History, Legacy & Showmanship
Wednesday, 18 July 2018 15:13

When Dinosaurs Ruled the Cinema: Remembering “Jurassic Park” on its 25th Anniversary

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“It takes a filmmaker as deeply imaginative, but also technically savvy as Steven Spielberg to orchestrate and bring [all of the elements] together into a cohesive whole that works with his intricate vision as a storyteller, in both moments and big picture. There are other filmmakers who would have made wonderful adaptations of the Crichton book, no doubt, but the project landed in the right, highly skilled hands, heart and imagination.” — Steven Awalt, author of Steven Spielberg and Duel: The Making of a Film Career

The Digital Bits and History, Legacy & Showmanship are pleased to present this retrospective commemorating the silver anniversary of the release of Jurassic Park, Steven Spielberg’s popular and franchise-inspiring adaptation of Michael Crichton’s best-selling novel starring Sam Neill, Laura Dern, Jeff Goldblum and Richard Attenborough and which showcased groundbreaking and award-winning visual effects and audio. [Read on here...]

Spielberg’s tale of “science eventuality” opened to record-breaking box-office twenty-five years ago this summer, and for the occasion The Bits features a compilation of statistics and box-office data that places the movie’s performance in context, plus passages from vintage film reviews, a reference/historical listing of the movie’s digital sound presentations, and, finally, an interview segment with a trio of Spielberg authorities who discuss the film’s impact and legacy.

Director Steven Spielberg



  • 1 = Box-office rank among the Jurassic franchise (tickets sold and adjusted for inflation)
  • 1 = Peak all-time box-office chart position (worldwide)
  • 1 = Rank among top-earning films of 1993 (calendar year)
  • 1 = Rank among top-earning films of 1993 (summer season)
  • 1 = Rank among Universal’s all-time top-earning films at close of original run
  • 2 = Peak all-time box-office chart position (domestic)
  • 3 = Box-office rank among films directed by Spielberg (adjusted for inflation)
  • 3 = Number of Academy Awards
  • 3 = Number of weeks top-grossing movie (weeks 1-3)
  • 3 = Rank among top-earning movies of the 1990s
  • 5 = Number of films in Jurassic franchise
  • 5 = Number of years holding #1 spot on list of all-time top-earning films
  • 10 = Number of days to gross $100 million*
  • 16 = Number of months between theatrical release and home video release
  • 17 = Rank on current list of all-time top-grossing films (adjusted for inflation)
  • 24 = Number of days to gross $200 million**
  • 28 = Rank on current list of all-time top-grossing movies (worldwide)
  • 29 = Rank on current list of all-time top-grossing movies (domestic)
  • 68 = Number of days to gross $300 million**
  • 71 = Number of weeks film was in theatrical release
  • 876 = Number of digital sound presentations during first-run**
  • 2,404 = Number of theaters playing the movie during opening week
  • 2,565 = Peak number of theaters simultaneously showing the movie (week of July 9-15)
  • $24.98 = Suggested retail price of initial home video release (VHS)
  • $29.98 = Suggested retail price of initial home video release (CLV LaserDisc)
  • $74.98 = Suggested retail price of initial home video release (CAV LaserDisc)
  • $19,561 = Opening weekend per-screen-average
  • $1.5 million = Amount paid to acquire rights to Crichton’s novel
  • $3.1 million = Opening weekend box-office gross (June 10 sneak previews)**
  • $17.6 million = Highest single-day gross (June 12)**
  • $45.4 million = Domestic box-office gross (2013 3D re-release)
  • $47.1 million = Opening weekend box-office gross (June 11-13)**
  • $50.1 million = Opening weekend box-office gross (June 11-13 + June 10 sneaks)**
  • $63.0 million = Production cost
  • $71.1 million = International box-office gross (2013 3D re-release)
  • $81.7 million = Opening week box-office gross (June 10-17)**
  • $109.7 million = Production cost (adjusted for inflation)
  • $316.6 million = Box-office gross during summer season (June 10 - Sept 6)
  • $357.1 million = Domestic box-office gross (original release)
  • $402.5 million = Cumulative domestic box-office gross
  • $555.6 million = International box-office gross (original release)**
  • $626.7 million = Cumulative international box-office gross
  • $670.7 million = Cumulative domestic box-office gross (adjusted for inflation)
  • $912.7 million = Worldwide box-office gross (original release)**
  • $1.1 billion = Cumulative international box-office gross (adjusted for inflation)
  • $1.1 billion = Cumulative worldwide box-office gross
  • $1.7 billion = Cumulative worldwide box-office gross (adjusted for inflation)

*tied industry record
**established new industry record


Jurassic Park



“The dinosaurs of Jurassic Park live and breathe. They will astonish you — and scare you. That’s why Steven Spielberg’s $51 million film is a rip-roaring hit, the most relentlessly exciting summer adventure since his Raiders of the Lost Ark back in 1981.” — Jack Garner, Gannett News Service

Jurassic Park puts us in the hands of a master movie-maker who knows how to manipulate every last shred of suspense and wonder from us. By the end of the movie, you’re left exhausted but exhilarated. It’s that good.” — Marylynn Uricchio, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

“The greatly anticipated Jurassic Park, it turns out, is the poor little rich kid of this summer’s movies. Everything that money can buy has been bought, and what an estimated $60 million can purchase is awfully impressive. But even in Hollywood there are things a blank check can’t guarantee and the lack of those keeps this film from being more than one hell of an effective parlor trick.” — Kenneth Turan, Los Angeles Times

“You won’t believe your eyes. Jurassic Park is colossal entertainment — the eye-popping, mind-bending, kick-out-the-jams thrill ride of the summer and probably the year.” — Peter Travers, Rolling Stone

“On paper, this story is tailor-made for Mr. Spielberg’s talents, combining the scares of Jaws with the high-tech, otherworldly romance of E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial and Close Encounters of the Third Kind, and of course adding the challenge of creating the dinosaurs themselves. Yet once it meets reality, Jurassic Park changes. It becomes less crisp on screen than it was on the page, with much of the enjoyable jargon either mumbled confusingly or otherwise thrown away. Sweetening the human characters, eradicating most of their evil motives and dispensing with a dinosaur-bombing ending (so the material is now sequel-friendly), Mr. Spielberg has taken the bite out of this story. Luckily, this film’s most interesting characters have teeth to spare.” — Janet Maslin, The New York Times

“[T]he special-effects wizards worked their magic and the result is beyond belief. Jurassic Park is a blockbuster in the best sense of the word. From the opening scene to the closing credits, it grabs the audience and holds it in thrall, making us believe in things that can’t possibly be real… yet.” — Nanciann Cherry, The (Toledo) Blade

“If Spielberg’s Jurassic zoo is in every way remarkable, however, his human actors are left with sketchy, comic-book characterizations and plot lines that fray and dangle.” — Steven Rea, The Philadelphia Inquirer

“Steven Spielberg’s spectacular Jurassic Park has raptors and brachiosaurs and more, oh-my! than any movie in recent memory. It’s a sinfully entertaining, state-of-the-art summer blockbuster whose myriad nonstop thrills easily exceed its mega-hype.” — Eleanor Ringel, The Atlanta Constitution

“Spielberg’s gonzo special effects flick seems to put dinosaurs right in the multiplex. So real you may never feel comfortable in a toilet stall again. But scary? Nah, not if you’re over 10. ” — Judy Gerstel, Detroit Free Press

“Forgive the relentless promotion, the advance publicity, the ’action figures’ turning up in toy stores, and the dinosaurs you’ll be seeing everywhere for the next few months. Get over feeling bombarded, because if you don’t you’ll be missing one great monster movie.” — Mick LaSalle, San Francisco Chronicle

“The dinosaurs in this monster of all monster movies are nothing if not awesome — and they have to be, because the rest of the movie, while frequently suspenseful, is disappointingly routine. If only the humans were as impressive. — Jeff Shannon, The Seattle Times

“Director Steven Spielberg is back at the top of his form as master of Hollywood spectacle. He spent tens of millions of dollars on the special effects and spent it so well that you can hardly tell whether you’re seeing a movie or receiving 5,000 jolts of pure Spielbergian movie magic. Jurassic Park combines the wonder of E.T. with all the terrifying thrills of Jaws.” — Bob Fenster, The (Phoenix) Arizona Republic

“In theory, Jurassic Park is Jaws plus Frankenstein: A thrill-ride plot propelled by the most potent movie monsters since Spielberg’s fish swallowed most of Long Island Sound combined with a cautionary tale about the dangers of tampering with nature. In execution, alas, Jurassic Park falls short of delivering either the pulpy, don’t-go-near-the-water thrills of Jaws or Frankenstein’s primal horror of science run amok. Burdened by a clunky script that relies too heavily on mechanical jolts and special effects, and skimpily written characters who amount to nothing more than dinosaur prey, it’s closer to a Gold Card version of a Godzilla movie. Why did these seasoned pros, working with seemingly unlimited sums of money, plow into production with an unpolished script? It’s absolutely baffling. One can only conclude that they were as dumbly transfixed by Stan Winston’s lifelike dinosaurs as the characters are — and poor Laura Dern and Sam Neill are called upon to play open-mouthed awe far too many times for anyone over the age of 12.” — Joanna Connors, The (Cleveland) Plain Dealer

