Report on 13 Science Fiction Movies, Second Half 2017

The Shape of Water movie, Guillermo Del Toror

Doug Jones as the creature

It’s time to circle back to my earlier post on 13 science fiction movies that were scheduled for release in the last half of 2017 and let you know how they did. As usual, there’s some good news, some bad news and a healthy dose of confusion.

The report uses my standard format that provides information on how these movies did both critically and financially, plus whether we saw them or passed.

Report on 13 Science Fiction Movies

Here are the 13 science fiction movies in H2 2017 in chronological order of their actual release dates—which may differ from the dates in my earlier post. Things change. Production budgets are estimated and rounded up. Movie links go to the movie’s IMDB page.

War for the Planet of the Apes

  • Release Date: July 14, 2017
  • Rotten Tomatoes: 93% Fresh, 84% Liked
  • Box Office: $146,880,162
  • Production Budget: $150,000,000
  • Viewed: Yes
  • My Take: Just as gripping and dynamic as the rest of the series. These movies define remakes that outdo the original. If you have seen the others, you have to see this one. You won’t regret it.

Man Underground

  • Release Date: July 2017 (Limited Release)
  • Rotten Tomatoes: 89% Fresh, no Liked score
  • Box Office: $20,907
  • Production Budget: NA
  • Viewed: No
  • My Take: This opened in five theaters and ran until September. Who knew? Maybe we can catch it on cable.

Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets

  • Release Date: July 23, 2017
  • Rotten Tomatoes: 49% Rotten, 55% Liked
  • Box Office: $41,189,488
  • Production Budget: $177,200,00
  • Viewed: Yes
  • My Take: Oh, dear. This is what happens when you put two beautiful but untalented children into a gorgeous movie with a screenplay that makes no sense whatsoever. I wouldn’t trust these two to fetch butter from the supermarket, much less save the galaxy. And the science blunders are jaw-dropping. Could they not get someone who passed high school physics as a consultant? Full Review Here

The Dark Tower

  • Release Date: August 4, 2917
  • Rotten Tomatoes: 16% Rotten, 47% Liked
  • Box Office: $50,701,325
  • Production Budget: $60,000,000
  • Viewed: Yes
  • The Dark Tower movie, Stephen King, Matthew McConaughey, Idris ElbaMy Take: Well, I read all seven of the books and loved them so I’m not exactly an objective observer. A lot gets crammed into this film and it probably should have been made into an HBO or Netflix series instead. The story needs room to breathe and it doesn’t get it in this format. The cast is good but the story is marred by Matthew McConaughey playing a suave and metrosexual—but not very scary—villain. They needed Iwan Rheon to pull this role off. I enjoyed seeing the book come to life on the screen but would have liked a cable series much better. Full Review Here

Brave New Jersey

  • Release Date: August 4, 2017
  • Rotten Tomatoes: 47% Rotten, 36% Liked
  • Box Office: $16,544
  • Production Budget: NA
  • Viewed: No
  • My Take: Another Indy film that came and went without a ripple. Look for it on cable.


  • Release Date: September 29, 2017
  • Rotten Tomatoes: 5% Rotten, 35% Liked
  • Box Office: $16,883,115
  • Production Budget: $20,000,000
  • Viewed: No. Are you kidding me?
  • My Take: This remake of the 1990 movie didn’t need to be made. The original movie had Tomatometer scores of 48% Rotten and 59% Liked. They should have done a DNR on this one.

Blade Runner 2049

  • Release Date: October 6, 2017
  • Rotten Tomatoes: 87% Fresh, 81% Liked
  • Box Office: $91,810,919
  • Production Budget: $150,000,000
  • Viewed: Yes
  • My Take: This time around, we got desert as well as rain but the movie was consistently murky throughout. Inexplicable plot holes, an incoherent story and unwarranted violence marred what could have been an outstanding sequel to an iconic movie. Even Harrison Ford couldn’t pull this one into profitability.


  • Release Date: October 20, 2017
  • Rotten Tomatoes: 13% Rotten, 40% Liked
  • Box Office: $33,686,265
  • Production Budget: $120,000,000
  • Viewed: No
  • My Take: In the trailer, I saw a standard disaster movie with the entire world falling prey to a perfect storm of horrific meteorological events. Without a good story to make you care, even the end of the world can get boring.

Cloverfield 3

  • Release Date: Delayed. Still in development until this year. No cast announced.
  • Rotten Tomatoes: NA
  • Box Office: NA
  • Production Budget: $26,000,000
  • Viewed: No
  • My Take: This is probably the same movie as The God Particle, which Paramount has removed from its schedule.

The God Particle: Resurrection

  • Release Date: Removed from schedule.
  • Rotten Tomatoes: NA
  • Box Office: NA
  • Production Budget: NA
  • Viewed: No
  • My Take: See Cloverfield 3 above.

The Shape of Water

  • Release Date: December 8, 2017
  • Rotten Tomatoes: 93% Fresh, 82% Liked
  • Box Office: $22,143,656 and still going strong
  • Production Budget: $194,400,000
  • Viewed: Yes
  • My Take: This sequel to The Creature from the Black Lagoon is gorgeous, thoughtful, engaging and horrific, all at the same time. It’s one of those rare movies that sends you out of the theater thinking about (1) love, (2) normality, (3) the nature of humanity, (3) the nature of gods and monsters. It has won two Golden Globe awards, five BAFTA awards, and a long list of other awards from a wide variety of organizations around the country and internationally. Don’t take my word for it; just go see it for yourselves.

Star Wars: The Last Jedi

  • Release Date: December 15, 2017
  • Rotten Tomatoes: 90% Fresh, 49% Liked
  • Box Office: $574,483,043 and still going strong
  • Production Budget: NA
  • Viewed: Yes
  • Star Wars: The Last Jedi, 13 science fiction moviesMy Take: While gaps in Tomatometer scores often occur, you don’t usually see a science fiction movie with a rabid fan base score lower on audience Likes than on critical reviews. Usually it’s the other way around, as mundane film critics turn their collective noses up at movies the fans love. I think this reflects some “Are you kidding me?” moments in the story along with a dour, glum and depressed Luke Skywalker—which no one wanted to see. Even Mark Hamill. Still, it takes you into the Star Wars Universe with no Jar Jar Binks.


  • Release Date: December 22, 2017
  • Rotten Tomatoes: 27% Rotten, 87% Liked
  • Box Office: Nada. Netflix only.
  • Production Budget: $90,000,000
  • Viewed: Yes
  • Bright movie, Will Smith, Joel Edgerton, Orc, Netflix

    Will Smith and Joel Edgerton

    My Take: I would have liked this Netflix original movie better had I not been so tired I slept through the last quarter. Still, it had too many references to 1988’s Alien Nation movie and the subsequent TV series. That movie had an alien-human detective team and Bright has an orc-human partnership with elves, fairies and other creatures that are fictional in this world but real in the world of Bright. The plot seemed overly complicated but then, I was really tired. Clearly most viewers did not agree with me because Netflix reports that

“Bright is the No. 1 movie on Netflix internationally, and is the “highest viewed Netflix film ever on the service in its first week of release and one of the biggest originals (including sequels/additional seasons) Netflix has ever launched.”

Netflix has ordered a sequel and it is already underway with the original cast.

That concludes the second-half wrapup of science fiction movies. I’ll try to pull together this year’s selection of science fiction movies next week.

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