|Directed by||Jaume Collet-Serra|
|Based on||The Jungle Cruise|
by Walt Disney
|Edited by||Joel Negron|
|Music by||James Newton Howard|
|Distributed by||Walt Disney Studios|
|Box office||$128.1 million[N 1]|
Jungle Cruise is a 2021 American fantasy adventure film directed by Jaume Collet-Serra from screenplay written by Glenn Ficarra, John Requa, and Michael Green, based on Walt Disney's theme park attraction of the same name. Produced by Walt Disney Pictures, the film stars Dwayne Johnson, Emily Blunt, Édgar Ramírez, Jack Whitehall, Jesse Plemons, and Paul Giamatti, and follows the captain of a small riverboat who takes a scientist and her brother through a jungle in search of the Tree of Life.
Plans for a feature film based on the Jungle Cruise ride began in 2004 following the success of Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl the year prior. The project laid dormant until 2011, when Tom Hanks or Tim Allen were set to star, though that version fell through and Johnson was cast in August 2015 and Blunt the following January. The rest of the cast joined in spring 2018, with filming taking place in Hawaii and Atlanta, Georgia from May through September that year.
Following a year delay due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Jungle Cruise was released in the United States on July 30, 2021, simultaneously in theaters and digitally through Disney+ with Premier Access. The film has grossed over $128 million worldwide, and also made $30 million from Disney+ Premier Access in its opening weekend. The film received mixed reviews from critics, who praised Johnson and Blunt's chemistry and the entertainment values, but criticized the screenplay and the abundance of CGI.
In 1556, Don Aguirre leads Spanish conquistadors to South America to search for the Tears of the Moon, a mythical tree whose flowers cure illness, heal injuries, and lift curses. After most conquistadors die, the Puka Michuna tribe heals the survivors with the Tree's flowers. The tribal chief refuses to reveal the Tree's location, so Aguirre stabs him and burns the village. The dying chief curses the conquistadors, making them immortal and unable to leave sight of the Amazon River; the jungle recaptures anyone attempting to escape.
In 1916 London, Dr. Lily Houghton's Tears of the Moon research is presented by her brother, MacGregor, to the Royal Society, claiming that the Tree's flowers could revolutionize medicine and aid the British war effort. The Houghtons request access to a recently acquired arrowhead artifact. Lily believes it and an old Amazon map are the key to finding the Tree. The society denies the request, believing the Tree is a myth and women scientists are inferior. Lily steals the arrowhead, narrowly evading Prince Joachim, an ambitious German royal also seeking the Tree.
Arriving in Brazil, Lily and MacGregor need a boat and a guide to take them down the Amazon. They hire Frank Wolff, a steamboat skipper who offers cut-rate jungle cruises embellished with faked dangers and corny puns. Frank initially declines, saying the trip is too dangerous, but he reconsiders upon seeing the arrowhead. Frank steals back his repossessed boat engine, and the trio depart after escaping Joachim, who pursues them in a German submarine.
In Frank's cabin, Lily notices photos and sketches of modern inventions, as well as maps, drawings, and research on the Tears of the Moon. She accuses Frank of seeking the Tree, though he insists he gave up long ago. A "cannibal" tribe captures the group, but they are one of Frank's faux dangers that he was unable to cancel in time. Lily is angry and doubts Frank's honesty. The tribal leader translates the arrowhead's symbols, revealing the Tree's location and that it only blooms under a blood moon.
Joachim locates the conquistadors petrified inside a cave and partially awakens them. If they agree to retrieve the arrowhead, he will divert river water to free them and lift the curse; the Spaniards attack the tribe and fatally stab Frank. Lily escapes with the arrowhead. As she crosses the curse's boundary, vines capture the pursuing Spaniards, dragging them back into the jungle.
