Tomorrow's Theater ... Today

Greg Dean Schmitz

Now that you've picked this week's league, check out these new trailers that debuted this week in the build up to the releases later this month of both "Jumanji: The Next Level" and "Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker," plus some connected to "Playmobil: The Movie."

The Gentlemen (1/24/2020)
This week, Hollywood began to push out trailers for some of their biggest 2020 movies in advance of the releases of "Jumanji: The Next Level" next week, and "Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker" the week after. Before we get to all that, though, let's review some trailers for movies closer to release that are tied to this week's "Playmobil: The Movie." Pretty much every distributor that handles wide releases has their toes dipped in kid-friendly animated movies, and STXfilms is no different. So, the same company that's giving us "Playmobil: The Movie" this week is also going to give us the next crime comedy from director Guy Ritchie ("Snatch," "Revolver"). After taking several years off to make big budget Hollywood movies (like Robert Downey Jr.'s "Sherlock" and its sequel, and Disney's recent "Aladdin" remake), Guy Ritchie is back in England with an ensemble that includes Colin Farrell, Hugh Grant, Henry Golding, and Matthew McConaughey.

Emma (2/21/2020)
The female lead (toy) in "Playmobil: The Movie" is voiced by Anya Taylor-Joy, who first shot to fame in the moody Pilgrim horror film, "The Witch," which was followed by M. Night Shyamalan's "Split" and "Glass." In February, Anya Taylor-Joy will be starring in the latest reboot of Jane Austen's "Emma," which most famously was the basis of the 1996 film of the same title starring Gwyneth Paltrow. Jane Austen's novel has a lighter mood than, say, "Pride and Prejudice," but this latest version seems to be more of a straight-up comedy. The ensemble cast includes Bill Nighy ("Hot Fuzz," "Shaun of the Dead"), Mia Goth ("Suspiria"), and Josh O'Connor, who recently joined Netflix's "The Crown" as the (young) adult Prince Charles.

Mulan (3/27/2020)
Walt Disney Pictures is very much in the business these days of releasing teasers and trailers for their biggest films way, way, way ahead of release. For their next big live action remake of one of their animated favorites, "Mulan," Disney did just that, with a teaser trailer released in July during the Women's World Cup Finals. It wasn't until this week, however, that we received the first official full trailer for "Mulan," and it sets up the premise of the remake pretty well, including addressing some questions fans have had. For example, we've known for a while that Eddie Murphy's dragon character Mushu wasn't included (because he wasn't in the original Chinese legend either), but what we're getting instead is a phoenix, another flying mystical creature.

The New Mutants (4/3/2020)
Earlier this year, Disney finished their acquisition of the 20th Century Fox film and TV properties, but there are still a few movies from before then that Disney hasn't yet released. Some of the trickier properties in the transition from Fox to Disney are the various movies based on Marvel Comics that Fox had the rights to adapt since the 1990s (notably "Fantastic Four" and "X-Men"). With last year's "X-Men: Dark Phoenix" representing an end to that generation of heroes, Fox produced "The New Mutants," which seems to take some of Marvel's mutants and apply a "Blumhouse-style horror movie" lens to them. That includes Wolfsbane (played by Maisie Williams, AKA Arya Stark from "Game of Thrones") and Magik, played by Anya Taylor-Joy of this week's "Playmobil: The Movie."

No Time to Die (4/8/2020)
Curiously, the two biggest movies to get their trailers this week were both spy action movies from famous franchises. Next year's "No Time to Die" will be the final James Bond movie starring Daniel Craig. Narratively, this will presumably mean that it will be the movie in which the remaining loose ends from previous movies like 2015's "Spectre" will get as tied up as they can. (Unless of course MGM plans on including those stories with the next James Bond, but generally, the franchise "reboots" with each new Bond.) There was a lot of hype earlier this year when it was revealed that Lashana Lynch ("Captain Marvel") would be the new 007, but in this trailer, her character is just referred to as a "double-0," not specifically 007. We also get to see a new villain played by Rami Malek ("Bohemian Rhapsody").

Black Widow (5/1/2020)
We already know that the "Ghostbusters: Afterlife" and "Wonder Woman 1984" trailers will both be coming the next few days, but Marvel Studios got a jump on their Distinguished Competition at DC Comics with the trailer for the "Black Widow" solo movie. After being in development for several years, the timeline in the rest of the Marvel Cinematic Universe may have moved past this movie's setting, but this isn't actually the first time Marvel has stepped things back a bit ("Captain Marvel" was set in the 1990s). There's also the possibility that "Black Widow" might introduce characters that could spinoff into other movies, or maybe shows on Disney+. That might include Red Guardian (David Harbour from "Stranger Things"), a new Black Widow (Florence Pugh), and the mysterious mercenary Taskmaster (briefly seen in this first trailer as the archer with the helmet that looks like a skull).