Universal’s “The Lost World: Jurassic Park” devoured an estimated $90.1 million over the four-day Memorial Day frame, dwarfing even wildly optimistic industry predictions and crushing every box office record in its path.
Despite what sources said was a run of nearly 6,000 prints, lines snaked out of sold-out theaters across the country all weekend long.
“I knew it would be big, but I didn’t know it would be this big,” said Nikki Rocco, Universal president of distribution. “It doesn’t surprise me, though, given that it’s the master, Steven Spielberg.”
The “Jurassic Park” sequel collected an additional $2.6 million in advanced screenings — which began at 10 p.m. Thursday — bringing the weekend total to a jaw-dropping $92.7 million.
The previous four-day weekend record-holder was Paramount’s “Mission: Impossible,” which bowed to $56.8 million at this time last year.
Spielberg’s 1993 “Jurassic Park” opened to $50.1 million in its first three days (including Thursday night sneaks), eventually grossing $357.1 million domestically. It remains the top global grosser with $913.1 million worldwide.
The dino sequel is almost certain to reach the $100 million mark in record time — possibly as soon as today, just five days after its official opening. The current record holder, Fox’s “Independence Day,” rocketed to $104 million in 6-1/2 days last July. Before that, “Jurassic Park” was the fastest, at nine days.
“Lost World” appeared in 3,281 theaters — another record — for a staggering $27,641 average. At the top-grossing Cineplex Odeon Universal Citywalk 18-plex, six prints brought in an astounding $274,000.
The astonishing debut led overall ticket sales to an estimated $142 million total, the highest for any four-day weekend. Last Thanksgiving, the biggest box office weekend ever, the tally reached $147 million in five days.
The market got a boost Sunday from rainy weather on the East Coast, pushing Sunday’s totals above Saturday’s for the first time in recent memory.
The weekend’s only other wide opener, the Warner Bros. romantic comedy “Addicted to Love,” wooed a solid $12.1 million, to take second place. In 2,007 12-step meetings, the Meg Ryan-Matthew Broderick romantic comedy averaged $6,029.
Third place went to Sony’s “The Fifth Element,” down 45% to $8.2 million in 2,500 space stations, or $3,280 per landing. (Percentage drops compare the Friday-Sunday portion of this weekend to the previous three-day frame.) Now in its third week of release, the Luc Besson-helmed futuristic actioner has cumed $46.2 million.
New Line’s “Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery” continued its fab hold, off just 16% to $5.9 million. In 2,187 night clubs, the ’60s spy spoof averaged $2,698. Cume after 25 days is $35.3 million.
Dropping to No. 5, Paramount’s “Breakdown” slowed 24% to $5.8 million. In 2,348 pit stops, the Kurt Russell starrer averaged $2,470. After 3-1/2 weeks, the cume is $38.7 million.
Among limited releases, Fine Line’s “Love! Valour! Compassion!” earned $531,000 in 30 theaters in the top 10 markets, giving it a promising $17,700 per screen. Cume after 11 days is $698,000.
Miramax’s “Brassed Off” marched off with a less impressive $50,700 in 12 theaters, or $4,225 per parade.
In sixth place, WB’s “Fathers’ Day” fell 35% to $5 million in 2,504 situations for a $1,997 average. Eighteen days into its run, the Ivan Reitman-helmed comedy has cumed just $24 million.
Universal’s “Liar Liar” slid 24% to $3.1 million in 1,671 complexes for a $1,855 average. Now in its 10th week, the Tom Shadyac-helmed comedy has cumed $164.7 million.
Eighth place went to Fox’s “Volcano.” Down 50% to $2.3 million, the Tommy Lee Jones starrer unspooled in 1,734 locations for a $1,326 average. After just over a month in release, the disaster pic has cumed $42.5 million.
Spelling and Paramount’s “Night Falls on Manhattan” fell 40% to $2.2 million in its second weekend. On 758 street corners, the Sidney Lumet legal drama averaged $2,902 per sits. Cume is $6 million.
Two films appeared tied for the No. 10 spot. Buena Vista’s “Romy and Michele’s High School Reunion” and Sony’s “Anaconda” each took in an estimated $1.7 million.
Down 41%, “Romy” made its money in 1,227 gatherings for a $1,385 average. Cume after 32 days is $24.8 million. Off 40%, “Anaconda” slithered into 1,308 tents for a $1,300 average. The jungle thriller has cumed $58.3 million in 46 days.
Meanwhile, Trimark’s “Sprung” grossed an estimated $1.6 million in its second weekend, according to company estimates. Off 49%, the Rusty Cundieff-helmed comedy appeared in 715 locations for a $2,238 average. Cume is $5.1 million.
In recent weeks, rival distributors have pushed hard to get coming attractions for their upcoming films into theaters showing “Lost World.”
It was Universal itself that came out on top in the trailer wars, however.
According to a survey commissioned by the studio, of the 1,300 screens in 400 theaters sampled, 99% played the trailer for “The Jackal,” which was spliced to the front of “Lost World.” Eighty percent played the onscreen ad for U’s “A Simple Wish” and 70% played the “Leave It to Beaver” trailer.
The most-played trailers for non-Universal films were WB’s “Contact” and Sony’s “Men in Black,” which appeared in more than 60% of the sampled screens.