Since the release of the original Jurassic Park in 1993, the franchise has grown in scale and fandom. With Jurassic World 2 – known as Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom – on the horizon, expected June 8th 2018 in the UK, Steven Spielberg’s beloved dinosaur franchise continues to evolve. The issue being debated is its unstable performance so far, with most of the sequels failing to draw the same approval ratings as the first film. So, what recipe is director JA Bayona – known for 2012’s The Impossible and this year’s A Monster Calls – concocting in the hopes of revitalising the saga’s success?
Enthusiasm and anticipation are being maintained through teasers, forums and spin-offs, these making a substantial contribution to the marketing process. The small and big screen has always been a source of inspiration for the wider entertainment industry, which, in turn, boosts the visibility of any given film or series. The latest rumours provided by the Scified network, for example, of a Jurassic World video game possibly being revisited by its developers, Perfect World Entertainment, after its 2015 cancellation has turned hopeful heads, eager to experience the same, if not better, thrills provided by titles such as Jurassic Park (1993) and Jurassic Park: Operation Genesis (2003).
Mattel. Inc., responsible for brands like Fisher Price, Barbie, and Hot Wheels, announced in July 2016 its selection by NBCUniversal over Hasbro as master toy licensee for Jurassic World starting 2017. A wide range of toys, including figures, vehicles and play-sets, designed by the collaborating companies will hit shelves in early 2018 alongside the next film itself. There is no such thing as age boundaries or half-measures when it comes to dino-mania. The public hungers for news and products that stimulate their imagination, helps them visualise the sheer majesty of the beings that once ruled the earth.
Fortunately, there is no shortage of news either as the Guardian elaborates on additions made to the already impressive mosaic of dinosaur species. The sauropods have claimed four unique and revolutionary specimens – Galeamopus pabsti, Vouivria damparisensis, Tengrisaurus starkovi and Moabosaurus utahensis – discovered all over the world: USA, France, Madagascar, Russia. Is it not as fascinating that their widespread existence in fact brings their admirers together? The excitement, support, and solidarity of this community is what motivates the entertainment and merchandising industries to keep supplying and making efforts to up their game.
The influence of the film industry does reach well beyond memorabilia – clothing, stationary, gadgets, homeware – to benefiting businesses, from factories and electronic stores to even casinos. Online platforms of the latter feature themed casino games of titles like Batman and The Joker Jewels, a game currently listed on the Oddschecker bonus site as one of the more popular slots out there. In the same way, many an electronic device has been graced with Jurassic Park’s slot game, something made possible by providers such as Videoslots. But there is only so much marketing can do. The rest is up to the film itself.
Chris Pratt and Bryce Dallas Howard will be reprising their roles, who, as Howard suggested when discussing the future of her character, Claire, will be quite different from how they started out, changed by the events of Jurassic World. Indeed, Den of Geek reports that Bayona’s vision for this instalment is darker and more involved with current political affairs, while sustaining the wow factor the franchise is all about. The dots between Jurassic Park and Jurassic World are being connected with the confirmed contribution of Dr Ian Malcolm, our favourite witty mathematician, specialised in ‘chaos theory’ and, of course, surviving dinos. Jeff Goldblum (right) is sure to add to the existing star power and so will Rexy and Blue, the last two featuring in their very own fan art and fiction across the globe.
The predictions, however, are as mixed as the reviews for Jurassic World. Even though the outcries over poor character development and a simplistic plot appear to have been noted, it remains to be seen how far they will be able to break from the typical “run from the escaped monsters” narrative. Fans’ expectations are not high, reserved to only speculating on existential and ecological twists or the creatures that might be encountered in the current sequel or those to come, like the Megalodon and paleontologically accurate feathered dinosaurs. Beating the $1 billion that the last instalment made in global revenue is one, likely achievable, feat. Telling a great story is another, something which sadly few blockbuster film-makers got right. We cross our fingers and pray that JA Bayona will prove to be one of them.
Top image: Lego – Jurassic World by Sarah Ackerman
Lower image: Jeff Goldblum by christopherharte