Disney has become a franchise machine in recent years. With Marvel and Star Wars and live-action remakes of classic animated films, the studio is just printing money. However, one area where the House of Mouse has continually tried to find success is in turning popular theme park attractions into movies. Only the Pirates of the Caribbean movies have found success on the screen, but that hasn't stopped Disney from trying. Dwayne Johnson will be bringing Jungle Cruise to the screen in just about a month, and now it's being reported that Disney is looking to turn the Tower of Terror into a film (again) with Scarlett Johansson.
While details are light, Collider is reporting that Scarlett Johansson will both produce and star in a movie based on Tower of Terror. Script duties are apparently being handled as we speak by Toy Story 4's Josh Cooley. So far no director or other stars are attached. This is technically the second movie based on the theme park ride, as a made-for-TV film starring Steve Guttenberg and Kirsten Dunst came out in 1997.
While I'll be the first to admit that many of Disney's theme park attractions that have been transformed for the screen have missed the mark, with names like Scarlett Johansson and Josh Cooley attached to this one, it's clear that Disney is looking to make a new Tower of Terror movie a major project. This has a lot of potential.
A second Tower of Terror film has been in development since 2015, but this is the first we've heard of any real forward momentum on the project. John August reportedly wrote a script treatment back then, it's unclear if Josh Cooley is working from that treatment or is instead starting fresh.
The Tower of Terror exists in three Disney theme parks around the world. The attraction is a "drop" ride where guests are sent up to the top of the tower and then are allowed to "free fall." In actuality, guests fall faster than the force of gravity as the ride vehicle is actually pulled down rather than simply dropped. A fourth version of the ride, at Disney California Adventure, was rethemed to the Guardians of the Galaxy in 2017, though the core ride remained intact.
Two of the current attractions use the Twilight Zone license and include a pre-show that includes a Rod Serling sound alike and tells the story of five people who are staying in a high-end hotel in the era of classic Hollywood when lightning strikes their elevator and mysterious things begin to happen. The original TV movie told a version of this story without using the Twilight Zone name, so this version could as well.
Alternatively, we could see a film based on the Tokyo DisneySea version of the ride, which is set at the Hotel Hightower. Harrison Hightower, an original Disney character, is showing off a unique artifact he recently brought back to his hotel, but the object is cursed, leading to the events of the ride. Of course, it's also possible that we'll get an entirely original story that simply uses a big spooky building as a major location.
Tower of Terror joins a few other theme park/movie projects currently in development. A movie based on Space Mountain is currently in the script phase and there are as many as two new Pirates of the Caribbean films also being worked on.
CinemaBlend’s resident theme park junkie and amateur Disney historian. Armchair Imagineer. Epcot Stan. Future Club 33 Member.
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