A Dog's Journey (film)

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A Dog's Journey
A Dogs Journey Movie Poster Art.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed byGail Mancuso
Produced byGavin Polone
Screenplay by
Based onA Dog's Journey
by W. Bruce Cameron
Music by
CinematographyRogier Stoffers
Edited byRobert Komatsu
Distributed byUniversal Pictures
Release date
  • May 17, 2019 (2019-05-17)
Running time
108 minutes
CountryUnited States
Budget$16 million[2]
Box office$26 million[2][3]

A Dog's Journey is a 2019 American comedy-drama film directed by Gail Mancuso and written by W. Bruce Cameron, Cathryn Michon, Maya Forbes, and Wally Wolodarsky. The film is based on the 2012 novel of the same name by Cameron, and a sequel to the 2017 film A Dog's Purpose. The film stars Josh Gad, Dennis Quaid, Marg Helgenberger, Betty Gilpin, Kathryn Prescott, and Henry Lau.

The film is a co-production between Amblin Entertainment, Reliance Entertainment, Walden Media, and Alibaba Pictures and was released by Universal Pictures in the United States on May 17, 2019.[4]


i. Bailey[edit]

Bailey, an elderly St. Bernard/Australian shepherd mix, lives happily with his owner Ethan (Quaid) and his wife Hannah (Helgenberger), and their two year-old granddaughter Clarity June “CJ” (Emma Volk) and her mother Gloria (Giplin). Bailey, communicating with the audience via his thoughts, has a fondness for CJ. Gloria is shown to be an incompetent mother and have a hatred for dogs, as well as a dysfunctional relationship with her dead boyfriend, Henry’s, parents (Hannah and Ethan), all leading her to eventually move out with CJ. Soon thereafter, Ethan discovers a malignant lump in Bailey’s stomach, and a veterinarian clinic deems he must be euthanized. Ethan holds Bailey lovingly and tells him to take care of CJ, before he is lethally injected. Bailey, now dead, is then seen running through a grassy field towards young CJ.

ii. Molly[edit]

Seven years later, Bailey, who has been reincarnated as a female beagle named Molly, lives at an animal shelter. She sees a young boy named Trent (Ian Chen) and his family adopt her brother, Rocky. She also sees a young girl with him, who she recognizes is CJ, now nine years-old (Abby Ryder Forston). Molly, remembering the promise she made as Bailey to Ethan, runs outside to CJ. CJ, now living in an apartment with Gloria, takes Molly home with her and hides her from her mother. Gloria eventually sees Molly and reprimands CJ for getting a dog behind her back, but CJ persuades her mother to let her keep the dog given how neglected she feels.

Over time, CJ and Molly grow increasingly close, along with Trent and Rocky. CJ, now a teenager (Prescott), reveals to Trent (Lau) that she wants to drop out of high school and move to New York with her father’s insurance settlement to pursue a career in music. While CJ is busy, Hannah and Ethan visit Gloria’s home with a box of Henry’s old belongings, wanting to see CJ. However, Gloria, still angry over their discord, closes the door on them, but not before Molly takes a liking to Ethan, and he recognizes her as Bailey and reminds him of his request to protect CJ.

CJ befriends a bad boy named Shane, whom Molly distrusts and tries to protect her from. Shane invites her to a party, which gets busted by police for underage drinking; CJ is then sentenced to community service at a facility that teaches dogs how to diagnose cancer with their sense of smell, and Molly learns how to do this. Shane is revealed to be abusive towards CJ, and Gloria’s nonchalant response and revelation that she has spent Henry’s insurance settlement provokes her to leave with Molly. While driving, she discovers Shane is following her, and, in trying to avoid him, gets in an accident that kills Molly. Molly is then shown running through the same grassy field that Bailey was when he died.

iii. Big Dog[edit]

Bailey, again reincarnated, this time as a mastiff named Big Dog, lives with his new owner, Joe, and is a guard dog at his gas station/convenience store. Although he enjoys his new life, he misses CJ. One day, CJ, now a young adult, visits the store, and Big Dog recognizes and engages with her. After she leaves, he lives the rest of his life missing her, and eventually dies. He is then shown running through the grassy field again.

iv. Max[edit]

Bailey, once again reincarnated, this time as a Yorkshire terrier named Max, is up for adoption during a public showing in New York. He bites every person who shows interest in adopting him, until he sees CJ and chases her all the way to her apartment complex. CJ is reluctant to keep Max, but she learns that if Max isn’t adopted by the next day, he will be sent to a pound. CJ, living with her boyfriend and working as a dog walker while building her music career on the side, adopts Max, who befriends her boyfriend’s dog.

