Weekend Box Office Forecast: Jurassic World Dominion Hopes to Overcome Review Woes in the Wake of Top Gun: Maverick‘s Momentum (Updated w/ Preview Results)

Photo Credits: Universal Pictures ("Jurassic World: Dominion")

Friday Update: Universal reports this morning that Jurassic World Dominion roared to $18 million in domestic previews on Thursday from showings at 4,150 locations beginning at 4pm.

For the weekend, this translates to a debut within the final expected range as forecast below. Of course, there is still some wiggle room as the weekend and word of mouth play out. Most likely scenarios point to between $150 million and $170 million.

For context, Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom earned $15.3 million from previews four years ago. During the pandemic era, Dominion ranks fifth in pre-Friday grosses — although that improves to third when factoring out the pre-Thursday grosses of films like Top Gun: Maverick and The Batman, which their respective studios included in preview earnings reports.

Only Spider-Man: No Way Home and Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness have scored higher total preview grosses since 2019.

Wednesday Report: Moviegoers love dinosaurs, and this weekend promises their return to the big screen as Jurassic World Dominion roars its way into an estimated 4,600 domestic theaters.

29 years since Steven Spielberg’s original adaptation demolished box office records, and 7 years after the modern reboot-quel did the same, Jurassic World Dominion is eyeing one of the best June launches in history as it promises to close out both its own current trilogy and an overall six-film story arch (although, realistically, it’s hard to imagine Universal let such a valuable IP lay dormant for too many years after this one).

The return of Chris Pratt and Bryce Dallas Howard are complemented by the original Jurassic Park‘s trio of Sam Neill, Laura Dern, and Jeff Goldblum reuniting on screen for the first time in the franchise (though each have made individual appearances ranging from cameos to leading roles throughout prior installments). That’s a major element driving consumer enthusiasm for this latest sequel.

Dominion enters a challenging situation, though, with mixed reviews denting buzz in the final days before release and Top Gun: Maverick riding high on an historic box office run so far. Dominion will take charge of most of the Tom Cruise-led film’s premium formats, IMAX included, this weekend as the pandemic recovery era enters another litmus test that will surely drive further conversation about a need for the expansion of premium auditoriums to accommodate crowded marketplaces.

Where some counter-programming potential exists is within the fact that Jurassic‘s audience relies more heavily on the 25-and-under demographic than the Top Gun sequel does. The prior Jurassic sequel drew an audience share of 56 percent from that group. Maverick, in its second weekend, was still registering at 51 percent by those 35 and older.

Those two elements remain strengths in the quiver of Universal’s summer tentpole. Fallen Kingdom itself managed to overcome lukewarm critical and audience reception with a still-strong $148 million domestic start and $417.7 million finish four summers ago. That proved the film’s commercial appeal among four-quadrant masses.

Part of Kingdom‘s ability to slightly over-perform at the time also leaned on the fact that pre-sales weren’t nearly as front-loaded as those of comic book franchises and other die-hard fan events. Dominion‘s path in that respect has been similar up until a few days ago, plus a long lead time (tickets went on sale at the end of April) that flatted any curve of ticket-buying surges.

Activity on that front is nowhere near the level of pandemic era releases like Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness or The Batman, but that was never really expected due to Jurassic‘s proven casual moviegoer draw. Prior to Kingdom, the 2015 mega-event similarly over-performed all expectations. The youth appeal for Dominion, which had reportedly been tracking very well among those under the age of 18, will be important to consider as the demographic doesn’t typically rush to pre-purchase tickets.

Nevertheless, Dominion is in a more competitive market with Maverick expected to continue holding strong with the aforementioned over-35 crowd — many of whom Universal is targeting with the nostalgia play of this particular Jurassic.

Forecasts have been, and remain, quite volatile as the latest dinosaur tentpole will rely more heavily on walk-up ticket sales than most of the past year’s biggest box office performers. Not helping late-stage projections is the fact that marketing has underwhelmed in an attempt to sell Dominion as the kind of franchise finale event it’s being branded as.

Across social media, signs had been more encouraging with the youth drive being reflected, though sentiment scores are taking a hit due to reviews. The film is down to 40 percent from 109 critics, comparable to the 48 percent score of 2001’s Jurassic Park III.

