Tomorrow's Theater ... Today

Greg Dean Schmitz

This week we look at upcoming movies associated with this week's "A Dog's Journey,"" John Wick: Chapter 3 - Parabellum," and "The Sun is Also a Star."

Toy Story 4 (6/21/2019)
Keanu Reeves is starring in the third John Wick movie this week, and next month, is joining the Toy Story with its fourth film. The Toy Story movies have always been a little bit more about the toys parents had when they were kids, and that notion continues with Keanu Reeves' Duke Caboom stuntman character. The obvious reference point for Duke Caboom is Evel Knievel, the real life motorcycle daredevil stuntman who inspired a popular toy franchise in the 1970s (the last toy came out in 1977, and Evel Knievel died in 2007). Other new characters in "Toy Story 4" include Ducky (Keegan-Michael Key), Bunny (Jordan Peele), and Forky (Tony Hale from Veep).

Dora and the Lost City of Gold (8/9/2019) (Walden Media)
The studio most known for children's films is probably almost-too-obviously Walt Disney Pictures, but they're not the only company with that sort of focus. Walden Media has been in business since 2003, producing such movies as "Holes," "How to Eat Fried Worms," and the "Chronicles of Narnia" franchise. They were also behind 2017's "A Dog's Purpose," and this week's sequel, "A Dog's Journey." The next big kid-friendly franchise that Walden Media will give us is Dora the Explorer, with the slightly-older version in "Dora and the Lost City of Gold." 17-year-old Isabela Moner (of Nickelodeon's "100 Things to Do Before High School") stars in Dora the Explorer's first live-action adventure, supported by a mostly Latin cast that includes Benicio del Toro, Eugenio Derbez, Eva Longoria, Michael Peña, and Danny Trejo.

The Angry Birds Movie 2 (8/16/2019) (Josh Gad)
After dozens of movies based on video games, this past weekend's "Pokémon Detective Pikachu" was the first to have a "Fresh" Tomatometer rating at Rotten Tomatoes (64%). 2016's "The Angry Birds Movie," based on the popular mobile game franchise, didn't quite get there with just 43%, but it's getting a sequel this summer anyway. The number of stars lending their voices to either pigs or birds this time is nearly doubling. The new voice cast this time around includes Awkwafina, Sterling K. Brown, Nicki Minaj, Beck Bennett and Leslie Jones (both from Saturday Night Live), and Eugenio Derbez (just a week after he's also in "Dora and the Lost City of Gold"). The returning cast includes Peter Dinklage (hot off of Game of Thrones), Bill Hader, Danny McBride, Jason Sudeikis, and Josh Gad, who voices the lead dogs in this week's "A Dog's Journey."

The Informer (8/16/2019) (Thunder Road Pictures)
After this week's "John Wick: Chapter 3 - Parabellum," the Thunder Road production company will follow it up with another action thriller called "The Informer." Joel Kinnaman, who starred in the RoboCop remake and as Rick Flag in Suicide Squad, stars as a former special ops soldier who works with the FBI to infiltrate the Polish mob's drug operations in New York City. Kinnaman's costars will include Rosamund Pike (Gone Girl), Clive Owen (The Bourne Identity), and Common (Terminator: Salvation, and also Suicide Squad).

Frozen II (11/22/2019) (Josh Gad)
If there's one theme to the movies connected to this week's latest films, that theme would be: sequels. In almost any other grouping, "Toy Story 4" would be the highest profile such sequel, but Disney is also delivering "Frozen II" this November. Frozen was a box office juggernaut in 2013, earning the top spot that year in box office with over $1.276 billion worldwide, and $400 million domestically. All of the franchise favorites (including "A Dog's Journey" star Josh Gad as the voice of Olaf) are returning in a new adventure which promises to focus on the Autumn season after the first movie was all about Winter.

Artemis Fowl (5/29/2020)
Wow, Josh Gad really is staying very, very busy. In addition to all of the voice roles which we mentioned up above, Josh Gad also put in a live action role as "Mulch Diggums" in Disney's "Artemis Fowl." The movie has been in development since the early 2000s, shortly after Eoin Colfer's first YA novel in the series came out. Almost ironically, after 15+ years of development, "Artemis Fowl" experienced another delay this year as Walt Disney Pictures adjusted their schedule following their acquisition of the 20th Century Fox film properties. "Artemis Fowl" was to have come out this August 9, 2019 (which is why the trailer says "2019"), but was recently pushed to over a year from now, on May 29, 2020 (the week before the DC Comics sequel "Wonder Woman 1984").

Bill & Ted Face the Music (8/21/2020) (Keanu Reeves)
Artemis Fowl might have had to wait nearly two decades to come out, but that's nothing compared to "Bill & Ted Face the Music." The first time travel movie starring Keanu Reeves and Alex Winter, "Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure," came out in 1989, and it was relatively quickly followed in 1991 by "Bill & Ted's Bogus Journey." That, however, was 28 years ago now, and so both Keanu Reeves, Alex Winter, and the characters they played have aged a lot. "Bill & Ted Face" the Music promises to be a rock and roll comedy about our heroes as they have hit middle age and seemingly have not changed the world with rock and roll as the franchise's whole premise had promised. Production of "Bill & Ted Face the Music" just started recently, so we don't know much beyond this announcement from the Hollywood Bowl (except that we do know that William Sadler is back as the Grim Reaper). Party on.