Jurassic Park will at least disabuse anyone of the idea that it would be fun to share the planet with dinosaurs. Steven Spielberg’s scary and horrific thriller may be one-dimensional and even clunky in story and characterization, but it definitely delivers where it counts, in excitement, suspense and the stupendous realization of giant prehistoric reptiles. Having finally found another set of Jaws worthy of the name, Spielberg and Universal have a monster hit on their hands.” — Todd McCarthy, Variety

“It’s a good thing the effects are so solid, because they have to carry virtually all of the emotional charge of the picture. Where Spielberg was able to supply Jaws and Close Encounters with a powerful psychological subtext, centered on threats and tensions within the nuclear family, Jurassic Park plays largely on the surface, without the resonance that gives meaning to the thrills and turns a well-told adventure yarn into our modern equivalent of mythology.” — Dave Kehr, Chicago Tribune

Jurassic Park is amazing.” — Richard Corliss, Time

“When young Steven Spielberg was first offered the screenplay for Jaws, he said he would direct the movie on one condition: That he didn’t have to show the shark for the first hour. By slowly building the audience’s apprehension, he felt, the shark would be much more impressive when it finally arrived. He was right. I wish he had remembered that lesson when he was preparing Jurassic Park, his new thriller set in a remote island theme park where real dinosaurs have been grown from long-dormant DNA molecules. The movie delivers all too well on its promise to show us dinosaurs. We see them early and often, and they are indeed a triumph of special effects artistry, but the movie is lacking other qualities that it needs even more, such as a sense of awe and wonderment, and strong human story values.” — Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times

Jurassic Park is a fun-house with humor, thrills and heart. It has the spine-tingly magic of Steven Spielberg’s best work. Go, tremble and enjoy.” — David Ansen, Newsweek

“Even at his most mechanical, Spielberg brings a sense of wonder to a project, and usually manages to add some wit, too. Thus the theme park in Jurassic Park is the perfect parody of theme parks, down to the Walt-like character played by Attenborough, who appears in a video to introduce a cartoon explaining DNA. Later, when the camera pans the park’s gift shop, you see the very T-shirts, candy and stuffed dinos that Universal will be peddling in ’real’ life for years to come. Yes, it’s cynical. It’s also hilarious.” — Bill Cosford, The Miami Herald

“One of the ironies here is that to make this anti-control-freak movie you’ve got to be a supreme control freak — Spielberg brought this complicated production in ahead of schedule (despite a hurricane) and under budget. It shows. Jurassic Park doesn’t match the heart of Close Encounters of E.T. or Empire of the Sun. With Jurassic Park Spielberg seems to have asked more of himself than to bring to the screen Hollywood’s ultimate theme park ride in the guise of an anti-theme park movie. This he does, riding those special-effects dinosaurs to pay dirt. It’s the work of a great field marshal.” — Jay Carr, The Boston Globe

Jurassic Park



Jurassic Park was the first motion picture released in Digital Theater Systems (DTS) and the first batch of theaters to install the system and present Jurassic Park in the format are identified below.

The theaters screening the DTS presentation of Jurassic Park were arguably the best in which to experience the movie and the only way at the time to faithfully hear the movie’s award-winning discrete multichannel audio mix and with incredible sonic clarity.

The playback layout for DTS’s digital audio format was in a 5.1-channel configuration: three discrete screen channels + two discrete surround channels + low-frequency enhancement. Unlike competitor formats, however, which placed their digital audio directly on the film prints, DTS was engineered in a fashion whereby the audio was placed on Compact Disc(s) and synchronized via timecode running along the edge of the image on the 35mm prints.

Jurassic Park DTS CDs

While the DTS timecode was present on each and every print of the movie, discs were shipped only to the theaters that installed the requisite playback equipment. The prints also included a conventional Dolby Stereo analog soundtrack which eliminated the need for multiple print inventory and also served as a secondary audio backup should the digital playback ever fail.

Initially, DTS was offered in two versions: (1) DTS-6, a discrete 6-track (i.e. 5.1) mix and (2) DTS-S, a matrixed, 4-channel Lt-Rt stereo mix. The 6-track presentations, where known, are identified in the listing below with an asterisk. (Eventually, the DTS-S format was discontinued.)

Prior to the release of Jurassic Park in June 1993, there were un-promoted DTS test screenings of some Universal Studios releases including Dr. Giggles and The Public Eye.

In the months leading up to the release of Jurassic Park, director Steven Spielberg issued an explanation to motion picture exhibitors as to why he wanted his movie released with DTS audio.

“I’ve heard what my T-Rex sounds like roaring on 35mm Dolby Stereo, and I’ve heard the same roar produced for DTS equipment.”

Spielberg added:

Raiders of the Lost Ark and Close Encounters of the Third Kind (among others) are two of my films that featured sounds and music in a fashion that, when experienced in 70mm six-track magnetic stereo, was virtually a different experience from when enjoyed in 35mm Dolby Stereo theaters. Only 200 theaters were able to exhibit Close Encounters and Raiders with the sound experience I intended. In that sense, very few moviegoers really received the full, head-on force of both of those films. Now, years later, along comes Jurassic Park — a sound experience you will never forget, available not only in those (premiere) 70mm houses, but now, thanks to DTS, in 35mm theaters that carry this new state-of-the-art equipment.” 

Jurassic Park was at the time the industry’s widest release of a film featuring digital sound, and in this one release DTS vastly exceeded the number of Dolby Digital, SDDS and Cinema Digital Sound installations and with it launched a movie sound revolution. (The DTS competitors used, initially, a different strategy on their implementation by primarily targeting premiere venues in major markets.)

The listing includes the DTS engagements of Jurassic Park that commenced June 11th, 1993. (Some theaters began their run with sneak preview screenings on the 10th.) The listing does not include any mid-run DTS installations, move-over or subsequent bookings, nor does it include any international presentations or any of the movie’s thousands of standard analog presentations. (The world premiere of Jurassic Park was held June 9th, 1993, at the Uptown in Washington, DC.)

For the sake of stylistic consistency and clarity, some liberties have been taken in regard to some of the generically named cinemas in which the movie played. If, for instance, such a venue were located in a shopping center, effort has been made to identify the venue in this work whenever possible by the name of the shopping center even if, technically, such wasn’t the actual name of the venue.

Typically the total number of screens in a multiplex have been cited here even though in numerous cases a “complex” consisted of screens spread out among separate buildings.

In numerous cases two (or more) prints of Jurassic Park were shipped to theaters to increase the number of screenings of the movie per day and to allow a greater variety of start times. In a few of these cases the movie was shown in DTS on more than one screen but such cases are cited only once in the listing. Typically any multi-screen bookings were in DTS only on one of the screens and in analog Dolby Stereo on the other screen(s).

In a few cases, a city name has changed since 1993 (due to annexation, incorporation or a redrawing of municipality boundaries) and effort has been made to list these instances according to the city or recognized name at the time of the Jurassic Park engagement.

So, for historical reference, the first-run North American theaters that screened Jurassic Park with DTS audio were….

*6-Track DTS (any non-asterisked entries presumably screened the Lt-Rt version of DTS)
**Version Francaise (Le Parc Jurassique)

Jurassic Park DTS logo Jurassic Park DTS logo



  • Birmingham — Carmike’s Colonnade 10
  • Birmingham — Cobb’s Festival 12
  • Birmingham — Cobb’s Wildwood 14
  • Hoover — Cobb’s Galleria 10*
  • Huntsville — Cobb’s Madison Square 12
  • Midfield — Cobb’s Midfield 6
  • Montgomery — Martin’s Eastdale 8


  • Calgary — Cineplex Odeon’s North Hill*
  • Calgary — Cineplex Odeon’s Southland 4
  • Edmonton — Cineplex Odeon’s Eaton Centre 9
  • Edmonton — Cineplex Odeon’s West Mall 8*
  • Edmonton — Cineplex Odeon’s Westmount 4
  • Red Deer — Landmark’s Uptown 4
  • Sherwood Park — Landmark’s Sword & Shield 4


  • Chandler — AMC’s Laguna Village 10
  • Glendale — Harkins’ Bell Tower 8
  • Mesa — AMC’s Fiesta Village 6
  • Phoenix — Harkins’ Arcadia 8
  • Phoenix — Harkins’ Metro Center Triplex
  • Phoenix — Harkins’ Southwest 8
  • Scottsdale — Harkins’ Fashion Square 7*
  • Scottsdale — UA’s Scottsdale Pavilions 11
  • Tempe — Harkins’ Cornerstone 6
  • Tucson — Cineplex Odeon’s El Dorado 6*
  • Tucson — Syufy’s Century Park 12*


