The brilliant box office minds from World of KJ, who in years past have successfully called many box office break outs and dissappointments, would like to be the first source to stake the claim: Jurassic World is going to open north of $140 million when it opens next weekend, far exceeding both industry expectations and the existing June opening weekend record. Ignore other sources and analysts saying to expect an opening weekend in the lower $100 millions - Jurassic World is going to open to $140 million or more. The timing for the concept is perfect, the marketing campaign has been fantastic, and the early word is the final product delivers.
Everybody knows the Jurassic Park concept and what the latest film, Jurassic World, is about. Even with the modern classic original about to turn 22 years old, and even though it has been 14 years since the last film, the Jurassic Park brand remains strong. The latest installment opens next week and may produce the most memorable box office run of any studio tent pole released this summer.
Though films like MAD MAX and SAN ANDREAS overperformed expectations, neither proved to be a large scale hit (neither films total will come close to AVENGERS opening weekend, for instance). Though Avengers dominated opening weekend, the lukewarm (at best) reception to the film’s quality has made it’s post opening weekend box office run an after thought to most despite it’s hefty totals. Even then, it’s opening weekend coming in as far below the originals as it did (207 vs. 191 despite inflation) was surprising. It’s poor staying power since then has it heading for a total which could be as much as $175 million below the original. Relative to expectations, that is an exceptionally disappointing number. The market is due for a large scale over performance.
It may only be mid June, but Jurassic World also represents that last legitimate event movie primarily targeted at the teen and young adult audience of the summer. Other break-out candidates, such as Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation and Minions, loom down the line, but neither are sure 100 million openers while Minions target audience is children and families, not the slightly more mature young adult audience. Opening in a relatively calm market and with no true event actioner coming up the pipeline any time soon, Jurassic World is opening in an excellent situation.
Another key factor working in Jurassic World’s favor is the concept exclusive nostalgia. Compare it with the disappointing Avengers: Age of Ultron, which was the 10th major Marvel movie since 2008 (11 if you count Guardians of the Galaxy). A key factor in the film’s box office underperformance (relative to expectations) is without question franchise fatigue. There is a definite “been there, done that” feeling with the Marvel films for most fans at this point in time. Or compare it with upcoming mega-bomb TERMINATOR: GENISYS. The 5th Terminator film, and 3rd terminator film few wanted or asked for, looks certain to go down as one 2015's biggest flops. Though both Avengers and Terminator are large iconic brands in their own right, both properties fail to offer even hint of freshness to their fans. The possibility of seeing something one has essentially already seen several times as of late, or had no initial interest in seeing to begin with, can only generate so much enthusiasm. This is something which will without question show up on CAPTAIN AMERICA: CIVIL WAR’s opening weekend, which - you heard it here first - will be well below AGE OF ULTRON’s.
The Jurassic Park brand, on the other hand, sits at a different spot in mind of it’s target audience. The original film is at a point where it is old enough to be not be considered contemporary and for the new film to feel different than the previous efforts, but it is new enough to the point where most of its key components are still fresh in the minds of its core audience. From music to fashion trends to other movies, the effects 1990’s nostalgia are widely visible in pop culture today, and few film brands represent the 1990s more than Jurassic Park. The children and young adults who adored the original film are now the prime 'mid 20s to mid 30s' age group. To this group, hearing the slow piano version of John Williams iconic theme playing during the Jurassic World TV Spots recalls cherished memories from childhood. The dinosaur roar produces a feeling which cannot be replicated. The power of nostalgia is enormouus, and can produce feelings no marketing plan for an original concept could replicate. Jurassic World is opening at the absolutely perfect time for its key demographic. They’re young enough to remember the originals and still find themselves interested in going to see it, but the films are old enough to the point where the concept feels fresh and exciting. The 22 year gap between the original film (1993) and this new film (2015) is the exact same gap which faced Star Wars: Episode 1 (1999) compared to the original (1977). That film arrived at the perfect time for it’s target audience, and we feel this one does as well. In summary, the perfectly timed release date has the movie opening in a market hungry for an exciting event tent pole. The strong nostalgic love of the original series will allow Jurassic World to take an enormous bite out of the all important 18-35 demographic. Both of these factors will translate to big time dollars.
The marketing campaign has been vast in it’s scope and top tier in it’s quality. Super bowl commercials, trailers with the big movies released over the past few months, endless TV spots, tie in’s with Dairy Queen, Kellogg's, Pringles, Barbasol Shaving Cream (played a key role in the original film) - they have left no marketing stone unturned. The quantity is strong, as is the quality. The content of the marketing features just enough use of the original’s theme music to bring back memories, but is original enough to stand out on it’s own. There are plenty of screams, dino roars, and the other hallmarks associated with the series, but the look and vibe of the film still feels modern. Hats off to Universal what has been a largely excellent marketing campaign. Other factors have worked out in their favor as well. The studio could not have known how far star Chris Pratt’s profile would rise when he was first cast. While there are dozens of contemporary examples which show star power isn’t what it used to be (plus, the real stars of Jurassic Park were always the dinosaurs, anyway), Pratt’s got a fanbase of his own at this point in time. Now, word from initial screenings is coming in general positive.
FINAL KJ CONSENSUS: With great timing, great marketing, and an apparently satisfactory final product, Universal should feel confident they have nearly maxed out the film’s potential, whatever that may be.
While tracking, studio sources, and other analysts around the web have been a bit more cautious (100 million to 120 million), KJ sees Jurassic World opening well above those numbers. The current June box office record of $116 million, held by 2013’s Superman reboot MAN OF STEEL, is certain to fall, likely by hefty margins. Back in 2013, Box Office Mojo bizarrely opted to count Man of Steel’s Thursday sneaks as a seperate Thursday gross, even though similar timed sneaks are common for today’s event pictures and usually counted towards Friday gross. Had Man Of Steel’s numbers been counted the way every other big opener has been, the June record would actually be $128 million, as opposed to $116.
Regardless, KJ expects Jurassic World to comfortably clear both numbers when the dust has settled. The stars have aligned for Jurassic World’s opening weekend to officially be KJ-Classified “Large Scale Break Out” from its initial $100 million prediction.
KJ officially states Jurassic World’s opening weekend range to be $145 to $150 million.