Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Steven Spielberg|
|Based on||Jurassic Park
by Michael Crichton
|Music by||John Williams|
|Edited by||Michael Kahn|
|Distributed by||Universal Pictures|
|Box office||$1.029 billion|
Jurassic Park is a 1993 American science fiction adventure film directed by Steven Spielberg and produced by Kathleen Kennedy and Gerald R. Molen. The first installment in the Jurassic Park franchise, it is based on the 1990 novel of the same name by Michael Crichton and a screenplay written by Crichton and David Koepp. The film is set on the fictional island of Isla Nublar, located off Central America‘s Pacific Coast near Costa Rica, where billionaire philanthropist John Hammond and a small team of genetic scientists have created a wildlife park of cloned dinosaurs. When industrial sabotage leads to a catastrophic shutdown of the park’s power facilities and security precautions, a small group of visitors, along with Hammond’s grandchildren, struggle to survive and escape the perilous island.
Before Crichton’s novel was published, four studios put in bids for its film rights. With the backing of Universal Studios, Spielberg acquired the rights for $1.5 million before its publication in 1990; Crichton was hired for an additional $500,000 to adapt the novel for the screen. Koepp wrote the final draft, which left out much of the novel’s exposition and violence and made numerous changes to the characters. Filming took place in California and Hawaii between August and November 1992, and post-production rolled until May 1993, supervised by Spielberg in Poland as he filmed Schindler’s List.
The dinosaurs were created with groundbreaking computer-generated imagery by Industrial Light & Magic and with life-sized animatronic dinosaurs built by Stan Winston‘s team. To showcase the film’s sound design, which included a mixture of various animal noises for the dinosaur roars, Spielberg invested in the creation of DTS, a company specializing in digital surround sound formats. Following an extensive $65 million marketing campaign, which included licensing deals with 100 companies, Jurassic Parkpremiered on June 9, 1993 at the Uptown Theater in Washington, D.C., and was released on June 11 in the United States. It went on to gross over $914 million worldwide in its original theatrical run, becoming the highest-grossing film of 1993 and the highest-grossing film ever at the time, a record held until the release of Titanic (1997). It was well received by critics, who praised its special effects, John Williams‘ musical score, and Spielberg’s direction. Following its 3D re-release in 2013 to celebrate its 20th anniversary, Jurassic Park became the seventeenth film in history to surpass $1 billion in ticket sales.
The film won more than twenty awards, including three Academy Awards for its technical achievements in visual effects and sound design. Jurassic Park is considered a landmark in the development of computer-generated imagery and animatronic visual effects, and was followed by four commercially successful sequels, The Lost World: Jurassic Park (1997), Jurassic Park III (2001), Jurassic World (2015) and Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom (2018), with a fifth and final sequel, currently titled Jurassic World 3, scheduled for a 2021 release.
Industrialist John Hammond and his bioengineering company, InGen, have created a theme park featuring cloned dinosaurs and prehistoric plants, called Jurassic Park, on Isla Nublar, a Costa Rican island. After one of the dinosaur handlers is killed by a Velociraptor, the park’s investors, represented by lawyer Donald Gennaro, demand that experts visit the park and certify it is safe. To perform the certification inspections, Gennaro invites mathematician and chaos theorist Ian Malcolm, while Hammond invites paleontologist Dr. Alan Grant and paleobotanistDr. Ellie Sattler. Upon arrival, the group is shocked to see a live Brachiosaurus.
At the park’s visitor center, the group learns that the cloning was accomplished by extracting dinosaur DNA from mosquitoes preserved in amber. DNA from frogs was used to fill in gaps in the dinosaurs’ genome. To prevent breeding, all the dinosaurs were made female. Malcolm scoffs at the idea, saying that it will inevitably break down. The group witnesses the hatching of a baby Velociraptor and visits the raptor enclosure. During a luncheon, the group debates the ethics of cloning and the creation of the park, with Dr. Malcolm giving a harsh warning about the implications of genetic engineering in general.
The group is then joined by Hammond’s grandchildren, Lex and Tim Murphy, for a tour of the park, while Hammond oversees the tour from the park’s control room. The tour does not go as planned, with most of the dinosaurs failing to appear and the group encountering a sick Triceratops. It is cut short as a tropical storm approaches Isla Nublar. Most of the park employees leave for the mainland on a boat while the visitors return to their electric tour vehicles, except Sattler, who stays behind with the park’s veterinarian to study the Triceratops.
Jurassic Park’s lead computer programmer, Dennis Nedry, has been bribed by Dodgson, a man working for Hammond’s corporate rival, to steal fertilized dinosaur embryos. Nedry deactivates the park’s security system to gain access to the embryo storage room and stores the embryos inside a canister disguised as a shaving cream bottle. The power goes out, and the tour vehicles become stuck because of it. Most of the park’s electric fences are deactivated as well, allowing the park’s Tyrannosaurus rex to escape and attack the group. Grant, Lex, and Tim escape, while the Tyrannosaurus injures Malcolm and devours Gennaro. On his way to deliver the embryos to the island’s docks, Nedry becomes lost in the rain, crashes his Jeep Wrangler, and is killed by a Dilophosaurus.
