This article is a guest contribution by Thomas Fishenden.
February has come to be an exciting time for Jurassic World fans – with New York Toy Fair usually leading to the reveal of a plethora of Jurassic merchandise which fans of the franchise will have the opportunity to sink their teeth into over the coming year. This year’s Toy Fair brought more with it than usual, however, with Mattel’s sales reps giving us a tantalization tease in the form of a secret which they weren’t meant to let slip on the show floor. According to them, fans of their toyline could look forward to both a Nasutoceratops and a brand-new Allosaurus joining their line, modeled on an upcoming live action short film which was set to debut before Universal’s ‘Hobbs and Shaw’ – the next instalment in their popular Fast and Furious franchise.
During May, two brand-new dual attack figures from Mattel hit store shelves, featuring new branding which called out this short in the form of a small graphics stating that these characters were ‘As seen in Battle at Big Rock’. But, more than two weeks after the release of Hobbs & Shaw, this highly anticipated short film is still nowhere to be seen.
The absence didn’t come as a massive surprise to Outpost. It was already heard that there had been a little bit of trouble over the experimental films budget, which had reportedly exceeded the ten-million-dollar threshold. With such a high-cost for what was to be a smaller story, it appears the studio decided late in the game that they had wanted a more traditional content delivery method. This is most likely a step to try and turn a profit on the project, given the large cost which ended up being attached to it.
However, all this silence and behind the scenes uncertainty has led to a growth of pessimism within the online community. Rather than build excitement and anticipation, many Jurassic fans are now worried whether this project will ever see the light of day.
Check out the new Takara Tomy Nasutoceratops and Allosaurus toys, coming later this year!
— Jurassic Outpost (@JurassicOutpost) May 31, 2019
Despite several toys with ‘Battle at Big Rock’ branding already being available for several months now, Universal Pictures have still yet to acknowledge that this short film even exists. This radio silence from the studio has, understandably, got many members of the fan base worried about the direction this project may take. You may remember that, recently, we debuted some storyboards from a scrapped Jurassic Park: The Lost World animated show, which never saw the light of day. It is safe to say that cancelled projects like this, combined with a track record of production troubles for the Jurassic franchise have led to many fans becoming used to exciting new projects suddenly disappearing from the Universal release calendar. Even more troubling than this is the fact that Walmart (who have had a solid track-record with carrying Mattel products) have now decided to drop the ‘Dual Attack’ line altogether – suggesting that this may be a move to remove the Allosaurus and Nasutoceratops from shelves altogether. It strikes us as bizarre that, even before the project’s release, Universal seem to be taking steps to kill the tie-in synergy which they pushed for the short.
Whether Big Rock was intended to debut as a secret project or not, it is safe to say that Jurassic fans now know this project exists. Continuing to maintain a degree of secrecy when products from the short are already available seems to be a gross misjudgement of the community, and one which we hoped is rectified sooner rather than later. We’re hopeful that the powers that be will hear the concerns of the fanbase, and will let us know that this Battle is far from over. There are still many more adventures to explore in a Jurassic World.