'Jumanji' movie could begin filming soon – do audiences like remakes?

A new take on the hit 1995 movie 'Jumanji' is set to star Dwayne Johnson, Jack Black, and Kevin Hart. The original movie stars Robin Williams and Kirsten Dunst.

Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP
Dwayne Johnson will star in a 'Jumanji' remake.

Production on the remake of the 1995 film “Jumanji” is reportedly moving forward as new takes on stories continue to be big business in Hollywood. 

The new “Jumanji” film, which is set to star Dwayne Johnson, Jack Black, and Kevin Hart, will start filming in Hawaii later this year, according to Pacific Business News. 

Pacific Business News writer Duane Shimogawa writes that state film commissioner Donne Dawson said those behind the “Jumanji” movie are currently looking for spots to film. 

The original movie stars Robin Williams and Kirsten Dunst and became one of the highest-grossing films of the year, a film in which two children find and play a magical board game that releases a man trapped for decades in it, along with a host of scary things that can only be stopped by finishing the game. 

Hollywood providing a new take on an old, successful story is, of course, nothing new. As studios continue to produce sequels to films that were successful or “reboots” (in which some new twist is put on the story), how often do these films work? 

The answer this summer was: far from always. Movies like “Independence Day: Resurgence,” which is a sequel to the 1996 action hit; “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows”; “Alice Through the Looking Glass”; and “Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising” were viewed as disappointing financially.

When sequels or reboots do hit, though, they hit big. “Finding Dory,” the animated sequel to Pixar’s “Finding Nemo,” is now the highest-grossing film of the year so far. 

Of the 100 highest-grossing films this year so far, of the movies that were sequels, reboots, remakes, or continuations of a story in some way, nine have grossed more than $100 million domestically. (And some of these were remakes, including "The Jungle Book" and "The Legend of Tarzan.") Eighteen have not so far. 

When they struggle, it may be an issue with sequels coming too quickly. “It's all about forging new territory and sometimes waiting until significant momentum and interest is built up again, something Hollywood isn’t consistently good at,” Jeff Bock, a box office analyst, told the Hollywood Reporter. “There is something to be said about allowing creative forces time to refuel and recharge. However, the pace of today’s studio machinations makes that nearly impossible. For a while, [young adult] adaptations were arriving year in and year out, and we saw the negative results from that accelerated pace as most became box-office burnouts.”

Timing the films can be a delicate balance, however. The new “Jumanji” movie will be attempting what “Independence Day: Resurgence” did – releasing a sequel or a new version of a movie decades after the original. Gary Susman of Moviefone cited the long delay as one reason why “Independence” didn’t do well at the box office.

“Two decades is an awfully long time to wait between installments…,” Mr. Susman wrote. “The kind of modern-day disaster-film blockbuster that Roland Emmerich pioneered with the first ‘Independence Day’ became commonplace by the time he made the second one.... It's easy to forget how novel ‘Independence Day’ was – if, indeed, you're old enough to remember it at all.”

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