Few saw it coming. Scratch that, no one saw it coming, but there is now a new king at the box office. The mighty T. rex and the other dinos in Jurassic World crushed both The Avengers and Harry Potter to take not only the record for highest domestic opening weekend of all time, but also the record for highest international opening weekend of all time.
Jurassic World made $208.8 million in its opening weekend to surpass the previous record of 207.4 held by The Avengers at the domestic box office. Jurassic World made $315.6 million at the international box office on its opening weekend, which surpassed the previous record holder Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 had an international weekend opening of $314 million. All total, Jurassic World made $524.4 million globally on its opening weekend, and it is the only film to ever make more than $500 million in a single weekend. There are likely many more records for those dinos to smash, including fastest film to reach $1 billion at the box office.
Why exactly did it make so much? More importantly, how exactly did it absolutely trounce box office expectations? Before the film’s opening, box office analysts expected the film to take in between $115 million and $135 million domestically and $300 to $400 million globally. How exactly did it make so much more than people originally though it would? Here are 10 reasons why Jurassic world is the new box office champ.
10 Chris Pratt
Let’s face it; the days of the Hollywood A-listers are over. It’s not like it was in the 30s and 40s with Clark Gable, and it’s not even what it was like in the 90s, with names like George Clooney, Tom Cruise and Brad Pitt. Name recognition of a star doesn’t guarantee box office success anymore. In fact, Chris Pratt is one of only perhaps two stars that can add to a film’s box office take simply by name alone - the other being Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. Even Robert Downey Jr. has little box office power outside of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. With Chris Pratt rumored to be the next Indiana Jones, things look to get even bigger for him.
9 Strong Female Lead
Move over Ripley, there's a new empowering female lead who's the talk of the town. Not only is Bryce Dallas Howard's Claire Dearing the coolest character in Jurassic World, but she's also one of the strongest female leads seen on the big screen in a long time. She goes from being a by the books office control freak to facing off against dinosaurs to rescue her nephews.
8 Superhero Fatigue
Jurassic World, just as Furious 7 did before it, showed that superhero movies are not the be-all-end-all at the cinema anymore. Superhero movies won’t be going anywhere anytime soon, but with upwards of ten superhero movies coming out every year, it’s simple math that eventually things are going to get too crowded. Only the die-hard fanboys are going to see every superhero movie released, and many want to avoid superhero films altogether if it isn’t a Marvel Cinematic Universe film. Is anybody really anticipating Fox’s Fantastic Four reboot?
7 Release Date
There are many people saying that Jurassic World’s box office record will fall in a mere six months from now when Star Wars: the Force Awakens opens on December 18. It very well could considering the popularity of that franchise and the anticipation of seeing the original Star Wars cast on screen.
However, there is one important thing to remember about the box office and that’s that summer rules. No movie in December has ever opened with more than $85 million domestically on opening weekend. Even Avatar, the highest grossing movie of all time in total box office, only made a paltry $77 million domestic on its opening weekend.
The marketing team behind Jurassic World really deserves a dino-sized pat on the back. The trailers captured the imaginations of fans and general audiences alike. The Jurassic World trailers were viewed millions of times and very well received. The marketing team also cleverly made sure not to show off the T. rex right away. In fact, we didn’t see the main T. rex in the film in any TV spots until just this week.
Jurassic World featured the original T. rex, park and island that were first featured in Jurassic Park. Fans were clamoring for this for a very long time. The nostalgia reached euphoric heights thanks to all the references and sly nods to Jurassic Park. The same jeep, the old visitor center was there, and the film was filled with plenty of other little Easter eggs.
While the critic reviews weren’t over the top spectacular for Jurassic World, the overwhelming majority of critics liked the film. Even the few sticks in the mud that didn’t, managed to find some good in it. With a solid 70% on Rotten Tomatoes, Jurassic World turned out to be quite good in the eyes of critics. Even more telling is how the audience felt about it.
3 Word Of Mouth
As the weekend went on, it became increasingly obvious that those original estimates for Jurassic World’s opening weekend were way off. As people starting talking and telling their friends how great the movie was, more and more people started to check out the film. Show after show was sold out and those expecting to just walk in were surprised to find out that there weren’t any seats left. Eventually things reached a fever pitch.
2 Better Villains
Jurassic World had better villains than the other Jurassic Park sequels, and it arguably even had better villains than the original Jurassic Park. No one in the first Jurassic Park movie was straight up bad per se. Except perhaps Wayne Knight’s Dennis Nedry, who was the main reason for everything going to crap when he tried to sneak embryos off of the island for rival genetics company Biosyn.
Jurassic Park really lacked a true human villain, and even the T. rex and raptors were just animals looking to eat. Jurassic World changed that and drastically improved on the villains from The Lost World: Jurassic Park and Jurassic Park III. Few found Peter Ludlow in The Lost World: Jurassic Park to be that interesting and complaints about the Spinosaurus in Jurassic Park III still exist to this day.
1 Colin Trevorrow
Colin Trevorrow by most accounts managed to make a Jurassic Park movie that even Jurassic Park director and Jurassic World producer Steven Spielberg, is extremely proud of. He was smart when it came to getting good performances out of the actors, and he was heavily involved in the script for Jurassic World. He brought in actors he had previously worked with, like New Girl’s Jake Johnson who appeared in Trevorrow’s first film: the highly entertaining sci-fi indie comedy Safety Not Guaranteed.
Johnson was just one of many intriguing side characters in Jurassic World, and Johnson’s character Lowery Cruthers, provided the funniest lines in the film. Lowery also proved to be a fan favorite very quickly and even bucked a typical action movie cliche at the end of the film. Trevorrow managed to get stellar performances not just out of highly talented and experienced actors like Bryce Dallas Howard, who showed she could be an empowering heroine, and Vincent D’Onofiro, but he even got great performances from the child actors in the film.
He knew what to bring back from the other Jurassic Park movies and what to cut. The great Jurassic Park musical theme is there, but there is no talking Velociraptors like in Jurassic Park III’s silly dream sequence. He put in plenty of nods to the original and expanded on the original’s most interesting moments. Most importantly, he focused on what people have wanted to see for over 20 years – a Jurassic Park movie that actually had a fully functional theme park complete with Starbucks, high-end restaurants, instructional tour videos hosted by Jimmy Fallon and of course, a lot of different dinosaurs. Finally, he knew the final showdown had to be epic and it had to top the T. rex vs. raptors from the original Jurassic Park. He certainly delivered on that and managed to bring to life perhaps the most epic final fight in film history.
Sources: boxofficemojo.com, forbes.com, deadline.com, ew.com, thewrap.com, theguardian.com
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