While summer 2021 was still a long way off from a typical blockbuster movie season, we have at least had plenty of new films out, which is more than we had last year. As the pandemic continues, the benchmark for a blockbuster has been redefined. Ordinarily, if a Dwayne Johnson led $200 million budgeted Disney film opened in the US with $35 million, you'd think the Mouse House had a flop on its hands. However, after four weeks of release, Jungle Cruise shows some sturdy legs as it recently sailed over $100 million domestically.
Add more than $86 million for the international box office, and somewhere in the area of $35 million from Premier Access, and Disney is satisfied that audiences worldwide are keen for a sequel. Jungle Cruise is a modestly enjoyable romp that coasts by entirely on the chemistry between Johnson and Blunt, both of them deserved better than the generic script that they got. If I sound mildly angry over Jungle Cruise, it's because wasting the talents of Emily Blunt and Dwayne Johnson on something this middling is nothing short of a cinematic catastrophe.
Taking the same formula they applied to Pirates of the Caribbean, Disney's latest movie based on a theme park ride is by no means a terrible way to spend two hours; it will just feel highly repetitive, surprisingly slow in places, and you will want it to be over long before it ends. So, on that level, Disney has done a grand job of making a motion picture that feels like the ride. On a more positive note, perhaps the sequel will serve up a better script and a less predictable story.
Meanwhile, Emily Blunt and Dwayne Johnson are already working on a new project together about the life of the first woman to become a detective at the Pinkerton Agency, Kate Warne. Blunt will take on the lead role of Kate Warne, and Johnson will be producing through his Seven Bucks Productions.
Jungle Cruise is out now in cinemas everywhere and available to buy via Disney+ Premier Access.