While Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle is winding down its epic box office run, the global blockbuster just beat a 16-year-old record. The sequel just passed the $403.7 million tally of 2002's Spider-Man, to become Sony's highest-grossing movie ever. Worldwide, Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle has taken in $950.7 million worldwide, and while it won't cross the $1 billion plateau, or best Skyfall ($1.1 billion) as Sony's highest grossing worldwide film, it did earn over 10 times its $90 million budget. Here's what Sony Pictures Entertainment Group chairman Tom Rothman had to say about how Jumanji managed to pull off this impressive feat.
""It's not the IP, it's the 'I,' the idea. Before the obsession grew with known properties only, big ideas are what powered big movies."
Rothman added that the core story, where four teenagers are turned into video game avatars that represent their polar opposites in the real world, is a, "big, highly relatable idea across all demographics." While the movie did pay homage to the original 1995 Jumanji movie starring Robin Williams, it was most certainly not a remake or a reboot of the original, taking the seeds of the original premise and taking it in a new direction. Sony had been considering making a Jumanji sequel for years, but it was the pitch by Chris McKenna (Community, Spider-Man: Homecoming) that helped put Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle in motion.
McKenna was one of four credited writers on Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle, getting both a screen story and screenplay credit, while Scott Rosenberg, Jeff Pinkner and Erik Sommers were also brought in to work on the script. The movie was also initially slated for a July 28, 2017 debut, but while watching the dailies during principal photography, Rothman was reminded of the family adventure movie series he worked on at 20th Century Fox, Night at the Museum, which resulted in the release date being shifted to December 20, arriving just five days after the highly-anticipated Star Wars: The Last Jedi.
Rothman revealed that the studio, "felt early on from the dailies that the movie would be an all-audience event and at the end of the day that conviction really paid off." While Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle ultimately didn't out-gross The Last Jedi, in some ways, it out-lasted the Star Wars movie, remaining in "wide release" of over 1,000 theaters for 14 weeks, compared to just eight weeks for The Last Jedi. The studio also used the whopping social media presence of its stars to help get the word out, including the combined 300 million followers for Dwayne Johnson and Kevin Hart combined.
Nick Jonas also debuted the "Jumanji, Jumanji" music video on his social media pages, while also promoting the movie during his iHeart Radio Jingle Ball concert appearances. Overall, Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle helped Sony to its most profitable slate in decades, with Deadline reporting that Sony earned $305.7 million in profit from Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle, while Spider-Man: Homecoming earned $200.1 million in profit and Baby Driver earning an additional $50 million in profit for the studio.Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle becoming Sony's most successful movie at the domestic box office finally lead to an official announcement that the third movie is happening, which was delivered by The Rock on social media.