Tomorrow's Theater ... Today

Greg Dean Schmitz

FML's long-range forecast column comes at you with trailers that have debuted this week, some of which were during San Diego Comic-Con.

Don't Let Go (8/30/2019)
Sometimes trailers debut online a year before their release, or close to it (see "Top Gun: Maverick," which doesn't come out until the week before the 4th of July... of 2020!). And then, sometimes, there are movies which almost wait until the relative last minute. "Don't Let Go" is a supernatural thriller which debuted in January at the prestigious Sundance Film Festival. It was produced by Blumhouse, the company behind thriller hits like "Get Out", "Happy Death Day," and "Split," but it didn't receive studio distribution, so it's being released by an indie called OTL Releasing. David Oyelowo ("Selma") stars as a detective who receives a phone call from his niece (Storm Reid from "A Wrinkle in Time") who seemingly recently died.

Hustlers (9/13/2019)
Some of the biggest "surprise" hit comedies of the last ten years or so have been movies like "Bridesmaids," "Pitch Perfect," and "Girls Trip" which featured all-female lead ensembles. Formerly indie director Lorene Scafaria might be aiming for something like that with the "dramedy" "Hustlers," based on the true story of a group of strippers who team up to rip off their wealthy male clients. The seven stars include Constance Wu ("Crazy Rich Asians" and TV's "Fresh Off the Boat"), hit rapper Cardi B, two other rappers (Lizzo and Keke Palmer), and needs-no-introduced multi-hyphenate star Jennifer Lopez.

The Hunt (9/27/2019)
In this age when most movies are sequels, remakes, or based on popular comic books or video games, it's getting increasingly rare that a movie can get produced and just a month or two from release without anyone having a clue what it's about. That however, is exactly what happened this year with Blumhouse's "The Hunt" which until this week was just described as being a "politically charged thriller." As it turns out, though, the title "The Hunt" pretty much tells you exactly the premise, as it's nearly a remake of the classic film and story, "The Most Dangerous Game." Twelve strangers wake up in a woods to discover that they're about to be hunted by the uber-wealthy.

Playing with Fire (11/8/2019)
One of the appeals of professional wrestlers-turned-actors (super obviously) is that they come into their film careers packing their own "guns." The route to crossover success may not necessarily, however, be solely in action movie fare, as we can see by considering the filmographies of people like Dave Bautista and Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson. That's definitely what John Cena has been doing. Yes, he's been in action movies like last year's Transformers prequel, "Bumblebee," but he also costarred in Amy Schumer's comedy, "Trainwreck." Cena's next film, "Playing with Fire" is basically a family coemdy, as John Cena, John Leguizamo, and Keegan-Michael Key play firefighters who take in a family of kids following their rescue from a fire. Then, as the phrase goes, "hilarity ensues!"

Cats (12/20/2019)
Although it's nowhere close to being what one would consider a "comic book convention" movie, without the doubt, the most visually stunning movie to debut so far this week has been the long-in-development adaptation of the classic Andrew Lloyd Webber musical, "Cats." The idea of a "Cats" movie is both so obvious, and has been around so long, that it was one of the running jokes in the Will Smith movie "Six Degrees of Separation," and that movie came out twenty six years ago (!). Director Tom Hooper has experience with adapting a long-running Broadway hit musical with 2012's "Les Miserables," and he assembled another impressive ensemble cast again to play the singing "Cats." Taylor Swift is probably the biggest "name" here, but there are also veteran actors (Sir Ian McKellen, Dame Judi Dench), comedians (Rebel Wilson and James Corden), Idris Elba, and to sing "Memories," you've got Jennifer Hudson.

The King's Man (2/14/2020)
This third movie in the "Kingsman" spy franchise has been untitled for much of its development and production time, but since its a prequel about the early days of the "Kingsman" espionage agency, maybe it should have been obvious that it would be called, simply, "The King's Man." This first look also really nails the "teaser" aspect of a trailer that serves to first introduce us to a movie's premise. "The King's Man" also might arguably have a more subtle aspect that leans more on its impressive British cast than the spy movie bells and whistles of the first two movies. Director Matthew Vaughn almost seemed to be picking samples from various other franchises. We've got here the big bad from the "Harry Potter" movies (Ralph Fiennes), a "Spider-Man" movie villain (Rhys Ifans), the villain from "Watchmen," Tywin Lannister from "Game of Thrones" (Charles Dance), and three different Marvel Studios stars (Daniel Brühl, Djimon Hounsou, and Aaron Taylor-Johnson).

Top Gun: Maverick (6/26/2020)
Some sequels take so long to get made that people are left scratching their heads when they find out the sequel got made. Every once in a while, though, there is a sequel to a hit movie released decades ago that actually finds an audience that's eager for a return. One movie that's coming out this year that seems to possibly be in that category is "Doctor Sleep," based on Stephen King's sequel to his novel "The Shining." Another movie in that category might be next summer's "Top Gun: Maverick," the sequel to the 1986 Tom Cruise hit. That means the sequel is coming out 34 years after the first movie, which might be longer than most average movie goers today have been alive. The trailer promises, though, everything a "Top Gun" could ask for: fast jets, Tom Cruise in movie star form; there's even a glimpse of shirtless beach volleyball.