Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle

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Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle
Theatrical release poster
Directed byJake Kasdan
Screenplay by
Story byChris McKenna
Based on
Produced by
Starring
CinematographyGyula Pados
Edited by
Music byHenry Jackman[1]
Production
companies
Distributed bySony Pictures Releasing[2]
Release dates
  • December 5, 2017 (2017-12-05) (Grand Rex)
  • December 20, 2017 (2017-12-20) (United States)
Running time
119 minutes[3]
CountryUnited States
LanguageEnglish
Budget$90–150 million[4][5]
Box office$995.3 million[6]

Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle is a 2017 American fantasy adventure comedy film directed by Jake Kasdan from a screenplay by the writing teams of Chris McKenna and Erik Sommers, and Scott Rosenberg and Jeff Pinkner, based on a story conceived by McKenna. The film is the third installment in the Jumanji film series and a sequel to Jumanji (1995). It stars Dwayne Johnson, Jack Black, Kevin Hart, Karen Gillan, Nick Jonas, and Bobby Cannavale. The story focuses on a group of teenagers who come across Jumanji, now transformed into a video game twenty-two years after the events of the 1995 film. They find themselves trapped inside the game as a set of adult avatars, seeking to complete a treacherous quest alongside another player who has been trapped since 1996.

Principal photography began in Honolulu in September 2016 and ended in Atlanta in December, with the film containing notable references to the first film as a tribute to its lead actor Robin Williams.[7] Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle, premiered at the Grand Rex in Paris on December 5, 2017, and was released in the United States on December 20 by Sony Pictures Releasing. The film received positive reviews from critics, with praise for its humor and performances.[8] It grossed $995.3 million worldwide, becoming the fifth-highest-grossing film of 2017. A sequel, Jumanji: The Next Level, was released in December 2019.

Plot[edit]

In 1996, Brantford, New Hampshire, teenager Alex Vreeke receives Jumanji, which was previously disposed of by Alan Parrish and Sarah Whittle in 1969,[a] from his father, who found it on the coast. However, seeing it is a boardgame and not a video game, he dismisses it. Later that night, Alex finds it transformed into a video game cartridge. Opting to play, he is sucked inside the game, disappearing from the real world as time continues to pass.

Twenty-one years later, four Brantford High School students – awkward Spencer Gilpin, athletic Anthony "Fridge" Johnson, ditzy Bethany Walker, and cynical Martha Kaply – are given detention. Fridge and Spencer were caught cheating, and Bethany and Martha disrespected their teachers.

Fridge finds Alex's discarded video game. Upon starting it, the group is sucked into Jumanji, landing in a jungle as their chosen avatars – Spencer as muscular archaeologist Dr. Xander "Smolder" Bravestone, Fridge as zoologist Franklin "Mouse" Finbar, Bethany as male, overweight cartographer and paleontologist Professor Sheldon "Shelly" Oberon, and Martha as sultry martial arts expert Ruby Roundhouse. Three marks on their arms denote their lives in the game, making them afraid that if they lose all three, they will actually die.

The group's goal is to end a curse on Jumanji, brought about by corrupt archaeologist Professor Van Pelt[b] after he stole a magical jewel called the "Jaguar's Eye" and gained control of the jungle's animals. They must return the jewel to the shrine and call out "Jumanji!" to lift the curse and leave the game.

Coping with their avatars, their character "weaknesses", Van Pelt's men, and their own group dynamics as they begin their journey, they encounter Alex playing the fifth avatar – pilot Jefferson "Seaplane" McDonough – who takes them to a treehouse that Alan Parrish built during his tenure in Jumanji. Alex thinks he has only been stuck in the game for a couple of months; everyone, including he, is shocked to realise he has been there for twenty years.

The group coordinate with each other's strengths and work together to overcome the game's obstacles. They manage to return the jewel to the statue, break the curse, and return to the real world.