Sattler helps the park’s game warden, Robert Muldoon, search for survivors, but they only find Malcolm, just before the Tyrannosaurus returns. Grant, Tim, and Lex take shelter in a treetop. They later discover the broken shells of dinosaur eggs. Grant concludes that the dinosaurs have been breeding, which occurred because of their frog DNA—West African bullfrogs can change their sex in a single-sex environment, allowing the dinosaurs to do so as well, proving Malcolm right.
Unable to decipher Nedry’s code to reactivate the security system, Hammond and the park’s chief engineer Ray Arnold reboot the park’s system. The group shuts down the park’s grid and retreats to an emergency bunker, while Arnold heads to a maintenance shed to complete the rebooting process. When Arnold fails to return, Sattler and Muldoon head to the shed. They discover the shutdown has deactivated the remaining fences and released the Velociraptors. Muldoon distracts the raptors, while Sattler goes to turn the power back on, before being attacked by a raptor and discovering Arnold’s severed arm. Meanwhile, Muldoon is caught off guard and killed by the other two raptors.
Grant, Tim, and Lex reach the visitor center. Grant heads out to look for Sattler, leaving Tim and Lex inside. Tim and Lex are pursued by the raptors in an industrial kitchen, but the children escape and join Grant and Sattler. Lex restores full power from the control room, allowing them to call Hammond, who in turn calls for help. Grant, Tim, Lex, and Sattler are cornered by the raptors, but they escape when the Tyrannosaurussuddenly appears and kills the raptors. Hammond arrives in a jeep with Malcolm, and all of the survivors board a helicopter to leave the island.
- Sam Neill as Dr. Alan Grant
- Laura Dern as Dr. Ellie Sattler
- Jeff Goldblum as Dr. Ian Malcolm
- Richard Attenborough as John Hammond
- Bob Peck as Robert Muldoon
- Martin Ferrero as Donald Gennaro
- BD Wong as Dr. Henry Wu
- Joseph Mazzello as Tim Murphy
- Ariana Richards as Lex Murphy
- Samuel L. Jackson as Ray Arnold
- Wayne Knight as Dennis Nedry
- Jerry Molen as Dr. Harding
- Miguel Sandoval as Juanito Rostagno
Michael Crichton originally conceived a screenplay about a graduate student who recreates a dinosaur; he continued to wrestle with his fascination with dinosaurs and cloning until he began writing the novel Jurassic Park. Even before publication, Steven Spielberg learned of the novel in October 1989, while he and Crichton were discussing a screenplay that would become the television series ER. Spielberg determined that what really fascinated him was that Jurassic Park was “a really credible look at how dinosaurs might someday be brought back alongside modern mankind”, going beyond a simple monster movie.
Before the book was published, Crichton demanded a non-negotiable fee of $1.5 million as well as a substantial percentage of the gross. Warner Bros. and Tim Burton, Columbia Pictures and Richard Donner, and 20th Century Fox and Joe Dante bid for the rights, but Universal Studios eventually acquired them in May 1990 for Spielberg. After completing Hook, Spielberg wanted to film Schindler’s List. Music Corporation of America (then Universal Pictures’s parent company) president Sid Sheinberg gave a green light to the film on the condition that Spielberg made Jurassic Park first. The director later declared that by choosing a creature-driven thriller, “I was really just trying to make a good sequel to Jaws, on land.”
To create the dinosaurs, Spielberg at first thought of hiring Bob Gurr, who designed a giant mechanical King Kong for Universal Studios Hollywood‘s King Kong Encounter. Upon considering that the life-sized dinosaurs would be too expensive and not all convincing, Spielberg instead sought the best effects supervisors in Hollywood. Brought in were Stan Winston to create the animatronic dinosaurs, Phil Tippett to create go motion dinosaurs for long shots credited as Dinosaur Supervisor, Michael Lantieri to supervise the on-set effects, and Dennis Muren of Industrial Light & Magic to do the digital compositing. Paleontologist Jack Horner supervised the designs, to help fulfill Spielberg’s desire to portray the dinosaurs as animals rather than monsters. This led to the entry of certain concepts about dinosaurs, such as the theory that dinosaurs evolved into birds and had very little in common with lizards. One of the first consequences was the removal of the raptors’ flicking tongues in Tippett’s early animatics, as Horner complained it was implausible. Winston’s department created fully detailed models of the dinosaurs before molding latex skins, which were fitted over complex robotics. Tippett created stop-motion animatics of both the raptors in the kitchen and the Tyrannosaurus attacking the car. But despite go motion’s attempts at motion blurs, Spielberg still found the end results unsatisfactory in terms of working in a live-action feature film. Muren declared to Spielberg that he thought the dinosaurs could be built through computer-generated imagery, and the director asked him to prove it. ILM animators Mark Dippé and Steve Williams developed a computer-generated walk cycle for the T. rex skeleton, and were approved to do more. When Spielberg and Tippett saw an animatic of the T. rex chasing a herd of Gallimimus, Spielberg said, “You’re out of a job,” to which Tippett replied, “Don’t you mean extinct?” Spielberg later injected this exchange into the script, as a conversation between Malcolm and Grant. Although no go motion was used, Tippett and his animators were still used by the production to supervise dinosaur movement. Tippett acted as a consultant regarding dinosaur anatomy, and his stop motion animators were re-trained as computer animators. The animatics made by Tippett’s team were also used along with the storyboards as a reference for what would be shot during the action sequences. ILM’s artists were sent to private tours to the local animal park so they could study large animals — rhinos, elephants, alligators, and giraffes — up close, and also received mime classes for understanding movements.
