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At-home audiences seek the familiar in a formulaic hit movie without an original bone in its body

Not everything has to be 100% unique, but a little originality goes a long way.


Originality is getting increasingly harder to find in the arena of big budget studio blockbusters, but that doesn’t mean audiences are desperately crying out for fresh concepts, either. A case in point is last summer’s Jungle Cruise, which didn’t have a single original bone its body, but still turned out to be a popular (and highly successful) hit for Disney.

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Of course, nobody was expecting much in the way of freshness from an old-fashioned adventure that was inspired by a theme park attraction, and Jungle Cruise did at least deliver exactly what was advertised. Jaume Collet-Serra’s Amazonian epic hauled in $220 million at the pandemic-stricken box office, earned an estimated $100 million from Premier Access sales, and landed a massive 92 percent user rating on Rotten Tomatoes, with a sequel announced shortly afterwards.

Jungle Cruise

A fitfully entertaining, completely undemanding, and occasionally very fun effects-driven effort that achieves the remarkable feat of boasting two leads who have incredible chemistry offscreen, but absolutely none in the movie. Either way, Jungle Cruise has been sailing towards streaming success this week, with FlixPatrol outing the Mouse House’s latest franchise-starter as a Top 10 hit on iTunes in multiple nations around the world.

In essence, if you take the bare bones of the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise, sprinkle in some of Stephen Sommers’ The Mummy, add a dash of Romancing the Stone, stir it with a wooden spoon made out of Johnson’s Jumanji sequels, season it with Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark and The African Queen, that’s pretty much Jungle Cruise in a nutshell.