Max eventually discovers that Trent, now a young adult, has moved into their apartment complex with his girlfriend (he also realizes that Rocky has since died). Max, sensing that CJ and Trent have feelings for each other, destroys CJ’s relationship with her boyfriend, causing them to break up and for her to move out of his apartment and in with Trent. Soon after, Max remembers learning what cancer smells like back during Molly's life, and informs CJ that he smells cancer on Trent. Max is revealed to be right, and Trent begins chemotherapy. His girlfriend leaves him, leaving CJ as his primary caretaker. Eventually, Trent’s doctor informs him that he is cancer-free, and CJ is visited by Gloria after not having seen her in years. She has warmed up to dogs and gives CJ some of the contents that were in Henry’s box that Hannah and Ethan brought to her house during Molly’s life, which are revealed to be letters that Henry wrote to Gloria while she was pregnant with CJ. These notes inspire CJ to write more songs and perform them in front of an audience, thus finally kicking off her musical career.

CJ, now financially stable, travels with Trent and Max to Hannah and Ethan’s farm, where they reunite for the first time since Gloria left during Bailey’s life. Ethan realizes that Max is Bailey, as was Molly, and informs CJ that Bailey kept his promise and protected her. CJ realizes that Bailey has also brought her and Trent together and saved Trent’s life, leading her to finally understand that Bailey, Molly, Big Dog, and Max are all the same dog.

CJ and Trent embrace their love for each other, and eventually marry and have a child. Gloria patches up her relationship with CJ, Hannah and Ethan. Ethan dies with Max at his side, and Max later dies as well, with CJ at his side. The movie ends with all four lives Bailey has lived running through the grassy field (which is revealed to be Heaven), this time towards Ethan.



On June 21, 2017, CEO of Amblin Entertainment Michael Wright announced that a sequel to the film A Dog's Purpose was in development.[5]

On August 26, 2018, Universal Pictures began production on the sequel, which will be directed by Gail Mancuso, and scheduled for release on May 17, 2019.[6]

In addition to Quaid and Gad reprising their roles, the cast will also include Marg Helgenberger, Betty Gilpin, Kathryn Prescott and Henry Lau.[7]

Principal photography began in August 2018.[8]


The film was released by Universal Pictures on May 17, 2019. It was released by Entertainment One Films in foreign territories.[9]


Box office[edit]

As of May 21, 2019, A Dog's Journey has grossed $9.7 million in the United States and Canada, and $16.2 million in other territories, for a worldwide total of $26 million, against an production budget of $16 million.[2][3]

In the United States and Canada, the film was released alongside John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum and The Sun Is Also a Star, and was projected to gross $10–14 million from 3,267 theaters in its opening weekend.[10] It ended up debuting to just $8 million, the lowest opening of any of W. Bruce Cameron's Dog films.[11]

Critical response[edit]

On review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds an approval rating of 47% based on 68 reviews and an average rating of 5.05/10. The website's critical consensus reads: "A Dog's Journey is as sentimental as one might expect, but even cynical viewers may find their ability to resist shedding a tear stretched to the puppermost limit."[12] Metacritic, which uses a weighted average, assigned the film a score of 43 out of 100, based on 16 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews".[13] Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "A" on an A+ to F scale, the same as its predecessor, while those at PostTrak gave it 3.5 out of 5 stars.[11]


  1. ^ "Mark Isham Scoring Gail Mancuso's 'A Dog's Journey' - Film Music Reporter". filmmusicreporter.com. Retrieved 2019-03-27.
  2. ^ a b c "A Dog's Journey (2019)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved May 22, 2019.
  3. ^ a b "A Dog's Journey (2019)". The Numbers. Retrieved May 22, 2019.
  4. ^ 毕楠. "Alibaba, Amblin start filming 'A Dog's Journey' - Chinadaily.com.cn". www.chinadaily.com.cn. Retrieved 2019-02-09.
  5. ^ "A Dog's Purpose Sequel is Happening Because Of China". slashfilm.com. 21 June 2017.
  6. ^ "A Dog's Journey (2019) - Box Office Mojo". boxofficemojo.com. Retrieved January 12, 2019.
  7. ^ "Betty Gilpin Joins Dennis Quaid, Josh Gad in 'A Dog's Purpose' Follow-Up (Exclusive)". Hollywoodreporter.com. 26 August 2018.
  8. ^ McNary, Dave; McNary, Dave (2018-08-27). "'A Dog's Journey' Adds China Interest With Henry Lau, Marg Helgenberger, Betty Gilpin". Variety. Retrieved 2019-02-09.
  9. ^ A Dog's Journey, retrieved 2019-02-20
  10. ^ Rebecca Rubin (May 14, 2019). "Box Office: 'John Wick 3' Takes Aim at 'Avengers: Endgame'". Variety. Retrieved May 14, 2019.
  11. ^ a b Anthony D'Alessandro (May 19, 2019). "'John Wick: Chapter 3' Takes Out 'Avengers' With $56M+ Opening, But 'Endgame' Bests 'Avatar' As 2nd Highest Grossing Pic Ever At Domestic B.O." Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved May 19, 2019.
  12. ^ "A Dog's Journey (2019)". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango Media. Retrieved May 23, 2019.
  13. ^ "A Dog's Journey Reviews". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved May 22, 2019.

External links[edit]