Back in the present, the group finds the Vreeke home restored and lively from its previous haunted state. They meet Alex, now an adult, who explains that he returned to 1996, allowing him to live his life. He remained in Brantford and now leads a married life; his daughter is named after Bethany to honor her after she had saved him by sacrificing one of her own lives in the game.

The four students form an unlikely friendship after their experiences in the game, having bonded and become better people. Soon after, they destroy the game to prevent it from endangering anyone else.

Cast[edit]

  • Dwayne Johnson as Dr. Xander "Smolder" Bravestone, a strong, confident archaeologist and explorer, and Spencer's avatar in Jumanji.
    • Alex Wolff as Spencer Gilpin, an intelligent, unconfident and neurotic high school student.
  • Kevin Hart as Franklin "Mouse" Finbar, a diminutive zoologist and weapons carrier, and Fridge's avatar in Jumanji.
    • Ser'Darius Blain as Anthony "Fridge" Johnson, a high school football player whose friendship with Spencer has deteriorated due to their different social statuses.
  • Jack Black as Professor Sheldon "Shelly" Oberon, an expert in many scientific fields including cartography and Bethany's avatar in Jumanji.
    • Madison Iseman as Bethany Walker, a popular and vain high school student.
  • Karen Gillan as Ruby Roundhouse, a scantily-clad commando and Martha's avatar in Jumanji.
    • Morgan Turner as Martha Kaply, a quiet and shy high school student with a cynical intellect.
  • Nick Jonas as Jefferson "Seaplane" McDonough, an aircraft pilot and Alex's avatar in Jumanji.[9]
    • Colin Hanks as Alex Vreeke, a family man who was trapped in Jumanji as a teenager (uncredited)
      • Mason Guccione as young Alex
  • Rhys Darby as Nigel Billingsley, a non-player character in Jumanji who serves as the primary guide for its players
  • Bobby Cannavale as Van Pelt,[b] a non-player character in Jumanji presented as a corrupt archaeologist and former partner of Bravestone's. The character is a reimagined version of the Van Pelt character from the 1995 film, originally portrayed by Jonathan Hyde.

Additionally, Marin Hinkle, Tracey Bonner, and Natasha Charles Packer play the mothers of Spencer, Fridge, and Bethany respectively. Appearing as staff members of Brantford High School are Marc Evan Jackson as Principal Bentley, Carlease Burke as history teacher Miss Mathers, Missi Pyle as gym teacher Coach Webb, and Maribeth Monroe as Bethany's English teacher. Kat Altman portrays Bethany's friend Lucinda and Michael Shacket portrays Spencer's friend Fussfeld. William Tokarsky and Rohan Chand appear as a food vendor and a boy, respectively, in the video game's marketplace. Alex's father is played by Sean Buxton in 1996 and an uncredited Tim Matheson in the present day.

Production[edit]

Development[edit]

Plans for a Jumanji sequel were put ahead by Sony Pictures Entertainment in the late 1990s. As reported by Ain't It Cool News, a stand-alone sequel entitled Jumanji 2 was in development in 1999. The plot of the story involved John Cooper, the President of the United States, buying Jumanji from an old antique store in Europe and bringing it to the White House to play it with his children (one of whom, Butch, just wants a dad not a President for a father). Cooper then gets sucked into the world of Jumanji, paving the way for his evil Vice President, who was supposed to be played by Steve Buscemi, to rise to power as Cooper's replacement.[10] Inside the game, Cooper would have teamed up with hybrid animals, which were going to be animated with CGI; Sony Pictures Consumer Products executive VP of worldwide consumer products Peter Dang revealed prototype drawings of animals that may have appeared in the film, all designed by Ken Ralston, who served as visual effects supervisor in the original film and was planned to make his directorial debut with Jumanji 2, slated for a Christmas 2000 release date.[11] The first film's co-writer, Jonathan Hensleigh, had written the initial draft. Ralston eventually stepped down and the project stalled, albeit the DVD commentary of the first film still references a sequel directed by Ralston.[12] Several other directors and writers came and went on the project, including Steve Oedekerk, Adam Rifkin, David S. Ward, Don Rhymer, and the original author Chris Van Allsburg.[13] Then in 2002, a new iteration of the sequel was reported by Variety. Director Dennis Dugan pitched his own version of the sequel that was said to have utilized the full potential of the board game and would've brought back Robin Williams, who Dugan believed would have more comedic opportunity. Peter Ackerman was being looked at to write.[14] When they were unable to retrieve Williams for the sequel, Sony passed on the project and moved on to develop Zathura.[15]

