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Jumanji poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed byJoe Johnston
Screenplay by
Story by
Based onJumanji
by Chris Van Allsburg
Produced by
CinematographyThomas E. Ackerman
Edited byRobert Dalva
Music byJames Horner
Distributed bySony Pictures Releasing
Release date
  • December 15, 1995 (1995-12-15)
Running time
104 minutes
CountryUnited States
Budget$65 million[1]
Box office$262.8 million[1]

Jumanji is a 1995 American fantasy adventure film directed by Joe Johnston from a screenplay by Jonathan Hensleigh, Greg Taylor, and Jim Strain. Loosely based on Chris Van Allsburg's picture book of the same name, the film is the first installment of the Jumanji franchise. It stars Robin Williams, Kirsten Dunst, David Alan Grier, Bonnie Hunt, Jonathan Hyde, and Bebe Neuwirth.

The story centers on a supernatural board game that releases jungle-based hazards upon its players with every turn they take. As a boy in 1969, Alan Parrish became trapped inside the game itself while playing with his friend, Sarah Whittle. Twenty-six years later, siblings Judy and Peter Shepherd find the game, begin playing and then unwittingly release the now-adult Alan. After tracking down Sarah, the quartet resolves to finish the game in order to reverse all of the destruction it has caused.

The film was released on December 15, 1995, to negative reviews, but was a box office success, grossing $263 million worldwide on a budget of approximately $65 million. It was the 10th highest-grossing film of 1995.

The film spawned an animated television series, which aired from 1996 to 1999, and was followed by a related film, Zathura: A Space Adventure (2005), and two direct sequels, Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle (2017) and Jumanji: The Next Level (2019), with Columbia Pictures taking over distribution for all subsequent films.


In 1969, Alan Parrish lives with his parents Sam and Carol-Anne in Brantford, New Hampshire. One day, he escapes a group of bullies and retreats to Sam's shoe company. He meets his friend, Carl Bentley, who reveals a new shoe prototype he made by himself. Alan misplaces the prototype and it damages a machine, but Carl takes responsibility and loses his job. After the bullies attack Alan and steal his bicycle, Alan follows the sound of tribal drumbeats to a construction site. He finds a board game called Jumanji, which was buried a century earlier, and brings it home.

That night, after an argument with his father about attending a boarding school, Alan plans to run away, but his friend, Sarah Whittle, returns his bicycle. Alan shows her Jumanji and invites her to play. With each roll of the dice, the game's piece move by themselves and a cryptic message describing the roll's outcome appears in the crystal ball at the center of the board. When Sarah takes her first turn, an eerie squeaking sound is heard. Alan then inadvertently rolls the dice after being startled by a chiming clock; he is given a message stating, "In the jungle you must wait, until the dice read five or eight.", and he is sucked into the game. Afterwards, a colony of bats appears and chases Sarah out of the mansion.

Twenty-six years later, in 1995, Judy and Peter Shepherd move into the now-vacant Parrish mansion with their aunt, Nora, after their parents died in an accident on a ski trip in Canada the winter before. Discovering Jumanji in the attic, Judy and Peter begin playing it, resulting in the appearances of giant mosquitoes and a troop of monkeys. The game rules state that everything will be restored when the game ends, so they continue playing. A five is soon rolled, releasing a lion and a now-adult Alan. As Alan makes his way out, he meets Carl, who is now working as a police officer. Alan, Judy and Peter go to the now-abandoned shoe factory, where a homeless man tells Alan that Sam abandoned the business to search for his son after his disappearance until his death four years prior. Eventually, the factory closed, sending Brantford into economic decline.

Realizing that they need Sarah to finish the game, the three locate her, now suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder due to both Jumanji and Alan's disappearance, and persuade her to join them. Sarah's next move releases fast-growing plant life and Alan's releases a big-game hunter named Van Pelt, whom Alan first met in the game’s inner world. Judy's next roll summons a stampeding herd of various animals, including several pelicans, one of which steals the game. Peter retrieves it, but Alan is arrested by Carl. Back in town, the stampede wreaks havoc and Van Pelt steals the game, intent on using it as bait to lure Alan to him.

