"Life... finds a way."
Anyone who was a kid in 1993 had their mind blown by Jurassic Park, the first film in what is now one of the most profitable film franchises in history. Two sequels were made and the original film was re-mastered and re-released in 3D in 2013, then followed by its very own reboot in 2015. Now helmed by superstar Chris Pratt, the Jurassic World trilogy hopes to entrance the kids of today the same way the first movie did way back in 1993. Jurassic World: The Lost Kingdom hits theaters in Summer 2018, but to get us all ready, here are 43 colossal facts about Jurassic Park. Hold on to your butts!
Jurassic Park Facts
43. Based On A Book
The film Jurassic Park was released in June 1993 and quickly became a blockbuster hit. It was directed by Stephen Spielberg and is based on the 1990 novel of the same name, written by Michael Crichton.
42. Early Adopter
Spielberg and Crichton were working on a project that would become the TV show ER when Crichton told Spielberg about the novel. Spielberg was hooked, and Universal bought the rights to make a Jurassic Park movie in 1990, months before the novel was even published.
41. Runaway Success
Jurassic Park was such a hit that people were almost instantly clamoring for a sequel. Three more films have been made: The Lost World: Jurassic Park (1997), Jurassic Park III (2001), and Jurassic World (2015). Jurassic Park: Fallen Kingdom is slated for release in 2018, and a sixth (as yet untitled) movie is already in the works.
40. Cart Before the Horse
The Lost World: Jurassic Park is loosely based on Michael Crichton’s sequel to Jurassic Park. The book, called The Lost World, came out in 1995 and production on the film started soon after. Crichton was hesitant to write the second book despite pressure from fans, but Steven Spielberg told Crichton that if he wrote a second novel, Spielberg would direct it, so the film had a director before the book was even started.
39. Iconic Logo
The iconic cover of the Jurassic Park novel features a Tyrannosaurus rex skeleton drawn by designer Chip Kidd. The graphic was turned into the Jurassic Park logo used for the films as well.
38. The Devil’s in the Details
When Michael Crichton was asked why a novel with the word “Jurassic” in the title shows a dinosaur from the Cretaceous period on the cover, he replied that it hadn’t ever occurred to him. The now-iconic T. Rex " was just the best looking design.”
37. Professional Rivalry
Sir Richard Attenborough came out of a 14-year retirement from acting to star in Jurassic Park. Spielberg had asked him to star in two previous films, but Attenborough declined. The request is pretty remarkable, considering that Attenborough was the director of Gandhi, which beat Speilberg’s E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial for both Best Picture and Best Director at the Academy Awards in 1983.
36. It Runs in the Family
In Jurassic Park, Sir Richard Attenborough played John Hammond, owner of InGen and mastermind behind the creation of the park’s dinosaurs. In real life, however, it’s a different Attenborough who is devoted to the study of animals—Richard is the older brother of Sir David Attenborough, the filmmaker behind BBC’s Planet Earth series of wildlife documentaries. David even has a collection of animals trapped in amber—just like of the piece of amber with a mosquito inside that tops the cane of Richard’s character John Hammond.
35. Lasting Legacy
Both the Jurassic Park novel and film generated so much interest in dinosaurs that universities with paleontology programs saw a record increase in students. According to a 2015 article in The Guardian, the film has actually driven more focus and research on paleontology and DNA. In 1993, the year the film came out, Jack Horner, who served as a consultant on the film, was awarded a grant from the National Science Foundation to investigate dinosaur DNA. Though, as far as we know, no dinosaur clones were made as a result of this.
Sign up to our newsletter.
History’s most fascinating stories and darkest secrets, delivered to your inbox daily. Making distraction rewarding since 2017.
34. Special Effects
To create the incredible dinosaurs on-screen, Spielberg drafted the best effects supervisors in Hollywood. Phil Tippett created live-action animatronic dinosaurs, and Industrial Light & Magic created incredible CGI effects to bring the dinosaurs to life. The CGI effects were so astounding that when he saw some early sequences, he decided to use CGI throughout the whole film, and to scrap the animatronics. When Spielberg saw the quality of the CGI, told Phil Tippett, “You're out of a job," to which Tippett replied, "Don't you mean extinct?” This clever quip made it into the script, said by Dr. Ian Malcolm.
33. The Whole Barnyard
Other animal noises made it into Jurassic Park as dinosaur sounds. The Velociraptor’s hiss? Actually the sound of an angry goose. Other sounds used included a horse’s breathing, the slowed-down braying of a donkey, and honking swans. On-screen, the Tyrannosaurus rex’s roar was so terrifying that you’d never guess it was actually the growl of sound designer Gary Rydstrom’s Jack Russell terrier, Buster.
32. Model Dinosaurs
Though many of the final effects in Jurassic Park were CGI graphics, created in post-production, but during filming, the production crew did build life-size models, puppets, and costumes to demonstrate the dinosaur movement and placement. Phil Tippett built massive stop-motion armature for many of the dinosaurs. The two models of the T. rex each weighed 9 tons. Due to their weight, the crew constructed sets around them, rather than moving them onto sets.