In July 2012, rumors circulated that a remake of Jumanji was in development. Columbia Pictures president Doug Belgrad said: "We're going to try and reimagine Jumanji and update it for the present".[16] It was confirmed on August 1 that Matthew Tolmach would produce the new version with William Teitler (who produced the original film).[17] In August 2015, Sony Pictures Entertainment announced that the film was scheduled for release on December 25, 2016.[18] Online reception to the news was negative, with some saying that the announcement came too soon after the death of Robin Williams in August 2014 (who played Alan Parrish in the original film).[19][20] The announcement was criticized by Bradley Pierce (who played Peter Shepherd in Jumanji) and by E! News, which called the remake "unnecessary and kind of insulting".[21][22] Scott Rosenberg was hired in October 2015 to rewrite the script for the film, whose production was a high priority for the studio.[23] Jake Kasdan was hired to direct the film the following year in January from a script by Rosenberg and Jeff Pinkner based on a draft by original writers Chris McKenna and Erik Sommers.[24]

The film's complete title, Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle, was confirmed in Cinemacon 2017 held in March. Its plot involved teenagers cleaning out a school's basement who find a vintage video-game version of Jumanji and are sucked into the first film's jungle setting. Although fans debated whether the film was a sequel or a reboot, the second trailer (released that September) indicated that the sequel is set 21 years after the first. Dwayne Johnson noted that the film was inspired by classic video games of the 1990s.[25][26] The film had used the working title "Jumanji" and the final title and the use of the song "Welcome to the Jungle" was suggested by Jack Black.[27]

Casting[edit]

Dwayne Johnson and Kevin Hart were in early talks in April 2016 to star in the film (although both actors had other projects at the time).[28] Johnson confirmed his casting on Instagram later that month.[29] In July, Nick Jonas joined the film's cast with Johnson, Hart, and Jack Black.[30] Black and Hart were paid $5 and $10 million for their involvement, respectively.[31] The following month, Johnson said that the film would not be a reboot but a continuation of the 1995 film;[32] Karen Gillan was announced as part of the cast.[33] On September 20, Ser'Darius Blain was cast as Anthony "Fridge" Johnson and Madison Iseman as Bethany Walker. Two days later, Rhys Darby was cast as Nigel Billingsley, Morgan Turner as Martha Kaply, and Alex Wolff as Spencer Gilpin.[34][35][36] In November, Bobby Cannavale announced his casting in the film,[37] and in December, Tim Matheson joined the cast as Old Man Vreeke.[38]

Filming[edit]

Dwayne Johnson and Kevin Hart on the film's set at Kualoa Ranch in Hawaii

Principal photography began on September 19, 2016, in Honolulu, Hawaii,[28][39] primarily at the Kualoa Ranch nature reserve.[40] The film wrapped on December 8 in Atlanta, Georgia.[41]

Music[edit]

James Newton Howard was originally signed to compose the film's score,[42] but was replaced by Henry Jackman when the film's release date was postponed six months.[1] The soundtrack was released digitally on 15 December 2017 by Sony Masterworks.[citation needed]

Visual effects[edit]

The visual effects are provided by Iloura and Supervised by Glenn Melenhorst with help from Moving Picture Company, Ollin VFX and Rodeo FX.[43]

Release[edit]

Theatrical[edit]

Sony initially gave the film a release date of December 25, 2016.[44] Since filming did not begin until September 2016, the release was pushed back to July 28 and then to December 20, 2017.[2]

Amazon Prime members in the United States could access to tickets for a December 8 screening of the film at select Regal, National Amusements, ArcLight Cinemas and AMC theaters.[45] The screenings sold out at 1,200 theaters and earned $1.9 million.[46] The film was released on IMAX 2D on January 12, 2018.

