Jurassic World brought the Jurassic Park franchise back in a big way this past weekend, with nostalgia for the brand and a positive critical response (read our review) playing into a massively successful box office debut. Colin Trevorrow's film scored the third best Friday opening of all-time, grossing $82.2 million domestically. At this point, it's all but a lock to shatter the June debut record set by Man of Steel two years ago.
With the series' fourth entry generating such an enthusiastic response, the question of sequels is bound to come up. And though Trevorrow already said he would not be the one calling the shots, we do know of one principal player who will be making the return journey to Isla Nublar: Jurassic World leading man Chris Pratt.
While speaking with EW about Jurassic World, Pratt confirmed that he is indeed signed on for future installments, injecting his response with his typical goofball charm and sense of humor:
"I am. They have me for I think 38 movies or something."
Pratt may be exaggerating the number of films Universal has him locked in for, but it shouldn't come as any surprise that they'd want to bring the actor back in the sequel. Last year, Pratt became America's new favorite movie star with lead roles in smash hits like The LEGO Movie and Guardians of the Galaxy. His involvement with Jurassic World was a key part of that movie's marketing campaign, and one has to think his presence was one of the many factors that encouraged audiences to check it out in the theater. As far as box office locks go, Pratt is at the top of the list.
But before people get too excited about seeing Pratt's Owen Grady and his raptor pals go hunting more dangerous dinosaurs, it's important to keep in mind "signed on" isn't the same thing as "really happening." Based on the commercial performance of Jurassic World, it's all but a given Universal will give a followup the green light, but development on that project has only just begun. It may be some time before we see Jurassic Park 5 hit the multiplex, especially since Pratt will be busy with his Marvel Studios obligations in the meantime. Universal simply wants the documentation, which is standard practice in the industry.
It's probably for the best that there be some time between films, so the creative team has ample opportunity to iron out a new angle for a sequel to explore. While many felt that Jurassic World was an entertaining thrill ride, even the most ardent supporters have to admit that the franchise may be running out of narrative material. At the end of the day, World was really a bigger-scale version of the 1993 original, once again illustrating the downsides of human hubris and bringing prehistoric creatures back from the dead. As much fun as it is to see the havoc play out on-screen, one does have to wonder how many more times Universal can get away with this before audience fatigue really settles in.
That said, Jurassic World did turn out a lot better than some people thought it'd be - especially after those maligned first trailers kicked off the advertising. After being largely underwhelmed by the previous two Jurassic Park sequels, fans got a worthy followup to a film that defined a generation of moviegoers. It'll be a challenge for Trevorrow (who will still be involved with a sequel in some capacity) to try to catch lightning in a bottle twice, but if nothing else it should be fun to see him and Pratt try.
Jurassic World is now playing in theaters. We'll keep you updated on Jurassic Park 5 as more information becomes available.