Commentary

'Jurassic World' Stomps And Roars Its Way To Global Box Office Record

Forget the somewhat so-so reviews and ignore the fact that first iteration is as old as “Groundhog Day,” there’s plenty of life left in those rampaging behemoths of the Jurassic period.

“Not only has Universal's ‘Jurassic World’ brought the franchise back from near extinction, it chewed up and spit out every box office prediction to come in vastly ahead of expectations,” writes the Hollywood Reporter’s Pamela McClintock. She cites five reasons why it did so: 

  • Boys love their dinosaurs 
  • Nostalgia
  • Chris Pratt
  • China
  • Theme parks

“The film … raked in a record $511.8 million globally, making it the first to ever break half a billion dollars over its opening weekend. That number comes from $204.6 million domestically, just shy of ‘The Avengers’’ record $207.4 million weekend haul in 2012,” reports the Verge’s Dante D’Orazio. “Roughly half of the box office numbers came from 3D ticket sales, and the action flick took in $44.1 million globally from IMAX theaters — crushing the record set by ‘Iron Man3’ of $28.8 million.”

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Directed by Colin Trevorrow, the film stars Chris Pratt and Bryce Dallas Howard “as employees on a fully operational dinosaur park who discover its newest creation, an enormous genetically modified carnivore named Indominus Rex, has escaped from captivity,” reports Ben Child in the Guardian. Uh huh.

“Blowing minds rather than, you know, telling a good story is the driving imperative in ‘Jurassic World,’ writes the New York Times’ Manohla Dargis, after pointing out that the flick “comes with more muscle than the average big-ticket behemoth, one that’s been built on best-selling novels, three earlier flicks, theme-park attractions and the usual marketing tie-ins.”

Ah, the marketing, too. Not to mention a burgeoning star.

“One of modern Hollywood's more delicious aspects is its ability to create stars seemingly overnight. Few have been created faster than Pratt,” writes the Los Angeles Times’ Steven Zeitchik in an analysis of whether the hits he has lately been in made him or whether he made them hits. There’s no easy answer, as you probably have imagined, but consider that all of the movies have “beloved brands” at their core — Lego, Marvel and “Jurassic Park” — as Zeitchik points out.

Meanwhile, Pratt has signed on for an additional “38 movies or something,” he tellsEntertainment Weekly’s Tim Stack. Pratt also tells Stack that he wasn’t a big movie buff as a kid but that the marketing for the first “Jurassic Park” hooked him.

“It started when I saw the movie trailer on TV. Like the sound of the feet thundering and the water shaking in the glass and the T. rex making the sound the T. rex makes and then ‘Jurassic Park’ by Steven Spielberg,” he recalls. “I was like ‘Oh my God I have to see that!’ I saw it on opening weekend twice. It just captured my imagination and swept me up.”

The original “Jurassic Park” earned $357 million and “[set] a new standard for special effects, with its grazing brontosaurus and chomping Tyrannosaurus Rex,” reports Erich Schwartzel in the Wall Street Journal. “Later sequels ‘The Lost World’ (1997) and ‘Jurassic Park III’ (2001) posted diminishing returns at $229 million and $181 million, respectively.”

Over in the New York Times, Michael Cieply has a piece about a mostly web-based start-up based in Santa Monica called Kernal that “proposes to help studios engage with fans while capturing dollars from the moment a blockbuster begins to generate excitement, or between releases in a long-running series like the X-Men films, from Fox and Marvel.”

For example, 13 months before the release of Sony’s science-fiction adventure film “The 5th Wave,” which is based on a YA novel by Rick Yancey, Kernal began selling tickets to screenings “bundled in packages that can include a future download, or a poster, or a script, or even a blue Burton backpack just like the one [star Chloë Grace] Moretz totes in the movie.”

Kernal last week signed a deal with Fox to assist with franchises such as “The Maze Runner” or the X-Men series. “In the past, ‘you let all of your fans kind of drop to the ground’ between the release of a film on home video and the arrival of its sequel in theaters,” Cristina Mancini, Fox’s EVP for franchise management, tells Cieply. 

Not that they didn’t come running out of the brush when those Indominus Rexes came a-thomping over the weekend. Posting on Facebook Friday that he and his colleagues on the flick were “overcome with joy” by the opening night numbers, Pratt concluded: “This is bigger than all of us. Thank you, thank you, thank you!” Natalie Stone reports for the Hollywood Reporter.

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