Back in the day, The Rock was the “King” of the wrestling promo. Naturally, the dude is a physical specimen. But it was his charisma and his command of the microphone that elevated him to superstar status in the world of the WWE.
So, when we got the opportunity to sit across from Dwayne Johnson and Kevin Hart as the two were promoting their latest comedy, Jumanji: The Next Level, I asked Rock to cut a promo. Not only is this a sequel, it’s also a rematch against Star Wars. However, Rock was having none of it. This is the best that he gave me:
When Sony Pictures decided to bring the Jumanji franchise off of the shelf, and blow the dust off with clever new casting and a video-game update, they didn’t plan for the fact that Rian Johnson’s Star Wars: The Last Jedi would open at the same time. Jedi was believed to be an unstoppable juggernaut, following up on the incredibly popular The Force Awakens.
And while The Last Jedi did amazingly well at the box office, so too did Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle. Thanks to the inspired casting of The Rock, Kevin Hart, Karen Gillan and Jack Black, Jumanji got good reviews and generated positive word of mouth. That led to a whopping $962 million in worldwide ticket sales, and the movie just kept hanging around the top of the weekly Top 10 list.
The sequel was all-but guaranteed, though director Jake Kasdan and his producers had to shake their head when they learned there would be ANOTHER Star Wars movie opening near them when Jumanji: The Next Level opens. When we brought that topic up to producer Hiram Garcia, he honestly admitted:
They likely will. The holiday season is always a productive time at the box office, and while Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker is bringing that massive saga to a close, Jumanji has become the new Star Wars for a younger generation, and they will likely power ticket sales for The Next Level.
Sean Look for The Rock and Kevin Hart’s sequel when it opens in theaters on December 15
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Sean O’Connell is a journalist and CinemaBlend’s Managing Editor. Having been with the site since 2011, Sean interviewed myriad directors, actors and producers, and 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.