The results are in. Several sources, including www.boxofficemojo.com claim that Jurassic World, with its $204.6 million domestic gross has the second best opening weekend of all time at the box office. Based on total grosses without accounting for inflation, or the number of screens involved, that’s true. Only 2012’s The Avengers did better its first weekend.
However, if we use a different measure, the results are quite a bit different. If we measure opening weekend totals by per screen average, adjusting for inflation, the best opening weekend box office champion would be 1983’s Star Wars: Episode VI – Return of the Jedi. Here is how the top five all-time opening weekend box office champions rank by this measure:
1983 – Star Wars VI – Return of the Jedi $19,600
2015 – Jurassic World $15,900
2012 – The Avengers $15,800
2015 – The Avengers – Age of Ultron $14,800
2000 – Spider-Man $14,700
The dollar values are adjusted for inflation to 1980 values as a baseline. If someone wants to take this exercise further back and prove that there was a bigger opening weekend per-screen average for a film that broke wide on its opening weekend, I’d love to hear about it.
Just FYI, this article was prompted by a statement by one of my favorite morning news anchors, Maria Sansone, who rightly pointed out on the Monday morning telecast after the big opening for Jurassic World that ticket prices and other factors make these new records… questionable.