Flashback 1993: T-Rex Gets His Closeup

Twenty-three years ago today marks the world premiere of Jurassic Park in our nation’s capital. The movie, which cost $63 million to make, shattered all box office records at the time and gave us a newfound appreciation for prehistoric creatures. Who can forget the terrifying footfalls of the approaching Tyrannosaurus rex, which would become home theater demo fodder for years to come.

Following a $65 million marketing campaign, Jurassic Park grossed over $900 million worldwide in its original theatrical run to become the highest-grossing film at the time, a record held until the 1997 release of Titanic.

From The Wrap’s 2015 story commemorating the film’s anniversary:

The 1993 dinosaur blockbuster revolutionized the way movies were made, marketed and distributed with pioneering technology, concepts and strategies that are still employed today…

The velociraptor and other dinosaurs were created through a groundbreaking process that took more than a year, by combining computer-generated images created by George Lucas‘ Industry Light & Magic and life-sized animatronic models built by Stan Winston’s team. “A major gap has been crossed and things are never going to be the same,” Lucas said at the time, and he was right. CGI imagery has been a primary component of sci-fi, adventure and fantasy films ever since.

“I remember it scaring the hell out of me,” said Jeff Bock, Exhibitor Relations Co.’s senior media analyst. “The dinosaurs looked so real, and I recall seeing and hearing them breathe and getting the chills. It was a very visceral experience.” The unprecedented resonance, depth and clarity of the film’s audio was created by DTS, a company Spielberg invested in specifically for “Jurassic World.” The rib-rattling digital surround sound effects it created were unprecedented, and made many moviegoers aware for the first time just how much sound, and sound editing could mean to a movie.

1993 was a milestone year for director Steven Spielberg: Schindler’s List also hit theaters and became the third biggest film of the year behind Jurassic Park and The Sandlot.

CNN reports on the world premiere:

What’s your favorite Jurassic moment?

canman4pm's picture

I remember seeing Jurassic Park in the theatre a couple of days before its official release. A friend of mine worked at a theatre (which was brand new and had all the latest bells and whistles for the time) and was able to bring a guest to the employee advanced showing. Since we were both big-time movie buffs (and huge Spielberg fans), I was his natural (and usual) choice. Even more impressive than the visuals, was the sound.

The trailers started up, and since over half the audience were theatre employees, they weren't paying any attention. They had all seen them all a hundred times, and kept talking, so I could barely hear the trailers' soundtracks over the buzz of the crowd. I said to my buddy, "Shouldn't they turn up the volume for the show?" He said, "Just wait, this movie has one of the first digital soundtracks (which meant nothing to me). It'll be plenty loud." Boy, was he right. The trailers all had analogue sound and the volume difference alone, was impressive. Never mind the quality of that sound. All in all, a technological tour de force.