Universal paid Crichton a further $500,000 to adapt his own novel, which he had finished by the time Spielberg was filming Hook. Crichton noted that because the book was “fairly long” his script only had about 10 to 20 percent of the novel’s content; scenes were dropped for budgetary and practical reasons, and despite the gory descriptions, the violence was toned down. Malia Scotch Marmo began a script rewrite in October 1991 over a five-month period, merging Ian Malcolm with Alan Grant.
As Spielberg wanted another writer to rework the script, Universal president Casey Silver recommended him David Koepp, co-writer of Death Becomes Her. Koepp started afresh from Marmo’s draft, and used Spielberg’s idea of a cartoon shown to the visitors to remove much of the exposition that fills Crichton’s novel. While Koepp tried to avoid excessive character detail “because whenever they started talking about their personal lives, you couldn’t care less”, he tried to flesh out the characters and make for a more colorful cast, with moments such as Malcolm flirting with Sattler leading to Grant’s jealousy. Some characterizations were changed from the novel. Hammond went from a ruthless businessman to a kindly old man, because Spielberg identified with Hammond’s obsession with showmanship. He also switched the characters of Tim and Lex; in the book, Tim is aged eleven and interested in computers, and Lex is only seven or eight and interested in sports. Spielberg did this because he wanted to work with the younger Joseph Mazzello, and it also allowed him to introduce the sub-plot of Lex’s adolescent crush on Grant. Koepp changed Grant’s relationship with the children, making him hostile to them initially to allow for more character development.
Two scenes from the book were ultimately excised, with Spielberg removing the opening sequence with Procompsognathus attacking a young child as he previously found it too horrific, and Koepp cutting for budgetary reasons the T. rex chasing Grant and the children down a river before being tranquilized by Muldoon. Both parts eventually saw inclusion in the film sequels. Spielberg suggested the addition of the scene where the T. rex pursues a jeep, which at first would only have the characters driving away after listening to the dinosaur’s footsteps.
William Hurt was initially offered the role of Alan Grant, but turned it down without reading the script. Harrison Ford was also offered the role of Grant. Sam Neill was ultimately cast as Grant three or four weeks before filming began. Neill said that “it all happened real quick. I hadn’t read the book, knew nothing about it, hadn’t heard anything about it, and in a matter of weeks I’m working with Spielberg.” Janet Hirshenson, the film’s casting director, felt that Jeff Goldblum would be the right choice to play Ian Malcolm after reading the novel. Jim Carrey also auditioned for the role. According to Hirshenson, Carrey “was terrific, too, but I think pretty quickly we all loved the idea of Jeff.”
Cameron Thor had previously worked with Spielberg on Hook, and initially auditioned for the role of Malcolm, before trying out for the role of Dodgson. Thor said about casting, “It just said ‘shaving-cream can’ in the script, so I spent endless time in a drug store to find the most photogenic. I went with Barbasol, which ended up in the movie. I was so broke that I took the can home after the audition to use it.” Laura Dern was Spielberg’s first choice for the role of Ellie Sattler though she was not the only actress offered the part. Robin Wright turned down the role. Spielberg chose to cast Wayne Knight after seeing his acting performance in Basic Instinct, saying, “I waited for the credits to roll and wrote his name down”.
Ariana Richards said, “I was called into a casting office, and they just wanted me to scream. I heard later on that Steven had watched a few girls on tape that day, and I was the only one who ended up waking his sleeping wife off the couch, and she came running through the hallway to see if the kids were all right.” Christina Ricci was one such girl who auditioned for the role. Joseph Mazzello had initially screen-tested for a role in Hook, but was deemed too young. Spielberg promised Mazzello that they would work together on a future film.
After 25 months of pre-production, filming began on August 24, 1992, on the Hawaiian island of Kauaʻi. While Costa Rica was considered as a location given it is the story’s setting, Spielberg’s concerns on infrastructure and accessibility made him choose a place where he had already worked before. The three-week shoot involved various daytime exteriors for Isla Nublar’s forests. On September 11, Hurricane Iniki passed directly over Kauaʻi, which caused the crew to lose a day of shooting. Several of the storm scenes from the movie are actual footage shot during the hurricane. The scheduled shoot of the Gallimimus chase was moved to Kualoa Ranch on the island of Oahu and one of the beginning scenes had to be created by digitally animating a still shot of scenery. The opening scene was shot in Haiku, on the island of Maui, with additional scenes being filmed on the “forbidden island” of Niihau. The exterior of the Visitor Center was a large façade constructed on the grounds of the Valley House Plantation Estate in Kauai. Samuel L. Jackson was to film a lengthy death scene in which his character would be chased and killed by raptors, but the set was destroyed by Hurricane Iniki.
