Disney revealed the first footage from its Jungle Cruise movie at D23. The Mouse House scored an unexpectedly huge hit when it turned its Pirates of the Caribbean ride into a live-action film in 2003. However, it has struggled to do the same with other popular attractions from its theme parks, with both The Haunted Mansion and Tomorrowland (itself, only partially based on Disney's themed land) failing to do big business at the box office. The studio intends to change that with Jungle Cruise, an upcoming action-adventure inspired by its Adventureland riverboat cruise.
Dwayne Johnson and Emily Blunt are starring in Jungle Cruise as a riverboat captain and the scientist who recruits him for a mission to locate a mystical tree deep into the jungle. The film was directed by Jaume Collet-Serra (Non-Stop, The Shallows) and is currently scheduled to reach theaters in July 2020. Ahead of then, Disney decided to unveil the first-look footage during its movie presentation at the D23 Expo in Anaheim.
Johnson came out on-stage at D23 to introduce the first of two trailers for Jungle Cruise. The first one began in the Amazon jungle in Brazil. Johnson's character is shown telling passengers on his riverboat "Everything you see wants to kill you, and can". The scene is a recreation of Disney's ride, except set in the early 20th century. Johnson's character is basically a swindler who fakes a jungle experience for people. However, when Blunt recruits him to go up river, he ends up battling some real (and clearly supernatural) threats. After that, Blunt joined Johnson on-stage and revealed a second trailer that plays out from her character's perspective, instead. This trailer began in London, as Blunt's scientist talked about a tree with unparalleled healing powers located deep in the Amazon jungle.
Jungle Cruise has long been described as an Indiana Jones-style adventure and the D23 footage had a similar vibe. It was also reminiscent of the film Romancing the Stone, thanks to the oil and water dynamic between Johnson and Blunt's characters. The pair are joined in the cast by Jack Whitehall as Blunt's onscreen brother, in addition to Édgar Ramírez and Jesse Plemmons as the members of a rival expedition that's trying to locate the mystical tree before Johnson, Blunt, and Whitehall do. It also looks like the movie will play to Collet-Serra's strengths as a director who specializes in exciting, but also edgier and sometimes even scary genre fare.
Disney originally scheduled Jungle Cruise to open in October, but later moved in back to 2020 and filled its former spot with Maleficent: Mistress of Evil instead. It was probably a smart move on the studio's part, too. Jungle Cruise seems like the perfect summer release and currently has its July 24 opening date all to itself. This also puts more distance between the film and Johnson's other upcoming jungle adventure, Jumanji: The Next Level (which arrives this December). With a little luck, Jungle Cruise should live up to the early hype and may yet become the Pirates of the Caribbean-sized hit the Mouse House is hoping for.
- Jungle Cruise (2020) release date: Jul 24, 2020