The top-grossing film at U.S. theaters this weekend was released in 1993. No, really. Jurassic Park roared back from the collective nostalgia well shared by so many dads to become the #1 grosser over Father’s Day weekend, followed by the similar re-release of Jaws just behind it.
The Father’s Day weekend frame is traditionally a big one for movie theaters; just another big source of income that the majority have had to forgo as AMC, Regal and Cinemark all build toward planned nationwide openings in mid-July. So you can see why studios like Universal would think to inject some of their catalog classics into the drive-in circuit right about now, and where better to start than the beloved Jurassic Park? Steven Spielberg’s original 1993 film is a night-perfect film—we once called it the greatest blockbuster of the 1990s.
In recent weeks, more recent 2020 releases like Dreamworks’ Trolls World Tour have held most of the top-grossing weekends, but this time around Jurassic Park surged to the forefront, taking in $517,600 from a mere 230 theaters, most of them drive-ins. Jaws was nipping right at its heels, with $516,300 from significantly fewer locations, 187, meaning that it was Spielberg’s OTHER masterpiece that took home the title of the better per-theater average. Those numbers don’t seem very impressive, we’re sure, but it’s actually a significant bump up from last weekend’s leaders, The Invisible Man ($383,000) and Trolls World Tour ($275,000). It officially gives Jurassic Park a fourth week of being ”#1,” after its first three weeks back in 1993, but you have to imagine all box office records of this period will eventually carry an asterisk.
It can’t help but make one wonder: When the theaters start opening in earnest, how many people will be flocking in to see any new film, like Russell Crowe’s low-budget thriller Unhinged on July 10? How much pent-up demand is there to see a movie on a big screen, and how will it be balanced by fear of COVID-19?
And in the meantime, can Jurassic Park manage another week on top?