Posts Tagged ‘universal’

“When Pirates of the Caribbean breaks down, the pirates don’t eat the tourists.”

Ah, Jurassic Park. A classic. Back when Stephen Spielberg was directing as opposed to producing, Jurassic Park was a marvel of special effects for its time.

For you novel purists, studios such as Warner Bros., Columbia TriStar, 20th Century Fox, and Universal had already begun bidding to acquire the picture rights before Michael Chrichton’s book was even published. Spielberg, with the backing of Universal Studios, acquired the rights to the novel before its publication in 1990, and Crichton himself was hired by Universal Studios for an additional $500,000 to adapt the novel into a proper screenplay.

David Koepp wrote the final draft, which left out much of the novel’s exposition and violence, and made numerous changes to the characters.

During its release, the film grossed more than $914 million worldwide, becoming the most successful film released up to that time, it is currently the 15th highest grossing feature film, and it is the most financially successful film for NBC Universal and Steven Spielberg.

Michael Crichton originally conceived a screenplay about a graduate student who recreates a dinosaur; he continued to wrestle with his fascination with dinosaurs and cloning until he began writing the novel Jurassic Park. Spielberg learned of the novel in October 1989 while he and Crichton were discussing a screenplay that would become the television series ER.

Before the book was published, Crichton demanded a non-negotiable fee of $1.5 million as well as a substantial percentage of the gross.

For you LOST fans, you may recognize the location of the scene where the Tyrannosaurus Rex chases the Gallimimus as Hurley’s golf course (then again, I may be looking too closely). T

he American Film Institute named Jurassic Park the 35th most thrilling film of all time on June 13, 2001, and Bravo chose the scene in which Lex and Tim are stalked by two Raptors in the kitchen as the 95th scariest of all time in 2005.

On Empire magazine’s fifteenth anniversary in 2004, it judged Jurassic Park the sixth most influential film of the magazine’s lifetime. Empire called the first encounter with a Brachiosaurus the 28th most magical moment in cinema.


In ’73 George Lucas asked ”Where were you in ’62?” and helped popularize the notion of nostalgia for the recent past. He even invented a plausible reason for the film’s wall-to-wall music, a then-revolutionary conceit: Nearly every character was near a radio tuned to Wolfman Jack.

Universal wanted Lucas and producer Gary Kurtz to hire an orchestra for sound-alikes. The studio eventually proposed a flat deal that offered every music publisher the same amount of money. This was acceptable to most of the companies representing Lucas’s first choices, but not to RCA – with the consequence that Elvis Presley is conspicuously absent from the soundtrack. “I used the absence of music, and sound effects, to create the drama,” Lucas later explained. In any event, ’50s and ’60s music (ranging from Bill Haley and His Comets toThe Beach Boys) provides the film’s score. All home video versions contain the entirety of this music with no changes or rescore.

American Graffiti wove the music seamlessly into the plot. While the plot centers on the lives of several graduating high school students, the importance of music in the ’60’s shines through. The film focused on music and life while not being a rehash of Woodstock.  American Graffiti is a stunning example of the right way to incorporate non-composed music into a film.

Scott Pilgrim vs. The World targets a very specific audience (Michael Cera fans). Some have said that the plot is “too hipstery”. And, you know the thing about hipsters. They only watch movies that are obscure and in a foreign language.

The fact remains that Pilgrim was handily trounced by both The Expendables and Eat, Pray, Love. For those of you that didn’t see a movie this weekend, for shame!

Universal’s Pilgrim traveled to just $10.6 million in a fifth-place launch. The studio puts the pic’s negative cost at $60 million after accounting for $25 million in tax credits.

“If that film had been made for $15 milion-$20 million, nobody would be crying,” an executive at a rival studio said Monday. “But you have an offbeat movie with an offbeat title starring somebody who is sort of a niche-targeted guy to begin with.”

Michael Cera’s topline turn in the comics-spawned Pilgrim followed his roles in indie fare including this year’s “Youth in Revolt,” a $15.3 million domestic performer for Dimension, and “Paper Heart,” which took in less than $2 million for Overture after unspooling in August 2009.

Even Cera’s pairing with Jack Black in Sony’s $43 million grosser Year One last summer represents mere chump change compared with his $144 million and $122 million outings among the ensemble casts of Fox Searchlight’s Juno and Sony’s Superbad, respectively, in 2007. By contrast, Love boasts the marquee magic of Julia Roberts and is based on a best-seller.

I feel like there’s some kind of irony in here, but I just can’t put my finger on it.