At the time, it was viewed as financial suicide. Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle was blowing the dust off of a beloved property, with an exciting new cast that included The Rock, Kevin Hart, Karen Gillan and Jack Black. But it was going to open against Rian Johnson’s Star Wars: The Last Jedi. And that movie was expected to suck up all of the oxygen in the multiplexes.
And it did. The Last Jedi opened to a massive number, and then it tailed off. Jumanji, however, opened strong and then kept its legs. Positive reviews and strong word of mouth kept audiences flocking to the theaters for the reboot, meaning that both movies enjoyed box office success at a time when theaters needed a boost.
Well guess what? It’s happening all over again. Jumanji: The Next Level is opening in theaters in December, and it’s getting a week-long head start, but it also is going to find itself going up against a Star Wars movie – this time, it’s J.J. Abrams’ saga-concluding chapter, Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker. During a recent press day in Cabo San Lucas, we sat down with Jumanji producers Matt Tolmach and Hiram Garcia, and got their opinion about having to face off with Star Wars once again as their sequel prepares to open.
And based on how the two movies were received back in 2017, it taught the producers an important business lesson about the power of movies to draw massive crowds during the holiday season.
And they will. Will anticipation for Star Wars is through the roof, with Rise of Skywalker eyeing a $200 million opening weekend, just as many people want to catch up with The Rock and Kevin Hart to see where they are going in the Jumanji sequel. In fact, when I sat down with the cast and asked them about the “rematch” between the two franchises, Rock refused to bite, and took the high road by saying there’s enough room at the table for both franchises. Watch the full interview with the Jumanji: The Next Level cast right here.
Now it’s up to the box office Gods. OK, really, it’s up to you guys. Jumanji: The Next Level gets a head start by opening on December 15, and then Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker will pack theaters on December 20. Do you plan on checking out both?
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Sean O’Connell is a journalist and CinemaBlend’s Managing Editor. Sean created ReelBlend, which he proudly cohosts with Jake Hamilton and Kevin McCarthy. And he's the author of RELEASE THE SNYDER CUT, the Spider-Man history book WITH GREAT POWER, and an upcoming book about Bruce Willis.