The numbers are staggering.
Universal’s “Jurassic Park” grossed $ 50,159,460 from 2,404 playdates in its opening weekend. The film posted averages of $ 20,865.
The appropriate word is not “huge” or “boffo” or “gigantic” or even “dinosaurian.” It is simply “biggest.”
“Jurassic” is the biggest opening-weekend gross ever. It had the biggest preview revenues, and Saturday generated the biggest single-day gross with $ 18 million. And many, many theaters had their biggest box office earnings ever, to establish new individual house records.
It’s all very nice, even if the new apex is not comparable to a Bob Beamon long jump record that stood for more than two decades. The Spielberg picture probably needed to do in the neighborhood of $ 60 million to keep the next blockbuster at bay for more than a few years. In all likelihood, some film will come along in the next few years to knock the reigning champ among openers off its perch.
Which is not to suggest that it’s time to close the record books on the prehysteric picture.
Challenges still to come include the fastest picture to reach a $ 100 million domestic gross and, of course, the biggest grossing film of all time.
Yes, there’s a tremendous sense of energy from the possibilities a giant smash on the order of “Jurassic Park” can expand the marketplace. Only time will tell. And no, it is not the height of film art.
If indeed there are palpable benefits to be earned off of “Jurassic” revenues — as many have said — then why did no one else sked a national opening for their film alongside “Jurassic”? Certainly many were predicting 40%-45% drops for major releases in the marketplace and the general impact was closer to 35%.
The dino pic accounted for about 58% of all weekend revenues, which doesn’t exactly constitute a black hole sucking up everything in its wake. There were additionally two spectacular, albeit, more limited releases.
Buena Vista decided to go the platform route on its Tina Turner biopic “What’s Love Got to Do With It” and had a very successful launch. On just 58 screens, it grossed $ 1,222,718. That worked out to averages of $ 21,081, slightly better than “Jurassic.” Disney plans a slow roll out of the picture in the coming weeks.
The per-screen champ this weekend was another freshman, Sony Classics’ “Orlando,” which weighed in with averages of $ 35,677. On two screens in Manhattan and a single in Seattle, it grossed $ 107,030 in three days.
If one were to characterize Disney as adventurous in its “What’s Love” strategy, Sony Classics has to be labeled as the Knievels of distribution, by releasing an art house film in the summer.
Meanwhile, the latest speculation is how big a drop “Jurassic Park” will take in its second weekend. Trackers are predicting about a 30% hit, which is a lot better than most blockbusters generally experience. But a new, previously unthought of, question has emerged in the past several days: Might it remain on top a second week despite the arrival of Columbia’s ballyhooed “Last Action Hero”?
Another question is which picture will be next to cross the $ 100 million mark? Will it be “Jurassic,” currently at $ 50.1 million, “Indecent Proposal” now with $ 98.3 million, or the long-running “Unforgiven,” which needs about $ 840,000 to hit that peak? “Indecent” made just under $ 1.5 million last weekend, “Unforgiven” a shade shy of $ 700,000.