Scarlett Johansson has been in Hollywood for a long time. Now, as a 36-year-old actress, producer, and Oscar-nominee with a long career at Marvel, she’s at the top of her game. It’s a prime time for her to make a deal with Disney, which is apparently something the studio would agree with as well. According to Collider, Scarlett Johansson is now set to both star in and produce Tower of Terror, a movie for Disney based on their popular ride for thrill-seekers, where riders climb into an elevator that suddenly drops.
Things in Hollywood move fast. Right now, you would expect that perhaps Disney would want to see how Scarlett Johansson’s upcoming solo Marvel movie does for the company at the box office before signing with her for such a major deal. Or that Disney might want to see how Jungle Cruise performs, their other upcoming movie based on one of their Disney Parks rides. However, they must know that after the success of Pirates of the Caribbean, also based on a Disney Parks ride, and the long and proven track record in Johansson’s career, they have a winner on their hands. And at the same time as this seems fast, it also seems wildly slow. They’ve been working on a Tower of Terror ride for a while.
In 2015, Disney hired writer John August to create a Tower of Terror film. The story was based around the idea of five people trapped in a hotel, who then disappear from inside an elevator after a lightning strike. For this new production with Scarlett Johansson, the story will likely take a different tact. They’ve hired writer Josh Cooley to handle the script. Previously, he has written Toy Story 4 and Inside Out, which seem like appropriate scripts to have behind him before taking on this project.
As for a director, Collider said that there isn’t one attached yet. Disney wants to aim high, though, according to what the outlet hears. That would make sense. The Disney Parks are big earners for the company, as are their films. Combining the two by making movies that advertise their Disney Parks is a brilliant move. They’ve clearly wanted to make a good Tower of Terror movie for some time but have been waiting to make sure all the right pieces are in place. With Scarlett Johansson as one of those pieces, they’ll want to make sure the rest of the talent they bring on board is up to par. They wouldn’t want to waste that opportunity.
In truth, they already made one Tower of Terror film in 1997. It starred Steve Guttenberg and Kirsten Dunst, and clearly, it didn’t reach the level of franchise success the Pirates of the Caribbean ride did. It will be interesting to see how Tower of Terror does for Disney and whether Scarlett Johansson signs on for sequels. Ten years from now will we be talking about Scarlett Johansson signing on for Tower of Terror number eight? If Disney has their way, probably.