Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle perhaps seemed like a questionable idea during its development. It was a sequel to a film released 22 years earlier, with none of the original characters and a premise that made even the first film (about a board game becoming reality) seem a bit tame. What it had going for it was a great cast and a tremendous sense of action-adventure fun.
Somehow, it paid off.
Over the weekend, the film became the first to dethrone the behemoth Star Wars: The Last Jedi at the domestic box office, raking in $36 million to add to an already massive box-office haul. Jumanji is doing so well, in fact, that its domestic box office has already surpassed several films you might have predicted it would lag behind.
While it's not going to catch The Last Jedi and its half-billion-dollar North American returns anytime soon, Jumanji -- with a current domestic box office just shy of $250 million -- has already pulled ahead of Justice League, Warner Bros.' massive superhero epic. It's also ahead of Fox's Wolverine finale Logan and, perhaps most surprising, the action megafranchise installment Fate of the Furious. According to Box Office Mojo, it's now cracked the top 10 grossing films (in terms of domestic returns) of the past 365 days. And it's only been out since Dec. 20.
How did this happen? Well, aside from the cast and the quality of the film itself (it's been getting great reviews), this is also a case of good word of mouth. People see it, they're surprised how much they like it, and they tell their friends. Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle isn't going to top Star Wars, or Beauty and the Beast, or Wonder Woman. It is, however, going to make its mark as one of the great blockbuster success stories of 2017.