To the Houghtons' shock, a fully revived Frank is found the next morning. Frank reveals he is one of the cursed conquistadors who were once on a noble expedition to save Aguirre's gravely ill daughter. When the Spaniards attacked the village, Frank defended the tribe. After years of fighting, he trapped the other conquistadors away from the river where they turned to stone, then spent centuries unsuccessfully searching for the Tree.
Lily and Frank continue to a waterfall where they discover and raise a submerged temple. Meanwhile, Joachim has captured MacGregor, forcing him to reveal Lily's location. Frank, Lily, MacGregor, the Germans, and the Spaniards all converge in the temple where the Tree is housed. It is learn the arrowhead is actually a heart-shaped locket containing a gemstone. After placing the gem and locket into the trunk, the dormant tree blooms under the blood moon. As a fight ensues, Lily recovers one flower. The Germans drown, Joachim is crushed to death, and Frank crashes his boat to block the river, turning himself and the Spaniards into stone. Lily, realizing her true feelings for Frank, sacrifices the flower to lift his curse and restore his mortality. Frank, who wanted to end his life, decides he will continue living to be with Lily. The moon casts one last beam and a single flower blooms, allowing Lily's research to proceed.
Upon their return to England, the Royal Society offers Lily full membership, which she rejects. Lily shows Frank all of London and teaches him to drive an automobile.
Additionally, a jaguar named Proxima appears in the film, portrayed on set by stunt actor Ben Jenkin. Veronica Falcón portrays a gender-reversed version of Trader Sam, the chief of Puka Michuna tribe in 1916, a tribe which guards the Tree. Dani Rovira, Quim Gutiérrez, and Dan Dargan Carter portray Aguirre's fellow conquistadors: Sancho, who is covered in honey and bees, Melchor, who is composed of roots and tree branches, and Gonzalo, who is made out of mud with frogs. Andy Nyman portrays Sir James Hobbs-Coddington, the Royal Society's artifact handler who briefly helps Prince Joachim; while Raphael Alejandro portrays Zaqueu, Frank's young assistant.
In September 2004, it was announced that Jungle Cruise would be developed for Mandeville Films, with a script by Josh Goldstein & John Norville. The film was loosely inspired by the theme park attraction of the same name which featured prominently in Disneyland's grand opening in 1955. The film was announced to take place within the twentieth century. In February 2011, it was announced that Tom Hanks and Tim Allen, who had previously worked together in the Toy Story franchise, would star in the long-gestating film, with a script to be written by Roger S. H. Schulman.
In August 2015, it was announced that Walt Disney Pictures was redeveloping its film adaptation based on Jungle Cruise, to star Dwayne Johnson, who did a lot of research before getting into the role. The previous script originally written by John Norville and Josh Goldstein, would be rewritten by John Requa and Glenn Ficarra, and the film produced by John Davis and John Fox, with the intention to harken back to its period roots. In April 2017, Johnson expressed his interest in having Patty Jenkins helm the project, but in July 2017, Jaume Collet-Serra was announced as the director of the film.
In January 2018, Emily Blunt was announced as a leading cast member. The same month, Michael Green was reported to have rewritten the script, previously worked on by Patrick McKay and J.D. Payne.
In March 2018, an open casting call was made for the other characters in the film, including men and women of all ethnicities, between ages 17 to 90, and children of 6–14 years old. In the same month, Jack Whitehall was cast as the brother of Blunt's character. Six months later, it was reported that he would have a coming out scene in the film with Johnson; this would be the second incidence of a gay character in a live-action Disney film, the first being Le Fou, portrayed by Josh Gad, in the 2017 adaptation of Beauty and the Beast. There was some backlash over the report, with some online expressing anger over a straight man being cast as a "camp" gay character.
In April 2018, Édgar Ramírez and Jesse Plemons were added to the cast as villains with the former being "a man with a conquistador background". The following month, Paul Giamatti was cast to portray a "crusty harbormaster." In June 2018, Quim Gutiérrez joined the cast to portray one of the villains. In July 2018, it was announced that Veronica Falcon, Dani Rovira and Andy Nyman had joined the cast.
