At long last, Disney has a budding film franchise based on an iconic theme park that doesn't have the words "Pirates" or "Caribbean" in the title. The Hollywood Reporter brings word that the Mouse House is officially developing a sequel to this summer's Jungle Cruise, which surpassed $100 million at the domestic box office over the weekend. Both Emily Blunt and Dwayne Johnson are currently in talks to reprise their roles of Dr. Lily Houghton and Skipper Frank Wolff, respectively.
Director Jaume Collet-Serra (who recently teamed back up with Johnson for next summer's Black Adam) is expected to captain the ship once again with a screenplay from Michael Green (co-writer on the first movie with Glenn Ficarra and John Requa). Johnson returns as a producer — along with John Davis, John Fox, Beau Flynn, Dany Garcia, and Hiram Garcia. Scott Sheldon returns as executive producer.
Speaking with SYFY WIRE earlier this month, Jungle Cruise's main unit cinematographer Flavio Labiano sounded off on a potential sequel at that time. "I don't know," he said. "The movies rounds itself and ends up in London again, so I don’t know. It’s hard to imagine a sequel of the movie, but they do it, and when they do it, they do it really well. The first time I saw Pirates [of the Caribbean], I said, ‘That’s it. What are they going to do next?’ And they went on and on..."
Jungle Cruise was released late last month after more than a year of pandemic-related delays. Leaning into the same strategy used for Raya and the Last Dragon, Cruella, and Black Widow, Disney adopted a hybrid rollout, offering the blockbuster in theaters and on Disney+ Premier Access (which requires an extra fee $29.99 for current subscribers).
Set against the period backdrop of World War I, the swashbuckling adventure flick channels old school classics like The African Queen, Indiana Jones, and Romancing the Stone. The story follows an intrepid female physician (Blunt) who embarks on a dangerous journey through the Amazon rainforest to find a mythical tree whose leaves are said to have miraculous healing properties. To find it, she enlists the help of her brother (Jack Whitehall), and the wisecracking captain (Johnson) of a rundown riverboat with a lot of history christened "La Quila."
"Everyone’s gravitated towards watching stuff online and even though Jungle Cruise is gonna be available on Disney+, it’s designed to be a big screen film," explained the movie's underwater director of photography, Ian Seabrook. "When they made it, they weren’t thinking, ‘Ah, you know…let’s stick it online.’ No one had that forethought because there was no global pandemic at that point. But we’ll see what happens with the numbers [for] the film … We’ll see what the competition is, but they’ve invested a lot of money in the advertising for this thing."