Why ‘Jurassic World: Dominion’ Could Be the Next COVID-Era $1 Billion Box Office Hit

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Since theaters reopened, only “Spider-Man: No Way Home” has crossed $1 billion at the global box office. This weekend, Universal’s “Jurassic World: Dominion” will enter theaters with the hopes of reaching that mark.

Such expectations are natural, considering that the two previous “Jurassic World” films easily cleared that mark with the first installment earning $1.67 billion in 2015 — becoming Universal’s highest grossing film ever — and the 2018 sequel “Fallen Kingdom” earning $1.31 billion. And for the most part, “Dominion” has the same momentum that its predecessors had.

This past weekend, “Dominion” opened in 15 countries, including Korea and all major Latin American markets, and earned a combined $55 million total. That result is consistent with the opening of the other “Jurassic World” films in like-for-like markets.

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Also, unlike so many other American blockbusters, “Dominion” has been cleared for a release in China this Friday. Unfortunately, while “Fallen Kingdom” had a solid run in China with $261 million grossed, “Dominion” may not make nearly as much as it hits Chinese theaters in the midst of strict COVID-19 restrictions. Overall grosses in the country during last weekend’s Dragon Boat holiday hit just $26.7 million, a 10-year-low, while the organizers of the Shanghai International Film Festival have postponed this year’s edition due to rampant outbreaks.

But domestically, “Jurassic World: Dominion” has high hopes with pre-release projections predicting an opening of at least $125 million. While that would be below the $148 million opening of “Fallen Kingdom,” it would be roughly on the same level of the three-day $126.7 million opening of “Top Gun: Maverick,” which is blasting past the $300 million domestic mark in less than two weeks.

Unlike “Top Gun: Maverick,” pre-release buzz hasn’t been as effusive for “Dominion,” with early overseas reviews and social media posts being more mixed. Some who attended the film’s premiere on Monday said the film has all the dinosaur havoc and blockbuster excitement that people expect from a “Jurassic” film, while others criticized the film for not paying off the setup that “Fallen Kingdom” teased with humanity being forced to coexist with the lethal dinos they brought back from extinction. The review embargo for American media will be lifted on Wednesday evening.

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But mixed reception didn’t stop “Fallen Kingdom” from becoming the third-highest grossing film of 2018, suggesting that seeing roaring dinosaurs on the biggest screen possible is all that audiences need to be sold on a “Jurassic” film. The nostalgia of seeing “Jurassic Park” stars Jeff Goldblum, Laura Dern and Sam Neill reunite for the first time in nearly 30 years should also be enough to bring back longtime fans in droves.

“Jurassic World” will be the start of a busy summer for Universal, which is releasing six films between now and the end of August. Also on the slate are the Scott Derrickson horror film “The Black Phone” starring Ethan Hawke on June 24, the return of the “Despicable Me” franchise with “Minions: The Rise of Gru” on July 1, and Jordan Peele’s third movie “Nope” on July 22.

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