Jumanji: The True Story | NowThis Nerd

– [Andrew] Hi everyone, I'm Andrew, and it's a jungle out there! In 2017, a reboot of a childhood classic managed to hold its own against 'Star Wars,' and this month, 'Jumanji: The Next Level' goes toe to toe with 'Rise of the Skywalker' in a no-holds-barred box office rematch – You've got to have eyes in the back of your head! – What in the Sam hill? – Obviously, 'Star Wars' has a very strong advantage, but don't discount the draw that is Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson

The new 'Jumanji' movie is a great example of how to do reboots right But just how did a 32-page children's book spawn a billion dollar movie franchise? What were the original, extremely bizarre plans for a sequel? And how did the current incarnation take shape? This is The True Story of 'Jumanji' When 'Jumanji' creator Chris Van Allsburg earned a Master's degree in sculpture, he was surprised to learn that full-time employment as a sculptor was somewhat hard to come by I hear you, buddy In his downtime, he doodled designs for future pieces, and when his wife saw his detailed, dreamlike, pencil and charcoal drawings, she suggested that he turn them into illustrations for a children's book

Van Allsburg's first story, 'The Garden of Abdul Gasazi' was published in 1979, and while it sold well, his next book placed him in the upper-echelon of author/illustrators 'Jumanji' was inspired by childhood memories of playing board games like Monopoly Van Allsburg loved how this sparked his imagination but he was always disappointed by the fact that even when you won, all you've got to show for it are some plastic hotels and fake money He envisioned a mysterious, magical board game that delivered on its promises and brought the terrors of the jungle to life with each roll of the dice – It's not real, Peter

(lion roaring) – The book itself is pretty sparse Like, there are more words in the script to this video than that book And the story is basically bored kids find game in park, kids play game and bad things happen to them, kids win game and dump it back outside for the next group of helpless saps But when 'Jumanji' was published in 1981, it quickly became a sensation thanks to its intriguing concept and intricate art that tells a ton of story within a single still image Look at those monkeys

Look how much fun those monkeys are having 'Jumanji' earned Van Allsburg his first Caldecott Medal And he'd go on to win another for 'The Polar Express' which would also go on to become a beloved movie with weird and sometimes unsettling CGI – Hey you, yeah, you Do you know what kind of train this is? – But the author would get his first taste of Hollywood years before when he was enlisted to help save the troubled production of 'Jumanji' the movie

When Van Allsburg learned that the film rights to 'Jumanji' had been sold to Sony, with megastar Robin Williams attached as the lead actor, the author was probably a little confused, because aside from the hunter, there are no adult characters in his book Multiple screenwriters had tried and failed to flesh out a book you can read in nine minutes, into a feature-length film, and even though they had a director onboard, in 'The Rocketeer' and 'Captain America's' Joe Johnston, Sony was about to abandon the project entirely But first, they asked Van Allburg himself to try his hand on the script The author's draft has never surfaced but it was apparently far more surreal and mysterious than the somewhat formulaic blockbuster it turned into Still, the film finally had a foundation and after even more rewrites, the cast quickly fell into place

Besides Williams and co-star Bonnie Hunt, Bradley Pierce, best known as the voice of Chip in 'Beauty and the Beast' and Tails in the '90s 'Sonic' cartoon, had to endure a grueling three hour makeup procedure every day for seventy days, to turn him into a mutated monkey boy 11 year old Scarlett Johannson actually auditioned for the role of his sister, but she lost out to 13 year old Kirsten Dunst, who was already becoming a star thanks to 'Interview With a Vampire' and 'Little Women' Black Widow lost out to Mary Jane Wow 'Jumanji' was an early experiment in CGI special effects, and while some of these animals look extremely rough around the edges today, it's still an impressive effort for 1995

In any effects-heavy film, it's fairly important to stick to the script, which is why Johnston was worried about Robin Williams' infamous improv – I've got an incredible problem with dickslexia That's a different thing, we can't talk about that on the radio – He filmed most scenes as two takes, one that stuck to the screenplay, and one where Williams could ramble and riff away The final product was a sweet, yet surprisingly intense film

