Jurassic stomps to record opening weekend

Jurassic stomps to record opening weekend
Actor Chris Pratt attends the Universal Pictures' "Jurassic World" premiere at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood, California.

LOS ANGELES - The fearsome Jurassic Park dinosaurs have done it again, gobbling up the competition to score the biggest worldwide box office opening weekend with the franchise's latest instalment.

The action-packed Jurassic World, featuring a new and particularly lethal hybrid dino, raked in a whopping US$511 million (S$689 million) globally in its debut at cinemas, according to box-office tracker Exhibitor Relations on Sunday.

That was the largest weekend take in history, eclipsing Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows: Part 2 (US$483 million in 2011), according to The Hollywood Reporter.

The unprecedented haul for Jurassic World - which has had largely good, if not sparkling reviews - was boosted by the US$100 million earned in China alone and the blockbuster topped the box office in 66 countries.

In North America, Jurassic World made US$204.6 million, just short of the record for an opening weekend in the region, held by Marvel's The Avengers at US$207.4 million in 2012.

"This is absolutely a four-quadrant movie and is working on so many levels. The release date was awesome and everybody stayed off of our date," The Hollywood Reporter quoted Universal domestic distribution chief Nick Carpou as saying.

In addition to Chris Pratt as chief dinosaur-keeper and Bryce Dallas Howard as the park's overzealous marketing guru, the cast of the film includes a multi-ethnic array of actors.

Co-produced by Steven Spielberg - who directed the first two of the four films - Jurassic World takes us back to the island theme park where scientists first revived Tyrannosaurus rex and company for paying customers more than two decades ago.

Paul Dergarabedian, a media analyst at Rentrak, told Agence France-Presse that Jurassic World benefited from something of a perfect box-office storm.

"Nostalgia, legacy, pedigree: Three things that can make a newly updated franchise a monster," he said.

He added that there are many reasons Jurassic World is eating box-office records like a hungry Indominus rex, the terrifying genetically modified dino in the film.

The original Jurassic Park was the second coming of Jaws and was, for many, the film that defined in the psyche their "personal definition of the summer movie experience", Mr Dergarabedian noted.

"At the time 1993's Jurassic Park was released, it was the first film to open with over US$50 million and as such was seen and loved by a massive audience that was at once repelled and thrilled by its science-run-amok premise, its homage to the dinosaurs that everyone grew up learning about and were intrigued by in grade school," he said.

"And not least of all, the collective movie theatre popcorn experience that the iconic superstar director Steven Spielberg delivered."

Universal Pictures had also been smart with its marketing of the film, he added, noting that broadcaster NBC in the United States had been showing the original in the run-up to the latest release to drum up interest.

Jurassic World dwarfed its rivals at theatres in North America at the weekend, bumping comedy espionage spoof Spy to second place, with a relatively paltry US$16 million.

Mega-disaster epic San Andreas, which topped box-office sales in its debut two weekends ago at US$54.6 million, was in third place as the blockbuster summer season gathers pace, at US$11 million, according to Exhibitor Relations.

Fourth place went to the new horror flick Insidious: Chapter 3, at US$7.3 million.

Pitch Perfect 2 came in fifth at US$6 million.

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