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“Jurassic World” Continues to Dominate at Box Office in Spite of Reviews

“Fallen Kingdom” wins second weekend with $60 million haul.

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If a potential ticket buyer were to judge Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom solely by its mixed reviews, they might opt for a trip to see the dinosaur bones at their local museum instead.

“As brainless summer-escapism movies go, this one can’t go fast enough,” wrote the New York Observer critic Rex Reed, speaking for many fellow critics. But there were enough positive reviews to put the film’s Rotten Tomatoes score at a solidly mediocre 51 percent.

Clearly, though, movie audiences don’t care what those critics think. The latest installment in the Jurassic Park franchise took the top spot for a second straight weekend with $60 million. That brings its North American total to $264.8 million in just ten days, it’s global haul to $932.4 million after opening earlier in several key foreign markets.

“For a movie like (Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom), it’s not about the critical raves, it’s about the experience,” Paul Dergarabedian, senior box office analyst for ComScore told RealClearLife. “If you like dinosaurs and you grew up with the franchise you were going to see the movie no matter what.”

Still, just nine months ago, the industry was wringing its collective hands over a spate of movies that seemed to be damaged by low scores posted on Rotten Tomatoes. Coming off the worst box office summer since 1992, the review aggregation site was blamed for the disappointing showings of films like Transformers: The Last Knight — especially considering how well previous Transformers movies fared.

At the time, director/producer Brett Ratner had told the New York Times called the site’s influence, “the destruction of the movie business.”

“The reasons why a movie does or does not do well are myriad,” said Dergarabedian. “The reviews and aggregate scores are just one piece of that puzzle. It’s not an exact science.

“Where those reviews seem to have the most impact is where it’s at one extreme or another— where there either universally high.”

Incredibles 2, with its 93 percent “fresh” score, finished in second place at the box office with $45 million its third weekend and has already earned $439.7 million domestically for Disney. By contrast, the mob biopic Gotti, is sleeping with the fishes after earning just $295,000 in its third weekend (albeit in just 331 theaters), rubbed out in part by a zero percent “rotten” score.

Among new releases, Sony’s Sicario: Day of the Soldano debuted in third place with $19 million. The follow-up to the critically-acclaimed 2015 drama was much less critically acclaimed than its predecessor with a 62 percent “fresh” rating.

Dergarabedian believes that part of the reason that films like Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom can stomp all over the box office despite the critical indifference is momentum. The overall box office is up 9.3 percent from this time last year.

“That means more people are in seats in movie theaters, watching trailers and getting excited about seeing upcoming movies,” said Dergarabedian.