Disney’s Jungle Cruise movie is coming soon and here’s everything we know about it, including its release date, cast, and more. Jungle Cruise has been years in the making. Back in 2011, it was believed Toy Story super duo Tim Allen and Tom Hanks would star before exiting the project. Somewhere along the way, the Allen-Hanks version of Jungle Cruise was scrapped and Johnson’s casting ushered in the need for a new script, cast, and everything in between.
What has always remained the same for Disney’s Jungle Cruise movie is the intention to create another massive adventure film similar to the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise, which is based on another Disney Parks ride. So basing a movie on the Disney Jungle Cruise ride, which has been in operation since the 1950s, makes perfect sense from a business perspective. A jungle setting offers a variety of adventuring possibilities — all it takes is the right cast, director, and story to help bring it to life.
Here’s everything we know about Disney’s Jungle Cruise movie so far, which stars Dwayne Johnson and Emily Blunt, among others, and releases in 2020.
Jungle Cruise releases on July 24, 2020. Settling on an exact release date has been tricky for this film as it has jumped around Disney’s schedule before being slated for a peak summer release. Previously, Jungle Cruise had been scheduled for release on October 11, 2019. One possible case for pushing the film’s release date back to July 2020 (which was announced in October 2018) is because the slot might’ve been held for Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3. Of course, the saga of director James Gunn’s firing and re-hiring by Disney changed Marvel’s handling of that date and, eventually, it was freed up.
Jungle Cruise‘s release date delay might’ve been a blessing in disguise, though, since it makes sense to release a film of this size and genre during the summer rather than the fall. A big adventure set in the jungle with two notable box office draws – Johnson and Blunt – and based on a popular Disney ride feels tailor-made for the summer movie-going season. Plus, summer has always been good to Johnson, who has seen past films – Skyscraper, Baywatch, Central Intelligence – have successful summer openings.
Dwayne Johnson and Emily Blunt lead the Jungle Cruise cast, but they aren’t the only big names in the film. In addition to Johnson and Blunt, the Jungle Cruise cast includes Jack Whitehall, Paul Giamatti, Edgar Ramirez, and Jesse Plemons. Johnson will play Frank, a “witty riverboat captain“. Blunt will play Lily Houghton, a “spunky scientist“, with Whitehall starring as her brother, McGregor Houghton.
Back in August 2018, it was revealed Whitehall’s character would be openly gay in the film but the news received backlash when his character was described as “hugely effete, very camp.” Concerns were voiced from the public, as discontent over a straight man playing a stereotyped depiction of gayness, rather than an honest one, was greenlit by a studio that has historically avoided openly LGBTQ characters. As for the rest of the cast, Giamatti will be playing a “crusty harbormaster”. And in an interesting twist, Jungle Cruise will have two villains: one played by Ramirez (who has a conquistador background) and the other by Plemons.
Jaume Collet-Serra directs Jungle Cruise. This is Collet-Serra’s first time working on a Disney film as well as his first time working with Johnson (they’ll reteam for DC’s Black Adam next) and Blunt. Collet-Serra’s specialty as a director has been in delivering tense, action-packed feature-length films to the masses. Since his 2005 directorial debut, a remake of the horror classic House of Wax, Collet-Serra has gone on to direct Orphan, Run All Night, Non-Stop, The Shallows, and The Commuter. If there is one director working today who understands how to blend drama and action together into something as fantastic as it is rooted in reality, it’s Collet-Serra, which should signal to prospective audiences Jungle Cruise is going to be a thrill-ride.
Jungle Cruise has been likened to both an Indiana Jones movie and a Pirates of the Caribbean movie at various point in its development; it’s easy to see both comparisons given the other confirmed story details as well as the setting of the film – the jungle. Shortly after Dwayne Johnson signed on to star in Jungle Cruise in 2015, he shared details about the story, which has since been reworked by screenwriting duo John Requa and Glenn Ficarra (Smallfoot, Focus) into the film’s final version.
Jungle Cruise takes place in the early 20th century. The Jungle Cruise story will follow riverboat captain Frank (Johnson) as he takes Lily and McGregor Houghton (Blunt and Whitehall) through the jungle to the location where it’s believed the Tree of Life, which possesses incredible properties, still stands. Frank, Lily, and McGregor won’t be the only ones in pursuit of the Tree of Life, which will lead their small team on a series of twists and turns to make their way to the fabled destination.
There is no trailer for Jungle Cruise yet. Reshoots on Jungle Cruise wrapped in early June 2019, which means all the necessary footage is finally in the can and is ready to be spun into a thrilling Disney movie. This also means a teaser or full-length trailer will be arriving in the coming months. It’s possible the first trailer will be attached to an upcoming Disney film, like Maleficent: Mistress of Evil, which hits theaters on October 18, or Frozen II, which arrives November 22. Another possible option is to debut the trailer during the 2020 Oscars which will air on ABC, a Disney-owned channel, making it a prestige venue to announce a big Disney summer movie.
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