Monday Morning Quarterback Part I
By BOP Staff
June 16, 2015
Kim Hollis: So that just happened. Jurassic World just became the biggest opener of all-time, earning $208.8 million domestically in its first three days. Its global debut was a massive $524.1 million. Please explain how this was possible.
Edwin Davies: I've been thinking about this a lot since the Friday grosses started coming in and suggested that basically everyone - including Universal, though they may have just been playing coy - underestimated Jurassic World by a frankly historic amount. The best explanation I can come up with is that the original Jurassic Park is to Millennials what Star Wars was to Gen X-ers. It was this huge adventure that instilled a love of movies in a whole generation of kids, many of whom passed their affection for the film on to their own children, as evidenced by the fact that 55% of tickets were sold to people under the age of 25.
If you want to take the connection even deeper: Star Wars was released in 1977 and Return of the Jedi was released in 1983, leaving a gap of 22 years and 16 years, respectively, between those films and The Phantom Menace. Jurassic Park, meanwhile, was released in 1993 and Jurassic Park III was released in 2001, leaving a gap of 22 years and 14 years, respectively, between those two films and Jurassic World. In both cases, the franchises went dormant for more than a decade, during which time younger audiences were able to discover the films on TV and home media, creating a huge demand for new stories. This wasn't just the result of nostalgic 30 and 40-somethings trying to relive their childhoods, but of people across a huge age range expressing their enthusiasm for this series.
So there was this huge cross-generational appeal to the film (something which had already been demonstrated by the 3D re-release a couple of years ago, which grossed $45 million despite offering basically nothing new) which was supplemented by casting Chris Pratt as the co-lead of the film. At the time that he was cast, in early 2014, Guardians of the Galaxy hadn't happened yet, so they had no idea that he would be such a star at this point, but the goodwill generated from that film probably made audiences see him as an indicator of quality, or at least of a good time at the movies. I think that a Jurassic Park sequel probably could have done well regardless of the star, but Pratt has proved himself to be a pretty charismatic and charming guy, so he probably added multiple millions onto the opening.