  • Fayetteville — Malco’s Razorback 6
  • Little Rock — UA’s Cinema City 7*
  • North Little Rock — Carmike’s Cinema 7


  • Burnaby — Cineplex Odeon’s Station Square 5
  • Coquitlam — Cineplex Odeon’s Coquitlam 6
  • North Vancouver — Cineplex Odeon’s Park & Tilford 6
  • Vancouver — Cineplex Odeon’s Granville 7*
  • Vancouver — Cineplex Odeon’s Oakridge Triplex*

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Jurassic Park



  • Agoura Hills — Mann’s Agoura Hills 8
  • Alhambra — Edwards’ Atlantic Palace 10
  • Anaheim — SoCal’s Cinemapolis 13*
  • Arcadia — GCC’s Santa Anita 4
  • Arroyo Grande — Festival Enterprises’ Festival 6
  • Azusa — Edwards’ Foothill Center 10
  • Bakersfield — UA’s East Hills 7
  • Brea — UA’s Marketplace 8*
  • Burbank — AMC’s Burbank 14*
  • Chico — UA’s El Rey
  • Clovis — UA’s Clovis Towne Center 8*
  • Colfax — Jacob’s Colfax
  • Corona — Edwards’ Corona 11
  • Corona — Edwards’ Westend 8
  • Davis — Holiday Cinema Enterprises’ Cinema 2
  • Fresno — Festival Enterprises’ Festival 6
  • Glendale — GCC’s Glendale Central 5*
  • Goleta — Metropolitan’s Cinema Twin
  • Hayward — Festival Enterprises’ Festival 9
  • Healdsburg — Raven
  • Huntington Beach — Edwards’ Charter Centre 5
  • La Verne — Edwards’ La Verne 12
  • Lakewood — UA’s Lakewood Plaza 6*
  • Lancaster — Cinemark’s Movies 12
  • Larkspur — Festival Enterprises’ Festival 4
  • Long Beach — AMC’s Pine Square 16
  • Los Angeles (Beverly Grove) — Cineplex Odeon’s Beverly Center 13*
  • Los Angeles (Century City) — AMC’s Century 14*
  • Los Angeles (Del Rey) — Cineplex Odeon’s Marina Marketplace 6*
  • Los Angeles (Hollywood) — GCC’s Galaxy 6*
  • Los Angeles (Los Feliz) — Vista
  • Los Angeles (North Hollywood) — Syufy’s Century 7*
  • Los Angeles (Northridge) — Pacific’s Northridge 6
  • Los Angeles (Sherman Oaks) — GCC’s Sherman Oaks 5*
  • Los Angeles (Tarzana) — Mann’s Valley West 9
  • Los Angeles (West Hills) — GCC’s Fallbrook 7*
  • Los Angeles (Westwood Village) — GCC’s Avco Center Triplex*
  • Merced — UA’s Regency 7
  • Mission Viejo — Edwards’ Crown Valley 5
  • Modesto — Redwood’s Briggsmore 7
  • Montclair — GCC’s Montclair Plaza 8
  • Monterey — CinemaCal’s Galaxy 6
  • Mountain View — Syufy’s Century 10*
  • National City — Pacific’s Sweetwater 6
  • Newark — Syufy’s Cinedome 7 West*
  • Newport Beach — Edwards’ Newport Triplex*
  • Oakland — Renaissance Rialto’s Grand Lake 4*
  • Oceanside — Mann’s Oceanside 8
  • Orange — Syufy’s Cinedome 11*
  • Palm Springs — Metropolitan’s Courtyard 10*
  • Palmdale — Cinemark’s Movies 8
  • Pasadena — UA’s Marketplace 6
  • Pleasant Hill — Syufy’s Century 5*
  • Pleasanton — CinemaCal’s Galaxy 8
  • Redondo Beach — GCC’s South Bay Galleria 6*
  • Redwood City — Syufy’s Century Park 12*
  • Riverside — UA’s Tyler Galleria 4*
  • Sacramento — Syufy’s Century 6*
  • Sacramento — Syufy’s Cinedome 8*
  • San Bernardino — AMC’s Commerce Center 6
  • San Diego — Edwards’ Mira Mesa 7
  • San Diego — Mann’s Grove 9
  • San Diego — Mann’s Rancho Bernardo 6
  • San Diego — Mann’s University Towne Centre 6
  • San Diego — UA’s Glasshouse 6*
  • San Diego — UA’s Horton Plaza 7*
  • San Francisco — AMC’s Kabuki 8*
  • San Jose — Syufy’s Century 10 Berryessa*
  • San Jose — Syufy’s Century 21*
  • San Jose — Syufy’s Century 22 Triplex*
  • San Luis Obispo — Edwards’ Fremont 4
  • San Ramon — Festival Enterprises’ Crow Canyon 6
  • Santa Barbara — Metropolitan’s Arlington*
  • Santa Clarita — Mann’s Valencia 10
  • Santa Cruz — UA’s Rio
  • Santa Maria — Edwards’ Santa Maria 10*
  • Santa Monica — Cineplex Odeon’s Broadway 4*
  • Santa Rosa — UA’s Cinema 6
  • Simi Valley — Edwards’ Mountain Gate 7
  • South San Francisco — Syufy’s Century Plaza 8*
  • Thousand Oaks — UA’s Oaks 5
  • Tustin — Edwards’ Tustin Marketplace 6
  • Universal City — Cineplex Odeon’s Universal City 18*
  • Vacaville — CinemaCal’s Galaxy 8
  • Ventura — Syufy’s Century 8

Jurassic Park 35mm film


  • Arvada — UA’s Cooper 6 NW*
  • Boulder — UA’s Village 4*
  • Colorado Springs — UA’s Cinema 70 Triplex
  • Englewood — UA’s Greenwood Plaza 12*
  • Glendale — AMC’s Colorado Plaza 6
  • Lakewood — Mann’s Green Mountain 6
  • Littleton — Mann’s Festival 6
  • Littleton — Mann’s Southwest Plaza 5
  • Thornton — UA’s Thornton Town Center 10


  • North Haven — National Amusements’ Showcase 12


  • Christiana — GCC’s Christiana Mall 5
  • Newark — Regal’s Peoples Plaza 13


  • Washington — AMC’s Union Station 9*
  • Washington — Cineplex Odeon’s Uptown*


  • Apopka — UA’s Wekiva Riverwalk 8
  • Bellair-Meadowbrook Terrace — UA’s Orange Park 7
  • Boca Raton — UA’s Town Center 7
  • Boynton Beach — Cobb’s Boynton 8
  • Casselberry — UA’s Lake Howell Square 8
  • Coral Gables — GCC’s Riviera 5*
  • Fort Lauderdale — GCC’s Galleria 4*
  • Fort Myers — Cobb’s Bell Tower 12
  • Gainesville — Litchfield’s Butler Plaza 10
  • Greenacres — UA’s Riverbridge 8
  • Hialeah — UA’s Hialeah 14
  • Hollywood — AMC’s Sheridan Plaza 12
  • Jacksonville — AMC’s Regency Square 8
  • Jacksonville — Cineplex Odeon’s Mandarin Corners 6
  • Jupiter — Cobb’s Jupiter 14
  • Kissimmee — Cobb’s Osceola 12
  • Lake Mary — GCC’s Lake Mary Centre 8
  • Lake Mary — Litchfield’s Lake Mary 10
  • Lakeland — Kent’s Lakeland Square 10
  • Largo — Cobb’s Largo Mall 8
  • Lauderhill — UA’s Lauderhill 9
  • Mary Esther — UA’s Santa Rosa Triplex
  • Melbourne — Cobb’s Oaks 10
  • Miami — GCC’s Miracle Center 10*
  • North Miami Beach — AMC’s Fashion Island 16
  • Orlando — Cinemark’s Highland Lakes Center 12
  • Orlando — GCC’s Fashion Square 6*
  • Palm Bay — Cobb’s Roxy 10
  • Palm Beach Gardens — GCC’s PGA 6
  • Panama City — Carmike’s Panama City 4
  • Pembroke Pines — GCC’s Pembroke 8
  • Pensacola — Litchfield’s Cordova Mall 6
  • Pinellas Park — Cobb’s Pinellas Square 6
  • Plantation — UA’s Plantation 7
  • Sarasota — Cobb’s Sarasota Crossing 10
  • Sunrise — Cobb’s Sawgrass 18*
  • Tallahassee — UA’s Capitol 6
  • Tampa — Cineplex Odeon’s Hillsboro 8*
  • Tampa — Cobb’s Northdale Court 6*


