Sony Pictures Entertainment believes escape rooms are perfect vehicles to drive excitement for a major movie release. After all, if fans figure their way out of the new Jumanji-themed room in Hollywood before time runs out, they’ll likely want to see the upcoming sequel film Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle. And if they can’t solve the puzzle? Well, fans still just spent an hour deeply immersed in the movie’s environment. It’s a win-win.
The new movie-themed room is a collaboration between Sony Pictures and 60out Escape Rooms, a Hollywood-based company I named among L.A.’s top escape rooms last year. The Jumanji room is located at 60out’s Melrose Ave location. Sony Pictures and 60out worked hand in hand to create the attraction, which took more than five months and 40 workers to design and build.
Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle, which opens December 20, is certainly the right fit for an alliance like this. The action-comedy, starring Dwayne Johnson, Jack Black, Karen Gillan and Kevin Hart (a big fan of 60out, by the way), is about a group of teenagers who discover an old video game console and get swept up into the game’s jungle setting. The idea is, you don’t just play Jumanji – Jumanji plays you. The escape room takes that concept one step further.
“The Jumanji films have always been about puzzle-solving and using your wits to survive,” says Jamie Stevens, Executive Vice President Global Licensing, Sony Pictures Consumer Products. “In that way, the franchise is a perfect mix for escape rooms.” Sony Picture Entertainment’s Matt Suser and 60out collaborated “to take that idea and execute it perfectly in a way that fans will truly appreciate,” Stevens says.
Brands like Ford, Google, and HBO have all used escape games in the past year to promote projects, but this is a first for Sony Pictures. The Jumanji escape lets up to eight players at a time sort through clues and unlock mysteries before the clock runs out in 60 minutes. The Los Angeles room is considered a medium challenge and is open to all ages.
Branded tie-ins could be an important innovation for the escape business, which, by nature, faces the “one-and-done” syndrome (once you’ve solved one escape room, you can’t really play it again). Themed installations like the Jumanji room may open new opportunities. “This project could very well pave the way for more immersive content being developed by studios for existing intellectual property and future projects,” says Damian Bosiacki, Director of Operations at 60out Escape Rooms.
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