A sequel to last year’s Journey to the Center of the Earth is officially in the works, according to Hollywood Reporter. But rather than seek out the lost city of Atlantis, the next adventure hinted at in the first movie, the characters from the first film will explore an island not unlike that of Jules Verne’s 1874 novel The Mysterious Island.
The first film was inspired by Jules Verne’s 1864 novel, A Journey to the Center of the Earth. The sequel’s working title is Mysterious Travels: The Lost Map of Treasure Island.
The story is based on a spec script by The Adventures of Brisco County Jr. writer Richard Outten, Mysterious Travels, which suggests that the classic adventure novels Gulliver’s Travels and Treasure Island also took place on the island from The Mysterious Island.
The original Jules Verne Island novel, includes characters from several previous Verne novels, including Captain Nemo from 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea.
The Atlantis theme was nixed for the Center of the Earth movie sequel because of several other similarly-themed projects in the works, including 2012 from 10,000 BC director Roland Emmerich, coming later this year.
It’s expected that Brendan Fraser and Josh Hutcherson will return in their roles as an archeologist professor and his nephew, but according to Variety, neither has yet officially signed for the project.
As with the first film, the sequel will be shot in 3-D.
The first movie was a solid hit, grossing over a $100 million domestically and $240 million world-wide, but the studio, New Line, was reportedly reluctant to commit to a sequel until they saw the DVD numbers, which have been strong.
The film, which was mostly just cheesy fun, was a critical hit as well, earning a 62% “fresh” rating on RottenTomatoes.com.
The announcement of the sequel makes Fraser the star of two ongoing fantasy film franchises: this one, and The Mummy movies, a fourth of which is currently in the works. Inkheart, in which Fraser starred in earlier this year, would have been a third franchise, although the movie was not a hit (see our review here).
Fraser’s co-star Hutcherson, meanwhile, starred in the fantasy film Bridge to Terabithia (2005) and will appear in Cirque du Freak, coming in August. Both are based on popular children’s fantasy novels.