New Line's recently-announced decision to greenlight a followup to its money-raking, family-friendly 3D flick Journey 2: The Mysterious Island (which should soon pass the $300 million mark at the global box office) came as no surprise.
Neither, for that matter, is there much surprise surrounding the confirmation that Journey 2 star Dwayne "(Still) The Rock" Johnson has entered talks to reprise his role as pec-poppin' adventurer Hank in Journey 3. A new report from The Wrap also suggests that Johnson's younger costar (and onscreen stepson) Josh Hutcherson is also expected to return for the third installment in the Journey franchise.
As was mentioned during our initial report on Journey 3 getting the go-ahead, Hutcherson is in somewhat of a precarious position due to his commitment to The Hunger Games. Production on the second entry in that soon-to-be-blockbuster series (Catching Fire) will have to begin later this year, in order to make a late 2013 theatrical release date - hence, there's been some question as to whether or not Hutcherson will be available to reprise his part as Sean in the Journey threequel.
Journey 3 is reportedly being eyed for a 2014 theatrical release, which looks to time out nicely with Hutcherson's immediate work schedule. As for Johnson: although he recently signed on for the Hercules and Ciudad comic book adaptations - and is essentially set to appear in Fast and the Furious 6, which should also start lensing in the near future - his acting slate is flexible enough right now so as to allow time for him to fit in another Journey flick.
Journey 2 director Brad Peyton and screenwriting duo Brian and Mark Gunn are already signed on to return for the third Journey movie. The ending of the second franchise installment set the stage for another fantastical, Jules Verne literature-inspired adventure that involves not only Hutcherson and Johnson's characters, but also those played by Vanessa Hudgens and Luis Guzmán. Whether or not the latter two stars will also be back in Journey 3, remains to be seen.
The third Journey movie will undoubtedly replicate the lucrative formula of its predecessors by offering a mix of cheesy 3D visuals, clean humor, and a simple adventure storyline that appeals foremost to the 10 and under crowd. Adding a charismatic leading man like Johnson to the mix helped make Journey 2 an improvement on its predecessor - and an overall serviceable film for the whole family - so Johnson's likely return for Part 3 reads as a good thing (for what that's worth).
Look for Journey 3 to hit theaters (undoubtedly, in 2D and 3D) sometime in 2014.
Source: The Wrap