In India, the film was released in English, Tamil, Hindi & Telugu languages on December 20, while in China, the film was released on December 29.[citation needed]

Home media[edit]

Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle was released on Digital HD on March 6, 2018, and on DVD, Blu-ray, Blu-ray 3D (excluding North America) and 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray on March 20, although the film was still in theaters. The Blu-ray and digital versions include two additional featurettes: "Surviving the Jungle: Spectacular Stunts!" and "Book to Board Game to Big Screen & Beyond! Celebrating The Legacy of Jumanji".[47] Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle made a revenue of $65 million from home video sales with 3.4 million units sold, making it the seventh best-selling title of 2018.[48]

In April 2021, Sony signed a deal giving Disney access to their legacy content, including the Jumanji franchise to stream on Disney+ and Hulu and appear on Disney's linear television networks. Disney's access to Sony's titles would come following their availability on Netflix.[49][50]

Reception[edit]

Box office[edit]

Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle grossed $403.5 million in the United States and Canada and $590.8 million in other territories, for a worldwide total of $995.3 million[6] It was the fifth-highest-grossing film of 2017.[51] On April 10, 2018, the film passed Spider-Man ($403.7 million) to become Sony's highest-grossing film domestically.[52] On December 25, 2021, Spider-Man: No Way Home surpassed the film at $405 million to become Sony's highest-grossing film domestically. Deadline Hollywood calculated its net profit as $305.7 million when factoring all expenses and revenues, making it 2017's fourth-most-profitable release.[53]

In the U.S. and Canada, the film was released on December 20, 2017, with The Greatest Showman and was projected to gross about $60 million from 3,765 theaters in its six-day opening weekend; the studio predicted a $45 million debut.[54][55] It earned $7.2 million on its first day and $7.6 million on its second day. Over the three-day weekend, the film grossed $36.2 million (for a six-day total of $71.9 million), finishing second at the box office behind Star Wars: The Last Jedi.[4] Its weekend-only earnings increased to $50.1 million during its second weekend, again finishing in second place at the box office.[56] The 38.4 percent weekend-to-weekend increase was the fourth-largest for a film playing in over 3,000 theaters; The Greatest Showman set the record for best hold the same weekend.[57][58] The film passed Star Wars: The Last Jedi for the top spot the following weekend, declining 28.1 percent to $36 million,[59] and finished first again the following week with $28.1 million (and a total of $35.2 million over the four-day MLK weekend).[60] Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle remained atop the box office for its third weekend, earning $19.5 million.[61]

It again topped the box office for a fourth consecutive week (its sixth week overall in theatres) with $19.5 million, topping new releases 12 Strong and Den of Thieves.[62] The film continued to do well the following week, dropping 16 percent (to $16.1 million) and finishing second to Maze Runner: The Death Cure,[63] before regaining the top spot for a fifth time the following weekend with $10.9 million.[64]

Critical response[edit]

On review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds an approval rating of 76% based on 240 reviews, and an average rating of 6.2/10. The website's critical consensus reads, "Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle uses a charming cast and a humorous twist to offer an undemanding yet solidly entertaining update on its source material."[65] On Metacritic, the film has a weighted average score of 58 out of 100, based on 44 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews".[66] Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "A−" on an A+ to F scale, while those at PostTrak gave it an 84% positive score.[4]

Dave White of TheWrap praised the cast and called the film a pleasant surprise: "Jumanji: Welcome to The Jungle is the Christmas tentpole release that aims to please and succeeds, a funny family entertainment product that subverts more expectations than it was obligated to contractually".[67] Peter Travers of Rolling Stone writes "enough star power and comic zest to deliver a fun time at the movies ... barely" and praises the cast, particularly Jack Black as hilarious and for finding the "vulnerable heart" of the character. Travers gives the film 2.5 stars out of 4.[68] Peter Bradshaw of The Guardian newspaper gives the film 3 out of 5 stars. Bradshaw praises Johnson for his "endearing performance" and calls it an "amiable effort" expects that will go down well on home viewings.[69]

