Jurassic Park: Steven Spielberg’s Film Was the Definition of Groundbreaking for How it Inspired 3 Billion Dollar Franchises Years Later 

Jurassic Park has had a bigger impact on cinema than you realize!

jurassic park, steven spielberg
Credits: Romain DUBOIS/Wikimedia Commons

SUMMARY

  • Jurassic Park, when it came out in 1993, proved exactly how technology could play a huge role in movie-narratives.
  • The movie also inspired a number of filmmakers to produce their own iconic projects.
  • This includes Peter Jackson for the LOTR trilogy, James Cameron's Avatar, and George Lucas' Star Wars Prequel trilogy.
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Steven Spielberg’s Jurassic Park came out way back in 1993, and was truly a landmark project due to a plethora of reasons. The classic story of what happens when human beings set out to play god came with some groundbreaking VFX and special effects, the kind that effectively brought increased the threshold of possibility when it came to how special effects could help filmmakers expand their horizons.

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Generating a whopping $1.05 billion against a budget of $63 million, the movie not only sparked a franchise but also in some ways inspired a total of 3 further billion-dollar franchises. These include George Lucas’ Star Wars, James Cameron’s Avatar, and Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings, all trilogies.

How Jurassic Park inspired (at least) 3 billion-dollar franchises that came years later!

Sam Neill suffered a horrific injury while filming Jurassic Park
A still from Jurassic Park | Universal Pictures

George Lucas returned to direct The Phantom Menace after previously directing 1977’s original Star War film. The decision in itself, was a result of the fact that Lucas had always looked to push the limits of technology in his films, which initially led to him creating the franchise in the first place.

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While that was true with respect to the original trilogy as well, the advent of visual effects by the time Jurassic Park came around meant that Lucas now had an all new method of storytelling. The director’s love for technology meant that he was disillusioned after working on his extremely popular Indiana Jones series, of which the initial trilogy concluded in 1989 in the form of Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade.

According to TheThings, Lucas himself explained how his return to the Star Wars franchise for the prequel series was in itself down to technology:

My decision to make Episode I was more or less driven by technology. The first three Star Wars films were designed very, very carefully to be done cheaply. We didn’t go to any big cities, we didn’t have a lot of costumes, we didn’t have a lot of extras. We didn’t have a lot of the things that cost money on a movie like that. So it was really driven by what I could afford. You have to remember, the first film was made for 13 million dollars. Today, that same film costs 300 million dollars. Even in those days, 2001 cost like 25 million dollars. And I think we had more special effects than that did.

Of course, the decision did work out, considering the fact that the Prequel trilogy in itself grossed over $1.1 billion at the box office (Box Office Mojo). Hence, as Jurassic Park demonstrated for the first time just how far technology had gone when it comes to movie-making, Lucas’ response to the advancements was a return to a franchise he originally kickstarted in 1977.

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James Cameron’s Avatar and Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings were also impacted by Jurassic Park

Avatar 2 The Way of Water
James Cameron’s Avatar. | 20th Century Studios

James Cameron’s Avatar, the first iteration of which came out in 2009, did in some ways exactly what Jurassic Park had done in the 90s. The movie brought forth remarkable visuals and effects, and was another example of just how quickly technology was advancing when it came to overall industry. The movie, which grossed $2.9 billion at the box office, actually took in another aspect of Jurassic Park. (Box Office Mojo)

It ended up reusing sound effects from Steven Spielberg’s movie the dire horse, which adds to the influence Jurassic Park has had on the overall franchise. Moving on, Peter Jackson also set out to create his own landmark project following the success of Jurassic Park, in the form of the Lord of the Rings trilogy.

A still from The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers
A still from The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers | New Line Cinema

Not only was Jackson convinced, due to Jurassic Park, that a favorable depiction of JRR Tolkien’s work was now possible, he wanted to create a franchise that was not directly derivative of the original novels. According to Brian Sibley’s book Peter Jackson: A Film-maker’s Journey, Jackson’s newfound faith in technology allowed him to create his own unique depiction of a narrative that was already loved by fans worldwide. (via Screen Rant)

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Considering the franchise also became a billion-dollar baby, garnering over $2.9 billion worldwide (Box Office Mojo), it will be fair to say that 1993’s Jurassic Park was not a mammoth project simply because of the extent of its success. The ways in which it managed to inspire multiple other filmmakers is also praiseworthy.  

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Written by Rishabh Bhatnagar

Articles Published: 74

Rishabh Bhatnagar is an Entertainment and pop culture journalist/editor with Fandom Wire. He has more than 6 years of experience working for multiple major platforms and is himself an avid consumer of worthwhile content. A natural storyteller, Rishabh has a unique way with words and is always looking to improve, as a storyteller, writer, and a journalist.