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Welcome to the 'Jungle', Mickey - 9/21/06


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  • Welcome to the 'Jungle', Mickey - 9/21/06

    Disney Goes Cruising
    By Josh Grossberg 1 hour, 2 minutes ago
    September 21, 2006

    Welcome to the Jungle, Mickey.

    Having banked a billion-dollar booty with the summer sequel Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest, the Mouse House is looking to transform yet another theme park ride into a potential blockbuster franchise.

    According to the Hollywood Reporter, the studio has signed the brain trust behind the CW's Smallville, Al Gough and Miles Millar, to write a screenplay for an action-adventure flick based on the popular Disneyland attraction, the Jungle Cruise.

    The Jungle Cruise is one of 22 original rides built by Uncle Walt that wowed attendees when he opened his fabled theme park back in 1955.

    Like Pirates, the Jungle Cruise is a boat journey through a mysterious, fantastical world. Only instead of the high seas of buccaneer lore, passengers are guided by an intrepid captain down a treacherous jungle river straight out of Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness and must contend with the likes of charging hippos, killer crocs and rampaging gorillas.

    Disney first announced its intention to adapt Jungle Cruise into a film in 2004. Studio reps declined further comment on the project Thursday, other than revealing that the movie will be set in the 20th century.

    It will be up to Gough and Millar to craft a compelling narrative out of the ride to approach the success of the Pirate series, which stars Johnny Deppas the comical Captain Jack Sparrow.

    Speaking of which, Disney Home Entertainment announced this week that Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest, the second in the planned Pirates trilogy, will hit stores on Dec. 5 as both a single-disc DVD as well as a deluxe two-disc special edition.

    The single-disc release will retail for $30 and feature screenwriter audio commentary and an outtakes reel dubbed Bloopers of the Caribbean.

    The $35 special edition includes those features along with a making-of doc and featurettes on Captain Jack, the legend of Davy Jones, Dead Man's intricately choreographed swordplay, the Caribbean islands where the movie was shot and the special effects wizards behind the film's sea monster, the Kraken. Also includes: an on-set photo diary by mega-producer Jerry Bruckheimer, a guide to the newly "re-Imagineered" Pirates of the Caribbean resort attraction and red carpet footage of Dead Man's Chest's's Hollywood premiere.

    The first chapter in the yo-ho-ho saga, The Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl, raked in $654 million in worldwide ticket sales since its 2003 release, according to Dead Man's Chest has fared even better, tallying $1.03 billion and counting, making it the third-higest grossing movie of all time behind Titanic and The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King.

    Despite Pirates's blockbuster success, Disney hasn't been able to mine other theme park rides. Country Bears earned a bare $20 million in 2002, while 2003's Eddie Murphy vehicle The Haunted Mansion scared up $75 million, well below its $90 million budget.

    Memo to Mickey: Jungle Cruise might have potential, but It's a Small World: The Movie--not so much.
    "If you don't know how to draw, you don't belong in this building" - John Lasseter 2006

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