  • Atlanta — GCC’s Sandy Springs at Parkside 8*
  • Atlanta — UA’s Lenox Square 6*
  • Augusta — Regal’s Augusta Village 8
  • Columbus — Carmike’s Cinema 7
  • Duluth — GCC’s Gwinnett Place 6*
  • Kennesaw — AMC’s Cobb Place 8
  • Marietta — GCC’s Merchants Walk 8
  • Marietta — Storey’s Delk 10*
  • Morrow — UA’s Southlake Mall 8*
  • Riverdale — Litchfield’s Riverdale 10
  • Roswell — Cineplex Odeon’s Holcomb Woods 6
  • Savannah — UA’s Eisenhower Square 6
  • Stone Mountain — Cineplex Odeon’s Stone Mountain Festival 6


  • Boise — Cineplex Odeon’s Egyptian
  • Boise — Cineplex Odeon’s Towne Square 6
  • Nampa — Cineplex Odeon’s Nampa 6
  • Twin Falls — Interstate’s Twin 9
  • Wendell — Eickhof’s Ace Twin


Newspaper ad for Jurassic Park


  • Arlington Heights — Cineplex Odeon’s Ridge 8*
  • Bloomingdale — Cineplex Odeon’s Stratford Square 8*
  • Calumet City — Cineplex Odeon’s River Oaks 12*
  • Chicago — Cineplex Odeon’s Burnham Plaza 5
  • Chicago — Cineplex Odeon’s Lincoln Village 9
  • Chicago — Cineplex Odeon’s McClurg Court Triplex*
  • Chicago — GCC’s Ford City 14*
  • Chicago — Loews’ Webster Place 8*
  • Chicago Ridge — Cineplex Odeon’s Chicago Ridge 4*
  • Crystal Lake — Rhyan’s Showplace 8
  • Fairview Heights — Wehrenberg’s St. Clair 10*
  • Forsyth — GKC’s Hickory Point Mall 8
  • Lake Zurich — Rhyan’s Lake Zurich 8
  • Naperville — Cineplex Odeon’s Westridge Court 8
  • Niles — Cineplex Odeon’s Golf Mill Triplex*
  • Norridge — Loews’ Norridge 10
  • North Riverside — Cineplex Odeon’s North Riverside Park Mall 6
  • Northbrook — Cineplex Odeon’s Edens Twin
  • Oak Brook — Cineplex Odeon’s Oakbrook 7*
  • Orland Park — Cineplex Odeon’s Orland Square 8*
  • Peoria — GKC’s Landmark 8
  • Peru — GKC’s Peru Mall 6
  • Savoy — Goodrich’s Savoy 14*
  • Schaumburg — Cineplex Odeon’s Woodfield 9*
  • Sycamore — Sycamore State Street
  • Vernon Hills — Cineplex Odeon’s Rivertree Court 8*
  • Washington — GKC’s Sunnyland 10
  • Wheaton — Cineplex Odeon’s Rice Lake Square 10


  • Anderson — Goodrich’s Applewood 9
  • Bloomington — GKC’s Showplace 6
  • Elkhart — GKC’s Concord Twin
  • Fort Wayne — GCC’s Coldwater Crossing 8
  • Indianapolis — GCC’s Castleton Square 6
  • Indianapolis — GCC’s Clearwater Crossing 12 (opened July 2nd)
  • Lafayette — Goodrich’s Eastside 10


  • Des Moines — Carmike’s Forum 4


  • Lawrence — Dickinson’s Cinema 6
  • Olathe — Dickinson’s Olathe Landing 8
  • Topeka — Crown’s West Ridge 6*
  • Wichita — Dickinson’s Northrock 6*


  • Lexington — Cinemark’s Man-O-War 8
  • Louisville — National Amusements’ Showcase 13*


  • Baton Rouge — UA’s Bon Marche 15
  • Baton Rouge — UA’s Siegen Village 10*
  • Kenner — GCC’s Esplanade Mall 9*
  • Lafayette — UA’s Northgate 8*
  • Marrero — UA’s Belle Promenade 10*
  • Metairie — GCC’s Lakeside 5*


  • Winnipeg — Cineplex Odeon’s Garrick 4
  • Winnipeg — Cineplex Odeon’s Grant Park 4*


  • Baltimore — UA’s Harbor Park 9
  • Bethesda — UA’s Bethesda 10
  • Catonsville — UA’s Westview Mall 9
  • Gaithersburg — Cineplex Odeon’s Rio 8*
  • Glen Burnie — UA’s Marley Station 8
  • Rockville — Cineplex Odeon’s White Flint 5
  • Rossville — UA’s Golden Ring Mall 9
  • Towson — GCC’s Towson Commons 8*


  • Boston — Loews’ Cheri 4*
  • Braintree — GCC’s Braintree 10*
  • Brookline — National Amusements’ Showcase Circle 7*
  • Dedham — National Amusements’ Showcase 12*
  • Framingham — GCC’s Framingham 6
  • Revere — National Amusements’ Showcase 14*
  • Woburn — National Amusements’ Showcase 10


  • Adrian — MJR’s Adrian 6
  • Auburn Hills — National Amusements’ Showcase 14*
  • Battle Creek — GKC’s Towne 8
  • Bloomfield Hills — National Amusements’ Showcase Pontiac 12*
  • Brighton — MJR’s Brighton 9*
  • Cascade — National Amusements’ Showcase 10
  • Dearborn — National Amusements’ Showcase 8
  • Farmington Hills — UA’s West River 9
  • Harper Woods — National Amusements’ Beacon East 4
  • Kalamazoo — UA’s West Main 7
  • Livonia — AMC’s Laurel Park 10
  • Niles — Moore’s Ready 4
  • Norton Shores — Loeks’ Cinema 12
  • Novi — GCC’s Novi Town Center 8
  • Port Huron — Goodrich’s Krafft 8
  • Portage — UA’s Crossroads 10*
  • Saginaw — Goodrich’s Saginaw 12
  • South Haven — Moore’s Michigan Triplex
  • Sterling Heights — National Amusements’ Showcase 15*
  • Wyoming — Loeks’ Studio 28 20
  • Westland — National Amusements’ Showcase 8*
  • Ypsilanti — National Amusements’ Showcase Ann Arbor 14*


  • Bloomington — GCC’s Mall of America 14
  • Brooklyn Center — UA’s Brookdale Square 8
  • Burnsville — GCC’s Burnhaven 8
  • Eden Prairie — UA’s Eden Prairie 9
  • Edina — Cineplex Odeon’s Edina 4*
  • Maplewood — UA’s Maplewood 12*
  • Plymouth — Cineplex Odeon’s Willow Creek 8*
  • Roseville — UA’s Pavilion Place 6*


  • Flowood — UA’s Parkway Place 10
  • Gulfport — Hardy Court 8
  • Ridgeland — UA’s Northpark 10
  • Tupelo — Malco’s Cinema 10


  • Chesterfield — Wehrenberg’s Clarkson 6*
  • Columbia — Dickinson’s Forum 8
  • Ferguson — Wehrenberg’s Halls Ferry 14
  • Independence — Dickinson’s Noland Fashion Square 6
  • Kansas City — AMC’s Ward Parkway 12
  • Kansas City — Crown’s Red Bridge 4*
  • Kansas City — Dickinson’s Dickinson 6
  • Richmond Heights — AMC’s Esquire 7*
  • St. Ann — Wehrenberg’s Northwest Plaza 9
  • St. Louis — Wehrenberg’s Union Station 10
  • St. Peters — Wehrenberg’s Mid Rivers Mall 6
  • Sappington — Wehrenberg’s Ronnie’s 8
  • Shrewsbury — Wehrenberg’s Kenrick 8*
  • Springfield — Dickinson’s Dickinson 8*


  • Kalispell — Anderson’s Liberty


  • Alliance — Alliance Twin


  • Laughlin — Riverside 6


  • Atco — National Amusements’ Atco 14
  • Bridgewater — GCC’s Bridgewater Commons 7*
  • East Brunswick — Movie City 5
  • Edison — Cineplex Odeon’s Menlo Park Mall 12
  • Edison — Movie City 6
  • Hazlet — National Amusements’ Hazlet 12
  • Jersey City — Cineplex Odeon’s Newport Centre 9*
  • Lawrenceville — GCC’s Mercer Mall 7
  • Marlton — AMC’s Marlton 8
  • Middletown — UA’s Middletown 7
  • Montclair — Cinema Services’ Clairidge Triplex
  • Newark — National Amusements’ All Jersey 12
  • Paramus — Cineplex Odeon’s Route Four 10*
  • Pennsauken — UA’s Pennsauken 11
  • Sayreville — National Amusements’ Amboy 14*
  • Succasunna — Cinema Services’ New Roxbury Mall 10
  • Washington — Cinema Services’ Washington Triplex
  • Wayne — UA’s Wayne 4


  • Albuquerque — Cinemark’s Movies West 8
  • Albuquerque — GCC’s San Mateo 8
  • Albuquerque — UA’s Cinema East Twin*
  • Albuquerque — UA’s Four Hills 12*
  • Las Cruces — Allen’s Mesilla Valley Mall 8
  • Santa Fe — UA’s Villa Linda Mall 12


