Grand Rapids has an exciting connection to the new film, Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle, starring Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, Kevin Hart, Jack Black and Karen Gillan. You remember the first installment, right? It was written by world-renowned children's author and illustrator Chris VanAllsburg, a Grand Rapids native. Chris has been a longtime friend to Hospice of Michigan, and he's been instrumental in bringing a statewide premiere of Jumanji here to Michigan at a simultaneous fundraising event, both in Grand Rapids and Ann Arbor.

The new Jumanji picks up 20 years after the events of the first film, where the infamous board game has evolved into a video game. Four teenagers who are serving detention cleaning out their school’s basement find the game and get sucked into it. They are pulled into the bodies of their avatars inside the game and the only way out is to play along. People may remember that Chris VanAllsburg also brought to Grand Rapids - and Hospice of Michigan - the premieres of Polar Express and Zathura.

The simultaneous statewide premiere of Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle is at Grand Rapid’s Celebration! Cinema North and Ann Arbor’s Michigan Theater on Thursday, Dec. 19. The jungle-themed fundraisers will support Jo Elyn Nyman Anchors Programs for Children at Hospice of Michigan and Arbor Hospice. Tickets are $100 per person, including popcorn for the 7:30 p.m. showing and a post-movie dessert reception at the theater. WZZM’s Jennifer Pascua will emcee a brief program prior to the movie. Tickets are available at