Universal Pictures and Amblin Entertainment are hoping to create another box office monster from the DNA of the “Jurassic Park” franchise.
“Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom,” the latest in the long-running dinos-eating-people film series, is expected to open with $130 million to $140 million in ticket sales from the U.S. and Canada this weekend, according to people who have reviewed pre-release audience surveys.
That would be a powerful start for the hoped-for blockbuster, launching it to the No. 1 domestic position and unseating Disney-Pixar’s “Incredibles 2,” which enjoyed a better-than-expected opening last weekend. Still, it’s likely to come in far short of the debut for 2015’s “Jurassic World.”
The previous “Jurassic World,” directed by Colin Trevorrow, exceeded analyst expectations by collecting $209 million in its first three days in North American theaters. The film, a reboot of the film juggernaut created by Steven Spielberg, eventually gobbled up almost $1.7 billion globally, $1 billion of which came from overseas.
Analysts do not expect the new sequel to reach the heights of that film, which benefited from high audience anticipation for the first “Jurassic” movie in 14 years.
“Fallen Kingdom,” which cost more than $170 million to produce, was directed by Spanish filmmaker J.A. Bayona, known for “The Impossible” and small horror film “The Orphanage.” In the new movie, the Isla Nublar park has been abandoned, and humans are divided over whether to save the revived prehistoric creatures from a volcano-induced extinction. Chris Pratt and Bryce Dallas Howard reprise their roles, while Jeff Goldblum returns to the franchise as Ian Malcolm.
Like the last “Jurassic” movie, “Fallen Kingdom” is enjoying robust international appeal. The film has already been released in more than 50 countries, in hopes of drawing global crowds before the World Cup dominates audience’s attention.
“Fallen Kingdom” has amassed more than $400 million internationally so far, according to studio estimates. The movie dominated in its opening in China last weekend, adding $107 million to its haul, according to cinema consulting firm Artisan Gateway. That’s the second largest opening for a non-Chinese movie this year in the world’s second-largest box office market, behind only Disney’s “Avengers: Infinity War” ($187 million).
No new wide releases will compete with the raptors and T-Rexes at the box office this weekend. “Incredibles 2” will score an easy second-place finish, probably adding more than $90 million to its tally Friday through Sunday.
A cluster of big studio movies so far this year, mostly from Disney, has boosted box office sales. Domestic film ticket revenue for 2018 is up 6 percent from the same period of time last year, according to comScore.