Similar to one of his own trademarks dating back to his wrestling days, there were a lot of eyebrows raised when it was confirmed that Dwayne Johnson would be spearheading a new Jumanji movie, over 20 years after Robin Williams headlined the beloved first installment.
The announcement that Welcome to the Jungle was officially in active development came in August 2015, which didn’t sit well with a lot of people, and for good reason. Sony revealing a big budget blockbuster sequel to one of Williams’ most popular films just twelve months after his death wasn’t a great PR move on the studio’s part, and there was a huge amount of skepticism surrounding the project right up until the first reviews started rolling in.
A lot of folks went in expecting a cynical nostalgia-driven cash grab, but instead they were greeted by a massively enjoyable and crowd-pleasing adventure. The central quartet of Johnson, Kevin Hart, Jack Black and Karen Gillan were all fantastic in their roles, generating plenty of laughs and chemistry in a smart refitting of the central premise.
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Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle showed incredible legs at the box office, too, opening in second position before going on to overtake Star Wars: The Last Jedi and hold the #1 spot for four consecutive weeks, remaining on the charts for almost three months on its way to a global haul of $962 million.
It’s been playing just as well on Netflix since being added to the content library, and has found itself in the upper reaches of the Top 10 most-watched list for just about a week now, proving that viewers are clearly suffering from some withdrawal symptoms when it comes to glossy big budget escapist entertainment.