There's disagreement over whether or not Jurassic Park IV should be made, now that more than ten years have passed since the third installment, Jurassic Park III, turned a satisfying profit at the box office ($369 million worldwide on a $93 million budget); however, it also suggested this dino franchise should probably quit before it jumps the shark completely (cough, A Good Day to Die Hard, cough).
JP4 is being written by Rick Jaffa and Amanda Silver - the couple that breathed fresh life into the Planet of the Apes series - and directed by promising filmmaker Colin Trevorrow (Safety Not Guaranteed); that's made it easier to maintain a positive outlook towards the whole thing. Nonetheless, troubling new rumors, which concern behind the scenes developments on the fourth Jurassic Park movie installment, might change that.
UPDATE: Here is an official statement from Universal:
In coordination with filmmakers, Universal has decided to release Jurassic Park 4 at a later date giving the studio and filmmakers adequate time to bring audiences the best possible version of the fourth installment in Universal’s beloved franchise. We could not be more excited about the vision that Colin Trevorrow has created for this film, and we look forward to watching as he and the producers create another great chapter in this franchise's storied history.
This all started with alarming Tweets that were posted, then deleted, by members of the JP4 production team, which claimed that "JP4 On Hold" and "Hollywood creates and crushes dreams. Goodby JP4." Jurassic Park 4 News looked into the matter, only to turn up potential evidence that proves the project is on hold, and has led to several layoffs already. Initially, script problems were said to have been the cause; indeed, they were described as being serious enough to put the project in danger of being indefinitely postponed (or maybe canceled altogether).
However, there was reason to question that idea, seeing how Trevorrow released a location scouting image just last week. Sure enough, Jurassic Park 4 News was thereafter informed by "a reliable source" that JP4 has not been cancelled, but it has been put on a temporary hiatus, so as to allow Universal studio executives and the producers - while includes Frank Marshall (the Jason Bourne franchise) - to restructure the film a bit.
To quote the site's report:
... Not to worry however, as we are told that Colin Trevorrow is still directing the film and adds that the film will deliver on an EPIC scale. It is this "EPIC" demand by the studio however, which has lead to the current situation...
Frankly, that term "EPIC" doesn't mean much, with respect to a franchise that - say what you will about the story and human elements - has never failed to deliver incredible dinosaurs-centric set pieces and spectacle (unless we're talking about a Dino-Riders movie, like our Rob Keyes keeps championing). Both the writers and director working on JP4 earned their good reputation by making sci-fi genre entertainment that feature strong character-oriented storytelling - is this a sign that studio heads are watering those elements down, in place of more dazzling, but empty, action and special effects?
If these JP4 rumors are correct, then the situation may be comparable to that on The Amazing Spider-Man. There, Marc Webb - an indie movie director with no big-budget filmmaking experience (like Trevorrow) - was more focused on putting an imaginative spin on the superhero franchise, but ended up incorporating more spectacle for its own sake (at the behest of studio heads). Overall, the final result was a box office success, but the general critical and fan base reaction was good (but not great).
Could history repeat itself on Jurassic Park IV (in a good way, that is)? Yes, but there are some important differences between these two films. For one, Amazing Spider-Man had respectable source material and decades of quality comic book storytelling to draw from; by comparison, the Jurassic Park franchise has struggled to justify its existence - for reasons that don't include making money - going back to author Michael Crichton's book sequel, The Lost World.
Moreover, the Jurassic Park sequels banked on a generation's nostalgia for director Steven Spielberg's original (and, by today's standards, still pretty fantastic) roller coaster ride blockbuster experience. However, while many older fans were willing to forgive Amazing Spider-Man for being a retelling of the same story (for a younger generation), they might not be so kind if Jurassic Park IV, likewise, fails to deliver the goods it has promised.
That's something to consider, seeing how Universal wants this film to resurrect the franchise - by giving moviegoers something they haven't seen before - and generate enough goodwill to create a demand for Jurassic Park V (and maybe even beyond). The problem is, nowadays, it's harder to coast by on the promise of shiny bells and whistles alone, in the current blockbuster landscape.
What are you feelings about Jurassic Park IV right now - yay or nay? Let us know in the comments section; meanwhile, we will continue to keep you posted on the situation as more information becomes available.
Source: Jurassic Park 4 News