NO PHOTOS

We may not want to admit it, but the 2008 3D film Journey to the Center of the Earth was a $100 million hit. So, of course, production just started on the sequel. Journey 2: The Mysterious Island brings back star Josh Hutcherson as he sets out on another adventure. This time, however, Brendan Frasier is nowhere to be found. Instead, he’s been replaced by Dwayne Johnson (already back to family films after Faster and Fast Five) who stars along with Michael Caine, Vanessa Hudgens, Luis Guzman and Kristin Davis. Directed by Brad Peyton (Cats & Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore), the 3D sequel is now shooting in Hawaii before moving to North Carolina. After the break, read the official plot description and check out some set photos.

Coming Soon put up the set photos of the 3D family film. There are a few others of Vanessa Hudgens stretching out on the beach and stuff over at CS, if you are into that sort of thing.

And here’s the official plot description from the press release.

Josh Hutcherson will reprise his role as young adventurer Sean Anderson in this follow-up to the 2008 worldwide hit Journey to the Center of the Earth 3D, the first live-action film ever to be shot in digital 3D. Dwayne Johnson stars as Sean’s stepfather, Hank Parsons; Michael Caine as Sean’s grandfather, Alexander Anderson; Vanessa Hudgens and Luis Guzman as a father-daughter tour guide team; and Kristin Davis as Sean’s mom, Liz Anderson.

The new journey begins when Sean receives a coded distress signal from a mysterious island where no island should exist — a place of strange life forms, mountains of gold, deadly volcanoes, and more than one astonishing secret. Unable to stop him from going, Sean’s new stepfather joins the quest. Together with a helicopter pilot and his beautiful, strong-willed daughter, they set out to find the island, rescue its lone inhabitant and escape before seismic shockwaves force the island under the sea and bury its treasures forever.

Journey 2: The Mysterious Island is being produced by Beau Flynn & Tripp Vinson, and Charlotte Huggins from a screenplay by Mark Gunn & Brian Gunn, story by Richard Outten. Serving as executive producers are Michael Bostick, Evan Turner, Marcus Viscidi, Richard Brener, Samuel J. Brown and Michael Disco.

The creative filmmaking team includes director of photography David Tattersall (Gulliver’s Travels), production designer Bill Boes (Fantastic Four), costume designer Denise Wingate (Wedding Crashers) and Academy Award nominated visual effects supervisor Boyd Shermis (Poseidon).

Beginning in January 2011, production will move to Wilmington, North Carolina, to finish shooting after the holiday hiatus, and is scheduled to wrap principal photography in February 2011.

Journey 2: The Mysterious Island is a New Line Cinema presentation, a Walden Media and Contrafilm production and will be distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures, a Warner Bros. Entertainment Company.

Admittedly, I haven’t seen the 2008 Journey To the Center of the Earth so while we can jest about it, the film did over $100 million domestic and another $140 million overseas. It was a legitimate hit. And though I’ve pretty much lost all faith in The Rock from his last several films – including Faster – I still can’t stop watching them. I even saw Tooth Fairy, though I didn’t pay for it.

Does anything about this project stand out for you? And do you think it can live up to the success of the first film? Also, if you have seen the original, do you have any idea why they didn’t recast Brendan Frasier in the sequel? According to Wikipedia, he did survive it.

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