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How Jungle Cruise Producers Built a Cinematic World From a Theme Park Ride

Props to them for building a world around such a dull Disney attraction.

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Dwayne Johnson and Emily Blunt in Jungle Cruise
Dwayne Johnson and Emily Blunt in Jungle Cruise
Image: Disney

With a $90 million dollar opening weekend, Jungle Cruise has set the standard for the theme park ride to movie pipeline.

Producers of the film John Fox, and John Davis, spoke with Forbes to discuss how they transformed Jungle Cruise into a theater-ready story for the whole family.


“We went back to its origins, to what inspired the ride, the movie, The African Queen, and we built it out from there,” says Fox. “We never read previous versions of the film, but from what I hear, it was a present-day high concept approach; that’s very different from what we were doing. We intended to make something that felt classic and a bit nostalgic. Movies like Indiana Jones and Pirates of the Caribbean were the guiding lights for us. Hopefully, the audience appreciates what we were going for.”

Their inspirations don’t just stop at other films. Davis tells Forbes how Jerry Bruckheimer’s work helped build the Jungle Cruise story. “What we wanted to do was eventize it and make it a true blockbuster event. We wanted it to be larger than life, give it a freshness,” he states. “We admired to a large degree what Jerry Bruckheimer did with Pirates. It worked great, and that was a great ride. There was something nostalgic, but it also put your characters in a great deal of jeopardy to do a period piece.”


He elaborates further on the film’s sense of adventure and why actress Emily Blunt needed to be at the center of this story. “It was a real adventure. Emily’s character, she’s an adventurer. Coming up with that character was cool because she’s a female Indiana Jones. She’s what women in that day and age weren’t allowed to be and does what they weren’t allowed to do, which was to go out into the world and explore.”

What other theme park rides could become movies in the future? Give us your thoughts!

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