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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 one thing that we felt confident about is that Star Wars still is a tone in itself. And the thing that we had that we felt really good about was that we felt we were an eight-to-80 movie that like, on a holiday, when the family's together and everyone's deciding, ‘All right, we've all seen Star Wars. What do we see next?’ We’re the movie that we know from the little kids to grandma, there's going to be jokes in there, there's going to be fun in there and you're going to leave having a big fun, good time with our movie. And that was the thing that we always felt confident with. So, we're, never trying to dethrone Star Wars. We just want to coexist with it.
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