Jurassic Park 35mm film


  • Cheektowaga — GCC’s Walden Galleria Mall 12*
  • Commack — National Amusements’ Commack 15*
  • Coram — UA’s Coram 10*
  • East Hampton — UA’s Easthampton 5
  • Garden City — Loews’ Roosevelt Field 8*
  • Glen Cove — Cineplex Odeon’s Glen Cove 6
  • Hawthorne — National Amusements’ All Westchester Saw Mill 10*
  • Lake Grove — Cineplex Odeon’s Smith Haven Mall 4
  • Lakewood — Clement’s Lakewood 6
  • Lockport — Clement’s Lockport Mall 4
  • Massapequa — UA’s Sunrise Mall 4
  • Medford — National Amusements’ Brookhaven 14*
  • Nanuet — Cineplex Odeon’s Nanuet
  • New York (Bronx) — GCC’s Bay Plaza 10*
  • New York (Bronx) — National Amusements’ Concourse Plaza 10*
  • New York (Bronx) — National Amusements’ Whitestone 14*
  • New York (Brooklyn) — Cineplex Odeon’s Kingsway 5*
  • New York (Brooklyn) — UA’s Sheepshead Bay 9*
  • New York (Manhattan) — Cineplex Odeon’s Art Greenwich Twin
  • New York (Manhattan) — Cineplex Odeon’s Chelsea 9*
  • New York (Manhattan) — Cineplex Odeon’s First and 62nd Street 6*
  • New York (Manhattan) — Cineplex Odeon’s Park and 86th Street Twin
  • New York (Manhattan) — Cineplex Odeon’s Regency*
  • New York (Manhattan) — Cineplex Odeon’s Ziegfeld*
  • New York (Queens) — Cineplex Odeon’s Fresh Meadows 7*
  • New York (Queens) — UA’s Midway 4
  • New York (Queens) — UA/Moss’ Movieworld 7
  • New York (Staten Island) — UA’s Staten Island 14*
  • Patchogue — UA’s Patchogue 13*
  • Port Washington — Cineplex Odeon’s Soundview 6
  • Rockville Centre — Cineplex Odeon’s Fantasy 5*
  • Syosset — UA’s Syosset Triplex*
  • Valley Stream — National Amusements’ Sunrise 14*
  • West Babylon — Lesser’s South Bay 5
  • Williamsville — WNY’s Eastern Hills Triplex
  • Yonkers — UA/Moss’ Movieland 6
  • Yorktown Heights — UA’s Jefferson Valley 8

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Jurassic Park



  • Asheville — UA’s Beaucatcher 7
  • Charlotte — Carmike’s Park Terrace Triplex
  • Charlotte — Carmike’s University Place 6
  • Charlotte — Consolidated’s Arboretum 10
  • Charlotte — GCC’s Tower Place 8
  • Greensboro — Cinemark’s Brassfield 10
  • Greensboro — Janus’ Terrace 6*
  • Raleigh — Carmike’s Six Forks Station 6
  • Raleigh — GCC’s Pleasant Valley 7
  • Raleigh — UA’s Mission Valley 5*
  • Wilmington — Carmike’s Cinema 6


  • Akron — GCC’s Chapel Hill Mall 4
  • Canton — GCC’s Canton Centre 8
  • Cincinnati — National Amusements’ Showcase Cincinnati 12*
  • Cleveland Heights — NTC’s Severance 8 *
  • Euclid — Lakeshore’s Lakeshore 7
  • Hilliard — Cinemark’s Mill Run 12
  • Jackson — Belden Village 6
  • Mentor — GCC’s Erie Commons 8
  • Parma — GCC’s Parmatown 5
  • Rocky River — GCC’s Westgate Mall 6
  • Solon — Regal’s Solon Commons 10
  • Toledo — National Amusements’ Showcase 5*


  • Oklahoma City — GCC’s Crossroads 8
  • Oklahoma City — GCC’s Penn Square Mall 8*
  • Tulsa — Cinemark’s Movies 8


  • Brampton — Cineplex Odeon’s 410 & 7 Centre 4
  • Etobicoke — Cineplex Odeon’s Sherway 9
  • Etobicoke — Cineplex Odeon’s Woodbine Centre 6
  • Gloucester — Cineplex Odeon’s Orleans Town Centre 6
  • Hamilton — Cineplex Odeon’s Centre Mall 8
  • Kitchener — Cineplex Odeon’s HylandLindsay — Rivers’ Century
  • Mississauga — Cineplex Odeon’s Erin Mills Town Centre 5
  • North York — Cineplex Odeon’s Fairview 6
  • North York — Cineplex Odeon’s Madison 5
  • Ottawa — Cineplex Odeon’s St. Laurent 5
  • Ottawa — Cineplex Odeon’s Somerset
  • Ottawa — Cineplex Odeon’s Westgate Triplex
  • Toronto — Cineplex Odeon’s Eaton Centre 18
  • Toronto — Cineplex Odeon’s Varsity Twin*
  • Toronto — Cineplex Odeon’s York Twin
  • Vaughan — Cineplex Odeon’s Promenade 6


  • Portland — Act III’s Eastgate Triplex
  • Portland — Act III’s Lloyd 10*
  • The Dalles — Humphrey’s Cascade Twin


  • Bala Cynwood — Bala
  • Harmar — Mulone’s Harmar 6
  • Huntingdon Valley — Regal’s Huntingdon Valley 14
  • King of Prussia — UA’s King & Queen 6
  • Langhorne — UA’s Oxford Valley Mall 10
  • Monroeville — National Amusements’ Showcase East 10
  • Montgomeryville — AMC’s 309 Cinema 9
  • Philadelphia — GCC’s Northeast 4
  • Philadelphia — UA’s Riverview Plaza 11*
  • Philadelphia — UA’s Sam’s Place Twin*
  • Pittsburgh — Mulone’s Waterworks 10
  • Upper Darby — UA’s 69th Street 9


  • Brossard — Cineplex Odeon’s Brossard Triplex*
  • Dorval — Famous Players’ Dorval 4
  • Drummondville — Drummondville**
  • Joliette — RGFM’s Joliette Triplex**
  • Laval — Cineplex Odeon’s Carrefour Laval 6*
  • Laval — Cineplex Odeon’s Laval Centre 2000 Twin**
  • Longueuil — Cineplex Odeon’s Longueuil Twin**
  • Montreal — Cineplex Odeon’s Berri 5**
  • Montreal — Cineplex Odeon’s Cote-des-Neiges 7*
  • Montreal — Cineplex Odeon’s Le Faubourg 4
  • Pointe-Claire — Cineplex Odeon’s Pointe-Claire 6
  • Quebec City — Cineplex Odeon’s Place Charest 8*/**
  • Repentigny — Cine Enterprise’s Plaza Repentigny 6**
  • St-Basile — Cine Enterprise’s St-Basile 7**
  • Ste-Hyacinthe — Ste-Hyacinthe**
  • St-Jean — St-Jean**
  • St-Jerome — St-Jerome**
  • St-Leonard — Guzzo’s Astre 4
  • St-Leonard — Guzzo/Cineplex Odeon’s Langelier 6
  • St-Leonard — Guzzo/Cineplex Odeon’s Langelier 6**
  • Ste-Therese — Guzzo’s Plaza Ste-Therese 8**
  • Terrebonne — Guzzo’s Terrebonne 8**


  • Columbia — Carmike’s Cinema 10
  • Columbia — Litchfield’s Richland Fashion Mall 6
  • Greenville — UA’s Bijou 8*
  • Murrells Inlet — Litchfield’s Inlet Square 7
  • North Charleston — GCC’s Northwoods Mall 8


  • Antioch — Camike’s Bell Forge 10
  • Bartlett — Malco’s Bartlett 10
  • Chattanooga — Regal’s Hamilton Place Mall 17
  • Cordova — Malco’s Germantown Parkway 9
  • Goodlettsville — Carmike’s Rivergate 8
  • Knoxville — Regal’s Downtown West 8
  • Knoxville — Regal’s East Towne Mall 7
  • Memphis — Malco’s Winchester Court 8*
  • Nashville — AMC’s Fountain Square 14
  • Nashville — Carmike’s Lion’s Head 5


