Domestic robots are quickly becoming a practical reality, and Hollywood is keen to explore the implications… with a dash of slapstick comedy thrown in. Entertainment Weekly reports that 20th Century Studios and Locksmith Animation have released the first trailer for Ron’s Gone Wrong, the CG-animated tale of Barney (Luca‘s Jack Dylan Grazer), a boy who gets a home robot (Zach Galifianakis) meant to be his “best friend out of the box.” It’s glitchy, of course, leading to more than a few hijinks as well as lessons in friendship and being human.
The movie’s star-loaded cast also includes Olivia Colman, Ed Helms and Rob Delaney. It should reach theaters on October 22nd. There are no mentions of streaming plans so far, although we’d expect it to reach Disney+ at some point.
It’s hard to escape the parallels to Big Hero 6 — it’s another coming-of-age story where a charming robot helps a boy discover himself. There are some thematic differences, however. While Big Hero 6 embodied the optimism of 2010s-era Silicon Valley and the potential for robots to make life better, Ron’s Gone Wrong may be slightly more grounded. The villain here wants kids to stay glued to their devices rather than meeting face-to-face. The movie producers clearly want to teach children that technology should enable in-person interaction, not replace it.
And yes, the context of the COVID-19 pandemic skews the meaning. Director Sarah Smith previously told EW that her title illustrated the problems with talking “entirely through screens and messages” as the pandemic required. Ron’s Gone Wrong is arriving just as vaccines are making it safe for friends to meet in person once again, and this movie might just encourage people to make those real-world connections.
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