After Disney Pixar released Inside Out to $90.4 million, good for no. 2 at the domestic box office to Jurassic World’s second weekend, there’s been a lot of noise about how well the box office in general is suddenly doing after some quiet weekends to start the summer, and we need to take a second and be clear about something:
The box office is not what’s doing well. Jurassic World is what’s doing well.
I don’t think people are really appreciating exactly how much better this movie is doing than everything else, so we’re going to go through the top 20 moneymakers of the year so far and highlight a few breakpoints*.
20. The Wedding Ringer- $64.5 million
19. Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2- $69.3 million
18. Paddington- $76.2 million
17. Spy- $76.4
Jurassic World made $82 million on its opening Friday. The only movies in history with better single-day grosses are Age of Ultron earlier this year, which made $84 million, and Part 2 of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows with $91 million in 2011, both of those being opening Fridays. The next day, Jurassic World scooped in $69.6 million, good for the 10th best single-day gross — the intervening days are opening nights for The Avengers, The Dark Knight Rises, the second, fourth and fifth Twilight movies, and the second Hunger Games — also good for the best Saturday in box office history.
16. Tomorrowland- $88.2 million
15. Taken 3- $89.3 million
14. Get Hard- $90.3 million
13. Inside Out- $100.9 million
Jurassic World scored $106 million on its second weekend. This is the highest grossing second weekend of all time, taking another record from The Avengers. The highest grossing third weekend belongs to the freakishly durable — before it left theaters, that is — Avatar, with $68.5 million. I have no idea whether or not that’s a realistic goal for Jurassic World against what should be a very strong second weekend for Inside Out and Ted 2’s opening, but everyone who has tempered expectations for this movie has been wrong so far.
12. Kingsman: The Secret Service- $128.2 million
11. Insurgent- $129.8 million
10. San Andreas- $133.7 million
9. Mad Max: Fury Road- $144.2 million
8. The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge out of Water- $163 million
7. Fifty Shades of Grey- $166.1 million
6. Home- $174.2 million
5. Pitch Perfect 2- $178.1 million
4. Cinderella- $199.8 million
Now we finally get into the tiny section of movies that have made more during their entire run than Jurassic World did with its record-breaking $208 million opening weekend. This total alone would put it at no. 4 overall for 2015 and between no. 12 and no. 8 overall if similarly inserted into any of the past five years.
3. Furious 7- $351 million
2. Jurassic World- $414.3 million
1. Age of Ultron- $449.8 million
All three of these films have passed or will pass the $1 billion mark worldwide, just the 20th, 21st and 22nd films in history to do so. Jurassic World projects to become the fastest movie ever to hit this mark in just 13 days, and given how predictions about this movie have gone so far, the smart money is on it doing this even faster. Furious 7 reset this record earlier in the year at 17 days. Going into the year, Avatar, The Avengers and part 2 of Deathly Hallows all shared the title at 19 days.
This is important for two reasons. On the micro level, no one who watches the box office for a living predicted this. Like weathermen, these people make complicated prognostications and suffer no consequences when they screw the pooch, but they are rarely wrong. But $125 million and $208 million are pretty far apart. Opening weekend predictions for Jurassic World were off by an entire Spy. As a matter of fact, they were off by more than the film’s own staggering opening night gross. This is a movie that could and probably should change the way box office forecasts work, and dramatically shifts the balance of the box office for the coming weekends — the hotly anticipated Inside Out was reduced to a no. 2 opening. Ted 2 looked like it had this next weekend clamped down, but who can be sure now? Could this take Independence Day weekend away from the Magic Mike and Terminator sequels?
On the macro level, it’s important to understand that this does not mean blockbusters are back. 2014 was one of the lowest grossing summers in years, despite boasting three superhero movies and Transformers and Planet of the Apes sequels. Many individual films did well, but the industry as a whole did poorly. This summer kicked off with a clusterfuck Memorial Day weekend that saw a Poltergeist remake open at no. 5 and Tomorrowland barely beat the second weekend of Pitch Perfect 2, a weekend that was overall marked by just not a lot of people going to the movies, and that continued through the next two weekends as San Andreas was the only movie in its opening weekend to top even $50 million and Spy took no. 1 with just $30 million. These are not spectacular numbers. Jurassic World may be making hay, but the sun is definitely not shining on the box office right now.
*All numbers are domestic via boxofficemojo.com and up to date as of this writing. All but three of these movies have not completely left theaters yet, so most of them will make a few dollars more.