Audiences want the fantastical scenarios in the novels of Jules Verne to be real. That’s the story told by the Journey franchise’s box office receipts, anyway. In 2008, the Brendan Fraiser-Josh Hutcherson family adventure film inspired by Verne’s Journey to the Center of the Earth earned $242 million internationally. The second installment – Journey 2: The Mysterious Island, which opened February 10 – is expected to pass the $275 million mark this week. Despite the fact that Journey 2 has gotten middling reviews at best (garnering a 43% on Rotten Tomatoes), the film’s earnings have convinced New Line to go ahead with a third installment in the series.
The creative team responsible for the film currently in theaters will be returning for Journey 3 – Brad Peyton will again direct, with Brian and Mark Gunn once again penning the script – but there’s no word on which actors and characters will return. Peyton is excited for the new project, citing his own love and knowledge of Verne’s mythologies. As you might expect for an announcement of this kind, Peyton claims Journey 3 will be bigger and better than any Journey movie before it:
“Mysterious Island was one of eight or nine really seminal works. I know we’ve just scratched the surface of what we can do. … It’s just going to be a bigger experience, and we’re going to grow the mythology. Journey 2 was about rebooting a franchise; now it’s about making the seminal work in the franchise.”
This announcement would obviously be more exciting had Journey 2 been a better film or if someone else were taking over writing duties. But, with Verne as your starting point, there’s always at least the possibility of something interesting happening. The most likely location for Journey 3‘s “completely different world” is the moon, as set up in Journey 2‘s final allusion to From the Earth to the Moon, but who knows. Maybe they’ll get stuck on a comet. It’s possible that we could see a group conspiring to buy the North Pole in order to tilt the earth on its axis. Or they could even ride a steam-powered elephant through the Amazon while playing “The Noble Game of Goose.“