‘Jungle Book 2’: Why the Sequel is Coming Sooner Than You Think
Disney’s The Jungle Book isn’t hitting theaters until later this week, but a sequel might already be in development. The studio is reportedly already working on piecing together a follow-up flick, with plans to bring Jon Favreau back to the director’s chair.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, Favreau and writer Justin Marks are already in negotiations to return for the sequel to their upcoming live-action take on The Jungle Book, which is adapted from Rudyard Kipling’s book of the same name. In addition to directing, the purported plan is for Favreau to serve as a producer alongside original producer, Brigham Taylor.
While it might seem a little early for Disney to start planning a sequel, there’s a good reason that the studio is moving so quickly. While we have yet to see how The Jungle Book will perform domestically, the movie is already proving popular abroad, making a strong debut in a handful of markets in Asia and Latin America. In addition to opening at No. 1 in all of its territories so far, the family-friendly film also brought in a total of $31.7 million (with an $8.4 million gross in India alone).
But the good news doesn’t stop there. The movie has a very good chance of performing even better stateside, thanks to the glowing early reviews it’s received ahead of its debut. The live-action/CG hybrid, which stars newcomer Neel Sethi and features an impressive voice cast including Bill Murray, Ben Kingsley, Scarlett Johansson, and Lupita Nyong’o, seems to be living up to the hype. It currently holds a 100% fresh score on review aggregating website Rotten Tomatoes, with critics calling it a “visually immersive” and “entirely engaging” tale of adventure. Given the overwhelmingly positive response it’s received so far, it’s no wonder that the studio is feeling so confident about the movie and its potential.
The sequel is still only in the early stages of development, so plot details and other specifics haven’t been revealed as of now. But Kipling wrote many stories centering on Mowgli, so there’s plenty of source material for Disney to choose from. With Favreau and Marks now all but locked in for the sequel (and the cast also presumably returning), it’s clear that The Jungle Book 2 is on path to hit theaters much sooner than we might have expected.
For Disney, The Jungle Book will only be its latest hit in a long line of successful live-action films based on beloved stories. The studio has already struck box office gold with Alice in Wonderland, Maleficent and Cinderella and the trend is only set to continue in coming years. Disney will premiere the Alice in Wonderland sequel, Alice Through the Looking Glass, in May, while Pete’s Dragon, featuring Bryce Dallas Howard and Robert Redford, is due in August. Its Beauty and the Beast remake, which will star Emma Watson, is also currently slated for March 2017.
Audiences can catch The Jungle Book in theaters starting on April 15. Disney has yet to confirm a projected premiere date for the sequel.