Jumanji 3 to potentially take on Star Wars: Episode IX in 2019
Sony Pictures released Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle on December 20, and in the ensuing month, the sequel has earned over $319 million domestically and over $771 million worldwide to become the studio’s highest-grossing non-James Bond/Spider-Man movie. It also managed to take the #1 spot for three weeks so far and give Star Wars: The Last Jedi a run for its money, even outgrossing that behemoth movie in territories like China, Mexico, Russia, and South Korea. In a new interview with The Wall Street Journal, Sony motion pictures chief Tom Rothman has confirmed that he hopes to have Jumanji 3 ready for Christmas 2019, where it will go head-to-head against J.J. Abrams’ Star Wars: Episode IX.
“From early on looking at the footage, it was clear this was a Christmas movie families would want to see together,” said Rothman of counter-programming Jumanji against Star Wars. “I thought we could spit in the giant’s eye.”
Of course, in December 2017, Jumanji was the only big blockbuster adventure film to open against Last Jedi, with most other competition being Oscar bait (The Post), animated fare (Ferdinand) or musicals (The Greatest Showman). Now that Welcome to the Jungle has proven another franchise film can take on the Lucasfilm goliath and come out okay, expect other studios to follow that lead. As of now, December 2019 looks to find Sony’s own fantasy IP movie Masters of the Universe on December 18 as well as Universal’s Wizard of Oz musical Wicked on December 20 and Fox’s animated version of Call of the Wild on Christmas Day. The upcoming Solo: A Star Wars Story (May 25, 2018) and Episode IX (December 20, 2019) will also test whether Lucasfilm’s strategy to release a new Star Wars film every year pays off dividends or leads to audience fatigue. So far, The Last Jedi‘s performance (despite being the top-grossing movie of 2017) is precisely on-par with the audience falloff experienced by previous Star Wars trilogy middle episodes, The Empire Strikes Back and Attack of the Clones, but may point to a wider issue. All three of the recent Star Wars films have also underperformed dramatically in China, a key blockbuster territory. Last Jedi took in a measly $41 million in China since January 5, already having left screens there, which paves the way for other franchises like Jumanji, which has taken in $66 million since opening there on January 12.
In a brand new Jumanji adventure, the tables are turned as four teenagers are sucked into Jumanji’s world – pitted against rhinos, black mambas and an endless variety of jungle traps and puzzles. To survive, they’ll play as characters from the game: meek Spencer becomes a brave explorer (Dwayne Johnson); hulky jock Fridge becomes a tiny genius (Kevin Hart); It-girl Bethany becomes a bookworm professor (Jack Black); and unathletic Martha becomes an amazonian warrior (Karen Gillan). To beat the game and return to the real world with their lives, they’ll have to start seeing things in an entirely different way.
The Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle cast also includes Nick Jonas, Ser’Darius Blain, Madison Iseman, Alex Wolff and Morgan Turner.
Bad Teacher and Sex Tape helmer Jake Kasdan directed from a screenplay by Chris McKenna & Erik Sommers and Scott Rosenberg & Jeff Pinkner. Matt Tolmach and William Teitler produced with David Householter, Jake Kasadan, Dwayne Johnson, Dany Garcia, Ted Field and Mike Weber executive producing.