Record $690m weekend takings for Jurassic World

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Critics be darned. Jurassic World powered through squishy reviews to post a record US$512 million (S$690 million) in estimated weekend sales worldwide.

It was the largest weekend take in history, eclipsing Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows: Part 2 (US$483 million in 2011), said The Hollywood Reporter.

Released by Universal Pictures with backing from Legendary Entertainment, the dinosaur thriller earned US$100 million in China alone and topped the box office in 66 countries.

It took in an estimated US$204.6 million in North America, which appeared to give it the second-best domestic movie opening ever, just behind Marvel's The Avengers (US$207.4 million in 2012). It could push past The Avengers after final weekend sales are tallied.

Even when adjusted for ticket price inflation, Jurassic World, directed by the relatively inexperienced Colin Trevorrow (until now best known for his 2012 indie comedy, Safety Not Guaranteed), handily outpaced Jurassic Park.

That 1993 film was directed by Steven Spielberg and took in about US$50 million in first-weekend sales - or roughly US$99 million at current prices - and spawned what is now a four-film series.

Spielberg is an executive producer of the latest film, which more than one reviewer criticised as lacking his sure touch for fantasy adventure. "You can check your brain at the door and pick it up on your way out," wrote Richard Roeper for The Chicago Sun-Times, in what was actually one of the film's strongest reviews.

The Metacritic website, which tallies reviews, gave Jurassic World a middling score of 59, well behind Spy, a Melissa McCarthy comedy, at a score of 75.

But a fresh generation of moviegoers was clearly thrilled by Jurassic World, about reconstituted dinosaurs in a contemporary world, with Bryce Dallas Howard and Chris Pratt in lead roles. And those viewers boosted sales by paying a premium for tickets to 3-D and ultra large-screen showings from providers such as RealD or Imax and proprietary big-format services such as Cinemark XD.

About 48 per cent of Jurassic World's North American sales came from 3-D screens, said RealD.

Spy ranked a distant second, with US$16 million in North American sales for 20th Century Fox, for a worldwide total of US$136.9 million, said the Rentrak reporting service.

The 3-D surge has similarly helped San Andreas (Warner Bros), which placed third with US$11 million. The death-and-destruction earthquake thriller has taken in US$373.3 million at the worldwide box office since opening.

Insidious: Chapter 3, a horror film from Universal's Focus unit, placed fourth with US$7.3 million, for a worldwide total of about US$63.7 million. Pitch Perfect 2, an a cappella sequel also from Universal, was fifth with about US$6 million, for a worldwide total of about US$261.9 million.

The run of strong performers from Universal, which had prior hits in Fast & Furious 7 and Fifty Shades Of Grey, has pushed the studio to the fore in an annual box-office race that had until now been dominated by Disney and Warner Bros.

Overall, the North American box office is up about 4 per cent for the year, to more than US$4.8 billion from just less than US$4.7 billion at this point last year, said Rentrak.

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