That The Jungle Cruise Sequel Needs Only Johnson

Two movie franchises, two movie jungles, one movie star – but what sort of impact could Jungle Cruise 2 have upon Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson’s Jumanji franchise. After enduring significant delays, Disney’s Jungle Cruise finally landed on the big (and small) screen in July 2021. Based on the theme park ride of the same name, Jungle Cruise stars Johnson alongside Emily Blunt on a rip-roaring family adventure through the Amazon – an Indiana Jones movie that parents can safely take their kids to see. Jungle Cruise performed well in an unstable box office, and has enjoyed positive reactions from audiences, if not critics.

If the sight of WWE’s The Rock trekking through thick jungle growth in two-sizes-too-small khaki seems familiar, that’ll be because of Jumanji. Johnson starred alongside Karen Gillan, Jack Black and Kevin Hart in a revival of the 1990s Robin Williams classic, updating the traditional plot mechanic to a video game. Jumanji: Welcome To The Jungle became one of 2017’s highest-grossing films, and a sequel (Jumanji: The Next Level) arrived in 2019 to similar financial success. Naturally, another Jumanji movie was soon confirmed.

 

In terms of release date, Jungle Cruise 2 could potentially delay Dwayne Johnson’s next Jumanji effort. In August 2021, Johnson’s production company partner, Hiram Garcia (via Collider), confirmed Jumanji 4 was definitely happening, but hadn’t progressed beyond the early writing stages, while Kevin Hart explained how aligning the schedules of Jumanji’s starring quartet was proving tricky. Given how little progress Jumanji 4 has made over the past 2 years, Jungle Cruise 2 could happen first if Disney decides to move quicker. That the Jungle Cruise sequel needs only Johnson and Blunt’s calendars to match could also help beat Jumanji to the punch, and The Rock’s commitment to yet another project might then trigger a longer wait for Jumanji’s next level. Only time will tell for sure.

 

When planning for the future, Sony might be concerned by the clear similarity between Jungle Cruise and its own Jumanji franchise. To the casual movie-goer, Dwayne Johnson in his jungle threads looks the same whatever franchise he’s in, so releasing Jungle Cruise 2 and Jumanji 4 close together feels like a bad idea. Whichever comes first, the other might be inclined to leave a big enough gap.

 

The similarity between franchises might also have a bearing upon Jumanji 4’s plot. Compared to Jungle Cruise, Jumanji is more fantastical and comedic, drawing upon the magic of the titular game to elicit all manner of crazy antics. But Jumanji’s concept is also more flexible, and the next film could move away from the jungle setting to avoid those pesky Jungle Cruise comparisons. This fits neatly with how Jumanji: The Next Level ended, with the game bleeding through to the real world in a mid-credits scene. Dwayne Johnson also hinted that Jumanji’s next installment would explore the real identity of The Next Level villain, Jurgen the Brutal. Jumanji can effortlessly bring Dr. Xander Bravestone and his friends into an urban setting, and leave the jungle shenanigans to Jungle Cruise 2.

 

Rest assured though, there’s room a-plenty in Dwayne Johnson’s cinematic world for Jungle Cruise and Jumanji to coexist. Despite unavoidable similarities between them (some folks assumed Jungle Cruise was a Jumanji spin-off), there’s also enough to differentiate one from another, ensuring Dwayne isn’t just treading over the same old vines. Johnson’s Seven Bucks production company is involved in both, and can ensure the two adventure properties don’t overlap. Moreover, the comparisons haven’t hampered The Rock’s box office pulling power. Though it’s impossible to gauge box office success in the current climate, Jungle Cruise’s strong performance suggests audiences still aren’t tired of exploring jungles with the most electrifying man (no longer) in sports entertainment.

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