By mid-September, the crew moved back to California, to shoot the raptors in the kitchen at Stage 24 of the Universal studio lot. Given the kitchen set was filled with reflective surfaces, cinematographer Dean Cundey had to carefully plan the illumination while also using black cloths to hide the light reflections. The crew also shot on Stage 23 for the scenes involving the power supply, before going on location to Red Rock Canyon for the Montana dig scenes. The crew returned to Universal to shoot Grant’s rescue of Tim, using a fifty-foot prop with hydraulic wheels for the car fall, and the Brachiosaurus encounter. The crew filmed scenes for the Park’s labs and control room, which used animations for the computers lent from Silicon Graphics and Apple. While Crichton’s book features Toyota cars in Jurassic Park, Spielberg got a deal with the Ford Motor Company, who provided seven Ford Explorers. The Explorers were modified by ILM’s crew and veteran customizer George Barris to create the illusion that they were autonomous cars by hiding the driver in the car’s trunk. Barris also customized the Jeep Wranglers featured in the production.
Over 15% of the film was shot in Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic both at and Amber Museum and Mount Isabela de Torres. The crew moved to Warner Bros. Studios‘ Stage 16 to shoot the T. rex‘s attack on the LSX powered SUVs. Shooting proved frustrating because of water soaking the foam rubber skin of the animatronic dinosaur, which caused the animatronic T. rex to shake and quiver from the extra weight when the foam absorbed the water. This forced Stan Winston’s crew to dry the model with shammys between takes. On the set, Malcolm distracting the dinosaur with a flare was included at Jeff Goldblum’s suggestion, as he felt a heroic action was better than going by the script, where like Gennaro, Malcolm would get scared and run away. The ripples in the glass of water caused by the T. rex‘s footsteps were inspired by Spielberg listening to Earth, Wind and Fire in his car, and the vibrations the bass rhythm caused. Lantieri was unsure of how to create the shot until the night before filming, when he put a glass of water on a guitar he was playing, which achieved the concentric circles in the water Spielberg wanted. The next morning, guitar strings were put inside the car and a man on the floor plucked the strings to achieve the effect. Back at Universal, the crew filmed scenes with the Dilophosaurus on Stage 27. Finally, the shoot finished on Stage 12, with the climactic chases with the raptors in the Park’s computer rooms and Visitor’s Center. Spielberg changed the climax to bring back the T. rex, abandoning the original ending in which Grant uses a platform machine to maneuver a raptor into a fossil tyrannosaur’s jaws. The scene which already had the juxtaposition of live dinosaurs in a museum filled with fossils, while also destroying the bones, now also had an ending where the T. rex saved the protagonists, and afterwards did what Spielberg described as a “King Kong roar” while an ironic banner reading “When Dinosaurs Ruled the Earth” flew. The film wrapped twelve days ahead of schedule on November 30, and within days, editor Michael Kahn had a rough cut ready, allowing Spielberg to go ahead with filming Schindler’s List.
Dinosaurs on screen
Despite the title of the film’s referencing the Jurassic period, Brachiosaurus and Dilophosaurus are the only dinosaurs featured that actually lived during that time; the other species featured did not exist until the Cretaceous period. This is acknowledged in the film during a scene where Dr. Grant describes the ferocity of the Velociraptor to a young boy, saying: “Try to imagine yourself in the Cretaceous period…”
- Alamosaurus briefly appears as a skeleton in the Jurassic Park visitor center.
- Brachiosaurus is the first dinosaur seen by the park’s visitors. It is inaccurately depicted as chewing its food and standing up on its hind legs to browse among the high tree branches. According to artist Andy Schoneberg, the chewing was done to make the animal seem docile, in a way it resembled a cow chewing its cud. The dinosaur’s head and upper neck was the largest puppet without hydraulics built for the film. Despite scientific evidence of their having limited vocal capabilities, sound designer Gary Rydstrom decided to represent them with whale songs and donkey calls to give them a melodic sense of wonder. Penguins were also recorded to be used in the noises of the dinosaurs.
- Dilophosaurus was also very different from its real-life counterpart, made significantly smaller to make sure audiences did not confuse it with the raptors. Its neck frilland its ability to spit venom are fictitious. Its vocal sounds were made by combining a swan, a hawk, a howler monkey, and a rattlesnake. The animatronic model, nicknamed “Spitter” by Stan Winston’s team, was animated by the puppeteers sitting on a trench in the set floor, and used a paintball mechanism to spit the mixture of methacyl and K-Y Jelly that served as venom.
- Gallimimus are featured in a stampede scene wherein one of them is devoured by the Tyrannosaurus. The Gallimimus was the first dinosaur to receive a digital version, being featured in two ILM tests, first as a herd of skeletons and then fully skinned while pursued by the T. rex. Its design was based on ostriches, and to emphasize the birdlike qualities, the animation focused mostly on the herd rather than individual animals. As reference for the dinosaurs’ run, the animators were filmed running at the ILM parking lot, with plastic pipes standing in as the tree that the Gallimimus jump over. The footage even inspired the incorporation of an animal falling in its leap as one of the artists crashed making the jump. Horse squeals became the Gallimimus sounds.
