If ever the world needed a Dirty Dancing sequel, now is the time. First confirmed to be in development at CinemaCon in April, Lionsgate has just announced that the official sequel, starring Jennifer Grey, will debut in theaters on February 9, 2024. Nobody puts Baby in a corner for long.
What we know so far is that the screenplay for the untitled sequel is written by Elizabeth Chomko, Jonathan Levine, Mikki Daughtry, Tobias Iaconis and that Levine, director of 50/50 and Long Shot, will also helm the project. Grey, who played the altruistic daddy’s girl Frances “Baby” Houseman, is reprising her role and returning to Kellerman‘s Resort. The film is set in the ’90s, three decades after the events of Dirty Dancing. Production for the film is expected to begin sometime this year.
As for what fans can expect from the decades-in-the-making sequel, Levine has hinted at the inclusion of the iconic music from the original film as well as incorporating ’90s hip-hop. Unfortunately, Patrick Swayze, who co-starred opposite Grey as the swoon-worthy bad-boy love interest Johnny Castle, passed away in 2009. It’s rumored, according to Deadline, that filmmakers are in talks with Swayze‘s estate in order to have the actor’s presence in the film in some way.
Levine addressed the expectations of fans when tackling such a beloved romantic classic, saying:
“While the original ‘Dirty Dancing’ has always been one of my favorite films, I never imagined I would direct the sequel. Through co-writing it, I fell in love with the characters (new and old), the world of 1990s Catskills New York, and the music, which will range from songs from the original movie to ‘90s hip-hop. I can’t wait to collaborate with Jennifer to bring this beautiful story of summer and romance and dancing to a generation of new fans. And to the longtime ones, I promise we will not ruin your childhood. We will tackle the assignment with sophistication, ambition, and, above all, love.”
In the original ’87 classic, directed by Emile Ardolino, Baby is vacationing with her family in the New York Catskills in the early ’60s. Privileged and idealistic, Baby regards her father as the single most important man in her life, and wistfully dreams of joining the Peace Corps, believing her sister to be frivolous and Kellerman’s Resort a waste of her time. When Baby catches the enigmatic dance instructor, Johnny Castle, dirty dancing with some of the resort’s staff, Baby is intrigued. Their paths are inevitably tangled when Baby is confronted with a choice – and the first adult decision she’s ever had to make – that leads to her lying to her father.
Dirty Dancing grossed $214 million at the box office and became one of Lionsgate‘s best-selling films. With its forbidden love, the unforgettable glittering river scene and that iconic closing dance number it has cemented itself as a timeless romance. The song “(I’ve Had) The Time of My Life” (the one you probably can’t get out of your head right now) earned the film an Oscar for Best Original Song as well as a Grammy win.
Though not a direct sequel, another Dirty Dancing film, Dirty Dancing: Havana Nights was released in 2004. Starring Diego Luna and Romola Garai, the film followed an American teenager who moves to Cuba with her family shortly before the Cuban Revolution. Though the film is unrelated to the original Dirty Dancing, it did feature Swayze in a cameo role.
Erin Westerman, Lionsgate’s president of production, said:
“‘Dirty Dancing’ is more than a movie — it’s a cultural touchstone that continues to be a rite of passage. As we approach the next chapter, we knew we had to honor the depth, the relevance, and the heat of the original. We’ve been lucky to have Jennifer as our guide and are thrilled to have Jonathan by her side at the helm, because everything he makes is textured and romantic — he always gives us goosebumps.”
The as-of-yet untitled Dirty Dancing sequel is getting its theatrical release February 9, 2024, just in time for Valentine’s Day. While that could double down on the success of this film, the sequel will be contending with the release of Toto an animated musical comedy from Warner Bros., an untitled Marvel movie from Disney, and both a live action and animated film from Universal.