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Australian philosopher, literary critic, legal scholar, and professional writer. Based in Newcastle, NSW. Author of FREEDOM OF RELIGION AND THE SECULAR STATE (2012), HUMANITY ENHANCED (2014), and THE MYSTERY OF MORAL AUTHORITY (2016).

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Jurassic World is a monster

Box Office Mojo reports that Jurassic World has broken records for the biggest ever box-office openings in the US (formerly held by the first Avengers movie) and worldwide (formerly held by Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2).

Although there was some buzz about Jurassic World as its release date approached, I don't think anyone, including the studio bosses, foresaw success on this astonishing scale. There's also reason to think it can hold on well - reviews (including my own) have been positive, even if not overwhelmingly so. The general idea from reviewers and from people I've talked to seems to be that the movie does a good job of following the formula that made the original Jurassic Park a record smasher in its own day, that it injects enough original ideas to breathe new life into the franchise, and that, above all, it is simply (though scarily) fun. Perhaps that last is underappreciated at a time when even superhero movies are often dark, troubling, and morally ambiguous.

It seems that there was a hunger for this kind of movie. It was probably helped by circumstances, with no serious blockbuster competition around its June opening date - furthermore, there is no serious competition coming up over the next two weeks. It's also the sort of movie that is inherently more likely to hold at the box office than a superhero flick (these tend to be very front-end loaded).

At the start of July, we'll see the newest instalment from the Terminator franchise, Terminator: Genisys. This also looks like an effort to breathe new life into a flagging franchise - the last two movies never attained the commercial success of Terminator 2: Judgment Day, or anything like the critical acclaim and iconic status of the first two movies. The creators of Terminator Salvation made a brave decision to deal with the future post-Judgment Day, which could have set in train a new line of movies, but they failed to capture the public's imagination. Terminator Salvation was a relative flop by Hollywood blockbuster standards, especially in the US market. Terminator: Genisys is clearly designed to get back to basics, but with new twists. We'll see whether that appeals.

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