Going into this summer, Colin Trevorrow's Jurassic World was definitely a wild card. While it was expected to do just fine at the box office, there was a question of just how much Universal was going to make on their investment. The series had been dormant for 14 years, after Jurassic Park III marked a low point for the brand both critically and commercially ($181.1 million domestic total). Couple that with the mixed reaction to Jurassic World's first wave of marketing, it was debatable how many moviegoers were clamoring for another journey to Isla Nublar.
Now, of course, all of that skepticism seems rather laughable. Opening in theaters this past weekend, Jurassic World defied even the rosiest of expectations and had one of the strongest box office debuts of all-time - from many different perspectives.
CNN is reporting that the long-awaited sequel brought in $511.8 million globally during its first three days, which is the best worldwide debut in the history of Hollywood. The previous mark was set in 2011, when Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 made a paltry $483.2 million. It goes without saying that the fourth Jurassic Park film will join the ranks of the ever-growing $1 billion club in the coming weeks, becoming the 22nd film to accomplish that feat.
Of Jurassic World's initial box office intake, $204.6 million came from the U.S., which is the best domestic opening weekend of 2015. That is more than double what analysts had projected for it going into the weekend, a testament to how effective the sometimes maligned nostalgia-based ad campaign was for casual audiences hungry for blockbuster entertainment. Though World just missed beating the all-time opening weekend record set by The Avengers ($207.4 million), it was able to crush the June opening record by a significant margin. That title was previously held by Zack Snyder's Man of Steel at a mere $116.6 million. In an industry of superheroes, dinosaurs reign supreme.
Obviously, the Jurassic World debut also set a number of franchise bests, including highest opening weekend (even adjusting for inflation, the 1993 original doesn't come close). Even more impressive is that in three days, Jurassic World made more domestically than Jurassic Park III did in 156. This can most likely be attributed to the differing critical receptions the two films faced. Whereas the third film was mainly derided, World was seen by many as a fun thrill ride (read our review) and that word-of-mouth probably encouraged the skeptics that this was an adventure worth taking. Even with major films like Inside Out and Ted 2 opening soon, Jurassic World should be able to ride high off of the response and be a strong hold throughout the season.
These numbers all but guarantee that we'll be seeing a Jurassic Park 5 at some point in the future, and Universal is already in the early stages of putting that project together. Just yesterday, Jurassic World leading man Chris Pratt (who is on box office fire these days) confirmed that he is signed on for sequels, meaning that he now has another franchise to go with his Guardians of the Galaxy and LEGO Movie series. No production timeline has been set, but the studio will most likely start putting the necessary pieces in place sooner rather than later. The iron is scorching hot.
Universal is one of the few major studios in the industry without the rights to a comic book franchise, but this year has illustrated why they apparently don't need one. April saw the massive success of Furious 7, and now they've scored one of the top blockbusters of the summer in Jurassic World. As long as they keep finding new and interesting ways to add to those properties, they'll be rolling in the profits for years to come.
Jurassic World is now playing in theaters.