It’s a Jurassic World at the Box Office (And We Just Live in It)
By John Hamann
June 14, 2015
The weekend total for Jurassic World came in at a sizzling $204.6 million, more than double the $100 million most were expecting heading into the weekend. It outgrossed its $150 million production budget in only a few days, setting the stage for a huge profit for Universal and Legendary Films. The Colin Treverrow-directed flick becomes the second biggest domestic opener ever, behind only Marvel’s Avengers’ $207.4 million debut, and comfortably ahead of Avengers: Age of Ultron, which opened to $191.3 million. To drop in between the two biggest openers off all time is a huge achievement, and despite the size of the picture, for me, the size of the opening is the biggest surprise since the original Hunger Games started with $152.5 million in March 2012.
Jurassic World broke the record book, as the second best opening weekend means that it's going to take down a lot of them. It becomes the biggest June opener ever (and every other month except May), taking down the Man of Steel’s $116.6 million opening. It also joins 14 other films as the fastest to $100 million (two days) and joins eight other films as the fastest to $150 million (three days). Jurassic World tied Avengers as the second fastest to $200 million, with both doing it in three days. The film is also Universal’s biggest opener ever (sorry, Furious 7 – I hope it was fun while it lasted) and really, if you can dream it up, Jurassic World beat it.
Why did Jurassic World break out? I think everyone would agree that the marketing here sizzled, but so did Furious 7’s and so did the marketing for Age of Ultron. Reviews were good but not spectacular, coming in at 71% fresh, with 145 good reviews out of a possible 205. That was in the same ballpark as Age of Ultron (74% fresh), but not the lofty height of Marvel’s Avengers (92%) or Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 (96%). The Cinemascore for Jurassic World matched the marketing, scoring an A and matching Age of Ultron’s score. At the end of the day, marketing ruled, as Jurassic World was able to engage youth who may have not seen the earlier films in the series at theaters, and engaged older audiences that look fondly back on earlier summers when these films stormed multiplexes, taking a combined $813 million from domestic theaters between 1993 and 2001. Jurassic World had what Tomorrowland and Spy so severely lacked - a money shot - and a constant drumbeat driving people toward the opening.
In case you hadn’t realized, Chris Pratt is now officially "the guy." Part of the success of this debut has to be attributed to Pratt, whose performance in Guardians of the Galaxy helped it leg out a domestic score of $333 million after opening to $94 million. Chris Pratt has become a marketing master – not through the tired press junket kind of way, but getting his name into the news. For example, he apologized in advance for anything he might say in the press prior to the junket. The press loves Pratt and reported on his appearances on Jimmy Fallon and Jimmy Kimmel. Really, they only stopped short of reporting on what he was having for breakfast. Chris Pratt became a true movie star with this picture, and likely brought $25 million to the table here with his involvement alone. Two of Jurassic World’s stars – Chris Pratt and Vincent D’Onofrio – will now appear together in Magnificent 7, set for January 2017.