Movies based on comic books are all the rage. Movies based on video games have continued to struggle. Movies based on theme park attractions, however, have been all over the place. Last year we saw Jungle Cruise become Disney’s first theme park associated film not called Pirates of the Caribbean to be an unparalleled success, but Disney is pushing forward, with yet another in development project based on the wildest ride in the wilderness, Big Thunder Railroad.
Deadline reports that Bert and Bertie, who previously directed four episode of the Hawkeye series for Disney+ as well as part of Our Flag Means Death, are currently in negotiations to helm a Big Thunder Railroad movie, based on a script being written by Kieran and Michele Mulroney, who previously wrote Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows and the 2017 Power Rangers.
It’s obviously far too early for any sort of an idea what a Big Thunder Mountain Railroad movie would be about, beyond the fact that it will probably be a western, as that’s the era the Frontierland attraction is part of, and it will likely involve a runaway train at some point. Whatever it is, the pitch from Bert and Bertie is reportedly what sold Disney on them, so the idea, whatever it is, already has some people excited.
This marks what could be the seventh project based on a Disney theme park ride that is in some form of development or production. A new Haunted Mansion starring Owen Wilson and Tiffany Haddish, among others, is already set to open next year. That’s the only one we know for sure we will get, but several more are in progress.
There are at least two different Pirates of the Caribbean movies being worked on. One is supposed to star Margot Robbie as a brand new pirate character, and the other is allegedly set to continue the story of the current franchise, though without Johnny Depp as Captain Jack Sparrow. Disney has also announced plans to make a Jungle Cruise sequel following the first film’s strong pandemic-era success.
Beyond that, Scarlett Johansson was on board to produce, and possibly star in a movie based on the Tower of Terror, and that movie is reportedly still moving forward despite the minor lawsuit drama between the two. There was also talk a couple years ago about a Space Mountain movie, but we don’t know if that project is still active or not.
While Disney has had more misses than hits when it comes to turning theme park rides into movies, (see: The Country Bears and Mission to Mars) there have been big hits and that’s likely enough to keep the idea going inside the Mouse House. And there are plenty of people who love the source material attractions, so if the movie can find a way to adapt the ride, there is certainly an audience for it.