The premiere of “Ron’s Gone Wrong,” 20th Century Studios and Locksmith Animation’s animated sci-fi film, took place at the El Capitan Theater in Hollywood on Tuesday night. Directed by Sarah Smith, the family movie follows socially awkward seventh grader Barney Pudowski (Jack Dylan Grazer) who receives robot Ron (Zach Galifianakis) for his birthday.
In the film’s futuristic setting, owning a B*Bot is a status symbol among Barney’s classmates and the lonely boy is hoping that acquiring a robotic companion of his own will help his efforts to fit in. Though Barney is initially dismayed when his knockoff B*Bot begins to malfunction, a true friendship eventually blossoms between the pair.
During an era in which the issue couldn’t seem timelier, “Ron’s Gone Wrong” delves into the topic of social media and its effects on its young characters, who are largely defined by their online presence. With the recent revelations that social media giant Facebook was aware that its platform can have negative effects on children and the pause of Instagram Kids, the film is debuting amid an ongoing examination of social media’s impact on people’s lives.
Galifianakis told Variety, “I think the fact that we have to ask these questions means we don’t really know.”
He continued, “There just haven’t been enough laws. I think. Not that I’m a social critic. But my friends have told me that they’ve been in Twitter battles with people and then they realize that they are robots. The whole principle of it doesn’t have a lot of validity.”
Galifianakis also said that he questions the effect of other modern forms of communication. “Even the way that we communicate through texting, even that, and this is going to sound really weird and like I’m an old fogey, but there is no sarcastic font.”
“You interpret what you’re reading. You don’t hear my voice. I have to call people because texting to me is archaic. Even that has shifted us in a weird way in our communication. There really has been this powered shift and I think we need to be more alert to it.”
Though the release of “Ron’s Gone Wrong” seems fortuitously timed, the film has been in the works since 2017. Grazer told Variety, “It feels like it’s all paid off. I’ve spent a big chunk of my life working on this.”
He added, “This movie capitalizes on a lot of the issues that I think the youth is facing in regards to social media like feeling insecure and there’s a lot of judgment on social media. This movie is really about finding your own and finding the importance and the value of true friendship.”
Kylie Cantrall, who voices popular teen influencer Savannah Meades said, “It’s just finding the delicate balance of not letting it take over your life and knowing who you are and not comparing yourself to other people that you see online.”
When asked how he felt about attending a big Hollywood premiere again, Galifianakis said, “I’m going to be honest with you, I didn’t really get into this business for all the red carpet stuff. But it’s exciting. It’s nice to see people out and about. It really is. This is the most people I’ve seen in many, many months.”