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Disney's Jungle Cruise movie: Release date, plot, rumors, cast, trailers, poster

Disneyland's Jungle Cruise ride has inspired a movie starring The Rock and Emily Blunt, coming summer 2020.

Jungle Cruise Disney poster

Disney's The Jungle Cruise sails into theaters July 24.

Disney

Get ready for jungle-themed puns and Disneyland references as the Jungle Cruise movie hits theaters in 2020, starring Disney favorites Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson and Emily Blunt.

Here's everything we know so far.

The plot: What's it all about?

The Jungle Cruise movie is based on the Disneyland ride of the same name. Johnson will play a boat skipper named Frank who takes Blunt's character Lily and her brother McGregor -- played by British stand-up comedian Jack Whitehall, who you may recognize from the Good Omens series on Amazon Prime -- on a mission to find a tree that has magical healing powers.

The journey will see them fight wild animals and compete against a rival German expedition, with Disney adding that there will be a "supernatural element."

According to Blunt, who also starred in Disney's recent Mary Poppins Returns, "it's a love story." Much of the information on filming, production, plot and cast originally came from The Rock's Instagram page, who also previously voiced Moana character Maui for Disney. "[It's] the adventure of a lifetime," The Rock said in a behind-the-scenes video

jungle-cruise

Emily Blunt and The Rock star in Disney's Jungle Cruise.

Walt Disney Studios

Johnson called Blunt's character "the female version of Indiana Jones" in an Instagram post in June 2019, saying she has "relentless ambition to find the one, elusive magical thing that could change humanity for the better -- forever."

According to The Rock, his skipper character knows the Amazon River better than any other, and only cares about his money, his cat (his cat, it turns out, is a leopard named Proxima, Johnson revealed in an Instagram Live story on Oct. 11) and his liquor. "Good luck lady in trying to change the world, and not falling for my charm," he adds.

The trailers: What does it look like?

Disney dropped its best look at the movie yet on March 10, with the new trailer showing Lily does not reveal her mission to Frank until she's onboard his boat. Frank tells her he's "been looking for this tree longer than anybody," and has tracked the legend through every village and island in the Amazon rainforest -- but Lily says she has the key.

The trailer shows the pair surviving pirañas, an underwater dive, explosions, a long drop, sword fights, snakes, The Rock's disastrous attempt to swing to safety on a vine and a submarine shooting missiles at them. "Everything that you see wants to kill you, and can," he tells her.

The first Jungle Cruise trailer was released in October 2019, after footage was showed off at Disney's D23 Expo in August. During D23, The Rock said it's a movie about "heroic men kicking ass and saving the girl," while Blunt said her character is Indiana Jones-esque, seeking knowledge and truth. In an Instagram story on the D23 account on Aug. 24, Blunt also used the words "adventure," "thrill," "romantic" and "comedy" to describe the movie, while The Rock called it "fun."

During their D23 appearance, both stars also discussed the responsibility of bringing the beloved Jungle Cruise ride to life, for which Johnson said Walt Disney himself was the first ever skipper.

Disney's first full-length trailer for Jungle Cruise on Oct. 11 kicked off with a scene reminiscent of both Indiana Jones and The Mummy, where Blunt's character Lily takes a mislabelled artifact from a collection in London and escapes onto an open-top bus filled with soldiers. When we meet The Rock's jungle cruise skipper character Frank, it appears he's enlisted tricks and help from Amazonians to make his tourist cruise down the river more "thrilling."

Jungle Cruise also looks a little Pirates of the Caribbean-esque, with Frank telling Lily, "If you believe in legends, you should believe in curses too," as we see a man wrapped in the roots of a tree and a man made of vines attack him.

Disneyland's Jungle Cruise: What is it?

Walt Disney Jungle Cruise Disneyland

Walt Disney and Louie Francuz, Disneyland park engineer and repairman, inspect the animatronic animals in the African Safari section of the Jungle Cruise ride.

