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Theatrical release poster
Directed byJoe Johnston
Screenplay by
Story by
Based onJumanji
by Chris Van Allsburg
Produced by
CinematographyThomas E. Ackerman
Edited byRobert Dalva
Music byJames Horner
Distributed bySony Pictures Releasing
Release date
  • December 15, 1995 (1995-12-15)
Running time
104 minutes
CountryUnited States
Budget$65 million[1]
Box office$262.8 million[1]

Jumanji is a 1995 American fantasy comedy adventure film directed by Joe Johnston from a screenplay by Jonathan Hensleigh, Greg Taylor and Jim Strain, based on the 1981 children's picture book of the same name by Chris Van Allsburg. The film is the first installment in the Jumanji film series. It stars Robin Williams, Kirsten Dunst, David Alan Grier, Bonnie Hunt, Jonathan Hyde and Bebe Neuwirth. The story centers on a supernatural board game that releases jungle-based hazards on its players with every turn they take.

Jumanji was released on December 15, 1995, by Sony Pictures Releasing. The film received mixed reviews from critics, but was a box-office success, grossing $263 million worldwide on a budget of approximately $65 million. It was the tenth-highest-grossing film of 1995.

The film spawned an animated television series that aired from 1996 to 1999, and was followed by a spin-off film, Zathura: A Space Adventure (2005), and two indirect sequels, Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle (2017) and Jumanji: The Next Level (2019).


In 1969, Alan Parrish lives in Brantford, New Hampshire, with his parents, Sam and Carol. One day, he escapes a group of bullies and retreats to Sam's shoe factory. His friend Carl Bentley reveals a new shoe prototype he made himself. Alan inadvertently damages the shoe after misplacing it on a conveyor belt, but Carl takes responsibility and is dismissed. After the bullies attack Alan and steal his bicycle, Alan follows the sound of tribal drumbeats to a construction site. He finds a century-old board game called Jumanji and brings it home.

After a disagreement with Sam about attending a local boarding school, Alan plans to run away, but his friend, Sarah Whittle, returns his bicycle. Alan shows her Jumanji and invites her to play. With each dice roll, the game piece moves by itself, and a cryptic message describing the roll's outcome appears in the crystal ball at the center of the board. After Alan inadvertently rolls a five, a message tells him to wait in a jungle until someone rolls a five or eight, and he is sucked into the game. Shortly after, a swarm of bats pursues Sarah out of the mansion.

Twenty-six years later, Judy and Peter Shepherd move into the now-vacant Parrish mansion with their aunt Nora after their parents died in an accident the previous winter on a ski trip in Canada. Judy and Peter begin playing Jumanji after discovering it in the attic. Their rolls summon giant mosquitoes and swarms of monkeys. The game rules state that everything will be restored when the game ends, so they continue playing. Peter rolls a five, releasing a lion and an adult Alan. While making his way out, Alan encounters Carl, now working as a police officer. At the abandoned shoe factory, Alan, Judy and Peter discover that Sam abandoned the shoemaking business to search for his son after his disappearance until his 1991 death. Eventually, the factory's closure sent Brantford into economic decline.

Realizing that they need Sarah to finish the game, the three locate Sarah, who is haunted by both Jumanji and Alan's disappearance, and persuade her to join them. Sarah's first move releases fast-growing carnivorous vines, and Alan's next move releases a big-game hunter named Van Pelt, who Alan first met in the game's inner world. The next roll summons a stampede of various animals, and a pelican steals the game. Peter retrieves it, but Carl arrests Alan. As the stampede wreaks havoc in town, Van Pelt steals the game.

Peter, Sarah and Judy travel to a nearby discount store and rig booby traps to subdue Van Pelt and retrieve the game, while Alan is released after revealing his identity to Carl. The four return to the mansion, which is now overrun by jungle wildlife. They release one calamity after another until Van Pelt arrives. Alan drops the dice and wins the game, which reverses everything that happened as a result of the game.

Alan and Sarah return to 1969 in time for Alan to reconcile with Sam, who tells him that he does not have to attend boarding school. Alan also admits his responsibility for damaging the shoe, and Carl is rehired. Remembering the game's events, Alan and Sarah throw Jumanji into a river and share a kiss.

In the present, Alan and Sarah, now married, are expecting their first child. Alan's parents are still alive, and Alan is successfully running the family business. Alan and Sarah meet Judy, Peter, and their parents, Jim and Martha, for the first time during a Christmas party. Alan offers a job to Jim and convinces them to cancel their ski trip, averting their deaths in the previous timeline.

Meanwhile, two young French-speaking[2] girls hear drumbeats while walking on a beach. Jumanji is seen lying partially buried in the sand.



