After the disappointing release of Solo: A Star Wars Story, the box office numbers had spoken: being a continuation of an epic franchise would not guarantee success in the summer of 2018. Over a month later, Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom was released on June 22nd in a triumphant return for the Jurassic Park/World franchise. By July 8th, Fallen Kingdom picked up $304.8 million in the U.S and Canada and $700.7 million overseas. The movie has collected over $1 billion globally, becoming the only non-Disney movie in 2018 to do so and the 35th movie in box office history to cross the $1 billion threshold.
Moviegoers are showing up for Fallen Kingdom in solid numbers, marking another colossal installment of the 25-year-old Jurassic Franchise. The success of Jurassic Park: Fallen Kingdom reflects the writers’ efforts to resonate with their audience through developing a deeper understanding of the preferences of the moviegoers to continue the storyline in a way that is relevant in today’s world.
UNDERSTANDING THE AUDIENCE
Co-writers Trevorrow and Connolly kept the Jurassic franchise audience at the forefront of their minds when writing for Fallen Kingdom. They had found success three years prior in the 2015 franchise-reviving Jurassic World that broke box office records and pocketed an astounding $1.6 billion worldwide. Even so, the audience of the 2015 movie was quick to voice criticism on social media, taking particular issue with Claire’s footwear of high heels in the action-packed film. The critically mauled Jurassic Park III from 2001 resulted in a 14-year break for the franchise, exemplifying the danger of not appealing to the Jurassic audience with a sequel to Jurassic World.
To create a storyline that would satisfy the Jurassic World audience, Trevorrow and Connolly took a cross-country road trip to Trevorrow’s home in Vermont after the opening of the 2015 movie. Along the way they would stop in a town and observe how the local moviegoers reacted to Jurassic World. They then spent hours discussing the sequel’s story. Trevorrow explained that “what we wanted to do was have long, eight-day conversations at the same time we were actually driving through a country full of very different kinds of people with diverse tastes and needs in entertainment, whom we were charged with entertaining.” This audience-centric approach guided the creation of the Fallen Kingdom story and contributed to the success of the blockbuster.
DEVELOPING THE STORYLINE FOR TODAY
In a world that exists 25 years after the original adventures of Jurassic Park, Fallen Kingdom continues exploring the themes of the dangers of playing god, humanity’s mistreatment of animals, and the ethical problems of for-profit animal parks. These ideas were first examined in Michael Crichton’s novel that provided the basis for the first film. Co-writer of the Jurassic World movies, Trevorrow, wanted to continue to expand upon these themes that have become increasingly relevant in the era of modern technology and genetic engineering. Trevorrow explained that he wanted to explore the dangers of messing with nature in a way that felt deeper and more contemporary by going past the creation of perilous creatures and delve into what happens after mankind has made these mistakes and how the consequences of these choices would be dealt with.
The world of the Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom is dealing with these consequences as they reckon with the aftermath of what InGen has created. Animal rights activists fight for protections for endangered dinosaurs, Congress holds hearings to decide government action as a volcano threatens to kill the surviving creatures of Isla Nublar, victims of Jurassic World are suing for legal damages, and private arms dealers are working to weaponize the lethal dinos. The protagonists, Claire the former theme park manager and Owen the dinosaur trainer, struggle with these consequences and reflect on the parts they played to help usher in a deadly new era. In Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom the storyline is, in the words of director J.A. Bayona, “getting more complicated, more complex.” Dr. Ian Malcom, played by original cast member Jeff Goldblum, who returned for a Fallen Kingdom cameo explained in the movie that, “genetic power has now been unleashed. You can’t put it back in the box.” This powerful line delivered by a franchise character last seen in the 1997 film The Lost World is featured in the official trailer for this summer’s Jurassic blockbuster.
The genetic power that has been released in the Jurassic World movie might have seemed like an abstract concept when the first Jurassic Park movie was released in 1993. Now, in a time where genetic engineering of plants, animals, and even humans is becoming commonplace, Fallen Kingdom has taken the storyline where it needed to go. Past discussing the possibilities unlocked by genetic technology, the story dives further into the world in which the consequences of unleashing this genetic power are being realized and dealt with. With a core story that feels contemporary to audiences around the world, co-writers Trevorrow and Connolly set the movie up for success in the box office.
From product development to marketing your company, having an understanding of your core audience will set your business up for success. Just like the writers of Fallen Kingdom did, you should keep your customers in mind when creating your business’ offering and how you present it to them. Trevorrow and Connolly did this by hitting the road and examining the reactions of their customers face-to-face in their natural setting. Then they were able to give the audiences a movie that they would enjoy based on what they learned from these encounters.
Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom continues the storyline in a way that appeals to their preferences. By going great lengths to understand the Jurassic moviegoers, Trevorrow and Connolly were able to create a story that thrilled their audience without blunders like Claire wearing heels in action scenes distracting from the greatness of the film. The summer blockbuster that generated over $1 billion is reaping the benefits of taking the time to get to know the market and making this knowledge central in the story they created.
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