David Ehrlich of IndieWire gave the film a C grade, calling it unnecessary but mildly amusing: "Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle is further proof that even the stalest whiff of brand recognition has become preferable to originality. Only part of the blame for that belongs to the studios but after cannibalizing themselves for much of the last 20 years, Hollywood has clearly eaten their way down to the crumbs".[70] For Variety, Owen Gleiberman wrote: "Excitement! Suspense! Childlike innocence! Ingeniously staged action set pieces! These are a few of the things you will not find, anywhere, in Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle ... It's supposed to be a board game come to life but really, it's just a bored game."[71]

Accolades[edit]

Accolades received by Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle
Award Date of ceremony Category Recipients Result Ref.
Golden Trailer Awards May 31, 2018 Best Fantasy Adventure "New World" (TRANSIT) Nominated [72]
[73]
Best Fantasy Adventure TV Spot (for a Feature Film) "Worlds Apart :60" (Big Picture) Nominated
Best Billboard "Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle, Billboard" (BOND) Won
MTV Movie & TV Awards June 18, 2018 Best Comedic Performance Jack Black Nominated [74]
Best On-Screen Team Dwayne Johnson, Kevin Hart, Jack Black, Karen Gillan, and Nick Jonas Nominated
Nickelodeon Kids' Choice Awards March 24, 2018 Favorite Movie Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle Won [75]
Favorite Movie Actor Dwayne Johnson Won
Kevin Hart Nominated
Saturn Awards June 27, 2018 Best Fantasy Film Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle Nominated [76]
[77]
Teen Choice Awards August 12, 2018 Choice Comedy Movie Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle Nominated [78]
Choice Comedy Movie Actress Karen Gillan Nominated
Choice Comedy Movie Actor Dwayne Johnson Won
Jack Black Nominated
Kevin Hart Nominated

Video games[edit]

A mobile game titled Jumanji: The Mobile Game, developed by Idiocracy Games and published by NHN Entertainment, was released for Android and iOS on December 14, 2017.[79][80] The game was removed from Google Play and App Store on May 2, 2018, and its service ended on May 24.[81]

A virtual reality experience titled Jumanji: The VR Adventure, developed by MWM Immersive and published by Sony Pictures Virtual Reality, was released on Steam for HTC Vive on January 17, 2018.[82] Although it was announced that the experience would be released on Oculus Rift and PlayStation VR,[83] the releases were canceled, as the game was heavily criticized for its poor graphics and hardware performance.[84] It was delisted from Steam on February 9, 2018.[82]

A video game titled Jumanji: The Video Game, developed by Funsolve and published by Outright Games, was released on November 8, 2019, for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, and Microsoft Windows. It is based on Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle and Jumanji: The Next Level.[85]

Sequel[edit]

Dwayne Johnson, Jack Black, and Nick Jonas discussed the plot of the next Jumanji film (referred to as Jumanji 3) in interviews, including the possibility of the film exploring the origins of the game. According to Karen Gillan, the alternate ending of Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle would have left the door open for another installment.[86][87][88][89] Kasdan returned to direct the sequel, with Rosenberg and Pinkner again writing the script and Johnson, Hart, Black, Gillan and Jonas reprising their roles.[90] Filming began in January 2019.[91] The film was released on December 13, 2019.[92] Awkwafina, Danny DeVito and Danny Glover joined the cast of the film.[93][94][95][96] Black also confirmed the new film as being the fourth Jumanji film because of Zathura: A Space Adventure (2005) serving as the second film and sharing continuity with the other films of the series, with Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle serving as the third film.[97][98]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ As depicted in the 1995 film Jumanji
  2. ^ a b The character is known as Russell Van Pelt in the US version of the film, and John Hardin Van Pelt in the UK version of the film.

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