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Duluth Pack takes on new adventure in 'Jumanji'

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Dwayne Johnson (from left), Kevin Hart and Nick Jonas star in "Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle," opening Dec. 20. Hart's character wears a Duluth Pack for much of the film. (Frank Masi / Sony Pictures Entertainment)2 / 3
Tom Sega of Duluth Pack talks about the No. 4 Original Duluth Pack at the Duluth Pack store in Canal Park on Friday. (Clint Austin / News Tribune)3 / 3

As Moose Finbar runs from rhinos, rides an elephant and hangs from a helicopter, his Duluth Pack survives each jungle adventure — and provides a convenient excuse to not save a man in the grips of a hippo's mouth.

"I've got a backpack on. You don't get in the water with a backpack. Everybody knows that," states Finbar, played by actor-comedian Kevin Hart, in the upcoming movie "Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle."

When Sony Pictures Entertainment contacted Duluth Pack to provide a pack to be used in the film, the Duluth company wasn't told whether it would make it into the final cut of the movie. It wasn't until the trailer was released that Duluth Pack learned that Hart's character carries a No. 4 Original Duluth Pack for a majority of the movie.

Duluth Pack spokeswoman Andrea Sega said she felt proud to see the pack up on the big screen when she saw the trailer while at a movie theater a month ago. Watching the trailer still feels surreal each time, she said.

"It's obviously a huge milestone for Duluth Pack. We're all so thrilled and excited, but we're also incredibly proud, not just as a brand and as a company, but as an American-made company, too. But also for the community of Duluth. We're putting Duluth, Minnesota, on the map in a whole different way," she said.

Duluth Pack owner Tom Sega said it's been "a tremendous amount of fun" to see their work with Sony come to fruition. He said he thought, "Way to go, team," when he saw the pack in the movie trailer for the first time. He noted that in addition to using the pack, Sony staff was interested in learning about the history of Duluth Pack, which turns 135 years old on Tuesday.

Tom Sega of Duluth Pack talks about the No. 4 Original Duluth Pack at the store in Canal Park on Friday. (Clint Austin / DNT)

"It's a great branding opportunity. I think it's great for our company and it's great for the community of Duluth because you have the Duluth Pack and the Duluth community that all get the recognition. That excites us," he said.

Andrea, who will be attending the movie premiere in Los Angeles on Monday, said they're "thrilled" to see the end result of their work. Sony was looking for a pack that could withstand the filming process and wanted it in the olive drab color, she said. She added that it took a lot of listening to Sony's needs for functionality, aesthetics, uses and ability to withstand certain types of environments during filming. After going back and forth, the decision was to give Sony the No. 4 Original Duluth Pack.

"It was a great fit. The packs of course have our logo on it — they didn't want anything changed or modified. A lot of hard work and sweat and planning went in on both sides," she said. "Really what it was is just creating a fantastic and trustworthy relationship with Sony ... finding out exactly what their needs were and expectations and continuing that conversation."

"Jumanji" opens in theaters on Dec. 20.

She said they would like to continue to expand opportunities to showcase the company and Duluth — even if it's unexpected, as was Duluth Pack's appearance in a "Jeopardy!" question last week. She noted that singer Ed Sheeran also posted a video on Facebook this week in which he was wearing a Duluth Pack sweatshirt. They're proud of those instances because Duluth Pack is a small business with its entire operation located in Duluth, she said.

"Everybody is based in Duluth and that's something that's a huge part of us. That's our roots. We are so proud of where we come from. Not only is Duluth in our brand name, but then we also put in our logo 'Duluth, Minnesota' — so getting that out there on people like Ed Sheeran and in films like 'Jumanji,' getting that out on 'Jeopardy!' and people actually knowing where it's from... it's so priceless," she said. "We just don't take it for granted. We are so grateful for all of it."