I remember seeing Jurassic Park in the theater. It scared me so much that it made me jump right out of my seat. In the movie, when the T-Rex comes through the glass roof of the Ford Explorer in the first attack, the glass was not meant to break, but it did, and this produced noticeably genuine screams from the children seated around me. But who I am fooling, the adults, they were just as scared. And the movie was so good, that it in fact, increased the number of people who enrolled in paleontology classes. Anything that encourages people to study is a good thing in my book. But even though you may have loved the incredible dinosaur movie, I am sure you didn’t know these 27 Jurassic Park facts.
1. A lot of work went into creating dinosaurs that were life-like. After all of that work, they got about 15 minutes of time on the big screen. Considering the movie was 127 minutes long, that is not a whole lot of time.
2. After the movie was done filming, Spielberg went to Poland to shoot Schindler’s List. The post production work was done while he was filming another movie.
3. Jurassic Park earned a whopping $357 million in North America and a total of $914 million worldwide. That was enough to surpass Spielberg’s E.T. to take the record as the biggest hit movie of all time, a record it held for nearly five years, until Titanic.
4. Universal Studios engineers were at work building Jurassic Park before Spielberg even began filming the movie. The attraction at Universal Studios in Hollywood opened in 1996 and cost almost twice what the film cost to make ($110 million).
5. Universal released a 3D version of Jurassic Park in theaters. It cost $10 million dollars to convert the film from 2D to 3D. It then went on to earn another $45.4 million in domestic ticket sales.
6. People have asked if dinosaur DNA could really be cloned. If there is a way, we do not yet have the technology. If you took petrified DNA it would still be too degraded. And there is no equivalent to a dinosaur egg in which to incubate the embryos. The paleontologist, Jack Horner, who was a consultant on the film, said he thought it might be possible to genetically modify a chicken embryo to activate dormant genes for dinosaur-like traits. Even if that happened it would still not be a clone of a dinosaur. Bummer right?
7. While Michael Crichton was still writing the novel that the movie was based on, a bidding war started. Some of the directors that were in the running were Tim Burton, Joe Dante, and Richard Donner. Spielberg was Crichton’s first choice. Can you imagine how different it would have been if one of the other ones would have ended up directing it?
8. William Hurt, Richard Dreyfuss, and Harrison Ford were offered the role of Dr. Alan Grant. Sam Neil ended up being the best fit.
9. After Michael Crichton was paid $500,000 to adapt his book into a screenplay most of it was changed by Malia Scotch Marmo and David Koepp. They then rewrote the script. I’d be curious to see what Michael Crichton’s version was.
10. The rippling water scene that everyone remembers was inspired by a mirror shaking in Spielberg’s car while he was listening to Earth, Wind, and Fire. Then the effect was created by placing the glass of water on a vibrating guitar.
11. When Jurassic Park aired on NBC on television for the first time in 1995, it had over 65 million viewers. This made it the most-seen-movie on television taking the top spot over 1987’s Trading Places.
12. Richard Kiley started out playing the narrator of the prerecorded park tour in the Jurassic Park audiobook. He did such a good job they decided to hire him to take the same role in the film.
13. There were some pretty big names that were offered to play the role of Dr. Ellie Sattler. First on the list were Juliette Binoche and Robin Wright. Other big names were Jodie Foster, Joan Cusack, Julia Roberts, Linda Hamilton, and Sarah Jessica Parker. Even Sandra Bullock, Gwyneth Paltrow, Julianne Moore, and Helen Hunt all tested for the role. Laura Dern ended up landing it.
14. Richard Attenborough came out of retirement to make his first movie appearance in 15 years to play John Hammond. Sean Connery was also offered the role.
15. Jeff Goldblum’s characters explains that they only wear black and grey to avoid wasting time thinking about what to wear in both Jurassic Park and The Fly.
16. One Jurassic Park fact you might not know, Jeff Goldblum and Laura Dern ended up liking each other quite a bit and dated for two years after filming.
17. Have you ever wondered how they made all of the sounds for the dinosaurs? The Velicerator sounds were made by a combination of elephant seal pups, dolphins, and walruses. The sounds made by the Dilophosaurus were a combination of howler monkeys, hawks, rattlesnakes, and swans. The Tyrannosaurus’ roars were a combination of dog, penguin, tiger, alligator, and elephant sounds. And the sounds made by the Brachiosaurs were a combination of whale and donkey sounds. That is a whole lot of animals.
18. The noise used to convey the velociraptors talking to each other is actually the sound of tortoises having sex. Rydstrom spent months recording animal noises. Rydstrom’s work on Jurassic Park ended up winning him two Academy Awards.
19. Jurassic Park was shot on location in 1992 on Hawaii’s Kauai Island. The most powerful hurricane to hit Hawaii in recorded history hit at the same time they were filming. Attenborough apparently slept through the worst of it. The cast members asked him how he did it and he said that it was nothing—after all, he had survived the London Blitz during World War II. After hearing that, I can see how he did it.
20. Go-motion animator Phil Tippet said, “Do you mean we’re extinct?” after he saw the CG technology that would replace his models. It then became Ian Malcolm’s line.
21. The cast ended up being stranded for a few days in a motel without food or water when the hurricane hit the location they were shooting.
22. The dinosaurs were modeled off Robert De Niro and Jack Nicholson. I wonder what they thought of that when they found out. Do you think they were flattered?
23. The worst fake dinosaur roar award goes to Steven Spielberg . He would try to scare the actors into thinking they were seeing a real dinosaur. They said it was anything but scary. Well isn’t that a funny Jurassic Park fact.
24. The T-Rex animatron caused screams on the set from the crew while filming. The animatronic occasionally malfunctioned when it got wet, and the film’s producer Kathleen Kennedy said, “The T-Rex went into the heebie-jeebies sometimes. Scared the crap out of us. We’d be, like, eating lunch, and all of a sudden a T-rex would come alive. At first we didn’t know what was happening, and then we realized it was the rain. You’d hear people start screaming.”
25. The tagline for Jurassic Park, “An Adventure 65 Million Years in the Making” started out from a joke director Steven Spielberg made on set . It was about the fact that the mosquito trapped in amber was genuinely millions of years old before it was even discovered.
26. Dr. Malcolm and Dr. Hammond’s clothes reflect their opposing ideologies. Michael Crichton, the book’s author, has said his views about science are embodied in Dr. Malcolm, while director Steven Spielberg sees parallels between himself and Dr. Hammond. In the book, Ian Malcolm (Jeff Goldblum) tells Ellie Sattler (Laura Dern) that he only wears black and gray so he doesn’t have to think about what to wear everyday. In reality the wardrobe was chosen by filmmakers. His black and gray clothes reflect his skepticism about genetic engineering, while Dr. Hammond (Richard Attenborough) wears all white to reflect his diametric idealism.
27. For all of its groundbreaking computer animated and animatronic puppet effects, a few of the scenes were created by crew members wearing rubber suits.
The film opened on Friday, June 11, 1993, and broke box office records its very first weekend, with $47 million. It then went on to make more than $900 million worldwide. All the merchandise (T-Shirts, stuffed dinosaurs, lunch boxes, flasks, etc.) shown in the film were, in some part, actually created to be sold with the movie. What is your favorite part in the beloved Jurassic Park movie? I don’t think I could pick just one that’s for sure.