- Parasaurolophus briefly appear in the background during the first encounter with the Brachiosaurus.
- Triceratops has an extended cameo, depicted as sick with an unidentified disease. Its appearance was a particular logistical nightmare for Stan Winston when Spielberg asked to shoot the animatronic of the sick creature earlier than expected. The model, operated by eight puppeteers in the Kaua’i set, wound up being the first dinosaur filmed during production. Winston also created a baby Triceratops for Ariana Richards to ride on, a scene cut from the film for pacing reasons. Gary Rydstrom combined the sound of himself breathing into a cardboard tube with the cows near his workplace at Skywalker Ranch to create the Triceratops vocals.
- Tyrannosaurus was acknowledged by Spielberg as “the star of the movie”, and he even rewrote the ending to feature the T. rex for fear of disappointing the audience. Winston’s animatronic T. rex stood 20 feet (6.1 m), weighed 17,500 pounds (7,900 kg), and was 40 feet (12 m) long. Jack Horner called it “the closest I’ve ever been to a live dinosaur”. While the consulting paleontologists did not have a consensus on the dinosaur’s movement, particularly regarding its running capabilities, animator Steve Williams decided to “throw physics out the window and create a T. rex that moved at sixty miles per hour even though its hollow bones would have busted if it ran that fast”. The major reason was the T. rex chasing a Jeep, a scene that took two months to finish. The dinosaur is depicted with a vision system based on movement, though later studies indicated the T. rex had binocular vision comparable to a bird of prey. Its roar is a baby elephant mixed with a tiger and an alligator, and its breath is a whale‘s blow. A dog attacking a rope toy was used for the sounds of the T. rex tearing a Gallimimus apart, while cut sequoias crashing to the ground became the sound of the dinosaur’s footsteps.
- Velociraptor plays a major role in the film. The creature’s depiction is not based on the actual dinosaur genus in question, which was significantly smaller. Shortly before Jurassic Park‘s theatre release, the similar Utahraptor was discovered, although it proved to be even bigger in appearance than the film’s raptors; this prompted Stan Winston to joke, “We made it, then they discovered it.” For the attack on character Robert Muldoon and some parts of the kitchen scene, the raptors were played by men in suits. Dolphin screams, walruses bellowing, geese hissing, an African crane‘s mating call, tortoises mating, and human rasps were mixed to formulate various raptor sounds. Following discoveries made after the film’s release, most paleontologists theorize that dromaeosaurs like Velociraptor and Deinonychus were fully covered with feathers like modern birds. This feature is only included in Jurassic Park III for the male raptors, who are shown with a row of small quills on their heads.
Special effects work continued on the film, with Tippett’s unit adjusting to new technology with Dinosaur Input Devices: models which fed information into the computers to allow themselves to animate the characters like stop motion puppets. In addition, they acted out scenes with the raptors and Gallimimus. As well as the computer-generated dinosaurs, ILM also created elements such as water splashing and digital face replacement for Ariana Richards’ stunt double. Compositing the dinosaurs onto the live action scenes took around an hour. Rendering the dinosaurs often took two to four hours per frame, and rendering the T. rex in the rain even took six hours per frame. Spielberg monitored their progress from Poland during the filming of Schindler’s List, having teleconferences four times a week with ILM’s crew. The director described working simultaneously in two vastly different productions as “a bipolar experience”, where he used “every ounce of intuition on Schindler’s List and every ounce of craft in Jurassic Park“.
Along with the digital effects, Spielberg wanted the film to be the first with digital sound. He funded the creation of DTS, which would allow audiences to “really hear the movie the way it was intended to be heard”. The sound effects crew, supervised by George Lucas, were finished by the end of April. Sound designer Gary Rydstrom considered it a fun process, given the film had all kinds of noise – animal sounds, rain, gunshots, car crashes – and at times no music. During the process, Spielberg would take the weekends to fly from Poland to Paris, where he would meet Rydstrom to see the sound progress. Jurassic Park was finally completed on May 28, 1993.
Composer John Williams began scoring the film at the end of February, and it was recorded a month later. John Neufeld and Alexander Courage provided the score’s orchestrations. Similar to another Spielberg film he scored, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Williams felt he needed to write “pieces that would convey a sense of ‘awe’ and fascination” given it dealt with the “overwhelming happiness and excitement” that would emerge from seeing live dinosaurs. In turn more suspenseful scenes such as the Tyrannosaurus attack earned frightening themes. The first soundtrack album was released on May 25, 1993. For the 20th anniversary of the release of the film, a new soundtrack was issued for digital download on April 9, 2013, including four bonus tracks personally selected by Williams.
Universal took the lengthy pre-production to carefully plan the Jurassic Park marketing campaign, which cost $65 million and had deals with 100 companies to market 1,000 products. These included three Jurassic Park video games by Sega and Ocean Software, a toy line by Kenner that was distributed by Hasbro, McDonald’s “Dino-Sized meals“, and a novelization aimed at young children.
