They haven't been talking about it much, but from what I can tell, the Jungle Cruise movie starring Dwayne “The Rock” “Maui” Johnson is still going to be a thing. And that's pretty cool. There have been what, half a dozen Disney theme park attraction IPs adapted into movies at this point, of which only one has been financially successful (and boy howdy has it ever), yet they're still willing to tap this well for inspiration. That's actually...a bit heartening. It means the decision-makers actually recognize that a ride or attraction doesn't have to be based on a movie to be worthwhile in its own right. Here's hoping the Jungle Cruise flick is good enough to be enjoyable, but not so successful that they install a bunch of Dwayne Johnson animatronics in the actual Jungle.
But that gets me thinking...where to next for the ultimate trend in flipping the theme park script? What other attractions have decent film potential? Hence this new post category: Flipping the Script,* wherein I explore the possibilities! For this first installment, however, I'm going to briefly review the existing “theme park movies” and see if I can tease out a) Disney's methodology for producing them and b) patterns of success and failure in said methodology. How do ride concepts map onto things like film genre and themes? How much does the existing structure of a ride constrain its film adaptation? How much should it constrain it? And so on.