J.A. Bayona's Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom needs to be better than Colin Trevorrow's Jurassic World in order to be successful. Steven Spielberg first adapted Jurassic Park, based on the novel of the same name by Michael Crichton, to the big screen in 1993. The film has since become a beloved sci-fi classic with practical effects that hold up to this day. The original Jurassic Park was popular enough to inspire two sequels, but the franchise lay dormant for many years. That is, until Trevorrow revived the series with Jurassic World in 2015, which operated as a direct sequel to Jurassic Park, ignoring the continuity of the original movie's two sequels.
While Jurassic World reviews largely praised the film's action spectacle, the script and story left something to be desired. Still, Jurassic World capitalized on the nostalgia factor of reviving a beloved franchise and went on to earn $1.672 billion at the worldwide box office. Its box office success, and decent critical reviews, ensured Jurassic World received a sequel, which is set to hit theaters next summer. However, Trevorrow stepped down as the followup's helmer, leaving Bayona to direct the Jurassic World sequel.
Related: Jurassic World 2 Wraps Filming
Now, Universal is kicking off the marketing push for Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom with the first trailer this week. There's still a great deal we don't know about the film, but we do know some of what to expect from Universal's return to Isla Nublar. While it's still too early to determine whether Fallen Kingdom will actually be better than Jurassic World - both in terms of box office returns and critical reception - there's no doubt that the sequel needs to be better than its predecessor.
Can Fallen Kingdom Be More Financially Successful Than Jurassic World?
It seems unlikely that Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom will be able to top the box office receipts of Jurassic World. With a worldwide gross of $1.672 billion, Fallen Kingdom would need to become one of the top-grossing films of 2018 to even compete with its predecessor. Plus, Jurassic World's box office was undoubtedly bolstered by the nostalgia factor of Universal reviving a franchise as beloved as Jurassic Park. That nostalgia factor has since worn off a bit, and many moviegoers have the less well-loved Jurassic World as their most recent example of the series, so Fallen Kingdom won't have the same built-in boost as its predecessor had.
That said, Fallen Kingdom does have the caché of the Jurassic Park franchise behind it, which will no doubt help the sequel's box office. Additionally, with Fallen Kingdom releasing three years after Jurassic World, the series largely avoids the problem of too much time passing in between installments, which would lead to diminished interest in the property. That was the case when Alice Through the Looking Glass debuted last year, six years after the first film, Alice in Wonderland, in 2010. While Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland wasn't a hit critically, it did earn over $1 billion at the global box office. However, James Bobin's return to Wonderland six years later was a massive disappointment, only earning $299 million worldwide (on a budget of $170 million).
Still, Alice in Wonderland doesn't necessarily have the same built-in blockbuster franchise appeal as the Jurassic Park/World property, so a better comparison may be made to the revived Star Wars Skywalker Saga. Like Jurassic World, Star Wars: Episode VII - The Force Awakens relaunched the franchise in 2015 to major box office returns and critical praise. But, Star Wars: VIII - The Last Jedi isn't expected to make quite as much at the box office, and it's unlikely the film will break any of the records set by The Force Awakens. Still, the popularity of the Star Wars brand has an impact on the box office, as evidenced by Rogue One: A Star Wars Story topping $1 billion despite its loose ties to the more well known Skywalker Saga. Though The Last Jedi may not earn quite as much as The Force Awakens, it is still expected to be a box office success - and will no doubt be bolstered by releasing two years after The Force Awakens, with Rogue One in between keeping Star Wars at the forefront of moviegoers' minds.
As for Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, it's unlikely the film will top the box office receipts of Jurassic World - especially with the criticisms surrounding Jurassic World plaguing the sequel (more on that on the next page). However, considering the world's love for Jurassic Park - and, more broadly, dinosaurs - and the fact that Universal hasn't waited too long to release the followup, Fallen Kingdom should perform well enough at the box office to be considered a success. Since Fallen Kingdom likely won't be able to live up to Jurassic World in terms of box office, though, the movie needs to be better in other respects.
- Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom (2018) release date: Jun 22, 2018