Sunday, January 28, 2018

Jumanji...Now Better Than Star Wars

My youngest finally strong armed me into seeing Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle with her.

I have to say, I'm glad I caved.  It was a very enjoyable, family friendly adventure comedy with just a few and reasonably tasteful dick jokes courtesy of Jack Black playing a high school hottie who is now inhabiting the body of someone who looks like Jack Black.

It annoys hyper obese purple haired tumblrinas because Karen Gillan is sexually attractive and they absolutely are not and that is reason enough to see it eighteen times.

It did not resemble the 1995 Robin Williams garbage at all, which is why my kid had such a tough time selling me on taking her because I thought it would.

And it may...just may have made slightly more money than Star Wars the Last Jedi.

Quick review of the plot...For this one, not the crappy Robin Williams thing.  When the crappy Robin Williams thing ended, they buried the Jumanji game at the beach where no one would ever founded it and someone immediately founded it.  A faceless jogger took it home to his son (this was all in 1996) who had no interest in a board game at all.  During the night Jumanji turns itself in to a game cartridge, the kid notices it and intrigued loads it up.  Scary lights and drum music from the outside of the house is shown indicating that Nick Jonas has been sucked into Jumanji.

Fast forward to today.  We meet our Generation Zardoz heroes.  Spencer, a scrawny nerd with lots of phobias and allergies.  Fridge, his former best friend who is now the poster child for Peaked in High School.  Martha, the super smart but socially awkward girl and her natural nemesis Bethany, the hottest and most popular girl in school.

Due to contrived circumstances they end up in Detention together ala the Breakfast Club.  While cleaning out a storage room they discover Nick Jonas' old console with Jumanji still stuck in it.  Out of boredom and curiosity they fire it up, select the remaining characters available and are sucked into Jumanji.

Upon arrival they find that Spencer has been turned into the Rock.  Fridge, the High School Football Star is now the scrawny side kick.  Martha, is now the best Doctor Who Companion of all Time and Bethany has, as I indicated, become Jack Black.

I won't say that the rest writes itself because it clearly didn't.  They put some work into this one.  The plot is balanced, well structured and well paced.  The action is good without being overbearing. The humor is appropriate to the situation and the characters all have predictable but nonetheless well developed story arcs.  You care about what happens to them.  I'd say this is actually tighter than the first Guardians of the Galaxy movie.

Keep in mind this one is more age appropriate for tweeners than little kids.

As for the angry, childless, cat obsessed, dependopotamuses, they don't like how Martha is dressed.  They claim that it isn't practical for the jungle and that Hollywood still doesn't "get it!"  The "It" in question is making fat chicks feel bad about being fat.  What Hollywood mostly didn't get was the cavernously vast  stupidity that the Narrative induces in all SJWs.  Forgive me for stating the obvious but this film was a  tribute band for 1990s jungle games and the unquestioned queen of that genre, dressed pretty much like that for most of her career, (at least until Square Enix went SJW and completely fucked up Lara Croft).  The producers thought they could get away with some sex appeal in the late twenty-teens because it was appropriate to the genre... The fools!

But the question I was suddenly asking myself this morning was did this thing actually make more money than Star Wars: The Last Jedi.  Upfront, I don't know for certain because neither company will release the specific numbers but we can take a few reasonable guesses.

Current totals

The Last Jedi: 1.3 billion

Jumanji:    800 million

So in terms of raw receipts, not close at all.  Not even a little bit. Star Wars is a half billion ahead.  But I am talking net not gross.

In terms of end of the day profits made it will be

The Last Jedi: $0.00

Jumajii:  $0.00

Because everyone in Hollywood is a thief and liar and no movie ever makes a recorded profit.  But we can make a couple guesstimates regarding the production costs:

The Last Jedi:  250 million 

Jumanji:  90 million

Okay that in theory puts us at:

The Last Jedi:  1.05 billion 

Jumanji:  710 million

So Star Wars is still ahead by about 300 million.  Jumaji is clearly a scrappy little fighter to have done so well against the Apollo Creed of the 2017 holiday season but in the end, it was the Rock's movie that was the one crying for "Adrian!"

Or was it?  Because now we run into the murky and mysterious world of film finance and promotion costs.  The general rule of thumb is double the budget and you get something in the ballpark.  Which reduces the boxoffice take to:

The Last Jedi:  800 million 

Jumanji:  620 million 

Leaving the Last Jedi on top by 180 million.   Now Jedi's junkbond interest payments and promotional expenditures may have been more than 250 million, possibly quite a lot more.  However Disney strongarmed the theaters into giving them a much bigger box office cut than is the norm. so those costs might have been offset by over all higher revenue.

Regardless, Star Wars: The Last Jedi is in fact the loser because it was still supposed to be reining supreme right now and as of today it's been completely forgotten about.  Forget 180 million, it was supposed to not only make a billion dollars more but suck the air completely out of the room for everybody else until April.  In terms of the boxoffice Christmas season it won but in the long term it may have been one of the biggest failures of all time because it killed the franchise.

Jumaji has been a roaring success for Sony and I'm afraid that is the real bad news here.  Sony has been aching for a new franchise. This is the studio that brought us feminist Ghostbusters and three different Spiderman(s ) in the space of ten years.

My fear is that a great little movie is going to buried under a pile of terrible sequels.


Jon Mollison said...

Any thoughts on the sci-fi sequel (Zathura) with 12 year old Peeta in it? Been a while, but I recall it being a fun little movie that could.

Cataline Sergius said...

I'll give you the truth Jon. I haven't seen it.