Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle hit theaters just ahead of Star Wars: The Last Jedi. Both films were successful, though the former exceeded expectations when it landed just shy of $1 billion at the worldwide box office. As a result, Sony decided to move ahead with a sequel, spawning Jumanji: The Next Level, which is gearing up for release on Friday. Of course, this means that once again Dwayne Johnson and Kevin Hart are going to theaters just one week before a Star Wars movie. Poised at pleasing audience with global stars and good laughs, producers Hiram Garcia and Matt Tolmach are none too worried about the competition with Disney's Skywalker saga conclusion.
When Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle came about, plans for a sequel were hardly a thought. "You're going up against the monster and Star Wars," Garcia admits in an interview with ComicBook.com. "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.'" The movie ended up having great legs at the box office, prompting the realization of having a possible franchise on their hands.
"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," Garcia said. "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."
As for constantly pitting Jumanji movies against Star Wars flicks, Tolmach jokes, "It's good fun for them. It's good for us."
Despite Star Wars, Jumanji has the time of year on its side. Families tend to head to the theaters and inflate box office numbers around the holidays. "You liked the holidays," Garcia said. "The type of movies that people responded to are just big fun, wish fulfillment, and there's never a better time than during the holidays where it's that weird time where everyone's home, and it's kind of the viewing where you go with your whole family and always loved ourselves going to these kinds of movies and to be able to make a movie that we honestly feel a whole family, eight to 80 can say, 'Everyone, let's just go to the movies.' Everyone's going to have fun. Every age group are going to have something that they can lean into and ultimately leave. Just feeling better, having a good time. That's the cinema. We've always loved that. So to be able to have that opportunity, it's awesome."
Despite Star Wars following the film, Jumanji: The Next Level is projected to have a solid opening weekend before seeing some bolstered gains on Christmas day and over the holiday's weekend. The duo do admit that, like Die Hard, Jumanji: The Next Level is a "holiday" movie which is evidenced in the film's plot.
Jumanji: The Next Level hits theaters on December 13.
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