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The four heroes of Jumani

The holiday season is one synonymous with big movie releases. With moviegoers off from work and among family, it's the perfect time to bring a group to theaters. This year is no exception, with the upcoming releases of blockbusters Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker and Jumanji: The Next Level. The latter movie has some competition with Episode IX, considering how rabid Star Wars fans out there. But it turns out that those involved in the Jumanji sequel aren't worried about that issue.

Producer Hiram Garcia worked on both Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle and The Next Level. The first movie was a huge hit when it arrived in 2017, despite going up against The Last Jedi. It looks like that victory might have inspired more confidence on the sophomore run in the beloved franchise. As Garcia explained it,

You don't know if you're just going to get kind of lost in this tide away. And we started to realize all of a sudden that, 'You know, fans were really loving this.' We do have something special here, a testament to Jake [Kasdan] and to the cast as well, where everyone loved the idea of doing another one. You just had to be right. Like Matt [Tolmach] was saying, it's like it has to be worthy of telling the story. It wasn't just going to be a quick grab of like, 'Oh, let's just do another sequel.' No, we created something special.

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It looks like quality mattered most when approaching Jumanji: The Next Level. And considering how vastly different the blockbuster is to J.J. Abrams' The Rise of Skywalker, they should be able to bring something that massive movie cannot. Namely, family-friendly comedy and a very different iconic property.

Hiram Garcia's comments to Comic Book make a great deal of sense, given how strongly Welcome to the Jungle performed. Clearly there's room for movies other than Star Wars during the holidays, and with Bombshell also hitting theaters during this time.

Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle was the last sleeper hit of 2017, making a whopping $962.1 million at the box office. A sequel seemed like an obvious choice, but it looks like those involved wanted to make sure The Next Level's quality was comparable to its predecessor. The new movies succeed because they look almost nothing like the original 1995 Jumanji. This allows them to be free of comparisons, and bring something new to the table.

It should be interesting to see how the Jumanji franchise continues to grow. The new video game format could lend itself to countless stories, as new characters inhabit the avatars of the game. The stars of the first movie have returned for The Next Level, alongside newcomers Danny DeVito Danny Glover, and Awkwafina.

Jumanji: The Next Level will hit theaters on December 13th. In the meantime, check out our 2020 release list to plan your next trip to the movies.

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