Disney is hoping Jungle Cruise will follow the path of success paved by their theme park-based action adventure franchise Pirates of the Caribbean. Not only do they want it to be a box office banger, but producer Beau Flynn says audiences shouldn’t rule out the possibility of seeing Jungle Cruise sequels, perhaps forming an entire universe of stories that take place within the adventure world being explored by Dwayne Johnson and Emily Blunt.
When Jungle Cruise was in production, our own reporter Hoai-Tran Bui visited the set to speak with the cast and crew. While speaking with producer Beau Flynn, discussion came around to the possibility of making sequels since the ride features a variety of locations that won’t be featured in the movie. Flynn said:
“Well, that’s certainly the dream. We would all love to see that from Disney and Dwayne and Emily, to Hiram [Garcia] and myself and our whole team would love to see that. The movie does complete itself and does wrap up and work really well as a movie. But there are some – we’ve been designing some paths that can go to future worlds. That’s very organic to the ride, as you just mentioned.”
There are certainly always hopes that a new tentpole release for Disney will spark a new franchise that will last for years. But when it comes to planning it, Flynn seems to indicate that they didn’t actively try to open an entire universe with this movie. Flynn added:
“We have had a lot of conversations, but we never want to be sequel pandering either. And we feel like all of our energy needs to be in this movie and make a great movie. I feel the audience is so keen, and tapped into that now that they kind of feel like it’s sometimes a little bit of a cheat.”
Not only does it feel like a cheat, but it feels like an excuse for not coming out with a great movie right out of the gate. A lot of blockbusters have opened up with middling results when the film sets up something more exciting for potential sequels that never actually come to fruition. Mortal Kombat is the most recent example, but perhaps the most egregious execution of this franchise planning was when The Mummy was intended to kick off the Dark Universe featuring the Universal Monsters reboots. Whoops!
Jungle Cruise doesn’t feel like it has the same rich mythology that Pirates of the Caribbean provided for exploration, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t potential for exciting adventure stories to unfold in that world and enhance the theme park attraction’s narrative history. Now it’s up to audiences to turn up for Jungle Cruise so Disney can determine if it’s worth developing a sequel.
Jungle Cruise arrives in theaters and on Disney+ Premier Access starting on July 30, 2021.
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