Back in 1967, Walt Disney produced an animated musical comedy based on British author Rudyard Kipling’s 1894 work, The Jungle Book, about a boy called Mowgli who’s raised by wolves in tropical India. Since then, the film has been remade as a live-action adaptation in 1994 by Stephen Sommers (The Mummy) and a sequel to the original cartoon, The Jungle Book 2, was developed as a direct-to-DVD/video feature before it ended up being released in theaters, back in 2003. It would seem that once again Jungle Book fever has caught Hollywood, as two new adaptations of Kipling’s work are set to hit theaters soon.
One of those is Andy Serkis’ upcoming The Jungle Book: Origins, which is due in 2018. That film will face an uphill battle, as it must attempt to retain audience interest in the work following the release of Disney’s live action/CG re-remake that will make its way into theaters in 2016.
Disney’s The Jungle Book is directed by Jon Favreau (Iron Man) and stars such voice talent as Bill Murray (Rock the Kasbah) as Baloo the Bear, Christopher Walken (Jersey Boys) as King Louie and Idris Elba (Beasts of No Nation) as Shere Khan, among many others — as can be been seen in the latest trailer. Unlike Sommers’ live-action remake, however, this one will be faithful to the animated classic’s musical numbers, like ‘The Bare Necessities’ and ‘I Wanna Be Like You.’
Despite the film having not even been released yet, THR reports that Favreau and screenwriter Justin Marks (Unbroken) have already been in negotiations to make a sequel to the movie. This shouldn’t come as much of a surprise as The Jungle Book has already received positive reviews, with none negative (at time of writing) out of the twenty or so major critics published. It’s also been released early in some territories, opening at No.1 everywhere. The most significant to mention was India, the setting of the movie, where it pulled in $8.4 million on its opening weekend — the second highest opening for a Western-made film in that region.
Assuming the sequel goes ahead, the question is what will be the source material? There is the The Jungle Book 2 as previously mentioned, but that seems unlikely. The most obvious piece to go to with is Kipling’s sequel to the original, which he wrote a year later called The Second Jungle Book. It has already been adapted as a live-action movie in the form of 1997’s The Second Jungle Book: Mowgli & Baloo, but was critically panned. Whatever the decision on the sequel, Disney will no doubt continue to make sure fire wins at the box office with its live action interpretations of its animated classics like Alice in Wonderland — which is also soon to be followed by a sequel this year.
The Jungle Book opens in U.S. theaters on April 15th, 2016. We’ll bring you more information on The Jungle Book 2 as it becomes available.