Hef's Movie Notes: Jurassic Park

By Hugh Hefner

Hef introduces the sci-fi thriller adapted from the Michael Chrichton novel.

Tonight: Sam Neill, Laura Dern, Jeff Goldblum and Richard Attenborough in Steven Spielberg’s masterpiece Jurassic Park.

Adapted from a novel written by Michael Crichton in 1990. His agent shopped it to six studios.

Crichton visited them all and interviewed directors at each. Universal and Steven Spielberg were awarded the rights for $2 million.

Actually, pre-production began in 1989 using only Crichton’s manuscript.

This was a very hot property from the outset.

Sean Connery, William Hurt, Harrison Ford, Julia Roberts and Jodie Foster all turned down parts.

In the novel, the narrator on the pre-recorded park tour is Richard Kiley. So that’s why he was hired to perform this same task in the movie.

Principal photography ran from August 24 through November 30, 1992. Twelve days ahead of schedule.

Shot in Hawaii, the Dominican Republic, Costa Rica, Stages 12, 16, 27 and 28 at Universal, and two popular film locations south of Lone Pine: the Mojave Desert and Red Rock Canyon.

You go through both driving to Lone Pine—Richard Bann assures us, with some authority!

Jurassic Park premiered in Washington, D.C. on June 9, 1993 and was released domestically by Universal two days later in 2,404 theaters.

An ad line read: “An adventure 65 million years in the making!”

The film was rated PG-13 for “intense science-fiction terror.” I’m serious.

Variety declared: “Scary and horrific thriller may be one-dimensional and even clunky in story and characterization, but definitely delivers where it counts, in excitement, suspense and stupendous realization of giant reptiles.

“The monsters are far more convincing than the human characters.”

The reported cost of the film was $63 million. But Jurassic Park would top all previous box office hits.

As the gross closed in on a billion, this became the top money maker of all time.

Film rentals (meaning, the share going to Universal; the gross at the box office could be 35% to 45% higher): Domestic, $212,953,000 and overseas, $557,623,000.

This is why studios make movies: In hopes of financial results like this.

The return on investment exceeded 1000%!

There were three Oscars awarded: Best Visual Effects, Best Sound and Best Sound Effects.

This was the first acting role for Richard Attenborough in 15 years. He had beaten Spielberg for Best Director in 1983 with the 1982 Gandhi which also took the Oscar for Best Picture over E.T.

With the release of Jurassic Park, academic interest in paleontology skyrocketed in schools worldwide.

There was a sequel too, of course: The Lost World: Jurassic Park 2 in 1997.

So now the original classic–from 1993–

Steven Spielberg’s

Jurassic Park


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