  • Abilene — UA’s Mall of Abilene 10
  • Addison — GCC’s Prestonwood 4
  • Amarillo — Cineplex Odeon’s Western Square Twin
  • Arlington — GCC’s Arlington Park 8
  • Austin — GCC’s Highland 10*
  • Austin — Presidio’s Arbor 7*
  • Austin — Presidio’s Westgate 8
  • Bedford — GCC’s Central Park 8
  • Corpus Christi — UA’s Cine 6
  • Dallas — GCC’s Northpark West Twin*
  • Garland — Cinemark’s Hollywood USA 15
  • Grand Prairie — Cinemark’s Movies 16
  • Houston — AMC’s Town & Country 10*
  • Houston — Cineplex Odeon’s River Oaks Plaza 12*
  • Houston — Cineplex Odeon’s Sharpstown Center 8*
  • Houston — Cineplex Odeon’s Spectrum 9*
  • Houston — GCC’s Meyerland Plaza 8*
  • Houston — GCC’s West Oaks Central 6
  • Houston — GCC’s Willowbrook Mall 6
  • Irving — GCC’s Irving Mall Triplex*
  • Lake Jackson — Lake Twin
  • Lewisville — Cinemark’s Vista Ridge Mall 12
  • Lubbock — Cinemark’s Movies 12
  • Mesquite — GCC’s Town East 5*
  • New Braunfels — Lone Star’s Walnut 6
  • North Richland Hills — GCC’s North Hills 7
  • Odessa — UA’s Northpark 6
  • Plano — UA’s Berkeley Square 8*
  • Richardson — GCC’s Richardson 6
  • San Antonio — Santikos’ Galaxy 14*
  • San Marcos — Lone Star’s Cinema 5
  • Texas City — Cinemark’s Mall of the Mainland 12
  • Webster — GCC’s Point NASA 6


  • Holladay — Cineplex Odeon’s Holladay Center 6
  • Layton — Cinemark’s Tinseltown USA 10
  • Magna — Reel 5
  • Salt Lake City — Cineplex Odeon’s Trolley Corners Triplex
  • Sandy — Cinemark’s Sandy Movies 9
  • South Salt Lake — Syufy’s Century 9*
  • Taylorsville — Cineplex Odeon’s Midvalley 6


  • Alexandria — National Amusements’ Mt. Vernon Multiplex 10*
  • Bon Air — UA’s Chesterfield Town Center 9
  • Charlottesville — Carmike’s Cinema 6
  • Chesapeake — Cinemark’s Chesapeake Square Mall 10
  • Fairfax — UA’s Fair Oaks 6*
  • Merrifield — National Amusements’ Arlington Blvd./Lee Highway Multiplex 14
  • Reston — National Amusements’ Town Center 11*
  • Springfield — GCC’s Springfield Mall 10*
  • Vienna — Cineplex Odeon’s Fairfax Square 8*
  • Virginia Beach — UA’s KempsRiver Crossing 7


  • Bellevue — Act III’s Crossroads 8
  • Bellevue — Cineplex Odeon’s John Danz
  • Federal Way — GCC’s Gateway Center 8
  • Lynnwood — Act III’s Alderwood 7*
  • Seattle — Cineplex Odeon’s Cinerama*
  • Seattle — Cineplex Odeon’s Northgate
  • Tacoma — Cineplex Odeon’s Tacoma Mall Twin
  • Tukwila — Cineplex Odeon’s Southcenter


  • Charleston — UA’s Kanawha Mall 9


  • Janesville — Rock 9
  • Madison — Carmike’s University Square 4
  • Manitowoc — W-T’s Strand 6*
  • Milwaukee — Marcus’ Northtown 8*
  • Milwaukee — Marcus’ Skyway 6
  • Waukesha — Marcus’ Westown 10*
  • West Bend — W-T’s West Bend Triplex*


  • Jackson Hole — Movieworks 4



Steven Awalt is a Digital Content Producer at Amblin Partners and the author of Steven Spielberg and Duel: The Making of a Film Career (Rowman & Littlefield, 2014; paperback, 2016). A film historian and noted Spielberg authority, Awalt was the editor of SpielbergFilms.com from 2001 to 2009 and appeared as an interview subject in the 2007 Jaws documentary, The Shark is Still Working. He is currently working on Steven Spielberg and The Sugarland Express.

Steven Awalt

Mike Matessino is a soundtrack producer and film music historian. He produced and annotated The John Williams Jurassic Park Soundtrack Collection for La-La Land Records as well as remastered soundtracks for Jaws, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, 1941, E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial, Empire of the Sun and A.I. Artificial Intelligence. Other Spielberg/Amblin soundtrack projects include PoltergeistTwilight Zone: The MovieGremlins, Innerspace, The Goonies, Joe vs. The Volcano and the Back to the Future Trilogy.

Mike Matessino

Joseph McBride is a professor in the Cinema Department at San Francisco State University and the author of twenty books, including biographies of John Ford, Frank Capra, and Steven Spielberg. Steven Spielberg: A Biography (first published in 1997 by Simon & Schuster) is available in second and third editions. McBride’s new book, the critical study How Did Lubitsch Do It?, is now available from Columbia University Press (enter the promo code “cup30” for a 30% discount).

Joseph McBride

The interviews were conducted separately and have been edited into a “roundtable” conversation format.

Michael Coate (The Digital Bits): How do you think Jurassic Park should be remembered on its 25th anniversary?

Steven Awalt: Above all, Jurassic Park should be remembered as a truly fun, exciting, scary popcorn entertainment. Seeing the film in theaters in the summer of 1993 was one of those landmark moviegoing memories — for myself, and I can only assume for others. It’s a film that plays gangbusters with a crowd, like many of Steven Spielberg’s big crowd-pleasers including Jaws, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Raiders of the Lost Ark, and E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial. With summer now upon us, and the film marking its 25th anniversary this year, it’s the perfect time to revisit it on the biggest screen with the best sound and the largest crowd of friends or fellow moviegoers you can find.

Mike Matessino: Jurassic Park should be remembered as the groundbreaking Steven Spielberg blockbuster that it still is. It’s a movie that holds up and that young people today are still engaged by, and the fact that the franchise is continuing with the Jurassic World movies, which builds on the legacy of the original, makes it still relevant.

Joseph McBride: In film history, Jurassic Park is most significant for being the first film to use extensive CGI (computer-generated imagery) and for doing it so effectively, thanks to Industrial Light & Magic, to help bring dinosaurs convincingly to life on the big screen, along with animatronic creatures built by Stan Winston and his team. Some people pooh-poohed this as a minor technical feat, but paleontologist Stephen Jay Gould saw it differently. He wrote in the New York Review of Books that although the film’s dinosaur revivification premise amounted to “heaping impossibility upon impossibility,” Steven Spielberg and his special-effects wizards deserve great credit for conjuring up believable images of long-extinct creatures: “Intellectuals too often either pay no attention to such technical wizardry or, even worse, actually disdain special effects with such dismissive epithets as ’merely mechanical.’ I find such small-minded parochialism outrageous. Nothing can be more complex than a living organism, with all the fractal geometry of its form and behavior…. The use of technology to render accurate and believable animals therefore becomes one of the greatest all-time challenges to human ingenuity.” The public agreed — Jurassic Park became an enormous boxoffice sensation, even if its numbers have since been surpassed. And another remarkable fact is that Spielberg released it in the same year as he did Schindler’s List, his great film about the Holocaust. The two are, of course, almost diametrically opposite in their approaches, although there are some underlying themes in common, but they reflect the two sides that have always coexisted in Spielberg’s complex artistic personality. He has long intermingled dramas with “entertainments,” as Graham Greene called his lighter works, though of course those can be as good as an author’s more ostensibly serious works. I am glad Spielberg doesn’t neglect either side of his personality.

Schindler’s List was widely embraced by reviewers who mistakenly thought it was his first “serious, adult” film, but in fact he had been making such films for decades, going back to his early television work such as his moving Par for the Course episode of The Psychiatrist series in 1971 and his first film made as a U.S. studio theatrical feature release, his unnervingly dark, while also seriocomic, road movie The Sugarland Express (1974). But it was an astonishing achievement to make both Jurassic Park and Schindler’s List in one year, and Spielberg had to supervise the completion of the visual effects for Jurassic Park by satellite hookup to California at night while directing Schindler’s List on location in Poland. He admitted recently that was extremely difficult for him emotionally, and that it made him angry to have to do so, but working with imaginary dinosaurs probably was something of a release from the almost unbearable strain of making his shattering film about the reality of the Holocaust.

Jurassic Park


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Jurassic Park


Coate: Can you describe what it was like seeing Jurassic Park for the first time?

Awalt: I’m a very emotional filmgoer, and I can still vividly remember the feelings Jurassic Park triggered in me. Watching the film the first time was an adrenaline shot to the frontal lobe, as it plays to so many emotional areas in its viewers. It’s awe-inspiring, terrifying, hilarious, and damned exciting throughout its running time.

You care for its characters — despite critics calling them “cardboard,” as they once did with Indiana Jones, these characters have the right shading for a plot-centric film and winning performances by likable actors so that audiences are fully engaged with them.

One personal note about my first viewing of the film: I stupidly had the tips of my sneakers resting on a crossbar on the bottom of the theater seat in front of me (this was pre-stadium seating and luxury chairs), and the person occupying it got so scared by something in the film, they jerked back violently in their chair and pinched the tips of my toes! Hurt like hell, but the pain couldn’t tear me from the movie for long.

