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Not only has Universal’s Jurassic World brought the franchise back from near extinction, but it chewed up and spit out every box office prediction to come in vastly ahead of expectations.
The tentpole opened to an estimated $524.4 million at the global box office this weekend, the top showing of all time, stomping previous record-holder Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 ($483.2 million) and becoming the first film to ever cross $500 million in one weekend. That includes $208.8 million in North America, the No. 1 showing of all time behind The Avengers ($207.4 million). (On Sunday, estimates put the domestic total at $204.6, but a stronger-than-expected Sunday resulted in a higher number).
So how was Jurassic World, directed by Colin Trevorrow, able to roar louder than a T. rex? Here, The Hollywood Reporter looks at some of the reasons why it is so big:
1. Boys Love Their Dinosaurs
Males made up 58 percent of the audience, and particularly younger males, who are an endangered species at the box office. That’s why so many tentpoles have underperformed in North America in recent times. Males are also more willing to shell out extra money for Imax and 3D, helping to explain why nearly 50 percent of Jurassic‘s gross is coming from 3D houses. According to Rentrak’s PostTrak service, 50 percent of ticket buyers were under the age of 25, a hearty showing. And of the kids turning out with their families, nearly 60 percent were boys, including 24 percent under the age of 10. (In the run up to the movie’s opening, Universal sister company NBC aired the original Jurassic Park on stations across the country.)
Jurassic World certainly had no trouble luring older consumers who remember seeing Steven Spielberg‘s Jurassic Park on the big screen 22 years ago. There were two more films in the Jurassic series, but the dinos lost their bite and the series languished. But fans of the first film apparently never lost hope that the franchise would make a comeback, and were more than willing to give Jurassic World a chance.
3. Chris Pratt
The affable actor toiled for years in supporting roles before Guardians of the Galaxy, James Gunn‘s quirky superhero movie, surprised and transformed into a global hit last summer. Thanks to Guardians and Jurassic World, he’s now a bona fide leading man — and one of the world’s biggest stars in terms of box office clout. (In Jurassic World, he shares top billing with Bryce Dallas Howard.)
The majority of Hollywood tentpoles don’t get to open right away in China, depressing the overall global opening. But not Jurassic World. The movie rolled out in a total of 66 foreign markets over the weekend, earning $307.2 million — including $100.1 million in China. Put another way, that’s one-fifth of the tentpole’s entire global gross. The only major market where Jurassic World has yet to open is Japan.
5. Theme Parks
Millions of consumers around the globe have become familiar with the dinosaur property via Universal’s theme parks, which have made huge gains in the last four years in terms of attendance and revenue. There are multiple Jurassic Park attractions at Universal Studios Hollywood, Islands of Adventure in Orlando, Universal Studios Japan and Universal Studios Singapore. NBCUniversal’s expanding theme park business is thriving, and is the fastest-growing segment of the media company.
11:20 a.m., June 15: Updated with final weekend numbers.
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