Spoiler alert: dinosaurs are still very, very popular. While overall response to the marketing for Universal Pictures’ Jurassic World has been somewhat mixed, the film is nevertheless on track for a massive opening weekend haul at the box office. Indeed, the first new Jurassic Park film in nearly 15 years seems to have drawn heavy interest from just about everyone, which isn’t a huge surprise given that the IP has been one of the most consistently popular and lucrative properties of the past few decades.
Per Deadline, the Colin Trevorrow-directed feature is heading for an opening weekend somewhere between $100 million and $130 million, following a path in line with 2013’s Man of Steel. The highest opening weekend for a Jurassic Park film is currently The Lost World’s $72.1 million, which in 1997 was the highest grossing opening weekend of all time. World doesn’t feature any of the same principal characters from previous installments of the franchise (though B.D. Wong reprises his JP role of Dr. Wu as a piece of connective tissue), but the popularity of the series combined with Chris Pratt’s irresistible likeability appears to be a winning combination.
Total awareness for Jurassic World is in the 90% range, which is pretty stellar given that the picture doesn’t open in theaters until June 12th. So there’s little doubt that the movie will be a sizable hit during its opening weekend, but the question remains: will it be any good?
A fourth installment in the franchise has been in the works for years, and Steven Spielberg personally got involved with Jurassic World both in the early development stage with screenwriters Rick Jaffa and Amanda Silver, and also when Trevorrow came onboard and reworked the existing screenplay with his writing partner Derek Connolly.
For the first time onscreen we’ll see a working, open park, and Jurassic World throws genetic manipulation into the mix as the park’s management has created a T-Rex/velociraptor hybrid in order to attract more visitors. Will the end result be a thrill ride along the lines of the original film, or will Jurassic World continue the curse of lackluster sequels? I’m still not convinced that Jurassic Park is a franchise, but I’m hoping Trevorrow has cooked up a pleasant surprise.