A wave of nostalgia, Chris Pratt's rapidly rising star power, and one of the best marketing campaigns in years have paid off for Universal and Legendary Pictures in an even bigger way than already expected. The studio reports this morning that Jurassic World rocked the box office with a stunning $82.8 million opening day, giving it the third highest first day gross in history behind Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 ($91.1 million) and Avengers: Age of Ultron ($84.4 million). Even more impressive is the fact that after its already-strong $18.5 million Thursday night gross, the film earned $64.3 million on Friday proper -- the highest single day gross of all-time when excluding any Thursday night or midnight grosses. That record previously belonged to Marvel's The Avengers with $62.1 million (removing its $18.7 million in midnight show earnings).
There are more than enough statistics to begin culling from World's shocking performance so far. Compared to its own franchise... there are no comparisons. Although the original Jurassic Park ($47 million) once claimed the opening weekend record in 1993, as did its 1997 follow-up, The Lost World ($72.1 million), those numbers still wouldn't reflect the massive attendance of World when adjusted for inflation ($92.2 million adjusted weekend for the original and $128 million adjusted for the second pic). In fact, World is poised to exceed the entire domestic run of 2001's Jurassic Park III ($181.2 million) in just three days.
On the all-time weekend chart, World will break up Marvel's dominance on the top three spots. Iron Man 3's third-best $174.1 million weekend will fall a spot, and Ultron's $191.3 million should go down as well given the strength of World's Friday business combined with the presumption that it will continue playing strongly on Saturday and Sunday thanks to very positive word of mouth. Unconfirmed reports from other outlets suggest it received an "A" CinemaScore, while Flixster users have given it a strong 87 percent approval.
No June release has ever approached Friday attendance levels this high (meaning comparisons aren't concrete right now) and schools being out this time of year means some front-loading to Friday is reasonably expected. That said, giving World the same weekend math as Man of Steel (the June record-holder entering the weekend) when adding all of the latter's Thursday preview grosses would net $190 million -- and that 2013 film didn't have near the kind of post-preview business or healthy word of mouth as World seems to. Also worth noting are the NBA Finals on Sunday which could hamper evening grosses, although word of mouth may be able to compensate for that.
All told, we think momentum is unstoppable at this point and Jurassic World is on pace to become the second film ever to crack the $200 million threshold, with a realistic shot at breaking the first Avengers' all-time $207.44 million opening weekend record. Universal itself projects a $181.4 million weekend, but we're aiming higher in our official projection of $210 million.
In other news, Spy was off 54 percent from its opening day last week to $4.775 million in second place yesterday. The Melissa McCarthy-Paul Feig laugher has tallied $45.7 million in its first eight days of release. BoxOffice projects a $15.5 million sophomore frame.
In third, San Andreas added $3.13 million for a 59 percent Friday-to-Friday drop. The disaster flick's domestic haul now stands at $111.44 million as it heads for a third weekend around $10.5 million.
In fourth place yesterday, Insidious Chapter 3 was down 74 percent from its opening day last week to $2.675 million. The horror sequel's eight-day sum is $32.75 million as it heads for a weekend around $8 million.
Filling out the top five, Pitch Perfect 2 added $2 million on Friday -- down just 23 percent from last week. The sequel's domestic total is now $166.7 million. BoxOffice projects a $5.8 million weekend.
Meanwhile, Me and Earl and the Dying Girl posted $69,254 from 15 locations on Friday, giving it a $4,617 per-theater average. The well-reviewed Sundance performer is aiming to build buzz through word of mouth in limited release, and could tally around $215,000 this weekend.