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THE CURIOUS RISE OF JUMANJI: WELCOME TO THE JUNGLE

Jumanji: Welcome To The Jungle - CoverWhen 'Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle' was first announced, it was met with some resistance because many people weren’t too happy with Sony’s decision to dust off the classic Robin Williams fantasy-comedy with a part reboot, part sequel, cash-grab. Some said, ‘It will ruin the legacy of the original’, while others, underlined Hollywood’s ‘lack of ideas’. Either way, the general consensus was that it was going to be a continuation of other poorly received retreads, such as the female-led ‘Ghostbusters’, for instance, or that’s what we initially believed.





1) A 'Rags to Riches' Hollywood Story

To some extent, this film’s curious rise to box office stardom kind of presents us with a perversely poetic rags to riches Hollywood story. Seriously, folks, it’s the stuff studio executives always dream about, but only fleetingly achieve. Indeed, 'Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle' not only became Sony’s second biggest money-maker ever (after 'Spider-Man' in the United States), but it also earned nearly $1 billion worldwide and knocked 'Star Wars: The Last Jedi' off the number one spot in the month it was released.

Jumanji: Welcome To The Jungle  - Cast
In no uncertain terms, a lot of people thought this was going to be another Hollywood reboot that would ultimately fail, or at the very least, another sequel gone to pot. Heck, even the early production troubles pointed to it being a critical and commercial failure, especially when new writers were being hired because old scripts were being rejected, and as a result, the release date was delayed three times in total.


2) Old Premise, New Idea

So, what did Kasdan and his team of writers do to turn things around? Well, first and foremost, they respected the original by establishing a contemporary setting; then they updated the first film’s boardgame premise by swapping it with that of a video game; and finally, they boosted its popularity by hiring stars like Karen Gillan, Jack Black, Dwayne Johnson, and Kevin Hart, with the last two actors enjoying terrific screen chemistry together (despite Johnson playing against type to brilliant comedic effect).


Jumanji: Welcome To The Jungle - Toy3) Transcending the Screen

Unsurprisingly, the financial success of 'Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle' has led the franchise to transcend the silver screen by embracing mainstream popular culture. This includes movie tie-ins such as a ‘Professor Shelly Oberon’ toy from Funko, t-shirts from Flow In Sky, and ‘Jumanji: The Mobile Game’ from NHN Entertainment Corp (for iOS and Android devices).

What's more, Sony have also confirmed the increased demand for retail licensing as a result of the film’s huge box office success, which has led to renewed interest in merchandise, tie-ins, and other associated ephemera related to the original 1995 film, like the ‘Jumanji boardgame’, a popular casino slots game, and a snazzy looking range of clothing

Now, where the boardgame is concerned (available from retailers like Amazon), players are encouraged to take a journey at the whim of a dice throw, with the hope they can avoid the jungle’s deadliest creatures at any given turn. Whereas the slots game, on the other hand (now available to play at Winningroom), captures the action of the movie with some stunning visuals and recognizable characters across its unique five-reel layout. Similarly, Isaac Morris’s range of clothing based on the original have had a boost in sales thanks to ‘Welcome to the Jungle’, including new clothing for men, women, and kids, being added to the line.




4) The Exception to the Rule

In many ways, this franchise has proven that it's the exception to the rule, particularly in regards to how movie studios set up and develop new remakes. After all, the director and main cast will all be returning for a sequel (i.e. 'Jumanji 3'), and this has led to a renewed interest in the original film as well as how Hollywood should try to reboot their movies from this moment onwards. So what do you think, folks? Should they celebrate the original? Should they do something new? Or should they try to mine old ideas and come up with a refreshing movie?  Whatever the case may be, please feel free to leave your thoughts in the comment section below.

THE CURIOUS RISE OF JUMANJI: WELCOME TO THE JUNGLE THE CURIOUS RISE OF JUMANJI: WELCOME TO THE JUNGLE Reviewed by David Andrews on May 01, 2019 Rating: 5

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