Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom presents an interesting story from a box-office perspective. Three years ago, the original Jurassic World wildly beat opening-weekend expectations and debuted with a whopping $208 million, which — at the time — was the biggest opening weekend in box-office history (until Star Wars: The Force Awakens came along later that same year). Nobody expected numbers those big for the reboot of a franchise that had gone stale with Jurassic Park III back in 2001.
Jurassic World was extremely well received — Cinemascore moviegoers gave it an A and critics gave it a solid 71 percent from Rotten Tomatoes — and went on to score a whopping $1.6 billion worldwide, including $652 million in the United States (it remains the sixth biggest film of all time). The public perceptions of its two stars — Chris Pratt and Bryce Dallas Howard — have not shifted much in the intervening years, and if anything, J. A. Bayona reflects an upgrade at director over Colin Trevorrow. Yet, despite the huge success of the original, box-office pundits felt that the sequel would never live up to the original at the box office, even though sequels in the cinematic-universe era regularly score better numbers than their predecessors. Expectations for the sequel were thus tempered, and studios estimated it would come in with around $130 in its opening weekend, considerably less than the original Jurassic World.
Those pundits were right. Fallen Kingdom fell well short of its predecessor. But they were also wrong, because Fallen Kingdom managed to handily beat expectations, coming in with a $150 million opening. That’s nearly $60 million short of the 2015 entry, and yet, it remains a huge victory for Universal. The studio wasn’t expecting to duplicate the $1.6 billion of the first Jurassic World, but with a $150 million opening and more than $500 million already in the bank from overseas markets, Fallen Kingdom is already on its way to another $1 billion. Interesting sidenote: About 53 percent of all global ticket sales for Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom has come from the 3D format, largely driven by the world largest 3D company RealD.
Critics were not nearly as enamored with this entry (50 percent on Rotten Tomatoes), but audiences still liked it (it received a B+ from Cinemascore), and the film actually picked up steam based on word of mouth over the course of the weekend. We have all once again underestimated moviegoers’ desire to see dinosaurs eat people, and unless Mission: Impossible – Fallout or Ant Man and The Wasp wildly exceed expectations, Fallen Kingdom may also be the last $100 million opening weekend until November.