Matessino: I can remember a palpable sense of anticipation on opening day, June 11, 1993. I saw it at the AMC 14 in Burbank, which was state-of-the-art at the time. But a few years later it was torn down and they built a new 16-screen complex across the street that has a Dolby Cinema. That whole area has changed and it’s basically right where the T-Rex chased people down the street in The Lost World. Anyway, this was in the last days before the Internet when you had to go to the cinema to buy the tickets in advance and then get on a ticket holders’ line. If you wanted a good seat, you got there early and waited. Consequently a lot of anticipation built and people on line started talking to each other. But now a lot of this social aspect of moviegoing has vanished. We click-click our mobile devices and get an assigned seat, scan our phone at the door and quietly walk to our recliner chair sometimes without speaking to another person other than whoever we’re with. And if there is a line to ever wait, everyone is staring at a phone the whole time. The theaters are nicer now but the social experience has changed, and for some reason when I reflect back on it, the opening day of Jurassic Park comes to my mind very vividly.

McBride: I felt like almost everyone else — overwhelmed by the wonderment of it all. I found in my research for Steven Spielberg: A Biography (1997), which I began working on in 1993, that in the Russian shtetlach from which some of Spielberg’s ancestors came, there often was a character known as “The Wonder Man.” He was a fellow who told stories that engaged people’s imagination with a sense of wonder and helped lift them out of their daily troubles. Spielberg is certainly “The Wonder Man” for modern movie audiences, even if he is much more as well, as a dedicated and ambitious maker of historical films and other dramas. But seeing the dinosaurs interact with humans so credibly in Jurassic Park was, and still is, pure cinematic magic of the highest order. The process by which this was created is shown vividly in an excellent documentary, John Schultz’s The Making of “Jurassic Park” (1995). I recommend that for anyone who wants to know how this cinematic advance from the old forms of stop-motion animation was achieved.

But naturally it’s a shame the old forms were rendered “obsolete” (a line uttered during production by stop-motion animator/dinosaur supervisor Phil Tippet and incorporated into the film by Spielberg), since they were so literally wonderful in their way, as the films of Ray Harryhausen and others demonstrate. Even though Jurassic Park holds up very well, today CGI has come a tremendous distance technically. But it’s so overused and so dominant in American filmmaking that I hope I never see another CGI effect again. Or at least not so many that they swamp the storytelling and become an end in themselves, as is too often the case today. Large-scale features today are mostly cartoons. The audience in effect is saying what the psychologically unhinged Blanche says in Tennessee Williams’s A Streetcar Named Desire: “I don’t want realism. I want magic!” People not surprisingly find the modern world almost unbearable and desperately want to escape, even more than they did in the Depression era. We’ve lost a lot with this overindulgence in fantasy. Not everything needs to be “realistic” — a malleable concept in any case — but not as much of our entertainment should be purely fantastical and escapist.

Coate: In what way is Jurassic Park a significant motion picture?

Awalt: I think some critics use this to take away from the quality of Jurassic Park as a movie itself, but without argument the most significant part of Jurassic Park so far as its influence on cinema is its epochal visual effects work. Audiences up to 1993 had never seen anything like the dinosaurs in Jurassic Park, having become accustomed to all manner of once innovative special effects makeup, puppetry, and stop- and go-motion animation. But Dennis Muren and his team were giants standing on their own broad shoulders with the strides they made from computer-generated visual effects throughout the 1980s — from Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan to Young Sherlock Holmes, Willow, The Abyss and Terminator 2. Jurassic Park was the first time identifiable, non-fantasy creatures truly lived and breathed on the screen despite being composed of nothing more than binary code and polygons. The dinosaurs then and even now feel wholly real, so much so that I’d argue the digital effects in Jurassic Park still stand superior to some CG-animated films made in this era, twenty-five years on.

It’s too easy to discount the physical special effects in Jurassic Park alongside the CG dinosaurs, however, and I think that’s another part of the film’s secret of enchantment. Stan Winston and crew’s full-scale dinosaur creations are every bit as important as the CG in the film, as they’re an integral part of the illusions. Without them, the film would not be complete.

Finally, it takes a filmmaker as deeply imaginative, but also technically savvy as Steven Spielberg to orchestrate these elements and bring them all together into a cohesive whole that works with his intricate vision as a storyteller, in both moments and big picture. There are other filmmakers who would have made wonderful adaptations of the Crichton book, no doubt, but the project landed in the right, highly skilled hands, heart and imagination.

Matessino: Its greatest significance is probably in the field of computer generated visual effects. There was a lot of buzz about that at the time, and the brilliant thing is that story itself was about a breakthrough technology making it possible to do something that could never been done before. So there was a clear parallel between the experience of the audience and the experience of the characters within the story. There are a lot of elements that suggest the whole thing is a movie within a movie, and it’s something the audience gets to be in on, perhaps subconsciously. This brings me back again to the experience of seeing the movie on opening day because I remember being aware of this aspect of the experience. There was also the digital sound, which itself was groundbreaking. So at the technical level this was a very significant picture, not just in how movies would be made, but it also played a role in how cinemas would change, and also in how movies would be marketed. It’s a textbook summer blockbuster.

McBride: For the reasons I outlined [earlier in the interview], the film is historically significant for its technical advances and achievements. But too often people talk about Spielberg films purely in terms of technology. He is a master craftsman, but he is also a great storyteller and a marvelous director of actors. That latter talent is seldom remarked-upon, but Anson Williams, who was a youthful actor in a Spielberg TV show and went on to become a director himself, told me, “Any director can get a great performance out of Al Pacino. Not every director can get a great performance out of a rubber puppet.” The dramatic spine of Jurassic Park is not the confrontation with dinosaurs per se but the Sam Neill character’s irrational hatred for children and how he overcomes it in the course of the story. That’s a quintessentially Spielbergian theme. The Neill character becomes the protector of the children beautifully played by Joseph Mazzello and Ariana Richards, and they and he and the Laura Dern character silently form a symbolic new “family” at the end. Most viewers seem to miss that running theme (people often don’t notice silent storytelling), or if they do, many reject it, since our culture too often hates children. Spielberg’s work was long obsessively concerned with irresponsible father figures. Oskar Schindler is another, and in that film too he learns to become responsible for his “family” of “Schindler Jews.”

In more recent years, Spielberg has put some of his family demons to rest by reconciling with his father, Arnold, who is still with us at the age of 101. In my 1997 biography I revealed that Arnold, with whom I had a rare interview, was unfairly blamed for the breakup of the family (as Steven now realizes, and as his late mother, Leah, admitted) and that Arnold, a computer pioneer and amateur filmmaker, helped guide Steven in his early filmmaking. That theme of the irresponsible father was brought to a degree of rest with the depiction of the relationship between John Quincy Adams (Anthony Hopkins) and his late father, John Adams, in Spielberg’s superb and underrated 1997 film Amistad. In some other late films Steven has gone back and forth between dealing with irresponsible father figures and mother figures (though there was one of those in Sugarland Express as well, not long after his parents’ divorce, which so traumatized him). An artist never quite escapes his obsessions, but Spielberg has evolved a lot over the years as he ages. He’s been in something of a slump the last few years but undoubtedly will recover.

Coate: In what way was Spielberg an ideal choice (or not) to direct, and where does the movie rank among his body of work?

Awalt: It takes a filmmaker as deeply imaginative, but also technically savvy as Steven Spielberg to orchestrate [all of the] elements and bring them all together into a cohesive whole that works in both moments and big picture. There are other filmmakers who would have made wonderful adaptations of the Crichton book, no doubt, but the project landed in the right, highly skilled hands, heart and imagination.

Matessino: I remember Siskel & Ebert appearing on David Letterman’s show to discuss that summer’s movies and they gave Jurassic Park two thumbs-up, but said “just don’t go in expecting Jaws.” And that’s probably a fair assessment. Obviously Jaws, Raiders, E.T. and Schindler’s List are considered Spielberg’s greatest and most successful films, so while Jurassic Park might not have quite hit that level, it’s actually the Jaws for that generation. And Spielberg was the perfect choice to direct it. He had a long history with Michael Crichton that went back to 1971: when Crichton visited Universal at the time when The Andromeda Strain was being made, it was a young Spielberg who was asked to show him around the lot. Later they did ER together. Steven Spielberg has a passion for and fascination with technology, but technology tends to fail in the stories he tells and some of his film have themes that warn of the dangers of its misuse or our complacency about it, most recently Ready Player One. So Jurassic Park was perfect for him in that it was a way for him to revisit the same genre of Jaws while also addressing some of these technology themes as well as themes about family and procreation. And he got to do all of this through a movie that itself was a technological breakthrough.

