Tom Cruise attends the UK Premiere and Royal Film Performance of ‘Top Gun: Maverick’ at Leicester Square on May 19, 2022 in London, England (L) and still of Jurassic World: Dominon (R)
Getty Images | Universal Studios
Dinosaurs are set to steal the box office crown from Tom Cruise this weekend, but it’s unclear by how much.
Universal’s “Jurassic World: Dominion” hits domestic theaters this Friday, and it will snag the majority of pricier premium format screens from Paramount and Skydance’s “Top Gun: Maverick.”
Box office analysts predict a $125 million debut for “Jurassic World,” which should easily be the highest-grossing film at the box office this week. “Dominion” is the sixth film in the “Jurassic” franchise, which dates back to the summer of 1993, when Steven Spielberg’s “Jurassic Park” broke all manner of box office records.
“Interestingly, having two blockbusters fighting over screens is a ‘problem’ that hasn’t come up much, if at all, during the pandemic,” said Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst at Comscore. . “Dominating one movie for weeks has become the new norm, but that’s not good for the overall health of theaters that need multiple popular movies on their screens, especially during the summer season.”
Before the pandemic, it wasn’t unusual for the summer movie season to see a stacked list of movie releases. Often, blockbuster films open consecutively or with only a week or two between debuts.
“We’ve highlighted many litmus tests for the rebound in cinema over the past year, and this weekend will feature yet another,” said Shawn Robbins, chief analyst at BoxOffice.com. “Can two giant blockbusters coexist in relatively close proximity to each other? Before the pandemic, especially during the summer, the answer was often yes with one caveat: the power of word of mouth.”
“Top Gun: Maverick” has skyrocketed at the box office since it opened two weeks ago, grossing more than $546 million worldwide. Domestically, the film saw just a 32% drop in ticket sales during its second weekend in theaters, grossing $86 million. Typically, movies will experience a 50% to 70% drop between the first and second weekends. Analysts predict “Maverick” could earn an additional $50 million in its third domestic weekend.
“‘Maverick’ is clearly living up to its market share with a record run and near-immaculate audience reception, but it will lose out on IMAX and other premium screen ticket price increases when ‘Jurassic’ opens. ,” Robbins said.
The average regular movie theater seat costs between $10 and $12, while premium seats average around $16. In some cases, premium formats like IMAX can cost $20 or more per seat. Domestically, studio and movie theater chains generally split film proceeds equally.
Still, the “Maverick” run at the box office is far from over. Robbins noted that the film has generated a lot of goodwill in theaters, and while younger audiences may be wooed to see the new “Jurassic World” movie, older audiences will likely still show up for Cruise’s sequel. More than half of the “Maverick” audience is 35 or older, according to Paramount.
“The expected impact of ‘Jurassic World’ on the market is that which has been incorporated into the strategic cake of ‘Top Gun: Maverick’,” Dergarabedian said. “The film will likely see another surge in popularity at the end of June and, of course, during the July 4 holiday.”
For “Jurassic World: Dominion,” however, this game of diminishing returns could be much more severe. The hit feature has received overwhelmingly negative reviews from critics and could see a sharp drop in ticket sales after its opening weekend if word of mouth from moviegoers is also sour.
“Dominion” won’t have major competition from an action movie until July 8, when Marvel’s “Thor: Love and Thunder” hits theaters. However, counter-programming like “Lightyear,” “Elvis,” “The Black Phone,” and “Minions: The Rise of Gru” might turn off would-be moviegoers.
Disclosure: Comcast is the parent company of NBCUniversal and CNBC. NBCUniversal is the distributor of “Jurassic World: Dominion”.