The trailer to Disney and 20th Century Studios’ Ron’s Gone Wrong has finally been released today. The film, which centers on the friendship between the titular rogue robot (Zach Galifanakis) and socially awkward junior-high student Barney (Jack Dylan Graze), marks the first animated feature from Locksmith Animation in association with Disney and 20th Century Studios.
Directed by Sarah Smith and Jean-Philippe Vine and co-director Octavio Rodriguez, with a script from Peter Baynham and Smith, Barney always wanted a B-Bot, a device that acts as a smart robot and digital best friend. He is finally given one named Ron, but it turns out to be defective. But before Barney could return it to the B-Bot Centre, Ron rescues his owner from school bullies, which causes Barney to think his B-Bot isn’t as bad as he thought.
Smith had the idea for Ron’s Gone Wrong when her daughter came home and told her she had no one to play with during recess. She also thought about how complicated it must be for kids now more than ever with technology.
“I literally remember sitting on a sofa with a glass of wine watching her and thinking, ‘we have to make that movie for kids, because kids don’t understand that maybe what their experience is online [is] different [from] yours,’ said Smith during an early press day for the film. “It’s not necessarily completely straightforward and truthful.”
Smith wanted this film to be different from the robot movies being made where AI is seen as dangerous or a Godsend. Ron is not that kind of artificial intelligence.
“It’s actually about something which kids have in their homes,” Smith explained. “It’s about the way their iPad talks to them, you know? It’s really about social media and the online experience. We’ve always played the game with Ron that he only learns by imitation. Everything that he does is based on things he sees and hears, and he gradually builds his own kind of knowledge of the world.”
Basically, Ron is just a robot who learns and never develops a consciousness. “So Barney sets out to teach this thing friendship, and in the end Barney’s the one who gets the real lesson, and Ron’s the one who teaches him,” explained Baynham.
Smith wants the audience to know that the movie isn’t trying to say technology is good or bad or that kids need to disconnect from wanting the latest tech like B-Bot, but that technology is here to stay.
“We needed to make a more challenging movie, which is about ‘how do we, as parents, as children, as kids growing up in a world in which this is all they’ve ever known, how do we learn to live with the tech?” said Smith.
Ron’s Gone Wrong opens in theaters on October 22.
Ron’s Gone Wrong is the story of Barney, a socially awkward middle-schooler and Ron, his new walking, talking, digitally-connected device, which is supposed to be his “Best Friend out of the Box.” Ron’s hilarious malfunctions set against the backdrop of the social media age, launch them into an action-packed journey in which boy and robot come to terms with the wonderful messiness of true friendship. “Ron’s Gone Wrong” features the voices of Zach Galifianakis, Jack Dylan Grazer, Olivia Colman, Ed Helms, Justice Smith, Rob Delaney, Kylie Cantrall, Ricardo Hurtado, Marcus Scribner, Thomas Barbusca.