It’s a Jurassic World at the Box Office (And We Just Live in It)
By John Hamann
June 14, 2015
What the hell just happened? We knew that after a month of box office results on the ugly side, Jurassic World was going to show up and put the box office back on track. What we didn’t expect was the complete and utter dominance the rampaging dinosaur reboot delivered. Jurassic World almost literally broke the box office this weekend, and the best we can do now is examine the pieces.
While I was watching TV this week, those very impressive Jurassic World TV ads would come on, and I would shout out what my current estimate for the weekend box office was (yes, my wife thinks I’m nuts). I started the week yelling "$110!" on Monday, which changed to "$125!" by Wednesday. Thursday morning I was up to shouting "$150!" but after seeing Thursday preview amounts on Friday morning, my living room became very quiet, as the TV ads would just play and I would quietly wonder where the weekend would actually end up. The Indominus-Rex-coming-out-of-the-egg TV spot got me thinking that Jurassic World was really heading for the heights of box office glory – into the realm of Iron Man 3’s $174 million – but then I would just laugh to myself and shake my head – impossible.
The Thursday preview amount of $18.5 million got me quite excited – it was a T-Rex sized amount that indicated Jurassic World was firing on all cylinders, as this isn’t an Age of Ultron with a big original released in the last few years and a rabid fanbase drooling for the next piece of anything. This was a reboot/sequel with the last chapter coming 14 years ago. The timing is somewhat similar to the Star Trek reboot, but that film had a $4 million Thursday on its way to a $75 million opening weekend, or less than half of what Jurassic World earned this frame.
The Thursday number for Jurassic World was bigger than Furious 7’s $15.8 million preview amount; right on target with The Dark Knight’s $18.5 million, and just slightly behind the original Avengers, which earned $18.7 million on Thursday, but opened at midnight, whereas Jurassic World opened at 7 p.m.. So, the Thursday told us Jurassic World was going to be big, but it didn’t tell us how big – the final Harry Potter earned $43.5 million from previews, and earned $169 million over opening weekend.
Jurassic World’s Friday told the story that the 2015 summer box office so desperately needed to hear. Combined with the $18.5 million it earned on Thursday, the Friday number was reported at a ludicrous $82.8 million – the third biggest opening day ever behind only Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 ($91.1 million) and Avengers: Age of Ultron ($84.4 million). It beat Avengers ($80.8 million) and trounced The Dark Knight Rises ($75.8 million). It was now truly playing with the biggest films ever, leaving Furious 7 in the dirt. Its "true" Friday (Friday amount with the Thursday preview removed) was $64.3 million, bigger than the entire opening weekends of the first and third Jurassic Park films. To get to a $200 million opening frame, Jurassic World was going to need a 2.8 multiplier (weekend gross divided by true Friday gross ) over the rest of the weekend, but with basketball and hockey playoffs happening on Saturday and Sunday, that was going to be a tough feat to achieve.