The film’s trailers only gave fleeting glimpses of the dinosaurs, a tactic journalist Josh Horowitz described as “that old Spielberg axiom of never revealing too much” when Spielberg and director Michael Bay did the same for their production of Transformers in 2007. The film was marketed with the tagline “An Adventure 65 Million Years In The Making.” This was a joke Spielberg made on set about the genuine, thousands of years old mosquito in amber used for Hammond’s walking stick.
The film premiered at the Uptown Theater on June 9, 1993, in Washington, D.C., in support of two children’s charities. Two days later it opened nationwide, in 2,404 theater locations and an estimated 3,400 screens. Internationally it was equally wide at 3,400 prints. Following the film’s release, a traveling exhibition called “The Dinosaurs of Jurassic Park” began, showcasing dinosaur skeletons and film props.
Jurassic Park was broadcast on television for the first time on May 7, 1995, following the April 26 airing of The Making of Jurassic Park. Some 68.12 million people tuned in to watch, garnering NBC a 36 percent share of all available viewers that night. Jurassic Park was the highest-rated theatrical film broadcast on television by any network since the April 1987 airing of Trading Places. In June–July 1995 the film was aired a number of times on the TNT network.
In anticipation of the Blu-ray release, Jurassic Park had a digital print released in UK cinemas on September 23, 2011. It wound up grossing £245,422 ($786,021) from 276 theaters, finishing at eleventh on the weekend box office.
Two years later, on the 20th anniversary of Jurassic Park, a 3D version of the film was released in cinemas. Spielberg declared that he had produced the film with a sort of “subconscious 3D”, as scenes feature animals walking toward the cameras and some effects of foreground and background overlay. In 2011, he stated in an interview that Jurassic Park was the only of his works he had considered for a conversion, and once he saw the 3D version of Titanic in 2012, he liked the new look of the film so much that he hired the same retrofitting company, Stereo D. Spielberg and cinematographer Janusz Kamiński supervised the nine-month process closely in-between the production of Lincoln. Stereo D executive Aaron Parry declared that the conversion was an evolution of what the company had done with Titanic, “being able to capitalize on everything we learned with Jim on Titanic and take it into a different genre and movie, and one with so many technical achievements.” The studio had the help of ILM, which contributed some elements and updated effects shots for a better visual enhancement. It opened in the United States and seven other territories on April 5, 2013, with other countries receiving the re-release in the following six months.
Jurassic Park was first released on Collector’s Edition DVD on October 10, 2000, in both a widescreen and fullscreen, and in a box set along with sequel The Lost World: Jurassic Park and both movies’ soundtrack albums. It ended as the 13th best-selling DVD of 2000 counting both versions, finishing the year with 910,000 units sold. Following the release of Jurassic Park III, a new box set with all films called Jurassic Park Trilogy was released on December 11, 2001; it was re-released on VHS and DVD as part of its 15th anniversary on October 8, 2004. It was repackaged as Jurassic Park Adventure Pack on November 29, 2005.
The trilogy was released on Blu-ray on October 25, 2011, debuting at fifth on the Blu-ray charts, and being nominated as the best release of the year by both the Las Vegas Film Critics Society and the Saturn Awards. In 2012, Jurassic Park was among twenty-five films chosen by Universal for a box set that celebrated the studio’s 100th anniversary, while also receiving a standalone 100th anniversary Blu-ray featuring an augmented reality cover. The following year, the 20th anniversary 3D conversion was issued on Blu-ray 3D.
On June 1, 2016, Jurassic Park, along with its sequels The Lost World and Jurassic Park III, were added to the Netflix streaming service.
The film, alongside The Lost World, Jurassic Park III and Jurassic World, was released as a box set for 4K UHD Blu-Ray on May 22, 2018, as part of the original film’s 25th anniversary.
Jurassic Park became the highest-grossing film released worldwide up to that time. Following $3.1 million from midnight screenings on June 10, the film earned $47 million in its first weekend, with the $50.1 million total breaking the opening weekend record set by Batman Returns the year before. By the end of its first week, Jurassic Park had grossed $81.7 million, and stayed at number one for three weeks. It eventually grossed $357 million in the U.S. and Canada. Box Office Mojo estimates that the film sold over 86.2 million tickets in the US in its initial theatrical run. The film also did very well in international markets, breaking opening records in the United Kingdom, Japan, India, South Korea, Mexico, and Taiwan, ultimately earning $914 million worldwide, with Spielberg reportedly making over $250 million from the film. It surpassed Spielberg’s own E.T. the Extraterrestrial as the highest-grossing film ever worldwide, and became second to E.T. in North America earnings. Jurassic Park‘s record was only surpassed in 1998 by Titanic, the first film to gross over $1 billion.
The 3D re-release of Jurassic Park opened at fourth place in North America, with $18.6 million from 2,771 locations. IMAX showings accounted for over $6 million, with the 32 percent being the highest IMAX share ever for a nationwide release. The international release had its most successful weekend in the last week of August, when it managed to climb to the top of the overseas box office with a $28.8 million debut in China. The reissue earned $45,385,935 in North America and $44,500,000 internationally as of August 2013, leading to a lifetime gross of $402,453,882 in North America and $628,723,171 overseas, totaling up to a worldwide gross of $1,029,939,903, making Jurassic Park the 17th film to surpass the $1 billion mark. It was the only Universal Pictures film to surpass the $1 billion mark until 2015, when the studio got three such films, Furious 7, Minions, and the fourth installment of the Jurassic Park franchise, Jurassic World. It currently ranks as the 29th highest-grossing film of all time in North America (unadjusted for inflation), the highest-grossing film of 1993 and the twenty-eighth highest-grossing film of all time.
