We're used to the summer season being filled with all varieties of sequels and big franchises, but this week we have a full-blown trio of those titles ready to hit wide release. Get ready for The Conjuring 2, Now You See Me 2 and Warcraft.

Just remember, I'm not reviewing these movies, but rather predicting where they'll end up on the Tomatometer. Let's take a look at This Rotten Week has to offer.
Now You See Me 2
Rotten Watch Prediction
For their next trick, the studios repackage a middling-reviewed but box office surprise into a sequel! Watch how they tell much of the same story, with the same characters and surround everyone with eye-popping "magic" tricks with a little cat and mouse game thrown in. Oooh, aahhhh! You may think you’ve seen this show before folks, but I assure you it’s all "new". Be amazed and astounded when you walk into the theater to see Now You See Me 2 and realize you saw this all before a couple of years ago. Ta-da!

This film follows up on 2013’s Now You See Me (48%), and tells the story of the Four Horsemen back and performing tricks that also help out the little people while robbing from the rich. Director Jon M. Chu doesn’t have a lot to get excited about on the critical resume. A couple of his recent films include Jem and the Holograms (19%) and G.I. Joe: Retaliation (28%). This latest doesn’t look a whole lot better. The first one in the series didn’t play well to critics and got a sequel because of its box office success. That’s fine, but we’re here to predict critical consensus and early reviews already have it below 50%. Many of the criticisms are the same as the first. Namely, the flashy tricks and sleight of hand set pieces don’t make up for the film not having that great a story. That’s where the original suffered and the sequel appears to do much of the same.
The Conjuring 2
Rotten Watch Prediction
As a fully grown adult male with a wife and child, it is a tad bit embarrassing to admit the trailer for The Conjuring 2 scared the crap out of me. Already not a fan of horror movies, I don’t even love subjecting myself to the 2:30 minute trailers needed to write this column. But I often put in a hero effort and get the job done. This film put that to the test, and did a good job pushing me to my limits. Yikes.

Director James Wan handled The Conjuring (89%) to massive critical acclaim and stained theater seats when he told the story of Ed and Lorraine Warren and their work to stop evil. Now Wan is back with another story, the same characters, and new demon haunting an unsuspecting kid in England. Early reviews have it right in line with the first, and through 20 reviews it’s sitting at 85%. That’s rarified air for this genre, which will whiff more than it hits.
Rotten Watch Prediction
I’m all for a good fantasy epic, loving new examples of fictional world building, and learning the ins and outs of a particular new universe. Fantasy can bring out the very best in storytelling, especially the hero’s journey. All that being said, Warcraft looks horrible. Where do I even start? The CGI effects look like they are out of a bad video game (ironically), and the acting even from the trailer seems stilted and forced. And that’s just from the trailer.

Warcraft is based on the popular video game series, adapted for the big screen. I’m not a video game guy, so maybe I’m missing something here (forgive me if so), but this just doesn’t look like it’s going to hold up. Early reviews tell much of the same story. More than forty reviews in and it’s sitting below 20%. It’s a terrible sign, and each review I read was worse than the one before. It’s a shame too, because director Duncan Jones has two strong films already under his belt with Source Code (92%) and Moon (89%).
Which of my predictions do you think will be closest?

last rotten week
Last week was certainly not a great one for the Rotten Watch. With three new movies in wide release, I only had prediction land within the 10% range - though I suppose I had the tenor of the guesses correct. That admittedly doesn’t count for much.

First off, Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping (Predicted: 55% Actual: 76%) well outperformed my score and for that I’m happy. If you read the write up you knew I couldn’t wait to see this flick. I love Andy Samberg and the Lonely Island crew, and just hoped the film lived up to the hilarious trailer. It looks like it did and more. Most critics thought it slightly flawed but hysterical. It isn’t easy for comedies to finish this high on the Tomatometer simply because laughs don’t always translate across the critical spectrum. This film, a send up of the pop music scene, fires away and scored well.

Meanwhile, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows (Predicted: 19% Actual: 35%) did a little better than expected. I based much of my prediction on the first of the rebooted series, which scored 22%. It was hard to expect a sequel of a critical bomb to nearly double up the first, but it did, and I don’t know if low expectations led to greater returns or if the second was just a better movie. It isn’t like the majority liked it or anything, but it outpaced the first, and did well enough at the box office.

And finally the ho-hum looking Me Before You (Predicted: 50% Actual: 56%) was exactly that: ho-hum. The trailer showed a movie that had little-to-no stakes and predictable storyline that wanted to tug on the heartstrings of viewers as they witnessed a love affair between a nurse and a rich paraplegic. It’s a fine enough story, but one that looked to have little substance. Critics split the middle and this was my only hit of the week.

Next time around we’ve got a big one with Finding Dory and Central Intelligence. It’s gonna be a Rotten Week!
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