Peter, Sarah and Judy follow Van Pelt into a department store, where they set booby traps to subdue him and retrieve the game, while Alan, after revealing his identity to Carl, is set free. When the four return to the mansion, it is now completely overrun by jungle wildlife. They release one calamity after another until Van Pelt arrives. When Alan drops the dice, he wins the game which causes everything that happened as a result of the game to be reversed.

Alan and Sarah return to 1969, just in time for Alan to reconcile with Sam, who tells him that he does not have to attend the boarding school, and confess that he was responsible for damaging the factory's machine, insuring Carl's job is kept. After realizing that they have memories of the events that took place, Alan and Sarah throw Jumanji into a river, then share a kiss.

In an alternate version of the present, Alan and Sarah are married and expecting their first child. Alan's parents are still alive as Alan is now successfully running the family business. Alan and Sarah meet Judy, Peter, and their parents Jim and Martha for the first time during a Christmas party. Alan offers Jim a job after they convince them to cancel their upcoming ski trip, averting their deaths.

Elsewhere, two young girls hear drumbeats while walking on a beach. Jumanji is seen lying partially buried in the sand.


In addition to the main cast, Jumanji features Bradley Pierce as Judy's younger brother Peter Shepherd. The cast also includes Malcolm Stewart and Annabel Kershaw as Judy and Peter's parents Jim and Martha Shepherd, respectively. Carol Parrish, Alan's mother, is played by Patricia Clarkson. Darryl Henriques portrays gun salesman Ralph Smigel and James Handy appears as an exterminator. Gary Joseph Thorup portrays Billy Jessup, a bully and Sarah's ex-boyfriend.[4]


While Peter Guber was visiting Boston, he invited author Chris Van Allsburg, who lives in Providence, Rhode Island, to option his book. Van Allsburg wrote one of the screenplay's drafts, which he described as "sort of trying to imbue the story with a quality of mystery and surrealism".[5] Van Allsburg added that the studio nearly abandoned the project if not for his film treatment, which earned him a story credit given it added story material that was not from the book.[6]

TriStar Pictures agreed to finance the film on the condition that Robin Williams plays the starring role. However, Williams turned down the role based on the first script he was given. Only after director Joe Johnston and screenwriters Jonathan Hensleigh, Greg Taylor and Jim Strain undertook extensive rewrites did Williams accept.[4] Johnston had reservations over casting Williams because of the actor's reputation for improvisation, fearing that he wouldn't adhere to the script. However, Williams understood that it was "a tightly structured story" and filmed the scenes as outlined in the script, often filming duplicate scenes afterwards where he was allowed to improvise with Bonnie Hunt.[4]

Tom Hanks was the first choice to play Alan Parrish. Other stars were considered, including: Dan Aykroyd, Bruce Willis,[7] Michael Keaton, Kevin Kline, Chevy Chase, Sean Penn, Kevin Costner, Richard Dreyfuss, Michael Douglas, Rupert Everett, Harrison Ford, Sean Connery, Bill Paxton, Bryan Cranston, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Alec Baldwin.[8] Willis was unavailable because he was working on Die Hard with a Vengeance.[7]

Kirstie Alley was considered for Sarah Whittle while Scarlett Johansson auditioned for Judy Shepherd.[citation needed]

Shooting took place in various New England locales, mainly Keene, New Hampshire, which represented the story's fictional town of Brantford, New Hampshire, and North Berwick, Maine, where the Olde Woolen Mill stood in for the Parrish Shoe Factory.[9] Additional filming took place in Vancouver, British Columbia, where a mock-up of the Parrish house was built.[4]

Special effects were a combination of more traditional techniques like puppetry and animatronics (provided by Amalgamated Dynamics) with state-of-the-art digital effects overseen by Industrial Light & Magic.[10][11] ILM developed two new software programs specifically for Jumanji, one called iSculpt, which allowed the illustrators to create realistic facial expressions on the computer-generated animals in the film, and another that for the first time created realistic digital hair, used on the monkeys and the lion.[10] Actor Bradley Pierce (Peter) underwent three and a half hours of prosthetic makeup application daily for a period of two and a half months to film the scenes where he transformed into a monkey.[4]

The film was dedicated to visual effects supervisor Stephen L. Price, who died before the film's release.[12]


Jumanji was released in theaters on December 15, 1995.

