Twitter users have reacted with fury to the prospect of a remake of the hit 1995 movie Jumanji, which starred Robin Williams as a man released from a magical board game in which he had been trapped for 26 years.
Industry stories of a Jumanji reboot had been quietly circulating for some time, but Sony Pictures’ slate announcement on 5 August confirmed it was going into production – and even named its release date: Christmas Day 2016. No director or actors have yet been named, but it is likely that Zach Helm will be one of the credited writers, after an announcement was made in 2012 that the Stranger Than Fiction writer had been hired to work on a script.
On its release, Jumanji was considered a showcase for state-of-the-art special effects, with scenes of wild animals rampaging through the streets, a floor turning to quicksand, and the young version of Williams’ character being sucked into the game itself.
Reaction on social media was almost universally one of scorn, with users saying “Hollywood has run out of ideas”, “You can’t beat Robin Williams”, and “Noooo”. Much comment also revolved around whether Williams’ death, in August 2014, was too recent for a new version of one of his biggest hits.
Sony’s slate announcement also contained other surprises: two sequels to the Bad Boys movies were confirmed, with Bad Boys 3 set for February 2017 and Bad Boys 4 for July 2019. The first two Bad Boys movies, which starred Martin Lawrence and Will Smith and were released in 1995 and 2003 respectively, were directed by Transformers’ Michael Bay, but it appears he is not involved, with directing duties on Bad Boys 3 handed to The A-Team’s Joe Carnahan.
Sony’s plans for other “universes” and franchises include the first in a projected series of films based on Stephen King’s eight-novel Dark Tower collection, with A Royal Affair’s Nikolaj Arcel on board as director; a fifth Underworld movie (with Kate Beckinsale set to reprise her leading role) and a sixth Resident Evil film.
In somewhat more high-end news, Sony confirmed release plans for sci-fi epic Passengers, which features Jennifer Lawrence and Chris Pratt in a space-bound romance, and the Edgar Wright-directed Baby Driver, which features Ansel Elgort and Lily James in the story of a “talented, young getaway driver”. They are set for December 2016 and March 2017 respectively – which suggests that the former, at least, is being viewed as possible awards bait.
This article was written by Andrew Pulver, for theguardian.com on Friday 7th August 2015 17.10 Europe/Londonguardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010