High praise was given to the film’s visual effects, musical score, and Spielberg’s direction, although there was some criticism leveled at the script and departures from the book. Review aggregation website Rotten Tomatoes retrospectively gave the film a “Certified Fresh” rating of 91%, based on 122 reviews, with a rating average score of 8.3/10. The site’s critical consensus reads, “Jurassic Park is a spectacle of special effects and life-like animatronics, with some of Spielberg’s best sequences of sustained awe and sheer terror since Jaws.” Metacritic gave the film a score of 68 out of 100, based on 20 critics, indicating “generally favorable reviews”.
Janet Maslin of The New York Times called it “a true movie milestone, presenting awe- and fear-inspiring sights never before seen on the screen… On paper, this story is tailor-made for Mr. Spielberg’s talents…[but] [i]t becomes less crisp on screen than it was on the page, with much of the enjoyable jargon either mumbled confusingly or otherwise thrown away.” In Rolling Stone, Peter Travers described the film as “colossal entertainment—the eye-popping, mind-bending, kick-out-the-jams thrill ride of summer and probably the year […] Compared with the dinos, the characters are dry bones, indeed. Crichton and co-screenwriter David Koepp have flattened them into nonentities on the trip from page to screen.” Roger Ebert noted, “The movie delivers all too well on its promise to show us dinosaurs. We see them early and often, and they are indeed a triumph of special effects artistry, but the movie is lacking other qualities that it needs even more, such as a sense of awe and wonderment, and strong human story values.” Henry Sheehan argued, “The complaints over Jurassic Park’s lack of story and character sound a little off the point,” pointing out the story arc of Grant learning to protect Hammond’s grandchildren despite his initial dislike of them. Empire magazine gave the film five stars, hailing it as “quite simply one of the greatest blockbusters of all time.”
In March 1994, Jurassic Park won all three Academy Awards for which it was nominated: Best Sound Editing, Best Sound Mixing, and Best Visual Effects (at the same ceremony, Spielberg, editor Michael Kahn, and composer John Williams won Academy Awards for Schindler’s List). The film won honors outside the U.S. including the 1994 BAFTA for Best Special Effects, as well as the Award for the Public’s Favorite Film. It won the 1994 Hugo Award for Best Dramatic Presentation, and the 1993 Saturn Awards for Best Science Fiction Film, Best Direction, Best Writing for Crichton and Koepp and Best Special Effects. The film won the 1993 People’s Choice Awards for Favorite All-Around Motion Picture. Young Artist Awards were given to Ariana Richards and Joseph Mazzello, with the film winning an Outstanding Action/Adventure Family Motion Picture award. In 2001, the American Film Institute ranked Jurassic Park as the 35th most thrilling film of American cinema. The film has been included in the book 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die, film lists by Empire magazine, and The Guardian.
|1993||Bambi Awards||International Film||Jurassic Park||Won|
|1994||66th Academy Awards||Best Sound Editing||Gary Rydstrom and Richard Hymns||Won|
|Best Sound Mixing||Gary Summers, Gary Rydstrom, Shawn Murphy and Ron Judkins||Won|
|Best Visual Effects||Dennis Muren, Stan Winston, Phil Tippett and Michael Lantieri||Won|
|Saturn Awards||Best Director||Steven Spielberg||Won|
|Best Science Fiction Film||Jurassic Park||Won|
|Best Special Effects||Dennis Muren, Stan Winston, Phil Tippett and Michael Lantieri||Won|
|Best Writing||Michael Crichton and David Koepp||Won|
|Best Actress||Laura Dern||Nominated|
|Best Music||John Williams||Nominated|
|Best Performance by a Young Actor||Joseph Mazzello||Nominated|
|Best Performance by a Young Actor||Ariana Richards||Nominated|
|Best Supporting Actor||Jeff Goldblum||Nominated|
|Best Supporting Actor||Wayne Knight||Nominated|
|Awards of the Japanese Academy||Best Foreign Film||Jurassic Park||Won|
|BAFTA Awards||Best Special Effects||Dennis Muren, Stan Winston, Phil Tippett and Michael Lantieri||Won|
|Best Sound||Gary Summers, Gary Rydstrom, Shawn Murphy and Ron Judkins||Nominated|
|BMI Film Music Award||BMI Film Music Award||John Williams||Won|
|Blue Ribbon Awards||Best Foreign Language Film||Steven Spielberg||Won|
|Bram Stoker Award||Screenplay||Michael Crichton and David Koepp||Nominated|
|Cinema Audio Society||Outstanding Achievement in Sound Mixing for a Feature Film||Gary Summers, Gary Rydstrom, Shawn Murphy and Ron Judkins||Nominated|
|Czech Lions||Best Foreign Language Film||Steven Spielberg||Won|
|Grammy Awards||Best Instrumental Composition Written for a Motion Picture or for Television||John Williams||Nominated|
|MTV Movie Awards||Best Action Sequence||Nominated|
|Best Movie||Jurassic Park||Nominated|
|Best Villain||T. rex||Nominated|
|Mainichi Film Concours||Best Foreign Language Film (Fan Choice)||Steven Spielberg||Won|
|Motion Picture Sound Editors||Best Sound Editing||Won|
|People’s Choice Awards||Favorite Motion Picture||Jurassic Park||Won|