Home media

Jumanji was first released on VHS on May 14, 1996,[13] and re-released as a Collector's Series DVD on January 25, 2000.[14] In the UK, the film was also released on DVD as a special edition bundled with the Jumanji board game. The film was first released on Blu-ray on June 28, 2011,[15] and re-released as a 20th Anniversary Edition on September 14, 2015.[16] A restored version was released on December 5, 2017 on Blu-ray and 4K UHD to coincide with the premiere of the sequel, Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle.[17][18]


Jumanji: Complete Motion Picture Score
Film score (Digital download)/Audio CD by
ReleasedNovember 21, 1995
LabelEpic Soundtrax

Commercial songs from film, but not on soundtrack


Jumanji did well at the box office, opening at No. 1 and earning $100.5 million in the United States and Canada and an additional $162.3 million overseas, bringing the worldwide gross to $262.8 million.[1][19]

On Rotten Tomatoes, the film has an approval rating of 55% from 38 reviews, with an average rating of 5.78/10. The site's consensus reads: "A feast for the eyes with a somewhat shaky plot, Jumanji is a good adventure that still offers a decent amount of fun for the whole family".[20] On Metacritic the film has a weighted average score of 39 out of 100, based on 18 critics, indicating "generally unfavorable reviews".[21] Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "A−" on an A+ to F scale.[22]

Roger Ebert rated the film one-and-a-half out of four stars, criticizing its reliance on special effects to convey its story which he felt was lacking. He questioned the decision to rate the film PG rather than PG-13 as he felt that young children would be traumatized by much of the film's imagery, which he said made the film "about as appropriate for smaller children as, say, Jaws". He specifically cited Peter's monkey transformation as making him "look like a Wolf Man ... with a hairy snout and wicked jaws" that were likely to scare children. Regarding the board game's unleashing one hazard after another at its main characters, Ebert concluded: "It's like those video games where you achieve one level after another by killing and not getting killed. The ultimate level for young viewers will be being able to sit all the way through the movie".[23]

Van Allsburg approved of the film despite the changes from the book and it not being as "idiosyncratic and peculiar", declaring that "the film is faithful in reproducing the chaos level that comes with having a jungle animal in the house. It's a good movie".[5]


Zathura: A Space Adventure

Zathura: A Space Adventure, the spiritual successor that was marketed as being from the same continuity of the Jumanji franchise was released as a feature film in 2005. Unlike the book Zathura, the film makes no references to the previous film outside of the marketing statement. Both films are based on books written by Chris Van Allsburg. With the films being based on books that take place in the same series, the films vaguely make reference to that concept from the novels by having a similar concept and themes.

Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle

A new film, Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle is a sequel to the 1995 film. The film contains a whole new set of characters with no original cast from the original film reprising their roles. The film sees four teenagers in 2017 who are stuck in Jumanji video game, where as game avatars must finish the game and save Jumanji. Plans for a sequel started in the late 1990s by Sony Pictures Entertainment and the original director Ken Ralston, a visual effects supervisor of the original film, was hired to direct a film, with Christmas 2000 release date, but Ralston stepped down and the sequel was cancelled.[24][25][26] The development of the sequel again emerged in 2010s upon which then-president of Columbia Pictures Doug Belgrad teased a possibility of the project in July 2012; the project was confirmed three years later in August, with a new director Jake Kasdan directing it and starring Dwayne Johnson. The film was released on December 20, 2017 as a tribute to Robin Williams' lead and his character is mentioned within the film.[27]

