Jurassic World stomped all over the box office, shattering records, and earning a total gross 1.67 billion dollars – so it’s no surprise the sequel can safely afford a little extra wiggle room with the budget. The first film reportedly cost around 150 million dollars to make (not counting marketing and partnership investments), and the sequel is lined up to increase the budget. That said, recent headlines have jumped the gun about the exact number.
Spanish magazine XL Semanal ran a cover story on director J.A. Bayona, where the reports of an alleged 260 million dollar budget came from. However, before we go further: shortly after this information began making circulation, Slashfilm updated their article saying that a contact with Universal denied the report. Slashfilms source states that the budget has yet to be set, and they are still in the stages of pre-production where the factors that play into those decisions are evolving. They go on to say that it is unlikely the final budget will be anywhere close to that large of a number.
While this conflicts with the publications report, it’s incredibly unlikely that XL Semanal meant to misreport. In all likelihood, they were given that number as a ballpark estimate from their own sources and snuck it into a question for possible confirmation. When they bring up the budget, Bayona deflects the question stating that he hasn’t mentioned a 200million + budget to them prior, and certainly does not confirm the figure. Personally, I think 260million skews too high – though I wouldn’t be surprised to see a number like 200~225 million when it’s all said and done.
It’s worth noting that movie budgets are constantly in flux in the stages of early development. Reports stated that Jurassic World initially targeted a 185million budget, before being slashed down to 100~120 (citing the film Oblivion’s budget as a target). However, shortly after the budget talks were in flux, the movie was delayed to further develop the story, and the production happily landed on a healthy 150million dollar budget.
On the subject of money, there seems to be an ongoing commentary online that hopes a budget boost will equal more practical effects. Ultimately, while not always true, practical effects are usually not more expensive than CGI. What practical effects usually cost is something more vital, and most productions are short on: time. To create a practical puppet or animatronic of a Dinosaur, the design has to be locked in well in advance to produce the effect needed. Further, what the puppet needs to achieve on camera needs to be decided in advance, and planned. With CG, these things can more easily be changed on the spot and in post if needed, which is what most producers are comfortable with. Animatronics are a risk worth taking, but often times it’s hard to sell that fact to those in charge of spending the money.. the flexibility and safety net CG allows is very attractive.
Last I’ve heard, the dinosaurs designs are still early for the upcoming sequel, and have yet to be finalized. While I wouldn’t be surprised to see at least one practical creature, I unfortunately doubt we will see much more than the Apatosaurus animatronic from Jurassic World. However, a budget boost could still lead to better VFX and the tools to realize them, even when still utilizing heavier use of CG. CGI is an amazing artistic tool that movies often put to great use, but I do feel there was room for improvement with many of the Jurassic World dinosaurs.
No matter what the budget is for Jurassic World 2 is, it’s safe to say it will be afforded more than its predecessor. But it’s important to remember, a higher budget doesn’t always mean a better movie (nor does it mean worse). I’m personally hoping that a budget boost doesn’t mean more VFX shots, simply even better looking ones.. and perhaps the ability to film in unique locations!
So while this latest news cycle is a bit of ‘no news’, it has opened up an interesting dialog online. For those who want something new, I’ve got you covered: here’s a picture from the Los Angeles NBC Universal lot from about 2 weeks ago, where a Jurassic World 2 production meeting was held with special emphasis on Mattel! It’s not much, but is fun to see some evidence of the production in motion.
As always, stay tuned for the latest news, and sound off in the comments below!