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This is probably why you liked 'Jurassic World' so much
The Indominus rex dominates all creatures in her path in "Jurassic World". Steven Spielberg returns to executive produce the long-awaited next installment of his groundbreaking "Jurassic Park" series. Colin Trevorrow directs the epic action-adventure, and Frank Marshall and Patrick Crowley join the team as producers. - photo by JJ Feinauer
Last weekend, the newest installment in the Jurassic Park franchise, "Jurassic World," set the record for the highest opening weekend in history, beating out the previous champ, Marvels "The Avengers."

Even though "Jurassic Worlds" outpacing of "The Avengers" came as a surprise to some analysts, the fact that it had such a huge impact at the box office was largely expected.

A couple weeks ago, box office analysts were predicting initial domestic sales of roughly $100 million, The New York Times Brooks Barnes wrote in an analysis of the films lucrative weekend. So the fact that the end result more than doubled that came as a happy surprise to executives at the films production company, Universal Studios.

The question now, Barnes continued, is how 'Jurassic World' will perform next weekend.

The answer to that question appears to be, pretty well. In fact, according to CNN Moneys Frank Pallotta, some industry insiders are anticipating a $100 million second weekend for Jurassic World, possibly even upsetting Pixars 14-film streak of No. 1 openings (Pixars Inside Out opens this weekend).

The Wraps Todd Cunningham even goes so far as to suggest that "Jurassic World" could end up earning more money than any other movie in history (not adjusted for inflation, of course).

Suffice it to say that "Jurassic World," at this point anyway, looks to be an unstoppable force in the Hollywood moneymaking machine.

So what makes "Jurassic World" so unique? Whats the x-factor that makes it stand out above the rest? Unfortunately, the answer is probably nothing. In fact, its likely quite the opposite.

Jurassic World actually has a lot in common with pretty much all of the other big money earners. Of the top 50 movies with the highest opening weekends, for example, 49 are part of a franchise, the vast majority of which are in the action/adventure genre, just like "Jurassic World."

The lions share are also based on either comic books ("The Avengers," The Dark Knight films, X-Men, etc.) or young adult fiction (The Hunger Games, the Twilight saga, Harry Potter, etc.). Though "Jurassic World" doesnt fit neatly into either of those categories, it does land somewhere in between them. The original "Jurassic Park" film was based on a science-fiction book of the same name, which itself has spawned comic books, massive amounts of toys and, of course, numerous sequels.

But theres something else that connects "Jurassic World" to the record-setting box office club: its rating.

Of those same top 50 films for opening weekends, 40 of them are rated PG-13. Those that arent are either Harry Potter, Shrek or Pixar films (which are rated PG) or Matrix movies (which are rated R). "American Sniper" stands out as the ultimate outlier. Not only is it not part of a franchise (its the film that kept that statistic from being 50 for 50), but its also rated R.

The same goes for unadjusted all-time box office numbers. The vast majority of films on that list are part of an action adventure franchise, and the vast majority are rated PG-13.

With its ability to be both safe and threatening while still reaching a mass audience, the (PG-13) rating has become a great marketing tool for most major studios, Frank Pallotta wrote last year for Business Insider.

As Pallotta wrote, the PG-13 rating has become a staple of blockbusters precisely because it was tailor-made for them. As he recounts in his article, the PG-13 rating came about because box office juggernaut Steven Spielberg was worried that there wasnt a rating that showed the film was aimed at both teenagers and adults.

The PG rating, according to Spielberg, too often indicated that a film is aimed at children, and the R rating was strictly for adults. But what about films that try to appeal to everyone mature enough to handle a little violence, but not old enough or interested in explicit or graphic content?

Since then, the PG-13 rating has become synonymous with both profitable and comfortable. PG-13 movies are supposed to be fun and entertaining, like a PG childrens movie, but also full of thrills and scares like more adult fare. What they arent supposed to be is challenging or particularly innovative.

In that context, it makes perfect sense why so many PG-13 movies these days are also sequels or adaptations of popular books or comics. The sequel is the narrative equivalent to the PG-13 rating. Its a studios safest bet. If the other films or media properties that preceded it were successful, it only follows that sequels will deliver.

Hollywood, like other entertainment industries in the era of big data, is better than ever at figuring out how to give audiences exactly what we say we want, The Atlantics Derek Thompson wrote in May 2014. Sixty years ago, audiences went to the movies reflexively. Now we go to the movies mostly to see things we recognize actors, stories and crusaders wearing costumes.

So the fact of the matter is, studios have basically figured out what people want, almost down to a science. Thats why its no wonder that all of the 10 biggest opening weekends of all time happened within the last 10 years. People want PG-13 sequels, and apparently, they want dinosaurs as well.
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