While Peter Guber was visiting Boston, he invited author Chris Van Allsburg, who lived in Providence, to option his book. Van Allsburg wrote one of the screenplay's drafts, which he described as "sort of trying to imbue the story with a quality of mystery and surrealism".[3] Van Allsburg added that the studio nearly abandoned the project if not for his film treatment, which earned a story credit, given that it added story material that was not from the book.[4]

TriStar Pictures agreed to finance the film, on the condition that Robin Williams play the starring role. Williams turned down the role based on the first script he was given, but after director Joe Johnston and screenwriters Jonathan Hensleigh, Greg Taylor and Jim Strain undertook extensive rewrites, Williams accepted.[5] Johnston had reservations over casting Williams because of the actor's reputation for improvisation, fearing that he would not adhere to the script. However, Williams understood that it was "a tightly structured story", and he filmed the scenes as outlined in the script, often filming duplicate scenes in which he was allowed to improvise with Bonnie Hunt.[5]

Tom Hanks was the first choice to play Alan Parrish, but he turned it down due to his commitments to Apollo 13. Bruce Willis was similarly unavailable due to working on Die Hard with a Vengeance. Other stars considered included Dan Aykroyd, Michael Keaton, Chevy Chase, Sean Penn, Kevin Costner, Richard Dreyfuss, Michael Douglas, Rupert Everett, Harrison Ford, Sean Connery, Bill Paxton, Bryan Cranston, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Alec Baldwin.[6][7]

Jodie Foster, Demi Moore, Madonna, Michelle Pfeiffer and Kirstie Alley were considered for Sarah Whittle, while Scarlett Johansson auditioned for Judy Shepherd.[8][6]

Shooting took place in various New England locales, mainly Keene, New Hampshire, which represented the story's fictional town of Brantford, New Hampshire, and North Berwick, Maine, where the Olde Woolen Mill represented the Parrish Shoe Factory.[9] A large portion of filming took place in Vancouver, British Columbia, where a mock-up of the Parrish house was built,[5] as well as the entire sequence at Sir Save-A-Lot (shot at the Delta Fair Mall and Liquidation World) in Tsawwassen, British Columbia, among other locations.

Special effects were a combination of traditional techniques like puppetry and animatronics (provided by Amalgamated Dynamics), with state-of-the-art digital effects overseen by Industrial Light & Magic.[10][11] ILM developed two new software programs specifically for Jumanji; one called iSculpt, which allowed the illustrators to create realistic facial expressions on the computer-generated animals in the film, and another that, for the first time, created realistic digital hair, used on the monkeys and lion.[10] Actor Bradley Pierce underwent three and a half hours of prosthetic makeup application daily for a period of two and a half months to film the scenes in which he slowly transformed into a monkey.[5]

The film was dedicated to visual effects supervisor Stephen L. Price, who died before the film's release.[12]


Jumanji was released in theaters on December 15, 1995.

Home media[edit]

Jumanji was released on VHS on May 14, 1996, and on DVD on April 29, 1997.[13] In 2000, the film was re-released on DVD in a "Collector's Series Edition".[14] In the UK, the film was released on DVD as a special edition bundled with the Jumanji board game. The film was released on Blu-ray on June 28, 2011,[15] and re-released in a "20th Anniversary Edition" on September 14, 2015.[16] A restored version was released on December 5, 2017, on Blu-ray and 4K UHD, to coincide with the premiere of the sequel, Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle.[17][18]


Box office[edit]

Jumanji did well at the box office, opening at number 1 and overtaking Toy Story, earning approximately $11 million in its first weekend.[19] The film collected approximately $100.5 million in the United States and Canada, and an additional $162.3 million overseas, bringing the worldwide gross to $262.8 million.[1][20]

Critical response[edit]

On the review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, 51% of 47 critics' reviews are positive, with an average rating of 6/10. The website's consensus reads: "A feast for the eyes with a somewhat malnourished plot, Jumanji is an underachieving adventure that still offers a decent amount of fun for the whole family."[21] Metacritic, which uses a weighted average, assigned the film a score of 39 out of 100, based on 18 critics, indicating "generally unfavorable" reviews.[22] Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "A−" on a scale of A+ to F.[23]

Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times rated the film one-and-a-half stars out of four, criticizing its reliance on special effects to convey its story, which he felt was lacking. He questioned the decision to rate the movie PG rather than PG-13, for he felt that young children would be traumatized by much of the film's imagery, which he said made the film "about as appropriate for smaller children as, say, Jaws". He specifically cited Peter's monkey transformation as making him "look like a Wolf Man... with a hairy snout and wicked jaws" that were likely to scare children. Regarding the board game's unleashing one hazard after another at its main characters, Ebert concluded, "It's like those video games where you achieve one level after another by killing and not getting killed. The ultimate level for young viewers will be being able to sit all the way through the movie."[24]

Van Allsburg approved of the film (despite changes from the book, and the screenplay not being as "idiosyncratic and peculiar" as his original story), declaring that "the film is faithful in reproducing the chaos level that comes with having a jungle animal in the house. It's a good movie."[3]


Zathura: A Space Adventure[edit]

Zathura: A Space Adventure, the spiritual successor that was marketed as being from the same continuity of the Jumanji franchise, was released as a feature film in 2005. Unlike the Zathura book, the film makes no references to the previous film outside of the marketing statement. Both films are based on books written by Chris Van Allsburg. With the films being based on books that take place in the same series, the films vaguely make reference to that concept from the novels by having a similar concept and themes.

Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle[edit]

A new film, Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle, is a sequel to the 1995 film. The film contains a whole new set of characters, with no original cast from the first film reprising their roles. The film focuses on teenagers in 2017 who are stuck in the Jumanji video game, in which game avatars must finish the game and save Jumanji.

Plans for a sequel were started in the late 1990s by Sony Pictures Entertainment, and the original director, Ken Ralston, a visual effects supervisor of the original film, was hired to direct, with a Christmas 2000 release date. However, Ralston stepped down, and the sequel was canceled.[25][26][27] The development of the sequel again emerged in the 2010s, when president of Columbia Pictures, Doug Belgrad, teased a possibility of the project in July 2012; the project was confirmed three years later in August, with a new director, Jake Kasdan, and starring Dwayne Johnson. The film was released on December 20, 2017, as a tribute to Robin Williams's lead, and his character is mentioned in the film.[28]

Jumanji: The Next Level[edit]

A fourth film[29] in the franchise, titled, Jumanji: The Next Level, a sequel to Welcome to the Jungle, was released on December 13, 2019.[30] Bebe Neuwirth reprises her role as Nora Shepherd in a cameo at the end of the film.[31]

In other media[edit]


An animated television series was produced between 1996 and 1999. Although it borrows heavily from the film — incorporating various characters, locations and props, and modeling Alan's house and the board game the way they appeared in the film — the series retcons rather than using the film's storyline. In the series, the players are given a "game clue" in each turn and sucked into the jungle until they solve it. Alan is stuck in Jumanji because he has not seen his clue. Judy and Peter try to help him leave the game, providing their motivation during the series, while Sarah is absent from the series, and Alan has a relationship with Aunt Nora instead of Sarah, which, unlike the film, gives a clear explanation about his position as Judy and Peter's uncle.


Jumanji: The Game is a board game originally released in the US in 1995 by Milton Bradley.[32] An updated version (with new colorized artwork) was released in 2017 by Cardinal Games. Some of the riddle-messages on the "danger" cards were updated and changed. That year, designer Rachel Lowe won a British Game of the Year Award (awarded by the Toy Retailers Association) for the game.[33]

Jumanji: A Jungle Adventure Game Pack is a North American-exclusive game for Microsoft Windows that was released on October 9, 1996.[34] It was developed by Studio Interactive and published by Philips Interactive Media.[35] It contains five different action-arcade-based mini-games, based on pivotal scenes from the film; notably, the game does not feature the actual Jumanji board game seen in the movie. Bonus clips of cutscenes from the film can also be viewed.[34] There are five different mini-games from which the player can choose, with different rules and objectives. Animals from the film provide instructions to the player for each mini-game, except for the Treasure Maze mini-game, in which the Jumanji "Spirit" provides instructions instead. All of the mini-games contain rounds (or levels); when players attain a goal, that level is cleared and the player advances to a more difficult version of the mini-game. The player must try to score as many points as possible, and set the best high score.

A party video game based on the film was released in Europe for PlayStation 2 in 2006.[36]

In 2007, Fuji Shoji released a pachinko game using clips from the film (with 3D-rendered CGI anime characters) as part of the screen interaction.[37]

In 2017, Indian company Doptale created Grendhaa, a board game incorporating the "real-life effects" of Jumanji.[38]

The Noble Collection created a special "Collector's Replica" based on the game's original board game form that also incorporates elements of the video game incarnation from the later films.

Theme Parks[edit]

A Jumanji-themed dark ride opened at Gardaland, Italy, for the 2022 season, featuring a large animatronic figure.[39]

On May 15, 2023, Chessington World of Adventures in the UK unveiled a new themed area called "World of Jumanji", featuring a jungle atmosphere, lush landscaping, and several rides, including "Ostrich Stampede" and "Mamba Strike". The area's main attraction is a B&M shuttle wing coaster called "Mandrill Mayhem", on which the track weaves in and around a giant rock-sculpture "mountain" that is shaped like a tiger's head.[40]


In 2005, Jumanji was listed 48th in Channel 4's documentary 100 Greatest Family Films, just behind Dumbo, Spider-Man and Jason & the Argonauts.[41]

In 2011, Robin Williams recorded an audiobook for Van Allsburg's book's 30th edition to coincide with its release.[42]


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External links[edit]