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Box office battle: 'Jurassic World' takes on 'Top Gun,' aims for $125M domestic start

·Senior Reporter
·3-min read
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Following the blockbuster success of "Top Gun: Maverick," a new sequel is hoping to make a splash.

"Jurassic World: Dominion," the third installment of the successful Chris Pratt-led tentpole (the sixth overall in the franchise), is poised for a strong domestic debut after a successful early opener overseas of nearly $56 million.

Industry estimates project the film to earn at least $125 million, which would make it the third best opening of the decades-long franchise following "Jurassic World's" $208.8 million start in 2015 and "Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom's" $148 million in 2018.

Reviews so far have been mixed with Box Office Pro analyst Shawn Robbins telling Yahoo Finance that the combination of mixed reviews, along with the momentum of "Maverick" "may ultimately blunt the ability of Dominion to reach some of the previous expectations behind it."

However, he noted that there are still still big strengths to the film, such as its appeal to younger audiences, along with various nostalgic elements, like the appearances of original cast members Sam Neill, Jeff Goldblum and Laura Dern.

The analyst expects the film to bring in between $137 million and $167 million, pinpointing at $150.4 million.

'Jurassic World: Dominion' (Courtesy: Universal Pictures)
'Jurassic World: Dominion' (Courtesy: Universal Pictures)

It also doesn't hurt that recent films have added bullish optimism to the theatrical comeback.

"There's just no doubt in my mind that movies are open for business," IMAX (IMAX) CEO Richard Gelfond previously told Yahoo Finance.

The executive cited the stunning performance of "Maverick," which smashed a 15-year record for Memorial Day weekend after bringing in an estimated $160.5 million in domestic ticket sales and $300 million worldwide.

Comscore Senior Media Analyst Paul Dergarabedian added that the recent box office successes have resulted from a confluence of factors, including a strong slate of appealing movies, as well as surge in both studio confidence and consumer interest.

People generally go to a movie — not based on price — but based on emotion...Paul Dergarabedian, Comscore Senior Media Analyst

Yet, despite overall optimism, a potential risk could be exhibitors' higher-than-normal ticket prices with premium experiences fluctuating between $15 and $20 per ticket (sometimes higher) across the U.S.

"Price is always a consideration," Dergarabedian noted. However, the analyst went on to say that, even amid inflation, "compared to other outside-of-the home activities, it's actually a bargain."

"People generally go to a movie — not based on price — but based on emotion," he continued, explaining that the theatrical experience is often a big part of "the social conversation," saying consumers do not want to "miss out."

IMAX's Gelfond agreed, adding that premium ticket prices do not seem to be deterring consumers since "people will pay up" for quality.

"People just spent so much time sitting on their couch that, if they get something really special, like IMAX, they're going to be happy to pay more for it," he continued, noting that IMAX's market share "has been going up" since the start of the pandemic.

MKM Partners underscored the strength of IMAX in a new note published this week.

The firm, which maintains a Buy rating on the stock with a price target of $23 a share, said IMAX has seen "box office grosses at nearly normalized levels in North America and in most international markets," although COVID-19 lockdowns in China (which began easing last week) will continue to weigh on financials.

Mid-level movies see "mixed results"

Another drawback for theaters has been a lack of mid-budget films, which have seen "more mixed results" compared to big-budget action flicks.

"While the industry is starting to see some breakthroughs with key mid-level films, the volume of these titles remains below normalized levels."

"Hollywood studios continue to look at [subscription video on demand] platforms as launching pads for some of these titles rather than as exclusive theatrical releases," the note continued, citing a slow-to-return older demographic as a reason behind the slowdown, as well.

Alexandra is a Senior Entertainment and Food Reporter at Yahoo Finance. Follow her on Twitter @alliecanal8193 and email her at alexandra.canal@yahoofinance.com

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