Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle, the sequel to the 1995 movie Jumanji, was a surprise hit in late 2017 and early 2018. Starring Dwayne Johnson, Karen Gillan, Jack Black, Kevin Hart, and Nick Jonas, the movie came out just a week after the latest box office-smashing Star Wars title, The Last Jedi, and yet it managed to pull in a worldwide gross of over $962 million, which is much closer than you’d expect to The Last Jedi’s $1,332 million worldwide gross.
So, given the movie’s $90 million production budget and its massive popularity in and beyond the cinema, it makes sense that a sequel is in the works. But, it may still come as a surprise that the sequel plans to take on the dreaded Star Wars franchise once again in 2019.
Source: Sus, via Twitter
The box office numbers tell one story, but it seems as though Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle helped to inspire a renewed faith in films based on games, as well as the game that started it all.
Before the latest Jumanji, the genre of movies based on games was looking bleak. The Lara Croft: Tomb Raider movies from the early 00s were still held as the best of the bunch, with the likes of The Angry Birds Movie, Mortal Kombat, Warcraft, and Need for Speed fuelling the belief that movies based on games could not be done well.
But then, Jumanji hit the big screen in 2017 and surprised many with its funny yet exciting story, managing to pull in new fans to the new movie franchise as well as please fans of the original movie. In 2018, Tomb Raider was met by a much more open-minded audience, as did Rampage – also starring Dwayne Johnson – with both game-based movies doing well worldwide.
Jumanji’s popularity spread even further still, into the world of online gaming. Online, you can play classic slots in the theme of many cinematic sensations but, just as the movie reboot did, the new Jumanji slot game became immensely popular. But, instead of using the video game from the new movie the Jumanji game uses the original board game but with modern features, appeasing groups of fans who prefer the original movie and the sequel.
Source: SUPERflix Movies, via Twitter
The popularity of the now Jumanji franchise was unexpected but is still wildly strong. Now, the sequel of the reboot is due for release on the 13th of December 2019, just one week before Star Wars: Episode IX is released.
Dwayne Johnson has already announced that he will be in the new movie, found writer-director Jake Kasdan’s pitch hilarious, and that Kevin Hart’s character dies in the first 15 seconds. Karen Gillan, Jack Black, and Kevin Hart are also expected to rejoin the cast. With the same cast, a funny story, and perhaps an even better advertising campaign to capitalise on Jumanji’s new popularity, the next movie is certainly going to be able to contend with the big names of winter 2019.
However, one of the reasons why Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle may have done so well despite being released the week after the latest Star Wars is because The Last Jedi received such scathing reviews from fans. Equally, this fact may continue to help Jumanji as Solo: A Star Wars Story suffered colossal blowback from the fan base due to fans disapproving of The Last Jedi.
If Star Wars fans can hold a grudge, Jumanji may come even closer to the box office haul of the next Star Wars movie, offering a light-hearted, trusted alternative.