Advertisement
  1. Arts & Entertainment

'Dolphin Tale 2' to focus on rescued baby dolphin

Hope, left, and Winter work at the Clearwater Marine Aquarium in 2012. At left, Morgan Freeman, Ashley Judd and Harry Connick Jr. are in talks to return for Dolphin Tale 2.
Published Jun. 20, 2013

After the success of Dolphin Tale, what can Winter the tailless bottlenose do for a movie encore?

She can give audiences a little Hope.

Warner Bros. announced late Tuesday that Dolphin Tale 2 is slated to be released in theaters on Sept. 19, 2014, although the project hasn't been officially greenlighted by its production company, Alcon Entertainment.

"I believe before we know for certain that we're making the movie, we're still probably 10 days away," said Alcon's co-CEO Andrew Kosove from Los Angeles. "We're very, very close."

The sequel would focus on an orphaned Atlantic bottlenose named Hope, who lives with Winter at the Clearwater Marine Aquarium, which would again serve as a primary filming location.

Kosove said Wednesday that the project is in early stages of development with principal cast members including Harry Connick Jr., Ashley Judd and Oscar winner Morgan Freeman in advanced negotiations to return. Dolphin Tale director Charles Martin Smith is already signed for the sequel, this time working with a screenplay he wrote. Filming would begin in late October or early November.

Like Winter's movie debut, the plot of Dolphin Tale 2 is a fictionalized account of real-life events. Dolphin Tale centered on Winter's rescue in 2005, the subsequent loss of her tail and its replacement with a prosthetic.

During Dolphin Tale's wrap party in December 2010, aquarium officials received word that another injured dolphin calf had been recovered on Florida's east coast, near the same lagoon where Winter was saved from entanglement in a crab trap. The dolphin, later named Hope, was transported to Clearwater Marine Aquarium, where she recovered and now resides.

The notion of a sequel to Dolphin Tale was floated soon after the movie's debut weekend in 2011 when it sold $19.1 million in tickets, finishing a close third behind The Lion King's reissue and Brad Pitt in Moneyball. In its second week of release, Dolphin Tale leaped to the top of the box office chart, a Hollywood rarity.

Dolphin Tale proceeded to gross $72.3 million at North American box offices — nearly double its reported $37 million budget — plus another $23 million overseas and $24 million in domestic DVD sales. Kosove said nearly another $100 million was spent to market Dolphin Tale worldwide.

Kosove said the sequel's proposed budget is similar to the original's, and unlike Dolphin Tale it would not be filmed in 3-D.

Over 55 production days in 2010, Dolphin Tale pumped nearly $17 million into state coffers, including paychecks totaling slightly more than $7.5 million for nearly 1,300 Floridians working as crew members, actors and extras. The rest was spent on equipment rentals, hotel accommodations, catering and other production expenses.

Thanks to Florida's Entertainment Industry Financial Incentive Program offering tax credits to in-state productions, Alcon Entertainment recouped slightly more than $5 million of its expenditures.

However, the incentives program fund totaling $296 million at its 2012 peak is depleted, with all monies claimed by film, television or video game productions around the state. Alcon was hesitant to move forward with Dolphin Tale 2 without assurances of somehow receiving similar financial benefits as before.

To that end, state Sen. Jack Latvala, R-Clearwater, and state Rep. Ed Hooper, R-Clearwater, allocated general revenue funds totaling $5 million to entice Alcon to proceed with production. Gov. Rick Scott didn't veto the allocation using his line-item authority in May, clearing a path for Alcon.

Steve Persall can be reached at persall@tampabay.com or (727) 893-8365. Follow @StevePersall on Twitter.

ALSO IN THIS SECTION

  1. BurgerFi builds its signature cheeseburger with two Angus beef patties, double American cheese, lettuce, tomato and house sauce. Courtesy of BurgerFi
    Ring in National Cheeseburger Day, watch Bad Religion play Jannus Live or laugh with YouTubers Drew Gooden and Danny Gonzalez.
  2. Two western lowland gorillas at Busch Gardens were part of the successful Budweiser ad campaign during Super Bowl XLI. Sim Sim, left, and Cenzoo, right, helped sell Bud Light. BUSCH GARDENS  |  Tampa Tribune
    Sim Sim’s claim to fame was a 2007 Bud Light commercial.
  3. Hoisin-glazed chicken meatballs. LORRAINE FINA STEVENSKI  |  Special to the Times
    They’re topped with a hoisin sauce, and can be baked or pan-fried.
  4. On Friday, Joella's Hot Chicken will debut the Southern menu its known for in Largo. Joella's Hot Chicken
    Best part? There’s a drive-through.
  5. A still image from Vice's "WTFlorida?!" episode on Paul Flart. Courtesy of Vice
    Short documentaries on Floridians like hurricane headbanger Lane Pittman and Polk security guard “Paul Flart” expand their stories.
  6. FILE - In this May 5, 2019, file photo Alex Trebek poses in the press room at the 46th annual Daytime Emmy Awards at the Pasadena Civic Center in Pasadena, Calif. Trebek said Tuesday, Sept. 17, that he’s had a setback in his battle with pancreatic cancer and is undergoing chemotherapy again. RICHARD SHOTWELL  |  Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP
    After a short period of optimism when he stopped chemotherapy, his “numbers shot up” and doctors ordered him back on the treatment.
  7. Visitors ride the Cheetah Hunt roller coaster at Tampa theme park Busch Gardens, which has put its 2020 Fun Card on sale early. AP/Busch Gardens
    Buy your 2020 Busch Gardens or SeaWorld Fun Card and get a few months free, plus more sales for Florida residents.
  8. Larry Duran, a 12-piece Latin band, will perform at the Hispanic Heritage Festival of Hernando County Sept. 21 at the Lake House. Vivian Rivera-Hernandez
  9. Jimmy Buffett performed at Tampa's MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheatre on June 6, 2017. JAY CRIDLIN  |  Tampa Bay Times
    The quintessential Florida Man and his Coral Reefer Band hit town for the holidays.
  10. In this image taken from NASA video actor Brad Pitt, left, star of the new space movie “Ad Astra,” speaks from NASA headquarters in Washington, to astronaut Nick Hague abroad the International Space Station, on Monday, Sept. 16, 2019. AP
    In a televised call Monday, NASA astronaut Nick Hague answered Pitt — “absolutely” — getting a big laugh.
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement