Tomorrow's Theater ... Today

Greg Dean Schmitz

FML's newest column continues this week with upcoming movies associated with this week's Pokémon: Detective Pikachu, The Hustle, Poms, and Tolkien.

Godzilla: King of the Monsters (5/31/2019)
Although the company that fans naturally associate with Pokémon: Detective Pikachu is Nintendo, the franchise's long-time console home. In addition to Nintendo, Pokémon: Detective Pikachu is also produced by Legendary Entertainment and released by Warner Bros. Those two companies also have Godzilla: King of the Monsters, the next in their "MonsterVerse" (which also included 2017's Kong: Skull Island), coming out later this month. Godzilla is joined this time around by Mothra, Rodan, and King Ghidorah, and the latest trailer teases there might be a dozen more "titan" monster. The human costars in Godzilla: King of the Monsters include TV favorites Millie Bobby Brown (Stranger Things), Vera Farmiga (Bates Motel), Kyle Chandler (Friday Night Lights), and Bradley Whitford (The West Wing).

Dark Phoenix (6/7/2019) (Nicholas Hoult)
There have been a lot of news stories about Disney's plans for their recently-acquired 20th Century Fox properties, and that includes that studio's adaptations of some Marvel Comics titles. That includes the X-Men movies, which are winding down with two films: this June's Dark Phoenix, and The New Mutants (which was pushed back this week to April 3, 2020). Fans are excited about Wolverine, Deadpool, the X-Men, and the Fantastic Four joining the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but all of that is probably a few years away. In the meantime, we've got Dark Phoenix featuring Sophie Turner (Sansa Stark from Game of Thrones) and other X-Men favorites like James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, and Jeniifer Lawrence.

21 Bridges (7/12/2019)
The Marvel Cinematic Universe has so many popular characters now that it's getting harder and harder to find new movies that don't feature at least one actor who was in one of the Marvel movies. 21 Bridges might otherwise be just another "cop movie," but the twist that stands out about 21 Bridges is that the central NYPD detective character is played Black Panther himself, Chadwick Boseman. The movie also features former Marvel stars J.K. Simmons (J.J. Jameson in the Spider-Man movies) and Taylor Kitsch (Gambit in X-Men Origins: Wolverine). 21 Bridges is the next film from the "mini-major" STX Entertainment, after this week's "grandma cheerleaders" comedy Poms.

Playmobil: The Movie (8/30/2019)
This year's sequel The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part was a box office bomb with a domestic total of $105 million, which is left than half of the $257 million The LEGO Movie earned in 2014. Warner Bros has already cooled the brakes on their plans for future LEGO movies, but in the meantime, there are movies like Playmobil: The Movie which started development back when the LEGO movie was still perceived as an animated movie franchise juggernaut. The trailer for Playmobil: The Movie shows off a premise that takes a "meta" approach somewhat similar to The LEGO Movie, except this time, the human lead (Anya-Taylor Joy from Split) enters the toy world herself. Playmobil: The Movie is another movie like 21 Bridges that's coming from STX, the company behind Poms.

Sonic the Hedgehog (11/8/2019)
Last week, Paramount Pictures released the first trailer for their adaptation of the Sonic the Hedgehog video game franchise, and fans "were not having it." Sonic the Hedgehog quickly became a popular target on social networking for everything from Sonic's eyes, the angle of his nose, the weird shape of his legs, and most disturbing of all possibly, his human-looking teeth. (Jim Carrey as the live-action Dr. Robotnik emerged relatively unscathed). In a quick about-face, director Jeff Fowler announced on Twitter that Sonic the Hedgehog would be redesigned before the film's November release as a response to the negative online comments. That news also shocked fans, because, "wait a second, complaining about something online actually worked?"

Cats (12/20/2019)
We don't yet have a trailer for this December's long-awaited movie adaptation of the popular Broadway musical Cats. We have, however, been getting lots of details about the cast and production, as you can hear about in this video podcast from Director Tom Hooper (Les Miserables) has attracted a dazzling all-star cast which includes singers like Jennifer Hudson, Taylor Swift, and James Corden ("Carpool Karaoke" counts); and acclaimed actors like Idris Elba, Dame Judi Dench, and Sir Ian McKellen. Cats also includes Rebel Wilson from this week's Dirty Rotten Scoundrels remake This Hustle as Jennyanydots. The singing Cats will reportedly be played by the actors using motion-capture animation to make them look like actual cats, with gigantic sets so they're all relative to the size of real-life Cats.

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker (12/20/2019)
Pokémon: Detective Pikachu looks like a lot of fun, but it's also noteworthy for the film's apparent willingness to really deep dive into Pokémon video game lore (such as dangling Mewtwo as a big deal, which probably only Pokémon fans would be aware of). We might be able to credit the screenwriters for that sort of knowledge, and one of them is Derek Connolly. He's in high demand right now (including work on the upcoming Metal Gear Solid movie), but probably his most impressive credit coming soon is Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker. This was a big week for Star Wars, as we learned the franchise will continue after Rise of Skywalker with new movies scheduled for December every two years, starting in 2022 and continuing in 2024 and 2026 (and probably beyond).