Nowadays, a lot of fans sit around talking about the major superhero movie universes being shepherded by the likes of Marvel Studios, DC/Warner Bros. or Fox, discussing which one will dominate the other in terms of fan reception, critical reception – and of course, which one will conquer the box office. With Marvel having a trifecta of billion-dollar films under belt (Avengers, Iron Man 3, Avengers 2), it’s all too easy to believe that “the House Stan Lee Built” is the current king of movies; but in summer 2015, we can officially crown a new king of movies, and it is Dinosaurs.
That’s right: Jurassic World has officially dethroned Marvel’s Avengers from its position of worldwide box office stature, marking yet another milestone in this phenomenal year of movie earnings for Universal Pictures.
EW proclaimed the milestone, now that Jurassic World’s record-setting box office earnings have hit the mark of $1.522 billion worldwide. That makes Colin Trevorrow’s Jurassic Park reboot the worldwide no. 3 highest-earning movie of all time, behind the James Cameron one-two punch of Avatar ($2.79 billion) and Titanic ($2.18 billion). Avengers now occupies the No. 4 slot with $1.520 billion.
Domestically, Jurassic World sits at no. 4 for all time US box office earnings ($611 million); The Avengers remains ahead in that particular contest (for now), occupying the no. 3 slot with $623 million. Comparatively, The Avengers: Age of Ultron currently sits at $1.39 billion worldwide, putting it behind both Jurassic World and Universal’s other big 2015 billion-dollar success story, Furious 7. That’s right: Vin Diesel and Dinosaurs are now more profitable than seeing even MORE Marvel superheroes in one epic circular shot.
Some may see this development as a sort of “apples vs oranges” comparison that holds little bearing on the state of the film industry – but it’s a milestone that’s worth noting. As stated, the superhero movie takeover of Hollywood has been viewed largely as an unstoppable Juggernaut – one that has forced more than a few actors to begrudgingly divert their careers down the path of comic book movies, whether they like it or not.
However, Jurassic World proves that the same thing in blockbuster filmmaking that was successful in the 1990s still works today – and there wasn’t revolutionary 3D technology needed to get the job done (Avatar). In fact, Jurassic World didn’t even have to match the stature of Spielberg’s original film to be a huge success; it simply provided a blockbuster movie experience that delivered fun, frights and adventure worthy of a big screen, with a premise that appealed to a wide demographic of viewers. If it sounds painfully straightforward, that’s because it is. Despite many attempts, Hollywood doesn’t have to reinvent the wheel to turn a profit.
Of course, cynics and snarky fans will no doubt look at this latest milestone (Jurassic World surpassing Avengers) and come away with more than a few jokes about what Avengers director Joss Whedon has to say about Trevorrow’s film, now. Whedon famously criticized footage from Jurassic World before the movie’s release, for painting what he believed to be a sexist ‘1970s’ caricature of a female character for actress Bryce Dallas Howard to play. Howard herself would later defend her character, Claire, but for a lot of viewers, it was a somewhat disappointing vision of a modern woman.
Fair or not, Whedon made himself a spokesman for this issue, which inevitably leaves him open to any “Jurassic World > Avengers” jokes. Meanwhile, Jurassic World leading man Chris Pratt continues to enjoy a track record of box office success as a leading man in both comic book AND dinosaur movies, with Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy earning $744 million as a new and untested property in 2014.
As always, however, there will be those of the opinion that the box office does not speak fully to the quality or merits of a movie. But for those who were so sure that the magic of Jurassic Park couldn’t be recaptured, it is getting harder and harder to refute that fans seem to be saying otherwise with their dollars. In my 5 Big Movie Geek Questions 2105, I asked if this would be the year of Marvel movie fatigue; given the increased criticism of Avengers 2, the even more critical reception of Ant-Man, and now these shifts in the box office… one could make that case.
Jurassic World is still in theaters, still making bank.