McBride: One of my director friends was also competing for the job of directing this film version of Michael Crichton’s novel, but he wanted to portray the Richard Attenborough character, the elderly theme-park creator, in a darker, more satirical light. My friend felt that Spielberg would identify too much with that character as a creator of theme park attractions, even if they run amok, and that is what happened to the film. But Spielberg’s ambivalent fondness for that character helps make Jurassic Park a personal film, along with the reconstituted-family theme. You could call the Attenborough character the “irresponsible grandfather figure.” Spielberg does show a certain satirical distance from the character from time to time — Spielberg’s advanced penchant for parody is seldom recognized — but clearly he loves the old guy for bringing dinosaurs to life as he himself does in the film, regardless of the consequences (and he learns a lesson from that too, the familiar one from horror films of the danger of man tampering with nature). The fact that the character is played by an important film director is no accident. After Attenborough won the Directors Guild of America Award in 1983 for Gandhi over E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial, he generously, and accurately, told Spielberg, while passing his table, that he should have won.

And certainly the film Spielberg made of Jurassic Park is miles ahead of the Michael Crichton source novel artistically, which is partly due to the smoothly efficient script David Koepp wrote with Crichton that brings out more human values latent in the story. Crichton does not know how to write people, and though his scientific discussions are often fascinating (if sometimes mumbo-jumbo), his writing style is flat and pedestrian. It’s astonishing what a semiliterate piece of junk his sequel novel The Lost World is, and the 1997 film sequel version is one of Spielberg’s few truly bad films. The director’s heart was not in it, and it shows; he only made it because he couldn’t bring himself to let someone else do the first sequel, as had happened with the Jaws sequels. But as Crichton said of Spielberg in 1995, after they made Jurassic Park, “He is arguably the most influential popular artist of the twentieth century. And arguably the least understood.”

Coate: By the time of the production of Jurassic Park, Spielberg’s team seemed a well-oiled machine with numerous long-time collaborators (Kahn, Williams, Kennedy/Marshall, ILM, etc.). In what way did Jurassic Park benefit from this type of collaboration?

Awalt: I’m not entirely sure the film could’ve been made as we now have it if not for the team of collaborators who’d been working together for over a decade.

Matessino: When you put together the right football team, you keep it intact if they’re on a winning streak. So Jurassic Park benefited entirely from this “well-oiled machine,” as you describe it, not just by making the movie itself, but in Amblin acquiring the rights to such a lucrative property. That was a big boon for the company and the success of Jurassic World two years ago demonstrated that it was a pretty good investment. Also, Jurassic Park had to be made in a specific time window because Spielberg immediately left to make Schindler’s List right after. So he needed his reliable team to handle the postproduction, which was done in conjunction with Lucasfilm, and coordinated by Kathy Kennedy, who is now its president. So I think this team of filmmakers was essential in making Jurassic Park a success.

Coate: How does the Jurassic Park movie compare to the novel on which it was based?

Awalt: The film is famously known for having more heart, more character, more humor than the novel itself. The book, as are most Michael Crichton novels, is very technical, wherein Crichton and David Koepp’s script is lighter on its feet when imparting the technobabble integral to our understanding the plot. Casting Jeff Goldblum in particular was a master stroke to help with such exposition, not only given his proved, deft and winning verbal patter with such material (e.g. David Cronenberg’s The Fly from 1986), but with the singular character Goldblum breathed into his portrayal of Dr. Ian Malcolm.

And of course Richard Attenborough’s John Hammond is avuncular and despite his unchecked enthusiasms and ultimate folly, miles apart from the more simplistic and wholly self-serving and corrupted Hammond of the novel. You can’t imagine the film’s Hammond meeting the same fate — let alone deserving of it — as the Hammond of Crichton’s novel.

Ultimately, it is Spielberg’s personality, Koepp’s playfulness as a screenwriter and the charming ensemble cast that helps make Jurassic Park as a film a more multifaceted affair. The movie has heart, but it also has moments in it that can rip your heart out. I think that very thing applies to many of Spielberg’s adventure-thrillers.

Matessino: The film is very streamlined in the way any good adaptation should be, and from a character standpoint I think the film made all the right choices, from making the Hammond character sympathetic to reversing the ages of the children, to making the Ellie Satler character a contemporary and love interest of Alan Grant rather than his young intern — this gave the film a way to address the themes about family and parenting. As far as the dinosaurs were concerned I have to admit that all of the scenes I was hoping to see did not appear in the film, and some of them were even drawn as preproduction art. But they all eventually appeared in the sequels. There is also a lot more science in the novel, which is Crichton’s forte, but that was also streamlined in the film, but in the correct way.

Coate: How do you think the subsequent Jurassic movies stack up against the original movie?

Awalt: While the sequels all have their delights, I don’t know that anything stacks up to the original film. It’s one of those movies that just has all the right elements to it. That said, I do think that The Lost World has one of the greatest set pieces of Steven Spielberg’s entire career in it, the impossibly tense and terrifying sequence where the T-Rex push the conjoined lengths of trailers over the edge of a cliff, causing Julianne Moore’s character to land on an increasingly fragile pane of glass that’s the only thing keeping her from falling to her death in a chasm far below. It’s one of the most grueling, punishing sequences of suspense you could watch in any film, expert in every note. Without a doubt on par with the roadside T-Rex attack in the original film.

Matessino: As with most multi-film series, I don’t think the original can be touched. The Lost World is a film Spielberg has admitted he was not particularly happy with, but it was successful and there are many good things in it. It takes the idea into a darker, grittier place. Joe Johnston’s Jurassic Park III takes a lot of criticism, but it’s a short movie that delivers the dinosaur action and you get in and out quickly. It’s not a bloated self-important lumbering sequel, and I happen to appreciate that. Jurassic World relaunched the series in a spectacular way, giving the current generation their Jurassic Park movie.

Coate: What is the legacy of Jurassic Park?

Awalt: Jurassic Park is beloved as a movie, so much so that its legacy lives on to this very day in the Jurassic World franchise. Clearly people can’t get enough of these stories, characters and majestic and monstrous beasts from prehistory that hubris has wrought and brought into our modern world. I’m personally very excited to see Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, if only because as history over the last twenty-five years has shown us, it’s going to be one helluva time at the movies this summer.

Matessino: There’s a new film in the series opening, so we’re living in the legacy. Audiences still watch Jurassic Park, which is the greatest legacy for any movie when it’s twenty-five years old. It will forever be marked by film historians as a flashpoint for digital effects and digital cinema and an essential movie in studying the career of Steven Spielberg.

Coate: Thank you — Steven, Mike, and Joseph — for participating and sharing your thoughts about Jurassic Park on the occasion of its 25th anniversary.




Selected images copyright/courtesy Amblin Entertainment, Universal Pictures, Universal Pictures Home Entertainment. Home-video collage by Cliff Stephenson. DTS logo artwork courtesy Bobby Henderson. DTS discs photo courtesy Blaine Young.

Jurassic Park



The primary references for this project were regional newspaper coverage and trade reports and articles published in Billboard, Boxoffice, The Hollywood Reporter, Variety and Widescreen Review. Selected details referenced from BoxOfficeMojo.com, CinemaTour.com, CinemaTreasures.org, and Movie-Theatre.org. All figures and data included in this article pertain to the United States and Canada except where stated otherwise.

Steven Spielberg



Jerry Alexander, Brad Allen, Bernie Anderson Jr., Steven Awalt, Claude Ayakawa, Mike Babb, Jim Barg, Don Beelik, Martin Brooks, Mark Campbell, Raymond Caple, Jonathan M. Crist, DATASAT Digital Entertainment, Nick DiMaggio, Mike Durrett, Mitchell Dvoskin, John Eickhof, Monte L. Fullmer, Aaron Garman, Paul Gordon, Nicholas Grieco, Steve Guttag, Edward Havens, John Hazelton, Bobby Henderson, Manny Knowles, Bill Kretzel, Ron Lacheur, Ronald A. Lee, Mark Lensenmayer, Victor Liorentas, Dave Macaulay, Stan Malone, Adam Martin, Mike Matessino, Joseph McBride, Gordon McLeod, Brad Miller, Chris Mosel, Tom Mundell, Gabriel Neeb, Scott Neff, Tim O’Neill, Jim Perry, Tom Procyk, Joe Redifer, Lyle Romer, Greg Routenburg, Daniel Schulz, Jesse Skeen, Cliff Stephenson, Terry Lynn-Stevens, Chris Strobel, Sean Weitzel, Jason Whyte, Blaine Young, Vince Young, and a huge thank-you to all of the librarians who helped with the research for this project.



  • Richard Kiley (“Jurassic Park Tour Voice”), 1922-1999
  • Bob Peck (“Muldoon”), 1945-1999
  • Stan Winston (Live Action Dinosaurs), 1946-2008
  • Lata Ryan (Associate Producer), 19??-2008
  • Greg Burson (“Mr. D.N.A. Voice”), 1949-2008
  • Michael Crichton (novel, screenplay), 1942-2008
  • Jophery Brown (“Worker in Raptor Pen”), 1945-2014
  • Richard Attenborough (“Hammond”), 1923-2014


-Michael Coate

Michael Coate can be reached via e-mail through this link. (You can also follow Michael on social media at these links: Twitter and Facebook) 

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