Who says dinosaurs are a thing of a past? “Jurassic World Dominion,” the latest entry in the dinosaurs-running-amok franchise, took over the U.S. weekend box office with $142.1 million from 4,676 theaters.
What Happened: “Jurassic World Dominion” also brought in $245 million from overseas markets, including China. The new film, released by Comcast Corp.’s CMCSA Universal Pictures, displaced Paramount’s PARAA “Top Gun: Maverick” as the top box office attraction – however, the Tom Cruise-starring epic still had a sizable audience, drawing $50 million from 4,262 theaters for its third week in release.
Rounding out the box office top five were the Walt Disney Co.’s DIS “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness,” which grossed $4.9 million from 3,345 theaters in its sixth week in release; “The Bob’s Burgers Movie” from Disney’s 20th Century Studios with $2.29 million from 2,605 theaters in its third week in release; and Universal’s “The Bad Guys” with $2.28 million from 2,416 theaters in its eighth week in release.
What Happens Next: For the coming weekend, the big blockbuster on tap is the animated “Lightyear” from Disney’s Pixar division, which imagines the backstory of the astronaut who inspired the Buzz Lightyear doll of the “Toy Story” franchise.
Also opening nationwide is “Brian and Charles,” an offbeat British comedy about a lonely Welsh inventor who creates an artificially intelligent robot who absorbs English from reading a dictionary and displays a bizarre obsession over cabbage. Comcast’s Focus Features acquired this quirky film after its well-received premiere at January’s Sundance Film Festival.
Among the films opening in limited release are Vertical Entertainment’s presentation of “The Lost Girls,” which imagines the impact of Peter Pan on four generation of women in the Darling family; IFC Films’ Spanish import “Official Competition” starring Penelope Cruz and Antonio Banderas in a comedy about a millionaire who finances a film production; and Saban Films’ “Blowback,” which makes cryptocurrency a central plot point in a violent revenge crime drama.
Also Worth Noting: Forty years ago, Paramount had high hopes for “Grease 2,” the sequel to its 1978 musical smash. For British actor Maxwell Caulfield, landing the starring role in the film seemed like an express lane to movie stardom.
Unfortunately for Caulfield, the film opened opposite “E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial” and was up against the likes of “Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan,” “Rocky III” and “Poltergeist.” Whereas “Grease” was pre-sold as a film version of a popular Broadway musical starring well-known actors John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John, “Grease 2” was an original musical without a hit song starring Caulfield (a theater actor mostly unknown to American moviegoers) playing opposite an unknown actress named Michelle Pfeiffer.
“Grease 2” was the big flop of the summer of 1982 and Caulfield became the scapegoat for its failure.
“I didn’t work for practically two years – I was stone-cold dead in Hollywood,” Caulfield said in an interview with TooFab. “I had a three-picture deal going into that movie with Paramount, and it died a death. I owed Paramount two more movies – they’d given me this huge break, and so they wanted to stitch me up for two more movies of their choosing as long as they wanted to make them. But because the film was so rush released, the film came and went, and they didn’t exercise their option.”
While top-billed movie stardom eluded Caulfield, he nonetheless found small screen stardom on “Dynasty” and its spinoff “The Colbys,” and he has been a constant presence on stage and screen. Paramount is releasing a 40th anniversary Blu-ray and DVD this summer of “Grease 2,” which has since gained a cult following after its ignoble theatrical flop.
“Nobody came out and supported the movie,” Caulfield said. “The film wasn’t marketed well or promoted well, and it’s very expensive to keep a film out there hoping it’ll find its audience. Thank God for cable TV, that’s all I can say, and video.”
Photo: “Jurassic World Dominion,” courtesy of Universal Pictures