NEW YORK — It’s been 14 years since “Jurassic Park” opened its doors, and with the debut of “Jurassic World” movie-goers couldn’t wait to get in.
The Universal film took in $18.5 million on Thursday night with preview screenings in the U.S. This makes “World” the biggest preview showing ever for the studio over April’s “Furious 7” which brought in $15.8 million.
The film, which opens in over 4,200 theaters this weekend, is the fourth film in the $2 billion franchise that started with 1993’s classic “Jurassic Park.”
“Jurassic World” has been expected to take a big bite out of ticket sales this weekend with box office analysts now projecting the film to have a North American debut of $130 million.
This number is up from original projections that had the film having an opening closer to $120 million.
If “Jurassic World” breaks the $120 million barrier this weekend it’ll become the third biggest opening of the year and the biggest opening in June’s history overtaking the $116.6 million of 2013’s “Man of Steel.”
(So, yes, this weekend’s box office battle is between Superman and a T-Rex.)
Following those projections, “World” would also become the biggest opening for the film’s star Chris Pratt.
Pratt is currently one of the hottest commodities in Hollywood after a spectacular 2014, which saw the actor transform himself from the lovable blockhead Andy on the NBC sitcom “Parks and Recreation” to buff action hero.
This was thanks to starring in the animated “The Lego Movie” and Marvel’s “Guardians of the Galaxy,” two of 2014’s biggest hits.
Those two films garnered the actor roughly $590 million at the box office last year. This haul was more than Pratt’s previous 12 films combined.
So while some may be heading to “Jurassic World” this weekend for the dinosaurs, some look to be going for Pratt.
“He’s just so relatable,” said Paul Dergarabedian, a box office analyst for Rentrak. “He’s probably already a household name to some, but ‘Jurassic World’ is just going to solidify that.”
Away from its opening in the U.S., “World” is also opening in 66 international territories this weekend including big markets like China and the U.K.