After two years in the corner (or at the very least, film development hell) Jennifer Grey’s long-awaited sequel to Dirty Dancing has finally found a director and release date. As Variety reports, Jonathan Levine (The Wackness, Long Shot) will guide the film into theaters sometime in 2024.
The 1987 rom-com classic starred Grey as Frances “Baby” Houseman, a young woman who falls in love with dancing instructor Johnny Castle (Patrick Swayze) at a Catskills resort in 1963. This new film, also currently titled Dirty Dancing, comes from Lionsgate and will take place at the Catskills about 30 years later. Swayze passed away in 2009, but Grey will reprise her role as Baby while also executive producing.
Levine co-wrote the screenplay with Elizabeth Chomko, and as he explained in a statement, this new film will reuse some of the iconic music from the original — perhaps a hint about the Oscar-winning song “(I’ve Had) The Time of My Life” — while also dabbling in Levine’s great love of hip-hop, which he first explore in his breakout 2008 film The Wackness.
“While the original Dirty Dancing has always been one of my favorite films, I never imagined I would direct the sequel,” Levine said. “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.”
Lionsgate has returned to the world of Dirty Dancing a couple of times, though none of the follow-ups have approached the popularity of the original. In 2004, they released the prequel Dirty Dancing: Havana Nights, starring Diego Luna and Romola Garai, and in 2017, they dropped a made-for-TV remake starring Abigail Breslin and Colt Prattes.