31. Clever Puppets
To film the famous kitchen scene, in which hungry Velociraptors hunt the two terrified children, life-size Velociraptor costumes were created and were operated from inside. Effects supervisors crouched inside the costumes and operated radio-controlled mechanisms that moved the raptors’ heads and arms. The puppeteers would have to fit bent-over inside their costumes for up to four hours during filming.
The T. Rex was almost entirely computer-animated, but actors still needed to know where to look in order to act around the dinosaur. Steven Spielberg rigged up “barber poles”, long poles with cardboard dinosaur heads with faces drawn on so the actors would know what to scream at.
29. Hold On To Your Butts
While filming Jurassic Park on location in Hawaii, the island state was hit by one of the most destructive hurricanes ever. Hurricane Iniki disrupted filming and terrified the cast and crew—except for Richard Attenborough, who reportedly slept through the whole thing. He later explained to a dumbfounded crew member why the hurricane didn’t faze him: he’d lived through the Blitz during World War II.
28. Making Do
Some changes had to be made to the script because of Hurricane Iniki. Samuel L. Jackson was slated to fly to Hawaii to film his character’s death scene, but the hurricane had destroyed the sets, and the scene had to be scrapped. Jackson was reportedly disappointed—he wanted to film the scenes of him being chased by dinosaurs, but in the film his death occurs off-camera.
The idea of order vs chaos is at the very heart of Jurassic Park. The characters of John Hammond—a wealthy industrialist who believes he can complete control over the world he creates—and Dr. Ian Malcolm—a pragmatic and pessimistic man of science and math—represent this dichotomy. This opposition is shown in their clothing: Malcolm wears all black, and Hammond all white.
26. Which Are You?
Michael Crichton and Steven Spielberg reportedly identified with the characters of Malcolm and Hammond. Spielberg saw himself as the creative dreamer who attempts bigger and grander things. On the other hand, Crichton said his own views on science and genetic engineering were reflected in the words of Malcolm.
The dinosaurs in Jurassic Park are all done by computer animation, but the computer program shown in the film? That’s all real. The game-like interface Lex uses to explore files on Dennis Nedry’s computer is a real file system called “fsn” (pronounced “fusion”). After the film’s release, it was criticized for being a “childish” misrepresentation of how computers work, presumably by critics who didn’t know that it was a real program and not a Hollywood mockup.
24. Mr. DNA
Scriptwriter David Koepp was struggling to figure out a way to explain the science in the film in a way that made sense. He told Entertainment Weekly, "I remember Steven [Spielberg] and I were wrestling with that very issue, about the DNA, and one of us said, 'What are we supposed to do? Have a little animated character called Mr. DNA?' And the other one said, 'Yes. That’s exactly what we’re going to do.’" The hokey Mr. DNA was animated into a short film shown to the Park’s visitors upon their arrival.
Many actresses auditioned for the part of Lex, including Christina Ricci. The role went to 12-year-old Ariana Richards, who later revealed it was her blood-curdling scream that got her the part. While Spielberg was reviewing audition tapes at home one night, Richards’ audition was the only one loud enough to wake Spielberg’s wife and bring her running downstairs to see if their children were alright.
22. Young Star
9-year-old Joseph Mazzello had auditioned for Stephen Spielberg’s Hook but was turned away for being too young. Spielberg didn’t forget him: Mazzello was cast in Jurassic Park as Tim, Lex’s younger brother. Tim was originally written as the older sibling, but Spielberg didn’t want to cast an actor any younger than Mazzello already was, so the ages of the characters were switched.
21. Written Just for Him
Richard Kiley served as the voice of the automated tour in Jurassic Park, a role that he didn’t have to audition for. In Michael Crichton’s novel, John Hammond boasts that the narrator of the prerecorded park tour is Richard Kiley. In the film version, he is essentially playing himself.
20. In Good Hands
Stephen Spielberg left post-production of Jurassic Park to start on his next masterpiece, Schindler’s List. He supervised post-production from Poland, but he left the film in good hands. George Lucas stepped in to oversee the last weeks of post-production and has a credit at the end of the film.
19. Soaring Soundtrack
Composer John Williams is responsible for the soundtrack to Jurassic Park, and it’s hard to imagine how the movie would be different without the frightening score of the Tyrannosaurus attack, or the inspiring, swelling title theme. Williams’ music from the movie has even been performed by live orchestras at symphonies around the world.
18. Return On Investment
Jurassic Park cost $64 million to make, and another $65 million was spent advertising the film. It still paid off for Universal Studios—the film brought in $357 million in North America and a total of $914 million worldwide in its original theatrical run. Jurassic Park was the highest-grossing film ever until its record was broken by Titanic in 1997.
17. 3D Dinos
For the twentieth anniversary of Jurassic Park in 2013, the film was re-mastered and re-released in 3D. The process took nine months and cost another $10 million, but it earned the film another $45 million in box-office sales, pushing the film over the $1 billion mark overall.
