Jurassic Park: 10 Things You Never Knew About The Franchise
Jurassic Park and World are the one and only dinosaur franchise out there, and here's more things about it that you never knew.
When Steven Spielberg released Jurassic Park in 1993, moviegoers were in awe of the film's entertaining action sequences, stunning special effects, and underlying cautionary tale about humanity's propensity to tamper with nature for profit. Close to 30 years later, moviegoers remain in awe of the film, whose success launched a major franchise including video games, comics, and theme park rides.
Four cinematic sequels later, and with a fifth on the way, the Jurassic Park/Jurassic World franchise is considered a milestone in both popular culture and moviemaking. Massive tyrannosaurs and swift velociraptors still haunt the public consciousness while breeding new life into the importance of paleontology – or the study of dinosaurs.
10 - Jurassic Park & The Lost World Are Based On Michael Crichton Novels
In 1990, Universal Pictures and Amblin Entertainment purchased the rights to Michael Crichton's forthcoming science fiction novel Jurassic Park. The book proved to be a massive success, which fueled interest in Stephen Spielberg's film.
Crichton published a sequel, The Lost World, in 1995. Universal Studios and Amblin Entertainment again purchased the rights to the novel, bringing Spielberg back to direct. While The Lost World was not as financially or critically successful as its predecessor, it's still hailed by fans as a compelling sequel.
9 - Subsequent Films Are Not Based On The Books
The rest of the films in the Jurassic Park franchise deviate from the Michael Crichton books. 2001's Jurassic Park III, directed by Joe Johnston, sees Sam Neill's character Dr. Alan Grant returning to Isla Sorna after being promised additional research funding.
The franchise wasn't revived in theatres again until 2015's Jurassic World, which stars Chris Pratt and Bryce Dallas Howard as employs at the fully functional Jurassic World on Isla Nubar – the theme park Richard Attenborough's character John Hammond hoped to develop in the original film. Jurassic World was followed up by 2018's Fallen Kingdom. Dominion will be released in 2021.
8 - The Franchise Generated At Least $5 Billion In Revenue
While it doesn't compare to Star Wars or Batman, Jurassic Park is a very profitable franchise. Box office sales for the films alone are in excess of $5 billion dollars. This doesn't account for merchandise or home video sales.
In addition to the standard features, Lego has also produced animated tie-ins to Jurassic World. Netflix and Steven Spielberg's production company DreamWorks are also in talks to develop an animated series called Jurassic World: Camp Cretaceous.
7 - Jurassic World Was Developed In 2001, But Not Released Until 2015
During the production of Jurassic Park III in 2001, Spielberg formulated a story idea for a fourth film. Multiple scripts were developed by multiple writers, including well-known screenwriters like John Sayles and Mark Protosevich.
The 2007 to 2008 writer's strike slowed down talks to make the feature. In 2012, Rise of the Planet of the Apes screenwriters Rick Jaffa and Amanda Silver were hired to develop a new script. Colin Trevorrow, then known for the indie comedy Safety Not Guaranteed, was hired to direct and co-write the screenplay.
6 - Jurassic World Is The Highest Grossing In The Franchise (So Far)
2015's Jurassic World earned $1.6 billion in worldwide theatres. Its sequel, Fallen Kingdom, brought in an impressive $1.3 billion. Both films, even with their larger budgets, surpassed the original Jurassic Park by hundreds of millions.
The Lost World and Jurassic Park III lag behind the rest of the franchise. The Lost World made just over $600 million in theatres, while Jurassic Park III brought in $350 million – a weak performance compared to the rest of the films.
5 - Jurassic Park Was The Highest Grossing Movie Of All Time Until Titanic Beat It
During its original theatrical run, Jurassic Park earned over $900 million worldwide, beating the record for the highest-grossing film. The movie sold 86.2 million tickets during this run, exceeding Spielberg's previous box office gem ET.
Jurassic Park lost this top spot to James Cameron's Titanic, the first movie to ever make more than $1 billion in theaters. Later showings of the original Jurassic Park added to its theatrical earnings, which now stands at around $1.03 billion.
4 - The Special Effects Inspired George Lucas To Make The Star Wars Prequels
Much of Jurassic Park's legacy lies in the film's use of cutting-edge, computer-generated special effects. Spielberg's crew proved that filmmaking technologies long thought too expensive or impossible were actually accessible. By combining these new innovations with classic animatronic creatures, Jurassic Park takes its viewers on one believable adventure.
Star Wars creator George Lucas was so impressed by what Spielberg created in the movie that he decided to revive his franchise after years of dodging the question. In essence, Jurassic Park paved the way for the Star Wars prequels, as well as Peter Jackson's Lord of the Rings trilogy.
3 - Steven Speilberg Cancelled A Planned Tie-In Animation Series
After the theatrical success of Jurassic Park, Amblin Entertainment worked with Spielberg to developed an animated series entitled Escape from Jurassic Park. The cartoon would continue to trace John Hammond's attempts to open Jurassic Park to the public as his corporate rival, Biosyn, works to open a similar park in Brazil.
The project was slated to have a very large budget, and producers envisioned it as an adult-oriented series accessible to all ages. Before production could begin, Spielberg had to give it his seal of approval. Spielberg ultimately said no, as he was tired with all the promotional and merchandising efforts surrounding his film. Concept art for the would-be cartoon can be found online.
2 - Alexander Payne Worked On The Screenplay For Jurassic Park III
Oscar winner Alexander Payne, known for dark comedies like Election and Sideways, actually worked on the script for Jurassic Park III. The original screenwriter Craig Rosenberg wanted the film to revolve around a group of teens marooned on an island occupied by dinosaurs. After his script was rejected, Peter Buchman wrote a script involving parallel stories related to John Hammond's genetically altered beasts.
Buchman's script was deemed too complicated, so Payne and fellow screenwriter Jim Taylor were brought on board to simplify it and add more depth to the characters. Payne later shared that much of the humor he interjected was cut out since director Joe Johnston decided to focus more on the action.
1 - The Original Trio Will Return For Jurassic World: Dominion
Sam Neill returned to the franchise in Jurassic Park III as Dr. Alan Grant. Jeff Goldblum appeared in Fallen Kingdom as Dr. Ian Malcolm. However, Laura Dern has not revisited the story since playing Dr. Ellie Sattler in the original film.
Thankfully, all three actors will be joining Chris Pratt and Bryce Dallas Howard in 2021's Dominion. This ensemble film is the third Jurassic World title, and the fifth in the franchise. Little is known about the original cast's role in the upcoming movie, though Neill has teased that their presence will be more than just glorified cameos.