Fandango users voted Jurassic World as one of their top five most anticipated film releases for 2015, and in the weeks right before the movie’s release, box office prognosticators were claiming that the Jurassic Park franchise installment would gross over $100 million during its opening weekend at the U.S. box office alone. Nonetheless, the sci-fi action/thriller managed to surpass all expectations and delivers a record-opening weekend at the global box office.
Initial estimates placed Jurassic World‘s international haul ( $511.8 million) well above that for the previous record-holder of best worldwide opening, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2, while its domestic take was expected to fall just short of eclipsing the benchmark reached by Marvel Studios and director Joss Whedon’s The Avengers in 2012 ($207.4 million). However, updated estimates have since been made available and now it’s all but official: dinosaurs have taken the U.S. opening weekend crown from Earth’s Mightiest Heroes.
Jurassic World was originally thought to have earned $204.6 million state-side during its first three days of release, but now multiple outlets (including Deadline) are reporting that the total should really be about $209 million – with the consensus being that the film “definitely took the crown” previously worked by the first Avengers movie. Either way you cut it, that is still twice as much as the predicted opening weekend for Jurassic World – a “soft reboot” of the Jurassic Park franchise – from just a couple weeks before the movie’s theatrical debut.
So, what contributed to Jurassic World’s larger than expected box office gross around the globe? Well, as we’ve mentioned before, a number of key factors, including:
- A marketing campaign that banked heavily (and, it turns out, wisely) on moviegoer nostalgia for Jurassic Park.
- Jurassic Park director Steven Spielberg’s open support for Jurassic World co-writer/director Colin Trevorrow’s vision.
- Better-than-expected reviews (read ours), which began dropping online the Wednesday before the film’s opening day.
- Weaker competition, as recent box office character toppers (Tomorrowland, San Andreas, Spy) haven’t generated strong repeat business and no other major titles opened against Jurassic World.
- Jurassic World costar Chris Pratt being a hot commodity at the moment, after his roles in films like Guardians of the Galaxy and (to a lesser degree) The LEGO Movie.
Even the ongoing discussion about Bryce Dallas Howard’s Jurassic World protagonist (and whether or not the film’s portrayal of her is sexist), as well as more general debate about the movie’s quality, have allowed Jurassic World to make headlines all over the Internet on pretty much a daily basis for the past week or so. No such thing as bad publicity, right?
Jurassic World earned an A Cinemascore from the filmgoers who were polled after they saw the movie during its opening weekend. That means that, although the film has certainly attracted its fair share of criticisms from professional reviewers and regular cinema buffs alike (with the human characters and their subplots in the Jurassic Park sequel widely singled as the weakest elements), most people who’ve gone to see Jurassic World thus far appear to be recommending it. Only time will tell if the masses feel that same way down the line, but for now it appears safe to say: people aren’t tired of what Jurassic Park as a brand has to offer just yet.
It’s for related reasons that the idea of a Jurassic World sequel is no longer a question of if but when, as well as who will be involved. Pratt is contracted to appear in the next installment should he be called upon (presumably, so is Bryce Dallas Howard), while Trevorrow has stated that he plans to be involved creatively with any followups, but not as director. Jurassic World left some key plot threads unresolved, clearly with the idea being that such material could potentially be further developed in a later movie, so we already have an idea of where the next adventure based in the Jurassic World/Park universe may go.
Jurassic World is now playing in theaters.