16. Round Two
The Lost World: Jurassic Park was released in 1997. The film saw the return of stars Jeff Goldblum and Richard Attenborough, plus cameos from Joseph Mazzello and Ariana Richards as Tim and Lex, Hammond’s grandchildren. The Lost World’s main duo was played by Julianne Moore and Vince Vaughn.
15. New Cast
Spielberg had seen Vaughn in an advance screening of Swingers, which he saw after Swingers’ filmmakers requested permission to use the theme from Jaws. He was so impressed with Vaughn’s performance that he offered him the starring role in The Lost World. Julianne Moore admitted that she took the part to pay off a divorce settlement.
In The Lost World, the man eaten by the T. rex next to the video store in San Diego is none other than the film’s writer, David Koepp. He is credited as "Unlucky Bastard."
13. Can’t Stop Won’t Stop
The Jurassic Park franchise saw its first major reboot with 2015’s Jurassic World. Chris Pratt, Bryce Dallas Howard, and B.D. Wong starred in the fourth film of the franchise, made 22 years after the original.
12. An Old Dino
The T. rex in Jurassic World is supposed to be the same one as in Jurassic Park. The T. rex bears visible scars from the climactic battle with Velociraptors at the end of the first movie.
11. He’s Baaaack
In a scene in Jurassic World, a man holding a book can be seen in the background. That book is titled God Creates Dinosaurs, written by none other than Dr. Ian Malcolm. This suggests Dr. Malcolm is still around kicking up trouble…
10. It’s Official
Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, the fifth film in the franchise, will hit theaters in Summer 2018. Chris Pratt, Bryce Dallas Howard, and B.D. Wong return—along with Jeff Goldblum reprising his role as Dr. Ian Malcolm.
9. Fitting Tribute
The production crew of Jurassic World paid an impressive amount of attention to detail, and many small tributes to the original film can be seen by those with sharp eyes. Props are realistically recreated, and many scenes, bits of dialogue, and details are recreated as well. The holograms of the Velociraptor and Dipholosaurus in the Education Center are scenes from the first film. The characters of Lowry (fourth film) and Dennis (first film) have identical watches and glasses.
8. Without Feathers
One of the major discrepancies between the dinosaurs shown in Jurassic Park and how paleontologists think dinosaurs actually looked is feathers. New fossils are being found regularly, with more detail, better preserved, that suggest almost all dinosaurs (including Velociraptors) were covered with feathers, like modern-day birds. This makes sense, birds are after all directly descended from dinosaurs.
7. Use Your Imagination
Scenes of stealthy Velociraptors and terrifying T. rex dominate our memories of Jurassic Park, which only proves that Steven Spielberg is a master of suspense. Of the film’s 127-minute runtime, there are only 15 minutes that include actual dinosaur footage.
6. His Best T. Rex Impression
Actors also needed sound cues in order to respond to the inserted-in-post production dinosaur growls and roars. Steven Spielberg himself handled this one, by making dinosaur noises into a megaphone. That way, the actors had an idea of where a sound was supposed to be coming from—if they could keep from laughing.
5. Foley Art
Visual effects can fall flat if they’re not matched with equally good sound. To create the convincing sounds of long-extinct dinosaurs, sound designer Gary Rydstrom took inspiration from the animal kingdom of today: the “bark” the Velociraptors use to communicate was actually the sound of mating turtles. Rydstrom’s creativity and hard work paid off: won two Academy Awards for Jurassic Park in 1993, for sound editing and sound mixing.
4. Building Suspense
The iconic scene of ripples in a glass of water warned of the Tyrannosaur’s impending footsteps was created by attaching a guitar string to the bottom of the glass under the set. When the string was plucked in the pattern of the footsteps, the water in the cup would vibrate.
3. Veering From Reality
Jurassic Park had several esteemed real-life paleontologists consulting on the film to ensure the dinosaurs looked and moved in a way that could be as real as possible. There were, however, some creative liberties taken. Dilophosaurus, the small lizard that Dennis Nedry encounters, was significantly scaled down so that viewers wouldn’t confuse them with Velociraptors. Also, there is no evidence that this dinosaur was venomous at all, or had a frilled collar. Though it’s suggested in both the book and the movie that these details were just “unknown” to paleontologists, not made up, and it is true that since fossils only provide so much, there is likely still much we don't know about how dinosaurs looked.
2. Creative Liberties
Spielberg wanted Velociraptors to be about ten feet tall—much taller than they were known to be, based on fossil evidence at the time. They went ahead with the larger-than-life lizards, and while the movie was being filmed, paleontologists discovered a new, larger species of Velociraptor, called Utahraptor. Special effects supervisor Stan Winston joked, “We made it, they discovered it.”
1. Lesser Evil
Jurassic World sees the project started in Jurassic Park taken to its next logical extension: in the first film, dinosaurs were recreated thanks to mastery of DNA technology. In Jurassic World, dinosaurs are genetically modified. Original drafts of the script involved human-dinosaur hybrids and dinosaurs being genetically engineered for warfare.