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As we gear up for this June’s release of Jurassic World, the fourth installment of the Jurassic Park franchise, let’s take a look back at how the last 30+ years led us here.
1983 – Michael Crichton first got the idea to write a screenplay about a pterodactyl cloned from fossil DNA. After several years of tinkering, he wrote a draft of the story in novel form, set in an amusement park and told from the point of view of a child, and gave it to some friends and colleagues to read over. They all hated it. They also hated all the drafts that followed until Crichton changed the story to be from the point of view of an adult.
Spring, 1990 – Universal studios buys the rights to Jurassic park for $1.5 million before the book is even published. He was paid another $500,000 to adapt his own screenplay. An early draft of the novel is given to Stephen Spielberg, who immediately begins work on his film.
November, 1990 – The novel Jurassic Park is released.
1991 – 1992 – Crichton finished his draft of a screenplay while Spielberg finished filming his movie Hook. David Koepp, who had just finished writing Death Becomes Her, was brought in to do a second draft. Koepp’s version is famous for cutting much of the existing exposition and excessive character backstory, replacing it with details like Ian Malcolm’s flirtation and young Lex’s crush on Dr. Grant.
June 11, 1993 – The film Jurassic Park is released. Earning $47 million its first weekend and $81.7 million its first week, it was, at the time, the highest-grossing movie worldwide, breaking records previously set by Spielberg’s own E.T.
May 7, 1995 – Jurassic Park is broadcast on television for the first time. With 68.12 million viewers, it was the highest rated TV broadcast of a theatrical film since 1987 (with Trading Places).
1995 – Inspired (or, more accurately, pressured) by the success of Jurassic park, Crichton releases his first-ever sequel novel, The Lost World.
June 21, 1996 – Jurassic Park: The Ride opens at Universal Studios Hollywood.
May 23, 1997 – The film adaptation of The Lost World, written by David Koepp, is released. The film received mixed reviews, but grossed $618 million worldwide, making it a box office hit.
August 30, 2000 – Filming begins on Jurassic Park III, the first sequel in the franchise not to be based on a novel. Joe Johnstone directs, with Spielberg acting as Executive Producer.
July 18, 2001 – Jurassic Park III is released in theaters.
2004 – Production was slated to begin on Jurassic Park 4, with a summer 2005 release. However, production was stalled and kept in a decade of “development hell.”
January 2010 – In talking about Jurassic Park 4, Joe Johnstone says it will be the start of a second trilogy in the franchise.
July 2011 – At San Diego Comic-Con, Stephen Spielberg announced that a script for a fourth installment was being written, with plans to begin production in the next two or three years.
2013 – In January, Universal announced the new movie would be shot in 3-D, and in March, Colin Trevorrow (Safety Not Guaranteed) was announced as director. Trevorrow began working on an entirely new script with his writing partner Derek Connolly.
April 5, 2013 – The original Jurassic Park was released back into theaters, this time in 3-D, in honor of its 20th anniversary.
September 10, 2013 – The title of the fourth film was announced to be Jurassic World.
January 2014 – Chris Pratt is announced as the lead in Jurassic World.
June 12, 2015 – Scheduled release for Jurassic World.