Speaking of that 21-year-old threequel, it serves as a fair comparison point. Total domestic lifetime ticket sales (adjusted for inflation) were down for Park III by an estimated 36 percent versus 1997’s The Lost World despite bringing back Sam Neill in the lead role for that picture.

While the aura of a more complete ensemble and the finale factor have been hoped to prevent such a drop-off for Dominion relative to Fallen Kingdom, it’s becoming clear that franchise fatigue is worth watching out for given early reactions to the film. A similar decrease based on average ticket prices today could result in a domestic finish below $400 million if Dominion registers on the low end of expectations in its debut.

Internationally, Dominion has provided mixed signals for what to expect on the home front with a lower debut than that of Fallen Kingdom in Italy, but higher (by significant margins) in Mexico and Brazil.

With previews beginning at 5pm locally on Thursday, Dominion‘s target should be to exceed Fallen Kingdom‘s $15.3 million Thursday haul from 7pm shows onward in June 2018.

In a studio email, Universal cited an expectation of more than $100 million from the domestic box office this weekend. That is a conservative estimate even in an atmosphere that is seeing tracking ranges decline from previous optimistic marks.

Meanwhile, the aforementioned Top Gun: Maverick should not be forgotten after delivering the best second weekend hold in history by any film to ever reach $100 million or more in its opening weekend.

Paramount and Tom Cruise’s big screen sensation claimed another $90 million last weekend despite coming off a super-inflated first frame with a holiday and preview grosses included. Maverick is (seemingly) bound for a steeper decline this week as it will lose the ticket price advantage of premium screens to the Jurassic sequel, but word of mouth remains immaculate enough that it could ultimately hold its own.

Even with a sharp drop-off this Friday, expect Maverick to level out quickly as it heads into the back half of the month and through the rest of summer. The film will be nearing or past the $400 million domestic mark by the end of this weekend and is making a strong case to become not just the top performer of summer, but potentially of the year.

Notably, Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness will also be nearing the $400 million threshold in the days ahead — but Maverick, on day 17 of release, is set to overtake it on Sunday (which will be Strange‘s 38th).

Weekend Ranges

Jurassic World Dominion
Opening Weekend Range: $137 – 167 million

Thursday Pinpoint Forecast: $16.5 million
True Friday Pinpoint Forecast: $43.6 million
Saturday Pinpoint Forecast: $50.2 million
Sunday Pinpoint Forecast: $40.1 million

Weekend Forecast & Location Count Projections

Current projection ranges call for an 80 to 105 percent increase from last weekend’s $118.4 million top ten aggregate (three-day). 

Film Distributor 3-Day Weekend Forecast Projected Domestic Total through Sunday, June 12 Location Count Projection (as of Wed) 3-Day % Change from Last Wknd
Jurassic World Dominion Universal Pictures $150,400,000 $150,400,000 ~4,600 NEW
Top Gun: Maverick Paramount Pictures $57,400,000 $401,000,000 ~4,200 -36%
Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness Disney & Marvel Studios $4,900,000 $397,700,000 ~3,400 -47%
The Bad Guys Universal Pictures & DreamWorks Animation $2,800,000 $92,000,000 ~2,500 -16%
The Bob’s Burgers Movie 20th Century Studios (Disney) $2,400,000 $27,200,000 ~2,800 -48%
Downton Abbey: A New Era Focus Features $1,900,000 $40,000,000 ~2,100 -41%
Everything Everywhere All at Once A24 $1,500,000 $63,300,000 ~1,100 -26%
Sonic the Hedgehog 2 Paramount Pictures $700,000 $189,800,000 ~1,200 -59%
Crimes of the Future NEON $500,000 $2,100,000 ~800 -55%
Watcher IFC Films $425,000 $1,600,000 ~800 -49%

*All forecasts are subject to revision before the first confirmation of Thursday previews or Friday estimates from studios or official sources.

Theater counts are updated as confirmed by studiosThe above table does not necessarily represent the top ten as some studios do not finalize weekend location counts and/or an intent to report box office returns prior to publishing.

Photo Credits: Universal Pictures ("Jurassic World: Dominion")
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