Sony chairman Tom Rothman is eyeing a December 2019 release date for a Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle sequel, where it will go head-to-head at the box office with Star Wars: Episode IX. The reboot of the classic '90s property, headlined by bona fide star Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson, was one of this holiday season's biggest surprises. Opening just five days after The Last Jedi premiered in theaters, Welcome to the Jungle more than held its own and has earned an impressive $769.4 million worldwide. It even managed to top Episode VIII after a couple weeks, riding waves of positive buzz.
While the Jungle cast have their ideas for another Jumanji followup, Sony has yet to officially green light one. That will likely change in the near future, considering the film became the studio's biggest non-Spider-Man hit on the domestic charts. There's an apparent demand for the adventure franchise, and while other tentpoles are quick to move away from the shadow of Star Wars, the team behind Jumanji is up for the challenge.
A report from the Wall Street Journal (via DiscussingFilm) indicates Rothman is keen on having another Jumanji ready to premiere for Christmas 2019. Last year, Lucasfilm shifted Episode IX to that window when J.J. Abrams replaced Colin Trevorrow as director. Sony, as it were, is undeterred and is looking forward to another high-profile showdown with the galaxy far, far away.
This is a rather bold stance for Rothman to take, as Episode IX could be the biggest event for the Star Wars property since The Force Awakens. Not only is it the conclusion to the sequel trilogy, it will be the first new Star Wars movie in about 19 months (Solo comes out in May 2018) and by all accounts is the final episode (for now, anyway) of the legendary Skywalker saga. Even with The Last Jedi dividing fans, that sounds like a recipe for astronomical box office success, especially if Episode IX is well-received critically. Lucasfilm will probably replicate their marketing strategies from previous years, sending viewers into a frenzy with deliberately-timed trailer reveals and Force Friday merchandise, which will only increase anticipation.
Of course, Jumanji has proven once before it can go toe-to-toe with Star Wars and live to tell the tale, so it would be foolish to doubt a sequel this far out. Sony is obviously quite confident in their new cash cow, which connected with moviegoers and gave them a fun genre film to check out over the holiday break. Welcome to the Jungle quickly ascended the 2017 charts, currently ranking as the seventh-highest grossing project of the year. Depending on how well it does in the latter part of its run, it could work its way into the top five - a result few would have predicted. In this new Star Wars box office dynasty, Sony has found the kryptonite. If December 2019 is the target date, more word on the sequel should come soon.
Source: Wall Street Journal (via DiscussingFilm)
- Star Wars 9 / Star Wars: Episode IX (2019) release date: Dec 20, 2019