When I was in elementary school, every single year my art teacher would break out Chris Van Allsburg‘s 1981 book, Jumanji. Using different voices and inflections, he’d regale us with the story of two kids who play a board game come to life. Each and every year, it was a major highlight. Hollywood is hoping that repetition works in movies too.

In 1995, Joe Johnston adapted the book into a movie, starring Robin Williams and a young Kirsten Dunst, and now Columbia is going back to the well. The studio has just hired Zack Helm, the writer of Stranger than Fiction and writer/director of Mr. Magorium’s Wonder Emporium, to write a new version of Jumanji. Read more after the jump. Read More »

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Much as we like to bemoan the lack of originality in mainstream cinema, the fact is that movies tied to existing properties do big business. Sony’s three biggest hits so far this year have been 21 Jump Street, Men in Black 3, and The Amazing Spider-Man – based on a 25-year-old TV series, a 15-year-old sci-fi blockbuster, and a 60-year-old comic book character, respectively — so it’s no surprise that the studio plans to keep a good thing going with sequels to all three of those films. And quickly: According to Sony exec Douglas Belgrad, 21 Jump Street 2 could begin shooting in just a few months.

But they’re not just looking to this past year to help fill out the upcoming slate. Sony’s also reportedly developing a reboot of Jumanji, the 1995 picture adapted from the 1981 children’s book. Hit the jump to read Belgrad’s comments on Men in Black 4, 21 Jump Street 2, and the new Jumanji. (Head here for more on The Amazing Spider-Man 2.)

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This week, Dave, Devindra, and Adam report from the Seattle International Film Festival, discuss Jack Black and Richard Linklater’s latest collaboration, mourn the end of Community as we know it, and review Sacha Baron Cohen’s latest scripted comedy.

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