How Jurassic World Broke the 'Box Office Sound Barrier'

With a $500-million opening weekend, the Universal reboot shattered a global record.

Universal Pictures

What do you get when you cross early 90s nostalgia, a “super-dino more terrifying than any to walk the Earth before it,” and Millennial star power? The immediate answer seems to be about half-a-billion dollars.

Jurassic World, despite lukewarm-to-warm reviews, pulled off the highest-grossing global opening of all time with a $511.8 million haul this weekend. "This over-performed in a way that I've never seen," one box office analyst told the AP. "It broke the box office sound barrier."

The Chris Pratt-led flick’s domestic gross is also estimated to be $204.6 million, which would make it the second-best domestic opening behind only The Avengers in 2012. Depending on how many Americans resist the NBA Finals in favor of the movie theaters on Sunday night, the dinosaur thriller could break that record too. All this for a film that was expected to peak domestically at $130 million in its first weekend.

So how did Jurassic World do it? First things first, it pulled a fifth ($100 million) of its total ticket sales from China. It also scored big by luring moviegoers to pay more to see it in enhanced formats. “The sequel took in 48 percent of its domestic opening weekend receipts from 3D screens,” Variety noted, “while setting new high-water marks for Imax and private label PLF [premium large format] screens.”

It also had no competition. With no other movies debuting this weekend, Jurassic World crushed its nearest domestic competitor—Melissa McCarthy’s Spy in its second weekend—by nearly $190 million.

While the superhuman showing provides some relief for an industry that was suffering through a sluggish summer opening, you’ll likely catch celluloid purists rolling their collective eyes at the results. “The performance is a boon to Universal, and to actor Chris Pratt’s burgeoning career as an action star,” writes Max Nisen at Quartz. “But it may only reinforce Hollywood’s obsession with sequels and established franchises over new stories.”

To that point, Chris Pratt, the film’s leading man, was asked earlier this week if he had signed on for a sequel yet. His response: “They have me for I think 38 movies or something.”