(animal grumbling) (child screaming) Parents and critics alike roasted it for being way too scary but, as always, the kids themselves loved it 'Jumanji' was a smashing success, earning over $260 million worldwide, and inspiring both a real board game and animated series, complete with bizarre character designs from 'Duckman' creator Everett Peck Sony had a franchise on their hands, but they spun their wheels so long on a sequel that we'd have to wait almost 22 years for the reboot By 1999, 'Jumanji 2' was well into development under director Ken Ralston, best known for his FX work on 'Star Wars' and early leaks painted an extremely strange picture Since Robin Williams wouldn't be returning, the setting shifted to the White House, where the President of the United States finds the game to play with his kids in the West Wing

After he gets sucked into the game, his evil Vice President played by Steve Buscemi takes over, until POTUS returns from the jungles of Jumanji with an army of extremely toyetic hybrid animals to take back control of the country and, of course, bond with his son ♪ You are my son ♪ ♪ You're better than anyone ♪ – Excuse me – After this weird concept died on the vine, Van Allsburg wrote his own followup in 2002

'Zathura' is pretty much the exact same story just in a sci-fi setting The kids from the end of 'Jumanji' open the box and find a different game underneath They get sucked into space, learn lessons about the importance of family, and yadda yadda yadda 'Zathura' was adapted into a live-action movie in 2005, but it avoided all mentions of 'Jumanji' and served as a standalone film instead It was a big time box office bomb and nearly derailed the career of director Jon Favreau until he bounced back with a little picture called 'Iron Man' three years later

Ever heard of it? Ironically, Favreau helped usher in our current age of big-budget CGI blockbusters, creating the perfect environment for 'Jumanji' to make a triumphant return Sony made their plans for a 'Jumanji' reboot public in August of 2015 Sadly, the announcement was tainted by tragedy, because it came on the one year anniversary of Robin Williams' untimely passing Yikes Announcing a remake so close to the death of the beloved star of the original understandably upset fans and they were still skeptical even when the most electrifying man in entertainment got onboard

Dwayne Johnson was the first to reveal that his new 'Jumanji' would indeed be a Jurassic World-style sequel, and would pay homage to the original film – I mean, this is Alan Parrish's house I'm just living in it – While updating the concept to reflect the rise of video games in the decades since the original story was written A superstar cast, including Kevin Hart and Jack Black, quickly solidified, although scheduling conflicts meant that Tom Holland and Shailene Woodley would be replaced by Nick Jonas and Karen Gillian, respectively

Anticipation grew slowly but surely, and when 'Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle' released on December 20, 2017, it was a smash success On opening weekend, it placed second behind 'The Last Jedi' which came out the week before, but in its second week, 'Jumanji' actually rose to top spot Thanks to extremely strong word-of-mouth It's a perfect punchy popcorn movie, with a surprising amount of heart, and a refreshing spin on merging movies with video games – Wow

– Hey, can I, quick question How is strength my weakness? – We did a whole video on that particular aspect And I encourage you to go watch it but remember that I botched the pronunciation of 'Jumanji' in that video And I will never, ever live it down I never expected 'Jumanji

' – Any last words? – 'Jumanji,' 'Jumanji,' 'Jumanji' – It's 'Jumanji' – Thanks to star power, a simple concept, and a solid execution, 'Jumanji' grossed just under a billion dollars, making the sequel, 'The Next Level' an inevitability And we wouldn't have to wait 22 years for it either – I have one important question

Who is Jumanji? Is that Barbara's boy? – We're gonna die – I'm excited to see what Danny Devito, Aquafina, and Danny Glover will bring to the franchise And it might just give 'Skywalker' a run for its money but no matter what happens, it's extremely impressive to me that a frustrated sculptor took his board game fantasies and transformed them into a beloved blockbuster franchise – I missed you so much, oh my God, you guys, hi! – Bethany – You guys! We're back in Jumanji!

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