2015’s Jurassic World was a much bigger hit than anyone ever anticipated. It grossed 1.6 billion dollars worldwide, and broke nearly every box office record imaginable (most of which were broken again by Star Wars: The Force Awakens six months later). Its success was made all the more sweeter for Universal Studios due to the film’s relatively low 150 million dollar production budget. Comparatively, the aforementioned Force Awakens had a reported production budget of 245 million dollars.
Shortly after the film’s massive 209 million dollar opening weekend in the U.S., it was confirmed that a sequel would enter production, with a slated release for June 22nd 2018. It has since been revealed that the sequel will be part of a trilogy, and will likely begin filming in February 2017. In a recent print interview with El Pais Semanal, director J.A. Bayona confirmed the sequel will have an estimated production budget of 260 million dollars.
The increased budget signifies a massive confidence boost from the studio, however there is no denying the risks associated with such a large investment. Colin Trevorrow’s reboot of the Jurassic franchise likely benefited from a nostalgic curiosity, which won’t necessarily follow the sequel. The lack of serious competition during its opening weekend also helped it reach such a high benchmark during its debut bow. Finally, if you compare the performance of the original Jurassic Park with its 1997 sequel, you’ll find that even with Steven Spielberg returning as director with an increased budget, that film only made 2/3 of the original total.
Therefore, it is possible that Universal is playing a dangerous game with its bolstered budget. With a larger budget, the bar of success is much higher. It is rare that a sequel outperforms its predecessor, and with the franchise’s history with sequels, the task is made even harder. While it is likely the film will find an audience, it is doubtful it will get anywhere near the tally of the 2015 smash-hit. The question then becomes, how high is Universal expecting the film to reach before deeming it a success?
With a reported production budget of 260 million, the studio will likely spend upwards of 200 million dollars to market the film worldwide. This means the film will need to make a minimum of 900 million dollars at the worldwide box office to break even. This isn’t an impossible task, but it might just be that the studio is expecting too much from its blockbuster sequel.