New York — The dinosaurs still rule the box office.
Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom surpassed expectations to open with $150m in ticket sales in U.S. and Canada theatres over the weekend, according to studio estimates on Sunday. While that total didn’t approach the record-breaking $208.8m debut of 2015′s Jurassic World, it proved the 25-year-old franchise still roars loudly among moviegoers.
It also gave Hollywood its first back-to-back $100 million-plus openings in a non-holiday period. After opening with $182.7m last week, Pixar’s acclaimed sequel Incredibles 2 slid 56 percent in its second week, with an $80.9m haul.
The combined firepower of Fallen Kingdom and Incredibles 2 fuelled $280m in total ticket sales, making it Hollywood’s fourth-biggest overall weekend ever, not accounting for inflation. Business was roughly double what it was the same June weekend last year, according to comScore.
“The normal course of box office is that the two films would cannibalise each other’s box office in some way,” said Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst for comScore. “This weekend proves that if you have two incredibly appealing movies in the marketplace at the same time, the marketplace will expand. The year-to-date box office jumped 2.5 percent in one weekend, from 6 percent to 8.5 percent.”
Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom has already tallied hundreds of millions in overseas ticket sales over the past two weeks. Its worldwide total already stands at $711.5m.
The film, starring Chris Pratt and Dallas Bryce Howard, moves the action away from an isolated tropical island. In Fallen Kingdom, directed by J.A. Bayona, the dinosaurs are again threatened with extinction because of a soon-to-explode volcano. But they are trapped by a band of mercenaries, a plot intended to mirror real-life animal poaching.
Like 2015′s Jurassic World, Fallen Kingdom was able to shrug off mediocre reviews — something that many other franchises have struggled to do lately. It sits at just 50 percent fresh on Rotten Tomatoes but received an A-minus CinemaScore from audiences.
Universal Pictures, which is planning a third Jurassic World film, heavily promoted the $170m production. Drawing audiences equally young and old, male and female, and from a diverse array of ethnicities, Fallen Kingdom played like a classic crowd-pleaser.
“We’re seeing exit polls that indicate all quadrants came out to see this movie,” said Jim Orr, Universal’s distribution chief. “The majority of the audience was under 25. Obviously, we’re playing very broadly, and to families overall, and so thus the result at the very high end of our expectations.”
The domestic opening is the second-best for the 106-year-old Universal. It only follows Jurassic World, which went on to make nearly $1.7bn for the studio.
After notching the biggest opening ever for an animated release last weekend, Brad Bird’s Incredibles 2 held on strongly considering the family-film competition. Its global gross is now up to $485m, including a $21.2m debut in China, a Pixar best.
The female-fronted heist film Ocean’s 8, starring Sandra Bullock and Cate Blanchett, crossed $100m domestically, with $11.7m in its third week. Thanks to drive-in double-features with Incredibles 2, Ava DuVernay’s A Wrinkle in Time also cleared the $100m milestone, a first for a black female director.
The Fred Rogers documentary Won’t You Be My Neighbour became the summer’s second documentary to crack the top 10. Following the Ruth Bader Ginsberg documentary RBG, Morgan Neville’s hit documentary on the man behind Mister Rogers’ Neighbourhood grossed $1.9m on 348 screens.
Sony Pictures Classics’ Boundaries, a father-daughter road trip starring Vera Farmiga and Christopher Plummer, made a muted debut with $29 000 from five theatres.
Peter Fonda, who plays a supporting role in the film, on Wednesday apologised for a tweet in which he suggested 12-year-old Barron Trump, son of President Donald Trump, should be ripped from “his mother’s arms and put in a cage with paedophiles” as payback for the policy of separating children from their parents at the Mexican border.
Donald Trump Jr. criticised Sony Pictures Classics for releasing the film. In response, the specialty distributor condemned Fonda’s words as “abhorrent and reckless” but said it would go ahead with the film’s planned limited release.