There's a three-way race this weekend as "Ted 2," "Inside Out" and "Jurassic World" rack up ticket sales that could put June within range of being the biggest month ever at the box office.
The films are tracking to deliver a combined $150 million in ticket sales this weekend — and the month still has five days to go. With about $950 million collected so far in June, according to film research firm Rentrak, the month could topple the record $1.4 billion made in July 2011 when "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2" ruled the cineplex.
Even if the month falls short, it will still have been an impressive run considering analysts were initially worried ticket sales were lagging when big movies like "Tomorrowland" and "Spy" disappointed. But the big summer blockbuster season got back on track as "Jurassic World" smashed records when it debuted three weeks ago.
"I think there was way too much pessimism when we had those two weekends when things were down and people were saying, 'Oh, maybe there won't be record-breaking summer,'" said Phil Contrino, chief analyst at BoxOffice.com. "There's something to be said about patience in the marketplace."
The key summer box office is tracking almost 12% ahead of 2014 figures, much of that is due to the blistering pace of the "Jurassic Park" sequel. It has collected $1 billion worldwide faster than any film in history, and became the second film in history to break $200 million in its opening weekend.
The results have helped Universal Pictures claim its biggest year at the global box office. The studio said Monday that its worldwide grosses have reached $3.8 billion, and that amount will grow as "Family Guy" creator Seth MacFarlane debuts his "Ted 2" this weekend.
The follow-up to the 2012 "Ted" follows John (Mark Wahlberg) and his best friend Ted, a potty-mouthed teddy bear (voiced by MacFarlane). This time around, Ted seeks help from a lawyer (Amanda Seyfried) and a civil rights attorney (Morgan Freeman) so he and his new wife (Jessica Barth) can adopt a child.
The first film opened with a strong $54 million in 2012, and Universal expects a similar debut for the sequel. Like its predecessor, the R-rated comedy is likely to attract largely younger male audiences.
Pixar's "Inside Out" is expected to pack a punch in its sophomore weekend, potentially even taking over the No. 1 spot. The film blew past expectations with a $90-million opening. Only "Toy Story 3," with a $110.3-million debut weekend in 2010, has opened bigger for Disney-owned Pixar.
The critically acclaimed film follows an 11-year-old Midwestern girl named Riley who is steered through a life-changing move to San Francisco by the emotions in her head: Joy (voiced by Amy Poehler), Sadness (Phyllis Smith), Fear (Bill Hader), Anger (Lewis Black) and Disgust (Mindy Kaling).
Another new offering this weekend is MGM Studios' "Max," which follows a service dog that returns to the U.S. after suffering a traumatic experience. The film, being released by Warner Bros., is looking at a launch of $8 million to $12 million. It cost $20 million to make.
The next big test for the summer movie season: the Fourth of July weekend. The box office is up about 6.2% year to date as a slew of anticipated films continue to enter the marketplace. The holiday weekend is expected to bring in moviegoers in droves, with "Magic Mike XXL" and "Terminator Genisys" on deck.