Principal photography began on May 14, 2018. For shooting the first spell in Hawaii, a port town was set up at the Kapaia Reservoir, Kauai, near Wailua Falls. Other shoot locations include the town of Lihue, also in the vicinity of the Kilohana Plantation, and near Huleia Stream. The shoot then moved for a second spell in the Blackhall Studios, Atlanta, where the river was set up in a "100ft by 60ft" tank. Some scenes were also filmed at Oxford College of Emory University. Filming wrapped after several months on September 14, with about 95 days shoot on set. A few reshoots took place around June 2019.
Two boats of length "39 feet" were built for easy logistics in filming at both the locations, revealed production designer, Jean-Vincent Puzos. The port town took one month to scout, two months to design and four months to build, dress and landscape, while being challenged by the floody rains. The cinematographer Flavio Martínez Labiano revealed that the Blue screen technology was used instead of Green screen for Chroma key. Magenta tinted lights were used for a sequence of the tree. He also wanted to show colorful "London in the summer" unlike many other films which depict London in winter when "it's foggy and it's blue". Johnson shared that the film pays homage to The African Queen, Romancing the Stone and Indiana Jones.
|Jungle Cruise (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)|
|Soundtrack album by|
|Released||July 30, 2021|
|Producer||James Newton Howard|
|James Newton Howard chronology|
In January 2019, it was announced that James Newton Howard joined the production as the film score composer. By August 2020, it was revealed that Metallica collaborated with Howard on an instrumental version of the song "Nothing Else Matters", for the film. According to the band's drummer Lars Ulrich, Metallica worked on the film after Walt Disney Pictures president Sean Bailey, felt like Jungle Cruise was "the right fit" for a collaboration between Disney and Metallica. Bailey had been "always looking for the right match where there was a way that Metallica could contribute to some Disney project". The band members recorded their parts from their individual studios, due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The score was recorded in February 2020 by a 99-person orchestra, with vocals provided by 40 members from the Los Angeles Master Chorale. In order to add a "regional flavor", Howard incorporated panpipes and Brazilian percussion instruments. Frequent Metallica collaborator Greg Fidelman served as associate producer and engineer. The soundtrack album was released on July 30, 2021.
|1.||"Jungle Cruise Suite"||8:20|
|2.||"Nothing Else Matters (Jungle Cruise Version Part 1)" (featuring Metallica)||1:26|
|3.||"Breaking into the Archives"||4:02|
|5.||"A Steamer to Brazil"||1:56|
|8.||"Frank Breaks In"||1:18|
|9.||"Preparing to Set Sail"||2:53|
|16.||"The Tree Fight"||5:56|
|17.||"Lily Finds Frank"||1:17|
|18.||"Joachim and the Bees"||1:10|
|19.||"Nothing Else Matters (Jungle Cruise Version Part 2)" (featuring Metallica)||4:29|
|20.||"I Built a Boat"||2:00|
|21.||"La Luna Rota"||1:23|
|25.||"One Last Cruise"||1:19|
|26.||"I Want You to Rest Now"||3:46|
Jungle Cruise had its world premiere at the Disneyland Resort in Anaheim, California on July 24, 2021. It was released in the United States on July 30, 2021 in RealD 3D and 4DX, simultaneously in theaters and on Disney+ with Premier Access for US$30. Initially, it was slated for October 11, 2019 before being moved to July 24, 2020, and was postponed to July 30, 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
In May 2021, Disney announced that the film would be released simultaneously in theaters and on Disney+ with Premier Access. The filmmakers decided on this, after being given multiple options by Disney, due to the continued closure of theaters in markets like Brazil and Europe due to surges in COVID-19 cases.
