Let the dinosaur stomping begin. Unless you’ve been living in the Stone Age, Universal is bowing the Legendary-co-financed Jurassic World, the reboot of the classic franchise, in what will be the studio’s widest opening ever in 4,273 theaters. Start lining up Thursday –that’s when previews begin at 7 PM — if you haven’t bought advance tickets yet.
Since Memorial Day weekend, there’s been a slowdown at the summer box office, and the town is jacked up for a stampede at the multiplex this weekend. Domestic B.O. opening projections for Jurassic World are well over $100M, with estimates ranging from $110M-$140M. According to B.O. analysts, comps have been a headscratcher since Jurassic Park III was 14 years ago. One pundit threw out Warner Bros’ 2013 pic Man Of Steel as a measure ($116.6M opening) since it was a beloved film franchise that was recently rebooted after being dormant for some time.
Overseas, industry estimates are pegging $220M-$260M — although we’ve certainly heard that $300M is in the ballpark. The Chris Pratt-Bryce Dallas Howard-velociraptor headliner is bowing day-and-date in 66 international territories including Australia, Brazil, China, France, Germany, Italy, Korea, Mexico, Russia, Spain and the UK. It also will mark the widest-ever global day-and-date Imax release totaling more than 800 theaters worldwide (440 abroad).
Stateside, Jurassic World‘s ticket sales will be injected with all sorts of multiplex testosterone such as the benefit of Imax, 3D and D-Box; it’s opening in moer than 130 U.S. D-Box locations and 350 worldwide. Fandango is reporting the movie is repping 90% of its weekend tickets sales. In the last 24 hours, Movietickets.com is reporting that 52% of all tickets sold by the site are for JW. The Hollywood press were applauding heavily after last night’s press screening at the AMC Century City, and word on the street is theater owners have just been ecstatic after exhib screenings. The feeling is that JW is the best of the four. Even though B.D. Wong’s Dino-lab character is the only person left from the old films, Jurassic World has everything that a sequel should: Increased stakes. A hybrid T. rex and velociraptor gets loose in the theme park, which has become a five-star travel destination not unlike Disney World. Howard plays the career-obsessed chief exec of the park and her nephews get lost on an attraction during this melee. Pratt’s dino tamer is the only one who can save Isla Nublar. Throughout the crash bang boom, Howard and Pratt’s characters get their Hepburn and Bogart on.
Based on the tomes by the late Michael Crichton, the Jurassic Park franchise across three pics released in 1993, 1997 and 2001 has generated more than $2B for Universal. Steven Spielberg, who serves as exec producer on the reboot, directed the first two installments with Joe Johnston helming the third. The fourquel is being helmed by Colin Trevorrow whose previous directing gig was the indie film Safety Not Guaranteed starring Aubrey Plaza.
Rumblings of Jurassic Park 4 were ignited at Comic-Con 2011 when Spielberg dropped word during an Adventures With Tintin panel that he had a writer in the wings for the project. Uni launched the U.S. campaign last Thanksgiving during NBC’s NFL game with a TV spot, followed by a 60-second spot during this year’s Super Bowl.
China is the big swing on Jurassic World which will benefit from the popularity of the 2013 Jurassic Park rerelease, which made about $62M there. Watchers expect JW to be bigger than Avengers: Age Of Ultron, which opened to $156M in the Middle Kingdom over six days. JW has an initial five-day frame. Furious 7, although not an apples-to-apples comp, bowed to $245M outside China which was not in the initial suite of markets. When it entered China, it did so on a Sunday, taking $68.8M in that one day and then became the fastest film to cross the 1B yuan mark, reaching the milestone in five days.
In other comps, the original Jurassic Park grossed about $565M internationally while the rerelease brought that to $641.6M. The Lost World found $385.8M in 1997 and JP III was down at just $187.7M overseas. More recent comps, apart from Guardians Of The Galaxy and Ultron as noted above, include last year’s Godzilla which bowed in late May to $103.4M on 17,045 screens in 64 markets and ended its international run with $328M.
Overall, the international appeal of the cast can’t be discounted. Pratt is far better known to overseas audiences since his star-making turn in Guardians Of The Galaxy ($441M offshore/$91M in China) and has been great about doing promotion, traveling to China with Trevorrow and co-star Howard. Cast has also been present in the UK, Germany and France. In France, notably, Omar Sy — the infectious co-star of 2011 megahit The Intouchables — helped raise the roof on the film’s Paris premiere last week.
In the UK, dinosaurs are taking over London’s Waterloo Station with a two-week, fully immersive installation that includes an underground tunnel completely wrapped with Mosasaurus aquarium and jungle raptor scenes. Roughly 350K people walk through the station per day.
Indominous Rex & Co have an essentially clear path for the next few weeks as there are no comers in this frame, and barely any expansions. The next session sees the beginning of Disney’s rollout of Pixar’s Inside Out while Universal itself is beginning to put Despicable Me spinoff Minions and comedy sequel Ted 2 into some overseas territories over the next few weeks. There is no anticipated head-to-head competition until Terminator: Genisys starts at the end of June followed by Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation the following month.