Steven Spielberg directed this blockbuster thriller based on the popular book by Michael Crichton. Millionaire John Hammond (Richard Attenborough) asks two dinosaur experts (Laura Dern and Sam Neill) to act as consultants on his entrepreneurial endeavor--an amusement park with DNA-cloned live dinosaurs as the main attraction. The paleontologists, along with a mathematician (Jeff Goldblum) and Hammond's two grandchildren, takes a run-through tour of the park. But soon the joyride turns to terror when an impending hurricane, an unscrupulous engineer (Wayne Knight), and the rebelling dinosaurs begin to destroy the park. Spielberg considered the most popular star of the film to be a computer-generated Tyrannosaurus rex. The special effects in general are spectacular.
As Hollywood's preeminent director, Spielberg was used as a kind of financial savior for Universal Studios, which was hurting economically prior to the dinosaurian venture. Spielberg made a deal with Universal--his dream project, SCHINDLER'S LIST, would be green-lighted if he agreed to make JURASSIC PARK for the studio first. By the time SCHINDLER'S LIST premiered in December 1993, JURASSIC PARK, which had been released six months earlier, had broken E.T. THE EXTRA-TERRESTRIAL's worldwide box-office record.
Paleontologist Alan Grant and his paleobotanist girlfriend, Ellie Sattler, give lectures on dinosaur history between digs at remote exotic locales. One dusty afternoon, John Hammond, a millionaire inspired by scientific wonders, makes an offer to the erudite couple that they can't refuse: He asks them to act as consultants on his entrepreneurial endeavor--an amusement park with live dinosaurs as the main attraction.
On an island off the coast of Costa Rica, Hammond's already biologically engineering living dinosaurs by extracting and reconstructing dino-DNA from fossilized insects. But bedlam ensues when Wayne, a computer genius, tampers with Jurassic Park's security system so that he can smuggle out a bunch of frozen embryos. The prehistoric creatures break loose around feeding time and the millionaire, the scientists, the park employees, and two children become fair game.
Based On A Novel |
Essential Cinema |
Theatrical Release |
Theatrical release: June 10, 1993.
The film was shot at Universal Studios and Kauai, Hawaii.
Phil Tippett, Stan Winston, Michael Lantieri, and Dennis Muren won Academy Awards for Best Visual Effects for their innovative use of CGI.
The film made more than $350 million at the domestic box office and more than $920 million worldwide.
Steven Spielberg's JURASSIC PARK quickly found its place among the top 6 films composing Variety's 15 box-office hits of all time. The film's rise to the top began opening weekend, when it set a record for the biggest opening day, $18 million, and the highest-grossing three-day opening of all time, $52 million. This estimation doesn't, however, include inflationary prices, which might alter the film's revenue rank.
Executives also predicted the film would become one of the highest-grossing films in Japan. It has already become the highest-grossing movie in Britain, not to mention the biggest hit in international box-office history, generating more than $900 million in ticket sales.
According to financial analysts, the high opening weekend revenues were aided by strong advance sales obtained through telephone ticketing. MovieFone reported that 30 major theaters in Los Angeles and New York were sold out entirely through the teleticketing service.
The film's estimated cost was between $56 and $100 million, including the $2 million the studio paid cowriter Michael Crichton for rights to his 1990 best-seller.
Because Spielberg was concerned with anatomical accuracy, he employed a group of dino-technicians, including artists, fabricators, and paleontologists.
Initially, conventional special effects techniques were to be supervised by Oscar winner Stan Winston (ALIENS, T2) until Industrial Lights & Magic's Dennis Muren (THE ABYSS, T2) convinced him computer graphics more appropriately suited the task for the large-scale scenes.
Muren created ostrichlike Gallimimus on his computer that were so realistic, they left Spielberg amazed. Computer animators and model builders began working together thereafter. Winston's artists created detailed drawings from the computer pictures, which were then re-created in clay. From the clay models, large-scale hydraulic skeletons, operable by remote control, were constructed. Latex skins covered the skeletons, giving the textured appearance of the outer epidermal surfaces.
The final creations included a 40-foot-long Tyrannosaurus rex, predatory velociraptors, a brachiosaur, and a spitting dilophosaur. The T-rex was controlled by a model one-fifth its scale.
Spielberg's film benefited from recent scientific discoveries that refuted widely held dinosaur stereotypes.
There were a number of discrepancies between the book and the film. For example, Crichton's literary menagerie included 15 dinosaur species, while the film contains only 7.
Though some found the film's premise incredible, biologists Raul Cano of California Polytechnic State University at San Luis Obispo and George Poinar Jr. of the University of California, Berkeley, disclosed they had cloned DNA from a 40-million-year-old bee preserved in amber. And according to Newsweek, scientists at the American Museum of Natural History in New York also claimed to have cloned DNA from a 25-million-year-old termite trapped in a similar mineral. They are still a long way from bringing creatures to life, however.