|Young Artist Awards||Best Youth Actor Co-Starring in a Motion Picture Drama||Joseph Mazzello||Won|
|Best Youth Actress Leading Role in a Motion Picture Drama||Ariana Richards||Won|
|Outstanding Family Motion Picture – Action/Adventure||Jurassic Park||Won|
|Hugo Awards||Best Dramatic Presentation||Jurassic Park||Won|
In the years following its release, Jurassic Park has frequently been cited by film critics and industry professionals as one of the greatest movies of the action and thriller genres. The American Film Institute named Jurassic Park the 35th-most thrilling film of all time on June 13, 2001. The Chicago Film Critics Association also ranked Jurassic Park as the 55th-scariest movie of all time, and in 2005, Bravo chose the scene in which Lex and Tim are stalked by two raptors in the kitchen as the 95th-scariest movie moment ever. On Empire magazine’s 15th anniversary in 2004, it judged Jurassic Park the sixth-most influential film in the magazine’s lifetime. Empire called the first encounter with a Brachiosaurus the 28th-most magical moment in cinema. In 2008, an Empire poll of readers, filmmakers, and critics also rated it one of the 500 greatest films of all time. On Film Review‘s 55th anniversary in 2005, it declared the film to be one of the five most important in the magazine’s lifetime. In 2006, IGN ranked Jurassic Park as the 19th-greatest film franchise ever. In a 2010 poll, the readers of Entertainment Weekly rated it the greatest summer movie of the previous 20 years. The popularity of the movie caused the management of the National Basketball Association expansion franchise founded in Toronto in 1995 to adopt the nickname Raptors. The film is seen as giving rise to the “Jurassic park” generation, to young people inspired to become paleontologists and to a surge in discoveries about dinosaurs in real life.
Jurassic Park’s biggest impact on subsequent films was a result of its computer-generated visual effects. Film historian Tom Shone commented on the film’s innovation and influence, saying that “In its way, Jurassic Park heralded a revolution in movies as profound as the coming of sound in 1927.” Many filmmakers saw Jurassic Park‘s effects as a realization that many of their visions, previously thought unfeasible or too expensive, were now possible. ILM owner George Lucas, realizing the success of creating realistic live dinosaurs by his own company, started to make the Star Wars prequels; Stanley Kubrick decided to invest in pet project A.I. Artificial Intelligence, to which he would later bring Spielberg to direct; and Peter Jackson began to re-explore his childhood love of fantasy films, a path that led him to The Lord of the Rings and King Kong. Jurassic Park has also inspired films and documentaries with dinosaurs such as the American adaptation of Godzilla, Dinosaur from the Deep, Carnosaur (in which Laura Dern’s mother Diane Ladd starred), Dinosaur Island and Walking with Dinosaurs. Stan Winston, enthusiastic about the new technology pioneered by the film, joined with IBM and director James Cameron to form a new special effects company, Digital Domain.
Sequels and merchandise
After the enormous success of the film, Spielberg asked Crichton to write a sequel novel, leading to the 1995 book The Lost World. This, in turn, was adapted as the film The Lost World: Jurassic Park. Released on May 23, 1997, it was directed by Spielberg and written by David Koepp. Another film, Jurassic Park III, was released on July 18, 2001, under the direction of Joe Johnston, with Spielberg as executive producer, featuring an original script that incorporated ultimate unused elements from Crichton’s original Jurassic Park. A fourth installment, Jurassic World, was released in theaters on June 12, 2015. Spielberg again produced, with Colin Trevorrow directing a script written by himself and Derek Connolly. Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom is the next film in the franchise, and was released in June 2018.
The story of the film was also continued in auxiliary media, at times even unattached to the film sequels themselves. These included a series of Jurassic Park comic books written by Steve Englehart for Topps Comics, and video games such as Ocean Software’s Jurassic Park 2: The Chaos Continues (1994), Vivendi‘s Jurassic Park: Operation Genesis (2003) and Telltale Games‘ Jurassic Park: The Game (2011).
All of the Universal Parks & Resorts include a Jurassic Park-themed ride. The first was Jurassic Park: The Ride at Universal Studios Hollywood on June 15, 1996, built after six years of development at a cost of $110 million. Said attraction was replicated on Universal Studios Japan in 2001. Islands of Adventure in Orlando, Florida, has an entire section of the park dedicated to Jurassic Park that includes the main ride, christened “Jurassic Park River Adventure”, and many smaller rides and attractions based on the series. In Universal Studios Singapore, opened in 2010, the Themed Zone named The Lost World consists mostly of Jurassic Park rides, such as the roller coaster Canopy Flyer and the river rapids Jurassic Park Rapids Adventure.
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