Its been three years since Universal unleashed a global phenomenon with Jurassic World, the reboot of the classic franchise that stomped on opening records at home and abroad. Tomorrow, the dinosaurs begin to roam again, with U/Amblins Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom starting rollout in a total 48 markets through the weekend.
The release pattern on this J.A. Bayona-directed sequel is differently configured than the day-and-date 2015 film — China goes June 15 and domestic and Latin America are on June 22. Nevertheless, the Chris Pratt-starrer will handily dominate the international box office ahead of its North American bow and has plenty of room for T-Rex to stretch his maw.
On Wednesday, play starts in France, Germany and Korea with such majors as the UK, Italy, Russia and Spain heading to Isla Nublar through Friday. Estimates from our sources put this one in a range of $130M-$145M for the weekend with many around the $150M mark. That would land JWFK a touch below the 2015 behemoth which kicked off at $158.6M in like-for-like markets and at todays exchange rates.
Overall, the industry is being cautious about pinning the same tail on these dinos given the pent-up demand for the 2015 movie which came 14 years after the last film. And thats OK. But while we may be in the throes of summer box office, hope springs and the industry would like to see Fallen Kingdom carry on recent momentum from Avengers: Infinity War and Deadpool 2. Early reviews on JWFK are largely positive.
There may also be some wiggle room for the raptors as the film is tracking well and could get a boost from the disappointment of the past two weeks which saw Solo: A Star Wars Story fail to take flight. On a multi-generational property like Jurassic, its recently been opined that families were opting to save their Saturday nights for a date with this World.
But the previous movie was the first new Jurassic title in more than a decade and its wise to factor that. The best comp remains that 2015 title, particularly as these dinos essentially stand alone in a genre of one.
For a bit of history: the original Jurassic Park ultimately grossed about $565M internationally while the 3D re-release brought that to $641.6M. Jurassic Park: The Lost World found $385.8M in 1997 and JP III was down at just $187.7M overseas. The 2015 Colin Trevorrow-directed Jurassic World, in the end, was a dino-stomping $1.02B grosser internationally.
Trevorrow is back on JWFK as co-writer with the earlier films Derek Connolly and The Orphanage, The Impossible and A Monster Calls Bayona directing. Pratt and Bryce Dallas Howard return to star with Jeff Goldblum reprising his role from the original as Dr Ian Malcolm. The story picks up four years after the Jurassic World theme park and luxury resort was destroyed by dinosaurs out of containment. Isla Nublar now sits abandoned by humans while the surviving dinosaurs fend for themselves in the jungles. When the islands dormant volcano begins roaring to life, Owen (Pratt) and Claire (Howard) mount a campaign to rescue the remaining dinos. Their expedition uncovers a conspiracy that could return the entire planet to a perilous order not seen since prehistoric times.
That JWFK is going early in a host of markets this week is partly down to targeting the similar frame from 2015, but it also helps to get the movie in theaters a week before kick-off on the World Cup soccer tournament. And theres play room ahead as this is the key high-profile new release in the majority of international markets for a good few weeks.
China heads to the Isla on the first weekend of soccer play and Latin America releases a week later, day-and-date with the U.S. But a five-quadrant franchise like Jurassic is essentially World Cup-proof and should benefit from word of mouth while acting as solid counterprogramming for families.
There has been no shortage of international promotion with Universal pulling out the stops. In one of the studios biggest-ever marketing and publicity campaigns — which has included global T-Rex and Raptor stunts — stars including Pratt and Howard, and director Bayona have made the rounds from Madrid to London and Shanghai to get the word out.
They attended the world premiere in May in Madrid — Spain is home turf for Bayona whose 2012 The Impossible is the No. 2 highest-grossing movie ever in the market. In the UK, a giant T-Rex floated up the River Thames and Goldblum joined Pratt and Howard on the BBCs Graham Norton Show. Universal further took over Kings Cross Station with an installation that was three times bigger than that of JWs already massive Waterloo whistle stop in 2015. The cast and Blue Raptors also made a big push in Shanghai.
In an opportune bit of serendipity, a mystery dinosaur skeleton made headlines this week when it sold for more than $2M at a Paris auction.
James Cromwell, Ted Levine, Justice Smith, Geraldine Chaplin, Daniella Pineda, Toby Jones, Rafe Spall, Isabella Sermon and BD Wong also star in Fallen Kingdom. The film is produced by Frank Marshall and Pat Crowley with exec produced by Steven Spielberg and Trevorrow. Belén Atienza also joins the team as a producer.