Sony Plans 'Jumanji' Sequel to Go Up Against 'Star Wars: Episode IX' Next Year

Sony Plans 'Jumanji' Sequel to Go Up Against 'Star Wars: Episode IX' Next Year

Jan 24, 2018

It took 22 years for Jumanji to get a sequel. But the next one will likely arrive much more quickly. According to Wall Street Journal article on the surprising box office success of Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle (relayed by The Playlist if you're not a WSJ subscriber), Sony has plans for a follow-up and the studio is already optimistically setting sights on a Christmas 2019 release. While the exact timing is not clear, presumably the sequel could open on the same December date as Welcome to the Jungle: December 20.

Of course, there's another big movie alredy scheduled for that day: Star Wars: Episode IX. Normally a studio wouldn't attempt to go up against a Star Wars movie with its own family-friendly sci-fi fantasy title, but Jumanji has proven itself to be a special case. Welcome to the Jungle hit theaters just five days after Star Wars: The Last Jedi, and it's actually had longer legs. Sure, Star Wars has made much more money overall, as it had a massive opening, but Jumanji has performed pretty phenomenally.

Nobody really saw it coming. Welcome to the Jungle, which is only loosely tied to the 1995 Jumanji movie, seemed to be a slight blockbuster, maybe a decent moneymaker thanks to the draw of stars Dwayne Johnson and Kevin Hart, but not a huge hit. Interestingly enough, it only opened in second place and with a modest box office take. Then, thanks to an unexpected positive reception (76% on Rotten Tomatoes) and strong word of mouth (it earned an 'A-' grade via CinemaScore polling), it picked up a whole lot of steam.

In fact, as WSJ points out, Welcome to the Jungle has the highest gross for a movie that didn't open at #1 at the box office. After two weeks in second place, once The Last Jedi's hold at the top began to fade, the Jumanji sequel took the crown and has remained in the spot for three weekends straight. As of Monday, the movie has made $318 million domestically and $769 million total worldwide. It's one of the highest-grossing 2017 releases and also technically the biggest box office hit of this year so far. 

It's doubtful that Sony will really pit the next Jumanji movie against Star Wars from the start. Even though Welcome to the Jungle is the bigger hit in some foreign markets (including China) and is going the distance time-wise against The Last Jedi, you can bet Episode IX would still dwarf the Jumanji sequel on a compettiive opening weekend in North America. The studio will probably again give Star Wars five days before opening the follow-up, meaning its release date will probably be December 25, 2019. 

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