The Jurassic World franchise is far from extinct at the box office.
Jurassic World Dominion had a strong domestic debut this weekend despite being slapped with the worst reviews of the Jurassic Park series. The film grossed $143 million, just below the $148 million, pre-pandemic debut of its predecessor, 2018's Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom. This was the second-biggest opening of the year so far behind Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness.
Dominion was billed as the conclusion of the Jurassic Park series and finale of a rebooted trilogy that began in 2015. Similar to Spider-Man: No Way Home, it leaned into audiences' nostalgia for past entries by bringing back the original cast, reuniting Sam Neill, Laura Dern, and Jeff Goldblum. It also had a juicy hook teased by a cliffhanger in Fallen Kingdom: dinosaurs are now loose on the mainland.
Dominion received mixed-to-negative reviews, with critics generally feeling it didn't make the best use of that premise. But audiences seem to be having a better time with it. Moviegoers polled by CinemaScore gave Dominion an A- rating, the same score as Fallen Kingdom and higher than previous sequels The Lost World: Jurassic Park and Jurassic Park III.
What few analysts saw coming, though, is that by the end of the summer, Dominion may end up grossing less than the hugely successful Top Gun: Maverick, which has now taken in nearly $400 million domestically. Who knew audiences' need for dinosaur mayhem would be trumped by their need for speed?