Jumanji: The Next Level

A fourth film[28] in the franchise titled, Jumanji: The Next Level, a sequel to Welcome to the Jungle was released on December 13, 2019.[29] Bebe Neuwirth reprises her role as Nora Shepherd in a cameo at the end of the film.[30]

In other media


An animated television series was produced between 1996 and 1999. While it borrowed heavily from the film – incorporating various characters, locations and props, and modelling Alan's house and the board game on the way they appeared in the film – the series retcons rather than using the film's storyline. In the series version, on each turn, the players are given a "game clue" and then sucked into the jungle until they solve it. Alan is stuck in Jumanji because he has not seen his clue. Judy and Peter try to help him leave the game, providing their motivation during the series, while Sarah is absent from the series, and Alan has a relationship with Aunt Nora instead of Sarah, which, unlike the film, gives a clear explanation about his position as Judy and Peter's uncle.


Jumanji: The Game is a board game originally published by Milton Bradley Company in the US in 1995.[31]

An updated version with new colorized artwork was released in 2017 by Cardinal Games. Some of the riddle message texts on the danger cards were changed, especially the unique danger messages. That year, designer Rachel Lowe won a British Game of the Year Award (awarded by the Toy Retailers Association) for the game.[32]

Jumanji: A Jungle Adventure Game Pack is a North American-exclusive game for Microsoft Windows that was released on October 9, 1996.[33] It was developed by Studio Interactive and published by Philips Interactive Media.[34] It contains five different action-arcade-based mini-games that are based on popular scenes from the film. Clips of cutscenes from the film can also be viewed.[33] There are five different mini-games that the player can choose from, with different rules and objectives. Animals from the film provide instructions to the player for each mini-game, except for the Treasure Maze mini-game, where the Jumanji board game spirit provides instructions instead. Notably, players cannot play the actual Jumanji board game from the film. All of these mini-games contain rounds (or levels) and when players reach a goal, that level is cleared and the player advances to a more difficult version of the mini-game. The player must try to score as many points as possible, and set the best high score.

A party video game based on the film was released in Europe for the PlayStation 2 in 2006.[35]

In 2007, Fuji Shoji released a Pachinko game, using clips from the film and also 3D rendered CGI anime character designs for the game as part of the screen interaction.[36]

Indian company Doptale created Grendhaa in 2017, a board game incorporating the "real-life effects" of Jumanji.[37]


In 2005, Jumanji was listed 48 in Channel 4's documentary 100 Greatest Family Films, just behind Dumbo, Spider-Man and Jason & the Argonauts.[38]

In 2011, Robin Williams recorded an audiobook for Van Allsburg's book's 30th edition to coincide its release.[39]