Bettmann/Getty

It's no surprise that Disney is going after another ride-based movie, after the success of its Pirates of the Caribbean film franchise. The Jungle Cruise is even older than the Pirates ride -- it was the only attraction to exist in Adventureland on Disneyland's opening day in 1955.

"Ever since Disneyland Park opened, one of the most popular realms has been Adventureland," Walt Disney said on his Disneyland TV show back in 1956. "Most everyone has been impressed by, and curious about, the realism of Adventureland -- the lifelike animals, the authentic tropical settings."

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To prepare for the movie, Johnson said on Instagram that Disney's Imagineers let him see the original Jungle Cruise concept art from the 1950s, as well as giving him an "oral/visual history lesson behind the iconic ride and it's infamous and relentlessly entertaining Skippers."

The Jungle Cruise attraction features a boat ride through a man-made jungle, with each tour led by a skipper who follows a pun-filled script. The boat travels past crocodiles, piranhas, monkeys, elephants, rhinos, cannibals, hippos and of course the infamous back side of water, the eighth wonder of the world.

Disneyland Jungle Cruise

A skipper leading a boat through the Jungle Cruise ride in Disneyland.

Don Kelsen/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

The popularity of the Jungle Cruise ride -- it also exists at Disney World's Magic Kingdom, Tokyo Disney and Hong Kong Disneyland in addition to the original at Disneyland in Anaheim, California -- even sparked a song from parody composer Weird Al Yankovic, who penned lyrics about an aspiring actor who falls into the Jungle Cruise skipper role after failing to make it in show biz.

"The critics they used to say/I was the new Olivier/Thought I'd be the toast of Sundance or maybe Cannes," Weird Al says. "But don't bother trying to IMDb me/The only place you might possible see me/Is riding my little boat around Adventureland."

Luckily for us, one Jungle Cruise skipper is now on IMDb thanks to the new Disney movie.

Release date: When can I see it?

The movie was being filmed in Hawaii around May 2018, a tweet from Whitehall showed. Filming then wrapped in September 2018 according to a Walt Disney Studios video for an original release date of October 11, 2019. 

But with the film's release delayed to summer 2020, The Rock posted on Instagram that production officially wrapped on June 1, 2019.

"Ladies and gents, that's an OFFICIAL WRAP of production for our DISNEY'S JUNGLE CRUISE," he said.

Thanks to yet another tweet from the Rock -- which included emojis of a ship, devil, map, palm tree, a glass of whiskey and a love heart -- we now know it's going to release on July 24, 2020.

Cast and crew: Who's in it?

Being directed by Jaume Collet-Serra, whose previous credits include The Shallows and The Commuter, the official cast includes:

Other characters listed for the movie include warriors and mercenaries, hotel guests and bar patrons, soldiers and archaeologists, valets and a hotel maitre D', merchants and animal vendors, bus conductors, tourists and society members from Germany, France, Italy and London.

Disneyland's Jungle Cruise: The movie rumor mill

The movie could be spurring changes to the actual ride, after The Rock posted on Instagram about a visit to "Disney's highly secure R&D facilities" back in 2017.

"We'll partner with Disney's brilliant Imagineers to help re-engineer and re-design the #JungleCruise ride in all the Disney theme parks around the world," he said.

During an Instagram Live story on Oct. 11 with the skippers at Disneyland's Jungle Cruise ride, Johnson said he and Blunt will be visiting the attraction "soon." He also reassured the skippers that there will be a lot of puns in the movie.

First published at 10:46 a.m. PT on June 26.
Updated on Aug. 26 at 4:21 p.m.: adds update from Disney's D23 Expo; Oct. 8 at 10.00 a.m.: adds update from the Rock's Oct. 7 Instagram post; Oct. 11 at 11.39 a.m: adds update on first trailer, poster and Instagram live story; March 10 at 5:14 p.m.: Adds second trailer.