DeVito has reportedly joined Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson, Kevin Hart, Karen Gillan and Jack Black in the upcoming movie. So far, there are no details on the nature of his role, nor the plot of the movie in general. However, DeVito joins a growing list of stars in the franchise, which Sony Pictures apparently has high hopes for going forward.
The company has good reason to invest in the movie. In 2017, Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle shattered all expectations and became a massive commercial and critical success. The movie raked in a total of $962 million worldwide.
Now, Sony appears to be re-investing in the hopes of another pay day. The still-untitled Jumanji sequel has already cast comedian and Crazy Rich Asians star Awkwafina, and confirmed all four original stars to reprise their roles. In addition, director James Kasdan and writers Jeff Pinkner and Scott Rosenberg are returning as well.
DeVito is an interesting addition to the cast. He has a long history in family-friendly comedies, though these days he is best known for his long-running role on It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia. While he is still playing Frank Reynolds, DeVito has roles in two upcoming Disney movies as well — Dumbo and The One and Only Ivan.
Presumably, the next movie will follow Welcome to the Jungle's lead by splitting child characters into adult avatars. Whether DeVito and Awkwafina will exist inside of the game or in the real word remains to be seen.
Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle capitalized perfectly on the excitement of new viewers and the nostalgia of old fans. It took the board game featured in the original film and turned it into a retro video game. When four high school students try to play the game, they are sucked into the TV and forced to play for their lives.
The story was left wide open for a sequel, luckily for Sony. Technically, the upcoming sequel will be the fourth installment of the Jumanji franchise. The original novel was released in 1981 and adapted into a film in 1995. In 2002, author Chris Van Allsburg wrote another novel called Zathura, which was then adapted into a movie in 2005 called Zathura: A Space Adventure.
Zathura did not receive the same acclaim as its predecessor, as it was not clearly linked to the original. In 2017, however, Welcome to the Jungle clicked with audiences, and now Sony is looking to keep the franchise alive.