Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle is a 2017 American fantasy adventure comedy film directed by Jake Kasdan, co-written by Chris McKenna, Erik Sommers, Scott Rosenberg, and Jeff Pinkner, and starring Dwayne Johnson, Jack Black, Kevin Hart, Karen Gillan, Nick Jonas, and Bobby Cannavale. It is the third installment of the Jumanji franchise, after Zathura: A Space Adventure (2005), and it is a direct sequel to Jumanji (1995), which was based on the 1981 children's book of the same name by Chris Van Allsburg. The story focuses on a group of teenagers who come across Jumanji—now transformed into a video game—twenty-one years after the events of the 1995 film. They find themselves trapped in the game as a set of adult avatars, seeking to complete a quest alongside another player who has been trapped since 1996.
Principal photography began in Honolulu in September 2016 and ended in Atlanta in December, with the film containing notable references to the first film as a tribute to its lead actor Robin Williams. Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle premiered at the Grand Rex in Paris on December 5, 2017, and was theatrically released in the United States on December 20, in RealD 3D, IMAX 3D, Dolby Cinema, IMAX, and 4DX formats by Sony Pictures Releasing under its Columbia Pictures label. The film received mostly positive reviews from critics, who called it a "pleasant surprise" and praised the cast. The film grossed over $962 million worldwide, becoming the fifth-highest-grossing film of 2017. The sequel, Jumanji: The Next Level, was released in December 2019.
In 1996, in Brantford, New Hampshire, teenager Alex Vreeke receives a board game called Jumanji from his father who discovered it half-buried in the sand at the coast while jogging. Uninterested, Alex sets it aside, only to find it transformed into a video game cartridge later that night. Opting to play the game, he is suddenly sucked inside upon choosing a character. His disappearance results in his father becoming despondent and his home became known as the 'freak house' and falling into disrepair.
Twenty-one years later, in 2017, four Brantford High School students – rebellious Martha Kaply, shallow Bethany Walker, awkward Spencer Gilpin, and athlete Anthony "Fridge" Johnson – are sent by Principal Bentley to clean the school's basement for detention – Bethany for talking on her phone during class, Martha for refusing to participate in physical education, and Spencer and Fridge for the former writing the latter's essay assignment for him as it was considered cheating. Fridge discovers Alex's discarded video game system, which he and Spencer decide to play and encourage the girls to join them. Upon starting the game, they are sucked into Jumanji, landing in a jungle as their chosen characters – Spencer as a muscular explorer and archaeologist Dr. Xander "Smolder" Bravestone; Fridge as diminutive zoologist Franklin "Mouse" Finbar; Martha as martial arts expert Ruby Roundhouse; and Bethany as a male cartographer and paleontologist Professor Sheldon "Shelly" Oberon.
While coming to terms with their situation, the group finds three marks on their arms denoting lives. Spencer theorizes that if they lose all three, they will die in real life. The group encounters the game's non-player character guide Nigel Billingsley who provides them with the game's narrative and their characters' backstories. The group learns that their goal is to end a curse on Jumanji, brought about by corrupt archaeologist Professor Russell Van Pelt after he stole a magical jewel called the "Jaguar's Eye" from its shrine and gained control of all the jungle's animals, casting a terrible curse upon Jumanji. Nigel hands Spencer the jewel, having stolen it from Van Pelt, and instructs the group to return it to a statue at the shrine and call out "Jumanji" to lift the curse and leave the game before driving off.
Coping with their avatars, their "weaknesses", Van Pelt's men, and Spencer and Fridge's animosity towards each other, the group encounter Alex operating the fifth avatar – pilot Jefferson "Seaplane" McDonough – who takes them to a jungle house built by Alan Parrish, the game's previous player after saving them from Van Pelt's men. Upon realizing his identity, the group is collectively shocked upon learning how long he has been trapped in the game, although Alex thought he'd only been there a few months. Now with a common goal, the group vows to help Alex return home with them.
Dealing with further problems while heading for the shrine, the group coordinates to overcome them. They eventually reach the shrine, but Van Pelt corners them. Working together, Fridge, Bethany, and Alex distract him while Spencer and Martha outmaneuver him with the game's mechanics, returning the jewel to the statue. Upon calling out Jumanji, the group destroys Van Pelt and, after sharing a handshake with Nigel, return to the real world.
Returning to the school basement, the foursome finds Alex is not with them. While walking home, they unexpectedly find the Vreeke home restored and decorated for a Christmas family gathering. The group is greeted by Alex, now an adult, who explains that he managed to miraculously return to 1996, which allowed him to lead a married life with children. His daughter is named after Bethany, who revived him with one of her lives in the game.
The four students become friends after their experiences in the game, with Bethany becoming a better person, Spencer and Fridge patching things up, and Spencer starting a relationship with Martha. When the group hears Jumanji's drumbeats coming from the game console, Fridge destroys it with a bowling ball to prevent anyone else from playing it.