When it comes to major, hit blockbusters, 2018 has been largely lacking thus far. We've seen a month and a half pass mostly filled with dumped studio pictures and misfires. That all changes this Friday, however. After months (and for some people, years) of anticipation, Black Panther is ready to make its way to the big screen - but we also get Early Man and Samson.
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.
Rotten Watch Prediction
Black Panther, the 18th film from Marvel Studios falls in the Marvel Cinematic Universe timeline after the events of Captain America: Civil War - the film that introduced us to the big screen version of T'Challa (Chadwick Boseman) and immediately got us pumped for the hero's solo adventure. The new film finds the titular protagonist head back to Wakanda to presume the duties of king following the assassination of his father - but it's an ascension that winds up being timed with the arrival of a mysterious foreign figure with plans to introduce some chaos in the African nation.
Director Ryan Coogler has a fantastic track record that's scaled up along his projects. He started with Fruitvale Station (94%), hit the mainstream with Creed (95%), and now has critics sitting right in the same range with Black Panther. At the time that this article is being published, the movie has a 97% with 95 reviews counted. This looks like another fantastic entry in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and I predict the score will only go up from where it currently is.
Rotten Watch Prediction
Aardman Animations' catalog is impressive with films like Chicken Run (97%), Shaun the Sheep (99%), Arthur Christmas (92%), and Wallace & Grommit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit (95%). Those are scores you don't typically see from an animation studio outside of Pixar. The short-list for quality animation studios is just that, andAardman is right up there with their stop animation work. Unfortunately, it doesn't look like Early Man is going to be putting up a score super close to those titles.
Critics are a little more bearish on Early Man than the studios' other work, with the Tomatometer sitting in the low 80's after about 40 reviews have been submitted. I don't think it will make any huge gains over the course of the week, but I also don't expect it to sink too much lower either. I think it will still be another win for the studio which is just putting out hits time and time again.
Rotten Watch Prediction
I'm just going to the "cut" right to the chase of this "hair"-brained idea for a movie, based on the classic tale of Samson from the Bible. It looks horrible. There are movies that should be made into big budget epics with all the right cast members and a requisite budget, and then there are artsy films that can get by on their story and superb screenwriting. Where you never want to be is in between. That's a death knell for a flick and a one-way ticket to the bottom of the Tomatometer. Samson looks like an in-betweener.
Frankly, this movie looks like the worst of all worlds: an action film with some biblical overtones that struggles to even put together a reasonable trailer because the film likely lacks any sort of actual gravity, along with some cheaply-made action scenes that appear wholly generic. I can't imagine it finishes above 25%.
It was not a great week for the Rotten Watch last time around no matter which way you spin it. I missed on two of the three movies, and epically bad on one of them. Let's start with the win first. Fifty Shades Freed (Predicted: 10% Actual: 11%) finished in the complete gutter. It wasn't all that hard to see this one coming considering the last chapter in the franchise finished at a whopping 10%. The books were terrible, and so are the movies. It doesn't take genius to predict these kinds of results.
Clint Eastwood's The 15:17 to Paris (Predicted: 68% Actual: 20%) on the other hand, was a disaster from both a critical and predictive standpoint. It's one thing to miss by a few percentage points, but it's another thing to just have the completely wrong feel for a movie. That was the case here, as I whiffed badly. The major complaint from critics was the script, which many felt fell flat as compared the gravity of the actual incident on the train. Most felt like casting the actual heroes was the right move, but the rest of the screenplay didn't do the story justice. It ends up as one of the worst-reviewed big releases of the young year.
Finally, Peter Rabbit (Predicted: 41% Actual: 58%) was another miss. I was working more off the studio's track record in animated films and less of the possible chances from what I saw in the trailer. That appears to have been a mistake. This one finished with the majority of critics giving it a pass, but it still couldn't earn a Fresh rating.