'Jurassic World' bites into $102 million, 'Inside Out' scores with $91 million

Sun Jun 21, 2015 1:04pm EDT
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By Brent Lang

LOS ANGELES (Variety.com) - These are the weekends that record-breaking summers are made of.

The North American box office sizzled as Disney and Pixar's "Inside Out" and Universal's "Jurassic World" duked it out at the multiplexes. After shattering records for domestic and international debuts, "Jurassic World" became only the second film in history to top $100 million in two separate weekends.

The dinosaur sequel nabbed first place with a massive $102 million, pushing its domestic total to $398.2 million. "Jurassic World" has now passed "Jurassic Park" ($357.1 million) as the highest-grossing domestic release in the franchise's history when not adjusted for inflation.

Its dominance ended one of the most remarkable winning streaks in cinema history, putting a period to Pixar's run of first place finishes. Every previous film released by the studio bowed in the top spot on domestic charts.

Not that Disney is complaining. Buoyed by rapturous critical notices, "Inside Out" scored the second best debut ever for Pixar, behind only "Toy Story 3's" $110.3 million opening, and the highest opening weekend ever for an original, non-sequel property, passing "Avatar's" $77 million start. The brainy family film picked up $91 million from 3,946 playdates. That was a significant jump on the $60 million-plus opening that Disney had projected for "Inside Out."

"Inside Out," which unfolds largely inside the mind of a young girl struggling to come to terms with her family's move to San Francisco, represented a big gamble for Pixar. Produced for $175 million, it had a concept that defied an easy sales pitch and could have gone soaring over the heads of younger moviegoers. Instead, critics praised the film as ranking alongside such previous Pixar greats as "Up" and "Wall-E" in pairing cinematic daring with emotional uplift.

Disney's distribution chief Dave Hollis praised the studio's marketing team for conveying the twisty concept in a series of upbeat ads and for getting the word out early that the picture was not to be missed. "Inside Out" first screened for movie theater owners and press at CinemaCon in April and followed that up with a high-profile premiere at the Cannes Film Festival.

"There was a critical mass building of people saying 'wow it's so original, it's Pixar doing what Pixar does best,'" said Hollis. "That critical mass tipped over into the consumer mindset."   Continued...

Cast member Chris Pratt and his wife actress Anna Faris pose at the premiere of "Jurassic World" in Hollywood, California, June 9, 2015.  REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni