‘Captain America’ Director Joe Johnston Returning to ‘Honey, I Shrunk the Kids’ Franchise

     December 5, 2019

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Honey, I Shrunk the Kids was one of my favorite movies when I was a kid, and while Josh Gad has been developing a sequel for the better part of the past year, it has been unclear who would direct the Disney movie — until now. In an inspired move, Disney is bringing back original director Joe Johnston to direct Shrunk, which will find Gad playing the son of Wayne Szalinski, the scientist played by Rick Moranis in the 1989 classic.

The project brings Johnston’s career full circle, as he actually made his feature directorial debut with Honey, I Shrunk the Kids, which grossed $222 million worldwide 30 years ago, though he wasn’t involved with the 1992 sequel Honey, I Blew Up the Kid or its 1997 follow-up Honey, We Shrunk Ourselves. Instead, Johnston went on to direct live-action family films such as The Rocketeer, The Pagemaster and Jumanji.

Gad pitched the idea for the latest sequel earlier this year, and while Disney initially had the project in mind for its streaming service Disney+, the studio has since reversed course and decided to develop the film as a theatrical release. Variety broke the news, and reported that the strategy shift was based on the strength of Todd Rosenberg‘s most recent draft of the script, which elicited enthusiasm from Disney executives.

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Image via Buena Vista Pictures

David Hoberman is producing the movie, which will find Gad accidentally shrinking his own children after following in his father’s footsteps and becoming a scientist himself. Disney apparently met with other directors before deciding to bring back Johnston, who stepped in to finish The Nutcracker and the Four Realms for the studio last year after original director Lasse Hallstrom‘s schedule prevented him from directing reshoots for the film.

It’s nice to see that Disney hasn’t forgotten about Johnston, who followed his 2011 blockbuster Captain America: The First Avenger with a low-budget Blumhouse movie titled Not Safe for Work that didn’t even garner a theatrical release. He’s an excellent director of family films, and I’m eager to see how modern technology will change his approach toward directing the major set pieces in Shrunk.

Per Variety, development is still in the early stages and Disney has yet to officially greenlight the project. But with Gad onboard, the studio may not be able to resist, as he’s a key part of the Frozen franchise, and Frozen 2 has already grossed $750 million worldwide. He’ll also appear in Disney’s Artemis Fowl, which hits theaters next year.

Johnston’s additional credits include Jurassic Park III, The Wolfman, Hidalgo and October Sky. He got his start working on the original Star Wars trilogy as well as the first two Indiana Jones movies. Paradigm represents the filmmaker. For more on Captain America, check out Matt Goldberg‘s retrospective on The First Avenger by clicking here.

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