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'Jurassic World' takes $18.5-million bite at box office on opening Thursday night

'Jurassic World' devours $18.5 million in ticket sales Thursday night

"Jurassic World" devoured $18.5 million in ticket sales Thursday night, marking a strong debut as it aims for a huge weekend at the box-office. 

The genetically modified prehistoric lizards of Isla Nublar took their first box-office bite in the U.S. at 3,299 theaters starting at 7 p.m. The movie plays in 4,273 locations, including 3D and Imax, starting Friday.

"Jurassic World" marks Universal Pictures' biggest late-night opening, topping the $15.8 million grossed by "Furious 7" earlier this year. 

Going into the weekend, "Jurassic World" is expected to bring in a domestic haul of $100 million to $130 million, according to people familiar with prerelease audience surveys.

If tracking is correct, "Jurassic World" could become the third-highest film opening of the year, just behind the $147.2-million launch of "Furious 7" and the $191.3-million launch of "Avengers: Age of Ultron." It also could break the June record for an opening weekend.

"Jurassic World," directed by Colin Trevorrow and starring Chris Pratt and Bryce Dallas Howard, is expected to do big business overseas as well. It had opened in 45 countries by Thursday, including a $17.2-million launch in China, and the film debuts in 21 other territories Friday. 

The movie is the fourth in the "Jurassic Park" series created by Steven Spielberg in 1993. The last installment, "Jurassic Park III," came out in 2001. 

The film was co-financed by Universal Pictures and Thomas Tull's Legendary Pictures

Follow Ryan Faughnder on Twitter for more entertainment business coverage: @rfaughnder

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