we get the 80s. We’re seeing a “rebooted” core group, prior to being featured in the 2000 original film, but the events of Apocalypse must happen as a result of events in this new timeline. Otherwise, the world got a huge case of amnesia. Though I look forward to this film, I am also entering it with caution; these films always feel like they’re missing something, as long as they exist alone to themselves, apart from the MCU.

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The Angry Birds Movie

Rating: PG
Release Date: May 20, 2016
Synopsis: When an island populated by happy, flightless birds is visited by mysterious green piggies, it’s up to three unlikely outcasts – Red, Chuck and Bomb – to figure out what the pigs are up to. (IMDb).
Director: Clay Kaytis & Fergal Reilly
Starring: Emily Blunt, Charlize Theron, Jessica Chastain, Chris Hemsworth

The Predictions

Trey Soto (17-12): Bust – As funny as this looks, I am not too sure about the film. Video game adaptions hardly succeed as films. The film is primarily aimed towards children, as seen in the trailers. Sure, it may be fun, but it probably won’t be memorable.
Chris Hecox (28-15): Bust – I know kids are the primary example of loving stuff that has already passed its hayday for adults (prime example: Minecraft is now a smash hit for kids, but older folks have moved on to ARK, Starbound, or Rust), but that doesn’t mean every animated adaptation will follow suit. I’m sure little kids are really the only audience here, unless I am painfully unaware of the hobbyist crowd in the Angry Birds camp. My little nephew will likely get a trip to the theater, but the fart jokes revealed in the trailer scream boring and overdone. Let’s move on.
Colby Bryant (7-8): Meh… – From app to screen, we’re getting an Angry Birds movie… yay?!? I have a daughter who will want to see it, but I can’t get excited about it. I’m sure I’ll chuckle here and there, but this move just feels like it won’t lead anywhere good. As there are a ton of Angry Bird games that cloud the Appstore, I’m sure, even after this one, we won’t have seen the last of these movies, even if it gets a lukewarm reception (which is possible).

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Alice Through the Looking Glass

Rating: PG
Release Date: May 27 2016
Synopsis: Upon her return to London, Alice comes across a magical looking glass and returns to the fantastical realm of Underland and her friends the White Rabbit, Absolem the Cheshire Cat and the Mad Hatter, who is not himself (Rotten Tomatoes).
Director: James Robin
Starring: Johnny Depp, Anne Hathaway, Mia Wasikowska, & Helena Bonham Carter

The Prediction

Trey Soto (17-12): Bust – I am quite surprised that Disney is creating a sequel for this new franchise. They were beginning to do so well with live adaptions and all of a sudden we get a sequel to this? It looks more like a cash grab than an actual film. With the poor reviews from both critics and audiences, I cannot expect much from this one.
Chris Hecox (28-15): Bust – If film studios are looking for building franchises to success, then I’m stumped with this one. The original Tim Burton trip to Wonderland was understandably strange, but my impression was one of feeling grossly underwhelmed. Of course, this begs the question: “How niche is the audience for this movie?” The atmosphere of Wonderland seems so extremely specific, and this one looks to be even more bizarre than the last.
Colby Bryant (7-8): Meh… – The first film was ultimately forgettable to me, which disappointed me as a Tim Burton fan (and frequent apologist). Still, maybe something interesting will come of this, with Sasha Baron Cohen as the villain. I just never sensed a real demand for this sequel, but I’ve been wrong before.

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The Nice Guys

Rating: PG-13
Release Date: April 22, 2016
Synopsis: Set in Los Angeles during the 1970s, and centering on a pair of detectives who stumble into a sprawling conspiracy while investigating the alleged suicide of a once-prominent female porn star (Rotten Tomatoes).
Director: Shane Black
Starring: Russell Crowe, Ryan Gosling, Keith David, Kim Basinger, & Margaret Qualley

The Predictions

Trey Soto (17-12): Meh… – To be honest, I really want to see this. Great cast, interesting story, and I really appreciate that it is set in the 70’s. My only concern is that because it is rated R, the audience won’t be as big and I am still unsure as to where the storyline is heading exactly. We get somewhat of an understanding in the trailers, but I am sure there is more and I hope that “more” will be focused primarily on the plot.
Chris Hecox (28-15): – Meh… – I think I’m interested in this, but I also feel I’m not. I can’t see audiences packing theaters, although Shane Black is a fairly competent director and his cast is interesting enough. If this is anything of a modern day Lethal Weapon, then consider me interested, but aside from that observation, I think it better to wait for Netflix.
Colby Bryant (7-8): Meh… – Crowe and Gosling… Who can predict their next project from the outside looking in, but here we have them both together. I can’t get a good read on it from the trailers, so I just have no real anticipation here. Sure, they’re both talented enough to surprise us all, but neither of them are known for their comic timing and abilities. I see this coming and going and possibly being a cult-favorite down the road, like director Shane Black’s movie, Kiss Kiss Bang Bang.

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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 May?

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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