‘Jurassic World: Dominion’ Set For Huge Opening Weekend As Legacy Franchise Season Is In Full Swing
Prehistoric DNA is used to revive extinct species for the purpose of thrilling audiences… is that a Michael Crichton plot or a commentary on the state of cinema? Either way, audiences aren’t complaining. The past two weeks have been dominated by the sequel to 1986’s biggest hit, Top Gun, and now we are moving on to the fifth sequel to 1993’s biggest hit as Jurassic World Dominion roars into theaters. It is the third mega-movie of the summer, though as of now the two tentpole releases have been holding up a tent with little inside of it, with no major releases in the two weeks following Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness or in the week following Top Gun: Maverick. The good news is that from this weekend onwards the summer is packed with big films nearly every week, though the quantity of titles in the slate is still lower than pre-pandemic levels.

Jurassic World: Dominion, the sixth film in the Jurassic Park franchise and the conclusion of the Jurassic World trilogy, sees the beloved dinosaur adventure series go global with dinos spread around the world living and hunting alongside humans. Those humans include Jurassic World series leads Chris Pratt and Bryce Dallas Howard, and the film also brings back the series’ legacy characters played by Jeff Goldblum (who also had a brief appearance in the previous installment), Sam Neill, and Laura Dern. To borrow a tagline from Universal’s other top franchise: “New Model. Original Parts.”

Also returning for this outing is director Colin Trevorrow who successfully revived the franchise with Jurassic World but sat the follow-up Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom out as director, though he and co-writer Derek Connolly were responsible for the screenplay. While nobody was surprised that audiences were clamoring to return to Isla Nublar for a dino-filled thrill ride, the massive success of the first Jurassic World still shattered expectations. It ended up grossing $653 domestically and $1.671 billion worldwide, becoming the third biggest film of all time both at home and globally (seven years later it stands at number eight domestically and seven worldwide).

Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom didn’t match its predecessor, falling 36% domestically and 22% worldwide, but it still grossed $1.3 billion worldwide and it stands as Universal’s third biggest hit ever and the 16th biggest all time global grosser. This is despite far worse reviews than Jurassic World, which was at 71% on Rotten Tomatoes compared to Fallen Kingdom’s 47%, making Fallen Kingdom the worst reviewed of the top 25 highest grossing films of all time and the worst yet in the series (audiences didn’t feel quite as strongly, giving it an A- CinemaScore, compared to Jurassic World’s A). Dominion has hit a new series low at 38%, but that shouldn’t change whether or not the film can fill the dino tracks left by its predecessors. While Jurassic World’s $209 million opening, which broke the opening weekend record and is now the sixth biggest of all time, is out of range, Dominion has a shot at matching Fallen Kingdom’s $148 million opening. That said, it is looking to open closer to this year’s top non-MCU openers The Batman with $134 million and Top Gun: Maverick with $127 million, and it will have some tough competition flying against Maverick to become the season’s biggest grosser domestically.

Even if it underperforms stateside, the overseas openings we’ve seen so far suggest we may be in for another billion grosser worldwide. The film opened last weekend in 15 markets for a $55.7 million international opening that was 1% ahead of the previous installments on a like-for-like basis. The top market was Mexico with $18.1 million, the best in the series and for Universal. This weekend it will expand to much of the world, including China where Jurassic World grossed $229 million and Fallen Kingdom grossed $261 million, though we can’t expect the same success as the market has not yet fully reopened following their major Covid-19 wave.

Beyond Dominion, the only new wide release to look out for is the Juneteenth comedy Block Party which opened Wednesday via Iconic Events Releasing eight days ahead of its BET+ debut. However, the non-Jurassic story of the week is undoubtedly Top Gun: Maverick, coming off of its phenomenal second weekend, down only 29%, the best second weekend hold ever after an opening over $100 million. With T-rex sized competition and the loss of premium screens, it should drop further this time around, but the Tom Cruise starrer is not one to underestimate. The weekday holds are only marginally down from last week, and each day it gets closer to Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness’ gross, which it will surpass next week if not this weekend to become the top film of the year. Even a 50% drop would put Maverick at $45 million this week, which would make this weekend the first since July 2019 to have two films gross above $40 million. Even with two huge titles occupying the top slots, though, the overall weekend box office will likely fall short of the $222 million weekend of May 6-8 whenMultiverse of Madness opened (flanked by solidly performing April holdovers), though if Dominion and Maverick overperform then we could see a new overall weekend record for 2022.