With its blend of fantasy, adventure, and gaming, Jumanji is a name brand that’s begging for its very own theme park. And now, it just might happen. Sony Pictures has teamed up with Merlin Entertainments to develop Jumanji theme park attractions in Europe, the United Kingdom, and North America.
First up is a new ride called Jumanji: The Adventure, which opens next month at Merlin’s Gardaland Resort in Verona, Italy. Using material from the new films—which star Dwayne Johnson, Kevin Hart, Karen Gillan, and Jack Black—it’s a dark ride that will “will transport guests to the fantastic world of Jumanji, where an exhilarating adventure awaits them: a journey full of pitfalls, surprises and dangers through the wild jungle,” according to the press release. Along with the ride, the Gardaland Resort will open multiple Jumanji-themed hotel rooms, all of which will be followed by a yet-to-be announced attraction at another theme park sometime in 2023.
“We are excited to be taking our relationship with Sony Pictures Entertainment to the next level with this strategic partnership,” Mark Fisher, chief development officer at Merlin Entertainments said in a statement. Merlin, which operates Legoland and Madame Tussauds, is the biggest theme park company in Europe and second biggest in the world. “Our Merlin team are already hard at work developing brilliant creative concepts, which will bring to life the blockbuster-famous Jumanji film across our theme parks and waterparks. We can’t wait to deliver thrilling rides and experiences for guests and film fans alike! The game is certainly on!”
Based on the 1981 book by Chris Van Allsburg, Jumanji tells the story of two kids who find a mysterious board game that comes to life when you play it. It was first adapted for a 1995 film starring Robin Williams, and has since been reimagined as a new series of films (set in that same universe) with Johnson, Hart, Gillian, and Black called Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle and Jumanji: The Next Leve, both of which are way better than they deserve to be. A third film in that series is rumored to be in the works.
“Merlin is the ideal company to bring the world of Jumanji to life,” said Jeffrey Godsick, Executive Vice President of Global Partnerships at Sony. “Their commitment to strong storytelling, quality of craftsmanship and fantastic guest experiences ensure that fans of Jumanji will be fully immersed into the worlds of our films and have an unforgettable experience. I am very pleased to expand our relationship with the great team at Merlin.”
I’m not sure I’d travel to Italy to ride a Jumanji ride, but if I already happened to be there, I’d be very curious to see what it’s like. What kind of peril are you being put in and what will Merlin and Sony come up with next to keep the franchise as viable in parks as it is in cinemas? Let us know your thoughts below.
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