On the eve of Warner Bros. unleashing his disaster epic San Andreas, director Brad Peyton is fielding questions on all sorts of topics. So, it’s only natural that when we sat down with him, the opportunity arose to ask Peyton about his other collaboration with San Andreas star Dwayne Johnson – 2012’s Journey 2: The Mysterious Island. That pic, a sequel to 2008 Brendan Fraser starrer Journey to the Center of the Earth, seemed to cement Johnson as the franchise’s new leading man while also laying the groundwork for Journey 3 and even Journey 4.
According to Peyton, it’s still the plan to move ahead with two Johnson-led Journey sequels, and despite the lack of news about the projects, both films are very much in the works. The director revealed that Journey 3 (thought to take inspiration from Jules Verne’s From the Earth to the Moon) has a finished script, but the fourth installment does not. However, if Peyton is going to do them, he has some terms and conditions.
The director articulated to us that he wants to tackle both Journey 3 and Journey 4 in close proximity, given that the studio and producers are willing to “mature the franchise” as Peyton sees fit. Whereas the first and second Journey films are widely seen as kiddie flicks (though Peyton argues the second is actually a family film, which is slightly different), he wants to age up and make the next installments four-quadrant movies (appealing to female and male audiences over and under 25) like San Andreas.
Peyton’s full quote is below:
The concept was to do Journey 3 and Journey 4 together. With Journey 3 there is a script, with Journey 4 there is not a script. So we’re talking about it, we’re working through it. It’s one of those things where, you have to be open to it and stay engaged, and I am. I’m very proud of Journey 2. I feel in a lot of ways, even though I did not make the first one, I kind of helped brand this thing, create this thing, and blow it out a little bit. I was very proud of that movie especially because the previous one had come out like six or seven years before with a different star. I had a lot of challenges to make that a successful movie and we made a lot of money. There are a lot of people that are big fans of that movie and that potential franchise.
I’ll just say this – that in order to do that right and do it the way I think it should be done, the tone has to grow in a way. The movie has to mature in a way because that’s what I’ve done with every movie I’ve made. I started with Cats and Dogs 2, which is very young and much younger than any film I ever wanted to do. But it was a tremendous opportunity and I got to play with a lot of toys, a lot of VFX and a great cast. But then I took the chance to step up the age of my audience and the maturity of my movie with Journey 2, which people still think of as a kid’s movie but it is actually a family movie. Then, I moved into my next movie, San Andreas, as a four-quadrant movie – and that is where I want to play. So I’m opening to doing Journey 3 and 4, absolutely! I love them and I love working with Dwayne [Johnson], Josh [Hutcherson], Luis [Guzman] and Michael Caine. It was a great cast and an amazingly fun time. It was an actual, truly enjoyable time making a movie. But we have to do it in the right way.
So I’m only cautious with it because I want to make sure that they can go there. I think everybody does. But it just takes time to mature the franchise. It’s one of those things that we constantly work on. Obviously it is in the conversation and it is not going away anytime soon, because I think Dwayne and everybody has the same passion for it. But I don’t want to rush it and I want to make sure it’s right.
Obviously, Peyton still has a lot of passion for the Journey franchise, and with Johnson signed on for two sequels, it’s likely we’ll hear more about Journey 3 and Journey 4 sooner rather than later. Much is likely riding on the box office performance of San Andreas – that tentpole opens May 29. If it does well, perhaps that will be the reassurance Warner Bros. needs to let Peyton take Journey in whatever creative direction he feels is best.