Last year was full of surprise hits and massive bombs at the box office, but the one film that continues to astound as we march towards the second month of the New Year is Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle. The box office success of the rebooted property has been incredible, and it was only just dethroned by Maze Runner: The Death Cure after four weekends at the top. But despite no longer being number one, the film continues to add to its total and has now just passed an impressive milestone. Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle has now outgrossed Spider-Man: Homecoming domestically.
Yes, the reboot of a family film from the '90s has now made more money than one of the most popular superheroes ever here in the United States. According to Box Office Mojo, Jumanji currently sits at $337.8 million domestically versus Spider-Man's $334.2 million, although Spider-Man still has a higher box office total worldwide. Now it is important to note that both Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle and Spider-Man: Homecoming are both Sony releases. So while The Emoji Movie and The Dark Tower both, shall we say, underperformed, Sony has to be happy with these two films (especially Jumanji) for blowing away expectations and having serious legs. What's particularly impressive is that Jumanji is still not done, and will continue to add to its box office total for weeks to come.
Spider-Man isn't the only superhero to be felled by the might of The Rock either. Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle will also pass Wonder Woman in worldwide box office receipts, though probably not domestically. The film is also now Dwayne Johnson's most successful film that isn't a part of the Fast and Furious franchise. Jumanji's success is in no way an indictment of these superhero films or an indication of a comic book bubble about to burst. It is, however, an apt comparison given the dominance and success of superhero fare in the marketplace. Other lavish and original blockbusters have attempted to be franchise starters and make their mark, only to fall wildly short. So when a non-comic book blockbuster hits this big, it is worthy of examination.
There are a lot of reasons one can attribute to Jumanji's success: the popularity of The Rock, the humor of Kevin Hart and the nostalgia for the Robin Williams film being among them. Likely it is an amalgam of factors and some intangibles as well. Hollywood often learns the wrong lessons from the success and failures of films, and hopefully that is not what happens here. Name recognition counts, but it doesn't go nearly as far when the quality isn't there. Jumanji could have easily turned off fans who loved the original. After all, nostalgia for a beloved film can be tough to live up to. The Jumanji name brought people into the theaters in December, but positive word of mouth (and admittedly a weak January calendar) kept them coming back again and again as we head into February.
Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle is in theaters now. For all the movies hoping to have that kind of success this year, you can check out our release schedule.
Nick grew up in Maryland has degrees in Film Studies and Communications. His life goal is to walk the earth, meet people and get into adventures. He’s also still looking for The Adventures of Pete and Pete season 3 on DVD if anyone has a lead.
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