‘Juras­sic World’ stomps its ri­vals

It’s only the sec­ond film to break through the $200-mil­lion bar­rier in its first week­end.

Los Angeles Times - - FRONT PAGE - By Greg Brax­ton

Who says dinosaurs don’t still rule the Earth?

Uni­ver­sal’s “Juras­sic World,” about ge­net­i­cally en­gi­neered dinosaurs that attack hu­mans on a re­mote is­land tourist re­sort, took a bite out of the box of­fice record books over the week­end in col­lect­ing an es­ti­mated $204.6 mil­lion for the sec­ond-largest do­mes­tic open­ing in his­tory.

The re­boot of Steven Spiel­berg ’s “Juras­sic Park” fran­chise stunned Hol­ly­wood as it sur­passed even the most gen­er­ous pro­jec­tions. Uni­ver­sal had pre­dicted an open­ing of about $100 mil­lion for the U.S. and Canada, and other in­dus­try ex­perts had spec­u­lated that it might fall in the $120-mil­lion to $150-mil­lion range.

In­stead, “Juras­sic World” be­came the sec­ond film to break the $200-mil­lion bar­rier in its first week­end. Only Marvel’s “The Avengers” in 2012 opened larger, with a de­but of $207.4 mil­lion. “Juras­sic World” stomped past “Avengers: Age of Ul­tron,” which opened in May at $191.3 mil­lion and now sits at No. 3 on the all-time open­ing list, ac­cord­ing to Ren­trak.

Di­rected by Colin Trevor­row and star­ring Chris Pratt and Bryce Dal­las Howard, “Juras­sic World” re­ceived pos­i­tive-to-mixed re­views from crit­ics but scored an A from au­di­ence polling firm Cine­maS­core.

Its suc­cess pro­pels Trevor­row, who had only the low­bud­get “Safety Not Guar­an­teed” on his fea­ture re­sume, to the top ranks of di­rec­tors while so­lid­i­fy­ing the star ap­peal of Pratt af­ter last year’s hits “Guardians of the Galaxy” and “The Lego Movie.”

“Does the word ‘wow’ sum it up?” said Nick Car­pou, pres­i­dent of do­mes­tic dis­tri­bu­tion for Uni­ver­sal. “It’s ex­tra­or­di­nary. ... Colin al­ways had this clar­ity about what this film should be.”

Car­pou also cred­ited the stu­dio’s mar­ket­ing team. “They did a fan­tas­tic job of get­ting the word out on how fun this movie is, and it more than de­liv­ers on that prom­ise,” he said, adding that the PG-13 re­lease’s ap­peal stretches through all ages. About 61% of view­ers were older than 25. About 58% of the au­di­ence was male.

Asked why early es­ti­mates were off by so much, Car­pou said that pre-re­lease track­ing was im­pre­cise and that it had no sci­en­tific

frame of ref­er­ence for a film like “Juras­sic World.”

One fac­tor clearly driv­ing up the film’s grosses: pre­mium-priced 3-D tick­ets. An es­ti­mated $71 mil­lion of the do­mes­tic ticket sales were for the en­hanced 3-D ex­pe­ri­ence. Ex­ec­u­tives for Real 3D said Sun­day that “Juras­sic World” was their high­est­gross­ing do­mes­tic de­but ever, sur­pass­ing the pre­vi­ous record, $70 mil­lion for the orig­i­nal “Avengers” film.

The ex­cite­ment of view­ers want­ing to see “Juras­sic World” in 3-D “took on a life of its own,” said An­thony Mar­coly, pres­i­dent of world­wide cinema for Real 3D.

“The first ‘Juras­sic Park’ was 22 years ago, and most kids saw it ei­ther on TV or DVD,” he said. “There was a lot of pent-up de­mand over what this movie would look like on the big screen in 3-D.”

The turnout for “Juras­sic World” could mark a turn­around for what has been a dis­ap­point­ing sum­mer sea­son, said se­nior me­dia an­a­lyst Paul Der­garabe­dian of Ren­trak. The di­nosaur flick may have ben­e­fited from pent-up de­mand af­ter the col­lec­tive shrug movie­go­ers gave “To­mor­row­land,” a dis­ap­point­ment when Dis­ney re­leased it over the Me­mo­rial Day week­end last month.

“There have been three down week­ends, in­clud­ing Me­mo­rial Day,” he said. “It re­ally is about mo­men­tum. There’s a lot of big films com­ing out in June and July, and a lot of ground can be made up if those films de­liver.”

“Juras­sic World” also was mas­sive over­seas. The film col­lected $307.2 mil­lion in 66 ter­ri­to­ries, beat­ing the pre­vi­ous record holder, Uni­ver­sal’s “Fu­ri­ous 7,” which opened with $250.4 mil­lion. (The record comes with an as­ter­isk: Some stu­dios stag­ger re­lease dates world­wide, so a film like “Avengers: Age of Ul­tron,” which has made more than $910 mil­lion over­seas, will see its ticket sales spread over time ver­sus spiked in a sin­gle week­end.)

In­sid­ers can start spec­u­lat­ing if Dis­ney and Pixar’s an­i­mated “In­side Out,” open­ing Fri­day, will slow “Juras­sic World’s” mo­men­tum.

Among other films per­form­ing ad­mirably: The Rrated com­edy “Spy,” star­ring Melissa McCarthy and Ja­son Statham, dropped a re­spectable 45% to land in sec­ond place with $16 mil­lion. It has made $56.9 mil­lion. The Warner Bros. earth­quake thriller “San An­dreas” came in third with $11 mil­lion, rais­ing its do­mes­tic to­tal to $119.3 mil­lion.

Fourth place went to “In­sid­i­ous Chap­ter 3,” which brought in $7.3 mil­lion in its sec­ond week­end. The PGrated hor­ror film has col­lected $37.4 mil­lion.

In fifth place was “Pitch Per­fect 2,” which added $6 mil­lion to its $170.7 to­tal.

In spe­cialty re­lease, “Me and Earl and the Dy­ing Girl” opened in six mar­kets and 15 the­aters to a re­spectable $210,000. Its three-day per­screen av­er­age of $14,000 was sec­ond only to that of “Juras­sic World.” Fox Searchlight plans to roll out the film in 10 ad­di­tional mar­kets next week and ex­pand in cities where it has al­ready opened.

greg.brax­ton@la­times.com

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