In its opening weekend, Disney reported the film made $30 million from worldwide Disney+ Premier sales, with Samba TV saying $23.3 million of it came from 770,000 U.S. households. Through its first 10 days of release, Samba reported the film had been streamed in 1.5 million households for a running domestic Premier Access gross of $44.98 million.
As of August 11, 2021[update], Jungle Cruise has grossed $71.6 million in the United States and Canada, and $56.5 million in other territories, for a worldwide total of $128.1 million. With an estimated combined production and promotional cost of $362 million, the film needs to gross around $500 million worldwide in order to break-even.
In the United States and Canada, Jungle Cruise was released alongside Stillwater and The Green Knight, and was projected to gross around $25 million from 4,310 theaters. The film made $13.4 million on its first day, including $2.7 million from Thursday night previews. It went on to slightly over-perform, debuting to $35 million to top the box office. The opening was met with a polarized response from industry insiders, with some noting the film managed to finish above projections while some blamed the pandemic and simultaneous digital release for eating into possible grosses, with one financial insider telling Deadline Hollywood that "the model diminishes the aggregate streaming revenue as well as cuts into a movie's theatrical gross." In its second weekend the film fell 55% to $15.7 million, finishing second behind newcomer The Suicide Squad.
In other territories, the film debuted to $27.6 million from 47 countries, below its $40 million projections. Its largest markets were the UK ($3.2 million), France ($1.7 million), and South Korea ($1.2 million). In its second weekend the film made $15.1 million from 49 countries, with the top running-totals being the UK ($8.5 million), Russia ($5.9 million), France ($4.2 million), Japan ($4 million), and Saudi Arabia ($2.7 million).
On review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds an approval rating of 63% based on 296 reviews, with an average rating of 6/10. The site's critics consensus reads, "Its craft isn't quite as sturdy as some of the classic adventures it's indebted to, but Jungle Cruise remains a fun, family-friendly voyage." On Metacritic, the film has a weighted average score of 50 out of 100, based on 52 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews". Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "A–" on an A+ to F scale, while PostTrak reported 80% of audience members gave it a positive score, with 60% saying they would definitely recommend it.
Writing for Variety, Owen Gleiberman praised Johnson and Blunt's chemistry and said that "Jungle Cruise is a movie that implicitly asks: What's wrong with a little good old-fashioned escapism? The answer is: Absolutely nothing, and Jungle Cruise is old-fashioned, expect that it pelts the audience with entertainment in such a lively yet bumptious way that at times you may wish you were wearing protective gear." Korey Coleman and Martin Thomas of Double Toasted both gave it a relatively positive review; even going so far as to predict that other critics would negatively critique it simply because of its premise. However, they were both split on the portrayal of Jack Whitehall's character. While Thomas found Whitehall inviting and a positive step forward for LGBTQ characters, Coleman found him somewhat campy and unnecessary.
Rolling Stone reviewer David Fear gave the film 2.5/5 stars and describing it as an "attempt to sell the Magic Kingdom's vintage, colonialism-a-go-go boat ride as the next big endless-summer-movie thing" and added "everything settles into a well-worn, familiar Jungle Adventure 101 groove. It turns out that Blunt's tart apple crisp of a comic performance pairs nicely with Johnson's beefcake served with a side of ham." Writing in The New York Times, Jeannette Catsoulis was negative about the film, saying that the plot is "mostly unintelligible and wants to beat you into submission", adding that the film "exhibits a blatantly faux exoticism that feels as flat as the forced frisson between its two leads", and concluding that the movie is a "soggy mess".
Writing for ABC News, reviewer Peter Travers said that the movie "is made up of spare parts from better movies and at over two-hours in length, it'll be tough on short attention spans. On the plus side, it is way better than Haunted Mansion and Tomorrowland, other Disney rides that morphed into movies."
After the release weekend of the Jungle Cruise, Dwayne Johnson announced that discussions are underway with The Walt Disney Company for a sequel, which can possibly answer many questions left behind in the film.
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