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Jumanji 2

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Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle became a mega hit when it arrived in December 2017.

Earning $884 million (and counting) on a $100 million budget, it’s absolutely no surprise that the sequel/reboot of the 1995 kids classic – which is already one of Sony’s most successful releases – is getting a follow-up.

It’s early days in the film’s development, but here’s everything we know about the third Jumanji film, or, if you will, the second Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle film.The latest report is that Sony Pictures is working to get back much of the cast and filmmaking team for the sequel.

Dwayne Johnson, Kevin Hart, Jack Black and Karen Gillan are in line to return, and have already been offering their ideas for the next instalment. Deadline added that “the rest of the ensemble” are also expected to reprise their roles, which could mean anyone including Alex Wolff, Madison Iseman, Ser’Darius Blain, Morgan Turner, Nick Jonas, Colin Hanks, Marc Evan Jackson, Maribeth Monroe, Missi Pyle and Bobby Cannavale.

Scott Rosenberg and Jeff Pinkner are in talks to return to write the sequel, along with director Jake Kasdan – who has been working with the writers on the idea for Jumanji 3 – and producer Matt Tolmach.Remarkably for a modern movie, Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle did not introduce any obvious setup for a sequel – let alone a ten-part franchise with prequel spin-offs – so there are no dangling threads that need resolving.

The film actually ended with the four friends destroying the Jumanji video game to stop anyone else becoming trapped in the jungle world. Of course, we’re not as naïve as the kids are so as to believe that this could possibly be the end of Jumanji.

A sequel will have to start by explaining how the game remakes itself – and perhaps the form it will be taking next. Beyond that, this does seem like a good opportunity to reveal what Jumanji really is, where it came from and what sort of horrendous person wanted to create it in the first place.The way Welcome to the Jungle ended does imply that Nick Jonas/Colin Hanks are less likely to be back as Alex/ Jefferson ‘Seaplane’ McDonough, but the wacky rules (such as they are) of Jumanji means that it wouldn’t be too hard to squeeze them into the next story.

They’ll want to get Jonas back to record the new theme with Jack Black, after all…Sony is yet to announce a start date for the film’s production, so a release date can only be a matter of wild speculation at the moment. If shooting was to begin soon, we’re still looking at a 2019 release at the earliest for the sequel.2017 had its share of unexpected hits, but I doubt anyone saw Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle becoming such a juggernaut at the box office. Although the movie is undoubtedly a crowd-pleaser featuring bankable stars like Dwayne Johnson, Kevin Hart, and Jack Black, it’s still amazing that the feature now stands as the fifth-highest grossing movie of 2017. More than that, it now stands at the third most successful movie in Sony’s history.

If you check out this chart from Box Office Mojo, you’ll see that Jumanji now trails just Spider-Man and Spider-Man 2 on the list of the studio’s hits, and it will likely overtake Spider-Man 2 to become the studio’s second-highest grossing movie of all-time. That’s an impressive level of success, especially when you consider that the Jumanji brand laid low since the 1995 Robin Williams movie. Additionally, the movie had a solid but not Earth-shattering $36 million opening weekend, so its success not comes from busting out the gate, but by having serious legs throughout the holidays and into January. Welcome to the Jungle is also the studio’s third-highest grossing movie internationally ahead of Spectre and Spider-Man: Homecoming.

Sony is now moving ahead on a Jumanji 3 and aims to bring back the cast of Welcome to the Jungle. No director has been announced yet, although I assume Sony is trying to get Welcome to the Jungle helmer Jake Kasdan back behind the camera (not too shabby a performance for a guy who had never had a gigantic hit like this despite directing cult classics such as Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story and Zero Effect). It will be interesting to see how quickly Sony can get a sequel going and if they’ll be able to capitalize on the massive success of Welcome to the Jungle.Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle cowriters Scott Rosenberg and Jeff Pinkner have been hired to start work on a potential Jumanji 3, according to Deadline. The entire original cast — Dwayne Johnson, Kevin Hart, Jack Black, and Karen Gillan — is expected to return, with Sony targeting a Christmas 2019 release date. That would put the sequel directly in the path of Star Wars Episode IX. Two months ago, that might have seemed a suicide mission. Today, seeing how 2manji held its own against The Last Jedi to the tune of nearly $900 million worldwide, it seems like a canny business move.

The phenomenal success was particularly surprising since there seemed to be nothing particularly unique or exciting about Welcome to the Jungle. It’s a body-swap sequel to a mediocre ’90s adventure movie and directed by a filmmaker whose two most recent outings, Bad Teacher and Sex Tape, were notoriously unfunny bombs. Even the presence of charisma machine Dwayne Johnson didn’t inspire much confidence, given the existence of Baywatch, a real movie that was supposedly released this summer. And on top of that all it was going up against not just a Star Wars movie, but a sequel to the biggest non-James Cameron film of all time.

But at the end of the day, Jumanji reigned supreme. After two weekends lagging behind a frontloaded Last Jedi, the comedy leaped to the top of the charts and remained there until The Maze Runner: The Death Cure dethroned it. And then Jumanji did something few movies have done: It came back from that minor defeat and returned to the top spot this past weekend. The movie is now inarguably the success story of the year, and Sony can smell the prospect of future profits on the horizon.

The only issue with that strategy is that it’s almost certain to misunderstand what made 2manji a hit. It feels wrong to describe a movie as thoroughly mediocre as Welcome to the Jungle as “lightning in a bottle,” but that’s what happened here. A charming marketing campaign and a well-liked cast are what opened the door for its success. The darker, more difficult nature of The Last Jedi allowed a more family-friendly romp to steal audiences. And the truly dire state of animation in 2017 left parents desperate for an appropriate distraction over the holiday season.

The Jumanji brand name is not what lured audiences into Jumanji. Even assuming anyone remembers the original with any fondness, the sequel has essentially nothing to do with the Robin Williams vehicle. And even ignoring all of that, a blockbuster Jumanji 2 is going to boast a substantially higher budget. One of Welcome to the Jungle’s greatest business assets was its manageable $90 million budget, which allowed it to begin racking up profits almost immediately.