‘Jumanji’ sequel confirms its release date and the return of Dwayne Johnson

Last year’s Jumanji reboot was one of the year’s biggest surprises, debuting in December and riding a wave of positive buzz to become the highest-grossing movie of all time for Sony Pictures. A sequel was a foregone conclusion, but now we have some confirmation of both the release date for that follow-up film and the return of one of its stars.

Sony announced that the still-untitled Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle sequel will debut in theaters on Christmas Day (December 25) in 2019. Dwayne Johnson will also reprise his role as explorer and archaeologist Smolder Bravestone, who becomes the in-game avatar of whichever human player chooses him.

Although Johnson has been confirmed to return, there is no word on whether he will be joined by any of his co-stars in the 2017 film, which included Kevin Hart, Jack Black, and Karen Gillan.

The sequel is being scripted by Scott Rosenberg and Jeff Pinkner, who worked on Welcome to the Jungle. No director is attached at this point, so it remains to be seen whether Welcome to the Jungle director Jake Kasdan will return behind the camera.

The release date for the Jumanji sequel puts it up against Star Wars: Episode IX, which is currently scheduled to hit theaters a few days earlier on December 20, 2019. That might seem like a strange move, but considering that Jumanji is the studio’s highest-grossing film of all time domestically and has earned more than $956 million worldwide so far in its run, Christmas weekend is shaping up to be a clash of the box-office titans.

As if that wasn’t already a cornucopia of blockbusters in the making, the Christmas weekend in 2019 also will bring the live-action adaptation of the hit Broadway musical Wicked to theaters.

A pseudo-sequel to 1995’s family-friendly adventure Jumanji, the 2017 film reimagined the premise for the modern age, and had a group of teenage students discover a strange video game (instead of the original film’s board game) that magically transports them into a jungle adventure and forces them to play through it to survive. Rather than having the jungle invade their world, as it did in the 1995 film, Welcome to the Jungle had the human players inhabit various in-game avatars with special skills (and weaknesses) that come into play during the adventure.

Welcome to the Jungle was the highest-grossing film at the box office for four weekends, and is currently the 26th highest-grossing film of all time domestically and the 41st highest-grossing film of all time worldwide.

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