  1. ^ a b c "Jumanji". Box Office Mojo. Archived from the original on December 17, 2019. Retrieved January 21, 2020.
  2. ^ Lee, Helen A. (February 15, 2021). "Here's What Young Alan From Jumanji Looks Like Today". Looper. ZergNet. Retrieved September 11, 2021.
  3. ^ Roth, Dany (February 9, 2021). "Here's What Young Sarah From Jumanji Is Doing Now". Looper. ZergNet. Retrieved September 11, 2021.
  4. ^ a b c d e Fretts, Bruce (November 2, 2017). "Making 'Jumanji' With Robin Williams: An Oral History". The New York Times. Archived from the original on December 16, 2017. Retrieved December 16, 2017.
  5. ^ a b Mehren, Elizabeth (December 12, 1995). "'Jumanji' Author Getting Aboard Hollywood Express : Movies: Chris Van Allsburg says the film version of his book is like a Christmas gift. It's just not the one he was expecting". Los Angeles Times. Archived from the original on April 4, 2019. Retrieved December 23, 2010.
  6. ^ Begley, Sarah (December 18, 2017). "Jumanji Author Chris Van Allsburg on the New Reboot and That Little White Dog". Archived from the original on May 22, 2019. Retrieved January 21, 2020.
  7. ^ a b Dee, Jake (September 12, 2020). "Jumanji: 10 BTS Facts About Robin Williams' Famous Movie". Screen Rant. Retrieved December 15, 2020.
  8. ^ Flint, Hanna (December 18, 2017). "20 facts you never knew about the original 'Jumanji'". Yahoo!. Retrieved December 15, 2020.
  9. ^ Moore, Michael (August 22, 2014). "'Jumanji' in Keene: A photo retrospective". Archived from the original on November 30, 2019. Retrieved December 17, 2017.
  10. ^ a b "Jumanji". Industrial Light & Magic. Archived from the original on December 17, 2017. Retrieved December 16, 2017.
  11. ^ JUMANJI (1995) Behind The Scenes Making Shooting. YouTube. September 5, 2017. Retrieved December 17, 2017.
  12. ^ Jumanji (DVD). Sony Pictures Home Entertainment. 1995. Event occurs at End Credits.
  13. ^ "'Apollo 13' Takes Top Orbit In Laser Disc Awards". Billboard. May 4, 1996. Archived from the original on February 27, 2020. Retrieved March 9, 2020 – via Google Books.
  14. ^ "Jumanji DVD Release Date January 25, 2000". Archived from the original on September 24, 2017. Retrieved March 9, 2020 – via
  15. ^ "Jumanji Blu-ray Release Date June 28, 2011". Archived from the original on April 18, 2019. Retrieved January 21, 2020.
  16. ^ "Jumanji Blu-ray Release Date September 14, 2015". Archived from the original on March 8, 2018. Retrieved January 21, 2020.
  17. ^ "Jumanji Blu-ray Release Date December 5, 2017". Archived from the original on April 18, 2019. Retrieved January 21, 2020.
  18. ^ "Jumanji 4K Blu-ray Release Date December 5, 2017". Archived from the original on April 18, 2019. Retrieved January 21, 2020.
  19. ^ Roberts, Johnnie L. (February 10, 1997). "Field Marshal - Newsweek". Newsweek. Archived from the original on October 23, 2010. Retrieved December 22, 2010.
  20. ^ "Jumanji (1995)". Rotten Tomatoes. Archived from the original on April 6, 2019. Retrieved January 21, 2020.
  21. ^ "Jumanji Reviews". Metacritic. Archived from the original on July 22, 2018. Retrieved January 21, 2020.
  22. ^ "CinemaScore". CinemaScore. Archived from the original on January 2, 2018. Retrieved January 21, 2020.
  23. ^ Ebert, Roger (December 15, 1995). "'Jumanji' Movie Review & Film Summary (1995)". Archived from the original on February 18, 2019. Retrieved February 22, 2019.
  24. ^ "Who's playing the 'evil Vice-President' in JUMANJI 2'". Ain't It Cool News. July 20, 1999. Archived from the original on December 29, 2019. Retrieved February 25, 2019.
  25. ^ Robertson, Virginia (August 1, 1999). "Wild hybrids for Jumanji 2". Kidscreen. Archived from the original on February 26, 2019. Retrieved February 25, 2019.
  26. ^ Jumanji DVD commentary (dvd). Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
  27. ^ Coggan, Devan (August 22, 2016). "Dwayne Johnson calls new 'Jumanji' a 'continuation', not a reboot". Entertainment Weekly. Archived from the original on April 27, 2019. Retrieved January 21, 2020.
  28. ^ Fandom [@getFANDOM] (February 24, 2019). "Jack Black says the next Jumanji film is actually the 4th in the series" (Tweet). Retrieved January 21, 2020 – via Twitter.
  29. ^ Harp, Justin (June 28, 2018). "Dwayne Johnson's Jumanji sequel drops first teaser". Digital Spy. Archived from the original on November 30, 2019. Retrieved January 21, 2020.
  30. ^ Fullerton, Huw (December 11, 2019). "Did you spot this very subtle Jumanji: The Next Level cameo?". Radio Times. Retrieved July 25, 2020.
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External links

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