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‘Jurassic Park’ 1993 Facts: 13 Things You Didn’t Know About the Ultimate Dino Blockbuster

Learn who almost directed the movie and which iconic actor almost starred in it!

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Over 30 years after it hit theaters, Jurassic Park remains one of the most successful summer blockbusters of all time. Steven Spielberg‘s film proved irresistible to audiences of all ages, thanks to its thrilling mix of sci-fi and adventure, charismatic cast and stunning special effects.

Adapted from Michael Crichton‘s novel of the same name, the 1993 film was groundbreaking for its pioneering use of computer-generated imagery (CGI) and practical effects to bring dinosaurs to life.

Spielberg brought his signature movie magic and audience appeal to Jurassic Park, transforming the novel into a cinematic masterpiece that’s still adored by fans today and spawned a major franchise.

Here’s a look at 13 fascinating Jurassic Park facts.

1. Jurassic Park facts: It almost had a different director

jurassic park facts: Steven Spielberg (1993)
Steven Spielberg in 1993 moviestillsdb.com/Universal Pictures

The Terminator and Aliens director James Cameron expressed interest in directing the movie, but the rights were bought before he could bid. Upon seeing the movie, Cameron realized that Steven Spielberg was the better choice to direct it, as Cameron’s version would’ve been much more violent, and wouldn’t have appealed to kids and families.

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2. The studio paid for movie rights before the book was released

Laura Dern, Steven Spielberg, Jeff Goldblum, Sam Neill and Stan Winston (1993)
Clockwise from left: Laura Dern, Steven Spielberg, Jeff Goldblum, effects artist Stan Winston and Sam Neill (1993) moviestillsdb.com/Universal Pictures

Universal Pictures paid author Michael Crichton $2 million for the movie rights to his novel before the book was even published. For all they knew, the novel could have been a flop, but that certainly wasn’t the case!

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3. Jurassic Park resulted in a (unrelated) hit TV series

Steven Spielberg (1993)
Steven Spielberg on the set of Jurassic Park in 1993moviestillsdb.com/Universal Pictures

Steven Spielberg was in the very early stages of pre-production for a movie called ER, based on another Michael Crichton novel. When Spielberg heard about Jurassic Park, he dropped ER in favor of dinosaurs. After making Jurassic Park, he went back to ER, but instead of a movie, he helped develop it into the hit television series.

4. Jurassic Park facts: The movie broke records

Laura Dern and Sam Neill (1993) (jurassic park facts)
Laura Dern and Sam Neill in Jurassic Park (1993)moviestillsdb.com/Universal Pictures

Jurassic Park opened on Friday, June 11, 1993, and broke box office records its first weekend, with $47 million in ticket sales. The movie eventually went on to make more than $1 billion worldwide. It also won three Academy Awards: Best Sound, Best Sound Effects Editing and Best Visual Effects.

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5. The movie was very different from the book

Laura Dern and Sam Neill (1993)
Laura Dern and Sam Neill in Jurassic Park (1993) moviestillsdb.com/Universal Pictures

The adaptation of Michael Crichton’s novel involved several changes to streamline the story for film. While Crichton wrote the original screenplay draft, it was extensively revised by screenwriter David Koepp. Many scenes were excluded and characters were changed, and the original book was also more gory than the film.

6. Jurassic Park facts: Spielberg gave a dino gift

Laura Dern, Steven Spielberg andJeff Goldblum  (1993) (jurassic park facts)
Jeff Goldblum, Steven Spielberg and Laura Dern (1993) moviestillsdb.com/Universal Pictures

Spielberg gave the cast and crew of Jurassic Park raptor models as a token of appreciation for their work on the film.

Laura Dern has called her dino model her “guard dog” while Jeff Goldblum joked that he built a whole wing of his house just to display it. At a 2019 auction, one of the models sold for around $12,000.

7. The score was a masterpiece of its own

Spielberg’s frequent collaborator John Williams was seriously inspired when he wrote the film’s iconic orchestral soundtrack, and he was said to have written it very quickly.

In an interview, he likened the sound of the main theme to “bells in a church” and said that after collaborating with the film’s sound designer the score turned out happier than he initially expected.

8. Jurassic Park facts: The audition process was unconventional

Child actress Ariana Richards, who was at the center of one of the film’s most memorable scenes, shared that she had an unconventional audition for her role. Instead of reading lines, she was asked to scream at the top of her lungs.

9. The dino animatronics came to life at unexpected moments

The T-Rex animatronic was prone to malfunctioning when exposed to water. During the famous rain scene, the giant dino would occasionally start moving on its own, causing panic among the crew. The only way to fix it was to pat the creature dry with towels.

10. Jurassic Park facts: The roar came from a surprising mix of sources

According to the behind-the-scenes book The Making of Jurassic Park: An Adventure 65 Million Years in the Making, the instantly recognizable roar of The T-Rex was made from a composite mix of elephant, alligator and tiger sounds.

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11. Jurassic Park facts: The T-Rex weighed even more than you thought

The T-Rex model designed for the film weighed 9,000 pounds and stood 40 feet long.

The film also made early use of CGI, which helped make the dinos feel even more realistic and proved hugely influential on cinema as a whole.

12. The film was shot in Hawaii

The film’s stunning visuals were achieved through a combination of on-location shooting and intricate set designs. Principal photography took place on the Hawaiian Islands of Kauai and Oahu. The island’s lush landscapes provided the perfect backdrop for the fictional Isla Nublar.

Hurricane Iniki struck Kauai during filming, forcing the cast and crew to take shelter. Spielberg used footage of the storm in the film.

13. Spielberg originally wanted Harrison Ford to be in the film

Sam Neill (1993)
Sam Neill in Jurassic Park (1993) moviestillsdb.com/Universal Pictures

At a Q&A event in 2011, Spielberg revealed that he initially wanted Harrison Ford to play paleontologist Alan Grant. William Hurt, Richard Dreyfuss and Kurt Russell were also all considered for the role, but it ultimately went to Sam Neill.

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