As you probably know, I didn’t really like Jurassic World. But I’m definitely in the minority on that one as the film managed to break all kinds of records last weekend. It’s the biggest domestic opening weekend in history ($208.8 Million). The third biggest opening day in history ($82 million). The biggest international opening in history ($524 million). The fastest a film reached half a billion dollars gross worldwide. It most likely will be the third film to break a billion dollars gross this year (the other two being Furious Seven and Avengers: Age of Ultron) and experts are forecasting that it will end its run as high as $1.5 billion, which would land it 5th on the highest grossing films of all time list. It’s absolutely massive.
But how is this possible? The fourth film in a franchise whose sequels have never lived up to the original. Be honest, did you like the third movie? Did you even seen it? Jurassic Park: The Lost World made $618 Million during its run. Jurassic Park III made $368 Million. Jurassic World beat this total in three days. How did this happen?
As with anything there are a combination of factors and some luck. We’ll try to make sense of all the madness below. Here are my Three Things on why Jurassic World was destined to become one of the biggest movies ever:
Scott’s First Thing: Timing
Timing, as they say, is everything. It’s been 22 years since the original Jurassic Park and 14 since the last film in the franchise. Unlike the super hero movies we’re inundated with multiple times a year and the huge disaster movies that we see every summer, we haven’t gotten to see dinosaurs eat people in a long time. And we really, really like to see dinosaurs eat people. Universal picked the perfect time to push for a reboot of the franchise. The stench of Jurassic Park III is but a bad memory (or not a memory at all for small children) and the summer was ripe for the picking. June has no real big releases besides Pixar’s new film (which is also going to make a ton of money) and it’s far enough removed from Ultron that the Marvel venture wouldn’t steal any ticket sales. 75% of the tickets sold last weekend were for Jurassic World. That’s an absurd number, until you look at what else was playing. If you wanted to see a movie with your family this past weekend, Jurassic World was about all you got.
Furthermore, people that were kids when the first movie came out (like me), now have kids of their own (not like me). They remember fond times seeing this movie and want to bring their children to experience it. This nostalgia factor was huge for Universal, and they smartly played into it as I’ll outline in my next point.
Scott’s Second Thing: Marketing
I mentioned in my review of Jurassic World that the film was basically two hours of trying to remind you how awesome the original Jurassic Park is. Well, the marketing for this film went a step further. They were trying to beat you over the head with it. Look at this trailer:
John Hammond’s voice floats over the scenes of the new park, cleverly edited to say Jurassic World this time around. “Executive Producer” Steven Spielberg’s name prominently displayed. The original John Williams score in all it’s glory plays over all of this and then slowly mutates into that haunting single piano track as the movie turns toward the dark and ominous. Holy shit, guys! Remember how much you loved Jurassic Park!? That was a good movie, right? So is this one! Go see it!
It’s brilliant marketing and it worked wonderfully. Universal played off all of our nostalgia, knowing that us adults would drag our whole family to relive one of the most exciting movie experiences of our youth. And we did.
Scott’s Third Thing: Chris Pratt
Everybody on the freaking planet is hopelessly in love with Chris Pratt right now. Since last year’s Guardians of the Galaxy he is a full fledged superstar. And unlike a lot of other booming stars, he hasn’t suffered any of the backlash. As far as everyone is concerned Chris Pratt can do no wrong. The guy sells tickets.
Up until 2013 the part of Owen Grady was in the hands of Josh Brolin. And while part of me wonders what this movie would have looked like with him in the role, I know one thing: We wouldn’t be talking about this movie breaking records if Pratt hadn’t been cast.
Lucasfilm is currently talking about finding a way to reboot Indiana Jones and while I really have no interest in this project (we have enough Indy), they would be stupid if they don’t do everything in their power to get Pratt in the role.
Scott’s Bonus Fourth Thing: That guy who doublefists margaritas while running away from Dinosaurs
I don’t really know how this guy has anything to do with the movie making tons of money, but I just want to talk about him because he is the best. Thank you doublefisting margarita man (Jimmy Buffet); In the midst of the ridiculous chaos that was Jurassic World, you gave me a good laugh.