Jurassic Park 3 is the third installment in the Jurassic Park series released on July 18, 2001 – directed by Joe Johnston and written by Peter Buchman, Alexander Payne and Jim Taylor. The film is produced by Kathleen Kennedy and Larry Franco, with Steven Spielberg serving as executive producer. It is the first film in the series to not be an adaptation of a novel by Michael Crichton.
Alan Grant is tricked into helping find a couple’s missing son on INGEN’s Isla Sorna. However, once they become stranded on the island, the group must fight for survival while trying to find a way to escape.
The notion of a third Jurassic Park movie became apparent upon the release of “The Lost World”. In June 1998, it was announced that Jurassic Park 3 would be aiming for a summer 2000 release with Steven Spielberg producing and Michael Crichton writing the script. Director Joe Johnston was selected to direct the film in August 1999. At this time, Johnston and Craig Rosenberg were writing the script based of a story idea by Spielberg. Johnston had previously served as the art director on two of Spielberg’s Indiana Jones films, Raiders of the Lost Ark and Temple of Doom.
Throughout the development of the film, the script and plot remained to be a constant issue for the filmmakers. Rosenberg’s script was said to focus on a group of teenagers that become stuck on the island. This draft was later thrown out in favour of another idea. In March 2000, it was reported that William Goldman was rewriting the script. At the same time, production was set to return to Hawaii. However two months later, Peter Buchman was also attached to work on the script.
In May 2000, the plot was described to be a film in which a group of people become stranded on the island seen in The Lost World (Site B). It was also the first mention of a new large predator (which would end up being the Spinosaur) that would be replacing the iconic Tyrannosaurus Rex. It was only shortly afterwards that a logo featuring the Spinosaur leaked online. The logo also first revealed the title of the film “Jurassic Park 3” (the 3 being stylized as a claw mark) and was seen at the Licensing Show in New York City in June 2000.
With production slated to begin in the late July or early August of 2000, it was reported that there was still no script set in place. However, Sam Neill’s involvement was confirmed along with the information that Alessandro Nivola was in negotiations to star. By the middle of July 2000, additional writers Alexander Payne and Tom Perrotta had joined the film in order to add to the characterization to the script in preparation for filming to begin in August. Both Trevor Morgan and Téa Leoni joined the cast in early August. Laura Dern also returned as Ellie Satler for a minor role.
However, a few weeks before filming began the script was thrown out in favour of a new idea. Payne and Jim Taylor began writing again based on a story idea conceived by David Koepp. During filming, John August was added to help write the script. Fun fact, William H. Macy even tried his hand at writing a scene.
Stan Winston Studios once again returned to create the dinosaur animatronics.
Filming officially began on August 30, 2000 in Oahu, Hawaii. The island was used for exterior and aerial shots such as the landing strip and parasailing scenes at the beginning of the film. Over a week of filming took place on the island before filming shifted to Kauai, such as some parts of the river-boat scenes.
While on the island, there was an accident where a barge carrying lighting equipment was said to have capsized, resulting in damage to the equipment. Due to the lack of a complete script, the filming on Kauai was reduced to 10 days. Production would return to the island once the script was completed.
Production returned to the Universal Studio stages in Los Angeles, California. The film took use of several sound stages including, Stage 12 for the large jungle set and Spinosaur animatronic scenes; Stage 28 for aviary scenes; Stage 44 for the rock wall with flooded areas.
In addition to stage use, the Universal Studios backlot was also used. The Operations building seen in “The Lost World” was repurposed into the Embryonics Administration building. A large cliff face was also built for the Aviary sequences.
Like the previous instalments in the series, practical dinosaur effects were used in conjunction with digital creatures. Animatronics for a Spinosaur, Tyrannosaur, 2 Raptors (male and female), Pteranodon (adult and juveniles) were built and used on the sound stages.
Production used Occidental College in Los Angeles in addition to a residential area in Pasadena for a scene where Grant delivers a lecture and as Ellie Satler’s home respectively. Both were also meant to represent Washington, D.C. in the film.
Production returned to Hawaii at the start of January 2001 for a few days of additional filming.
The film wrapped filming on January 26, 2001 for a total of 149 days of production.
Industrial Light and Magic (ILM) were used for the visual effects. One of the key things that the effects team focused on was making the Raptors appear to be more bird-like than before. This was achieved was adding quick, sharp and controlled movements that are seen in modern birds of prey.
Don Davis provided the score for the film.
The film made $50,771,645 domestically in its opening weekend. It ended up making over $368 million worldwide.
Along with the release, Hasbro produced a toy line that featured figures for many of the main characters and dinosaurs featured in the film.
As with many blockbusters, there were several video game tie-ins, junior novelizations, and promotions with companies such as Burger King and LEGO.