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It’s been years since we’ve heard anything about a potential remake of 1995’s Jumanji. While that normally means the concept has safely found its own quiet corner of development hell to go die in, that’s apparently not the case here. Columbia Pictures has just brought in a new screenwriter to do a rewrite on the one that was started back in 2012. This has apparently become a major focus as the studio wants the new movie out next year.
Deadline is reporting that Scott Rosenberg is being brought in to do a rewrite on the existing remake script. Rosenberg’s credits have been mainly focused on television in recent years but he has a collection of film credits that fill all the requirements of a Jumanji remake. He’s done remakes (Gone in 60 Seconds) he’s done films based on books (High Fidelity) and he’s done family movies. Wait, is Kangaroo Jack a family movie? Maybe he hasn’t done one of those yet.
The studio is reportedly eyeing a Christmas Day 2016 release date, so they won’t be wasting much time between now and then. Assuming that the remake will likely be effects heavy as the original one was, there should be significant post production time required, meaning that they must be looking to go into full production fairly soon. With such a short turn around it’s possible they’re only looking to Rosenberg to polish and update the existing script by Zach Helm. A major rewrite would likely take a lot of time and a release window 14 months away doesn’t give them much.
The original Jumanji starred Robin Williams as a man who ended up trapped inside a magical board game as a child and is released when a couple of new kids come across the enchanted box. It’s based on a book by Chris Van Allsburg who also wrote the similarly themed Zathura. It’s one of those movies that every kid likely saw if they were the proper age when it was first released. It’s probably the most family friendly of Robin Williams' films outside of his voice-only work in Aladdin, which makes it one of the films that nearly everybody has seen. This is of course why a remake is a thing that needs to happen. Everybody knows the last one, so it has the name recognition to get noticed when the remake occurs. Plus, they’ll get that much more media attention when they recast the Robin Williams role.
Is Jumanji a remake that needs to happen, or should this be put in the same category as the Mrs. Doubtfire sequel that quietly went away when all involved realized that was best?