Dirty Dancing is one of those staple romances of the 1980s that is still so popular today that it stands among the likes of Back to the Future, Jaws, and Ghostbusters as movies that are currently playing in drive-ins around the country and always seem to be on television every single weekend. Now it appears the popularity of the title has resulted in a nostalgic revival in the form of a new Dirty Dancing movie in the works at Lionsgate which will bring back the original film’s star, Jennifer Grey.
Deadline has confirmed the news that was first circulating back in mid-July. Back when the initial report came to light, it wasn’t clear if the new dancing movie was actually a follow-up to Dirty Dancing, but confirmation has come from Lionsgate CEO Jon Feltheimer during a recent earnings call. He said:
“It will be exactly the kind of romantic, nostalgic movie that the franchise’s fans have been waiting for and that have made it the biggest-selling library title in the company’s history.”
The new Dirty Dancing movie is being shepherded by director Jonathan Levine (50/50) and producer Gillian Bohrer, who previously worked together on Warm Bodies, though it’s not clear if Levine is actually directing the movie or not. As for the script, that’s coming from Mikki Daughtry and Tobias Iaconis (Five Feet Apart).
Originally released in 1987, Dirty Dancing followed a sheltered, rich teen girl named Baby (Jennifer Grey) who falls in love with a Catskills resort dance instructor named Johnny Castle (Patrick Swayze) as he teaches her how to dance. With a budget of just $5 million, the movie was a massive hit that raked in $218 million at the global box office when all was said and done. It also took home the Oscar and Golden Globe for Best Original Song thanks to “(I’ve Had) The Time of My Life” by Bill Medley and Jennifer Warnes. Furthermore, the movie was apparently the first to sell more than a million copies on DVD.
This won’t be the first time that Lionsgate has attempted a follow-up to Dirty Dancing. In 2004, they put out Dirty Dancing: Havana Nights, which had no narrative ties to the original movie, but it followed a similar storyline with new characters in Cuba in 1958. It starred Diego Luna and Romola Garai in the leads with John Slattery and Sela Ward in key supporting roles as the female lead’s parents. It wasn’t great! So getting a follow-up with Jennifer Grey involved sounds a little more enticing.
However, what we don’t know is what this new Dirty Dancing movie will be about. If Jennifer Grey is returning, perhaps it will follow a story involving a daughter or son? Or maybe we’ll actually get a movie following Baby in her later years. Since Patrick Swayze passed away a few years ago, he’s sadly not around to give us the happily ever after implied by the original movie. Perhaps Baby could be a widow who reignites her passion for dancing and struggles with having feelings for a new character. Anything is possible, as long as it involves dancing in a relatively dirty way.
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