Thursday, June 18, 2015

Jurassic Park -- Jurassic World

Here's a story I wrote for AntiqueWeek about Jurassic Park collectibles and Jurassic World, which had just been announced at the time. The article was published in Sept. of 2013. 
Universal Pictures has announced the title and release date of the fourth movie in the Jurassic Park series. Jurassic World, filmed in 3D and directed by Colin Trevorrow (Safety Not Guaranteed), will stomp into theaters June 12, 2015.

As with the first three films—Jurassic Park, The Lost World: Jurassic Park, and Jurassic Park IIIJurassic World will be based on characters and situations created by Michael Crichton, who kick-started the popular dinosaur franchise in 1990 with his best-selling novel, Jurassic Park, in which genetically created dinosaurs run amok in an amusement park.
The Jurassic World announcement coincides (roughly) with the 20th anniversary of the original Jurassic Park movie, which came out in June of 1993, a busy summer that also saw the debut of such films as The Firm, The Fugitive, Sleepless in Seattle, Cliffhanger, and Robin Hood: Men in Tights.
Backed by a $65 million marketing campaign, Jurassic Park earned more than $900 million worldwide, making it the highest grossing film of all time up until that point (Titanic passed it in 1997, followed by others). In April of this year, Jurassic Park was re-released in theaters in 3D to celebrate the film’s 20 years of enduring popularity, pushing it past the $1 billion mark and making it the 13th highest grossing film of all time.

The initial release of Jurassic Park, which wowed theater goers with its cutting edge special effects, was accompanied by a slew of merchandise (there were more than 100 licensees in all), much of which has skyrocketed in price. An unopened box of Topps trading cards will only set you back $15-$20 or so, same with an unopened paint-by-numbers kit and various small action figures, but the more desirable toys—the larger dinosaurs, vehicles, and playsets—are another story, as evidenced by the following recently completed eBay sales:

 *Boxed “Demon” Carnotaurus with Attacking Jaws: $505 (plus $16.85)
*Mint-in-box Electronic Command Compound 339.99 (plus $85.85 shipping).
*Mint-in-box Jungle Explorer: $199 (plus $18.39 shipping).
*Mint-in-box Capture Copter: $139.99 (plus $38.24 shipping).
*Mint-in-box Stegosaurus with Whip-Action Spiked Tail: $110 (free shipping).
The Carnotaurus mentioned above had a Wal-Mart sticker price of $13.96, so anyone who had the foresight to buy an extra (or two) to keep in the package made a wise investment.

Brook Andrews, the administrator of the YouTube channel, JurassicCollectables, is a big fan of the premium Jurassic Park items, especially the Tyrannosaurus Rex with Electronic Roar & Stomping Sound, which was in the first series of toys and is worth around $250 unopened. “It was the icon of the Jurassic Park toy world,” he said. “It’s just a fantastic toy. It’s giant—it represented the big brown Rex in the film. This was the toy everyone wanted when Jurassic Park came out. This was the daddy of the Jurassic Park toys.”

Andrews likes the look of the toy sitting on his shelf, but also the play action. “If you squeeze his chest around his ribs, he opens his jaws and makes an electronic roaring sound,” he said. “And if you slam him down on the ground, he makes a big foot-stomping sound, just like he did in the film…just brilliant.”

There’s no doubting that Jurassic World will spawn a merchandising blitz of its own. Only time will tell exactly what those products will be and if they’ll go up in price over time.

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