Lionsgate officially announced a new movie set in the Dirty Dancing universe, with Jennifer Grey coming back and executive producing. The studio also hired a director, Jonathan Levine, who most recently directed Seth Rogen and Charlize Theron in last year's Long Shot. The original Dirty Dancing was a box office smash and resulted in a hit soundtrack with the Oscar-winning song "(I've Had) The Time of My Life."
Lionstage CEO Jon Feltheimer confirmed the news in an earnings call on Thursday. He called the project "one of the worst secrets in Hollywood," referring to previous rumors about the project, reports Deadline. He said the project will be written by Mikki Daughtry and Tobias Iaconis, the two behind 2019's Five Feet Apart and The Curse of La Llorona. Levine is producing with Gillian Bohrer. "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," Feltheimer said.
Last month, Deadline reported that Grey signed on to star and executive produce a mysterious dance movie for Lionstage. This immediately led to speculation that the new project was Dirty Dancing-related. At the time, sources told the site the new film is set in the 1990s, about 30 years after the events in the original film. The original Dirty Dancing was produced by the now-defunct Vestron Pictures, whose films are now owned by Lionsgate.
Dirty Dancing was written by Eleanor Bergstein and directed by Emile Ardolino. After it hit theaters in 1987, it immediately became a smash hit, earning $214 million worldwide on just a $5 million budget. The film tells the story of Baby (Grey), the daughter of a doctor (Jerry Orbach) who falls in love with a Catskills resort employee, Johnny (Patrick Swayze), during the summer of 1963. The movie won the Golden Globe and Oscar for Best Original Song for "(I've Had) The Time of My Life." Grey and Swayze were also nominated for Golden Globes.
Lionsgate has tried to mine the Dirty Dancing franchise in the past. In 2004, the studio produced Dirty Dancing: Havana Nights, which transported the story to late '50s Cuba. It was a financial flop, making $27.7 million on a $25 million budget. In 2017, the studio also produced a made-for-TV remake, which aired on ABC and featured Abigail Breslin, Colt Prattes, Debra Messing and Nicole Scherzinger.