Happy 15th anniversary, “Jurassic Park” and DTS!!!

posted by moviebuff82 on June 13, 2008 at 10:55 am

On June 11, 1993, Universal Studios released what would become the first mega blockbuster of the 90’s, “Jurassic Park”. It was so popular that it would be re-released later that year and proved to be an annual Thanksgiving TV event on TV, and sold well on VHS, DVD, laserdisc, and eventually DVD.

This was the first movie to be shown in DTS, and a few select theaters were lucky to get the system installed. The result would be big and would start the digital surround sound wars that continues to this day, with Sony soon following suit with its soon-to-be-gone SDDS format. I first saw JP when it came out on VHS, since I was a bit too young to see this movie. What are your memories of this great movie?

Comments (27)

Jonesy on June 13, 2008 at 1:16 pm

Jurassic Park has been playing in a number of cinemas this year. Try to find a screening near you and see it Back on the Big Screen!

View link


markinthedark on June 13, 2008 at 2:03 pm

I saw it at the ACT III Crossroads 8 in Bellevue, WA in the big THX house (those were the great pre-stadium days!). Sound was fantastic. Cineplex Odeon would later put DTS in at least one of the auditoriums of most of their Seattle/Tacoma area theatres, but the results were less than fantastic. ACT III would later several all-THX/Dolby Digital theatres in the area that blew the Cineplex theatres out of the water. (All pre-stadium for the most part).

Are their any new builds that actually install DTS Digital these days?

efriedmann on June 13, 2008 at 2:14 pm

I saw it twice at the Great Neck Squire Theater during the summer of 1993!

Coate on June 13, 2008 at 2:42 pm

I saw “Jurassic Park” a few times during its release, including twice on opening weekend. One of the viewings was at the AVCO. Little did I know at the the time that that would be the last time I would see a movie in their great 1,100-seater before its twinning. Subsequent viewings were at the CINEDOME, CINEMAPOLIS, and Edwards BIG NEWPORT, all presented in DTS.

I don’t think “Jurassic Park” holds up well on repeat viewings, among the reasons being I didn’t find the characters all that appealing. But that first viewing with an audience was an incredible and unforgettable experience.

Regarding Justin’s remark that “Jurassic Park” was the first mega blockbuster of the 1990s, I would submit “Terminator 2: Judgment Day” ought to have that title. “T2” was released in 1991 and did over $200 million, an incredible feat at the time considering it was rated R.

And regarding DTS, there were more than 800 installations for the “Jurassic Park” release. More than a “few select theaters” I’d say.

TRIVIA: “Jurassic Park” is widely recognized as the first official release with a DTS soundtrack. On what titles(s) was DTS tested before the green light was given for its use on “Jurrasic Park”?

jimpiscitelli on June 13, 2008 at 3:51 pm

I originally saw “Jurrasic Park” at the North Riverside Theater (when Cineplex Odeon ran it) with the DTS Digital sound back in 1993. Cineplex Odeon had installed the DTS Digital sound in most of its Chicagoland area Theaters. Most of its theaters are gone with the exception of the North Riverside (now runned by Village Theaters) and the Rivertree Court (runned by Kerasotes Theaters) in Vernon Hills, IL. The DTS Digital sound is brillant.

markinthedark on June 13, 2008 at 4:07 pm

My guess for the Trivia question is “Dragon: The Bruce Lee Story”. It was one of the first films I saw in Dolby Digital. After Jurassic and DTS Universal went exclusively with “DTS Digital” and “DTS Stereo” for a time.

bwales on June 13, 2008 at 5:09 pm

It had it’s UK and I think the European Premire at the Empire Theatre in London’s West End in DTS.

It was a shame at the time that the film was not filmed in Cinemascope than in 1.85:1 or option of a 70mm DTS print version.

KingBiscuits on June 13, 2008 at 5:57 pm

Some notes:

-there were 876 DTS-ready theatres on June 11th, 1993.

-a 70mm version was planned but DTS 70mm had not been invented yet and Spielberg (a major backer of DTS) would only release the film with DTS on the prints. So the 70mm version was canceled and its downfall began soon after.

-Cineplex Odeon was then owned by Universal and since Universal was also a major backer of DTS, this (along with the low conversion prices) led to the wide rollout immediately.

-oddly enough, DTS rival SDDS was developed originally for Spielberg’s Hook. But due to delays, Hook was instead released in Dolby SR and SDDS debuted 18 months later with Last Action Hero.

-other 1990’s mega blockbusters before Jurassic Park (besides Terminator 2) were Ghost, Home Alone and Aladdin.

-the other 1993 DTS releases were Heart and Souls (the second film, was sneak previewed with Jurassic Park before opening), Hard Target (the third), The Real McCoy, For Love Or Money, Gettysburg, Judgment Night, Flesh and Bone, Carlito’s Way, Man’s Best Friend, We’re Back: A Dinosaur’s Story, Schindler’s List, Beethoven’s 2nd, Heaven and Earth (the first to feature Dolby Digital and DTS together) and In The Name Of The Father.

Meanwhile, I could see this being reissued someday in REAL-D. Lucas is doing it with Star Wars so I bet Spielberg does the same with Jurassic Park.

Chris Utley
Chris Utley on June 13, 2008 at 6:27 pm

Saw it at the now demolished General Cinema South Bay #1 (the BIG single screen house) on the Sunday after it opened. At the time, DTS was THE LOUDEST sound system I’d ever heard – even dwarfing Dolby Digital (which I first experienced the previous summer when “Batman Returns” opened at Grauman’s Chinese). The sound blew me away that I went back to see JP multiple times to see if other theatres were just as loud.

JSA on June 13, 2008 at 9:08 pm

My introduction to the world of Jurassic Park came some time before the film was released. I read the novel shortly after its publication, and was quite taken by the concept of a thriller bounded by a scientific framework that included paleontology, genetic engineering and chaos theory. I had many discussions with colleagues at work and friends regarding its many subjects. Naturally my expectation for a film adaptation was not the same as for the book, since the movie would have to drop the more cerebral aspects of the novel and trade off for more visual action. Well as it turned out the movie had quite severe changes from the book, but really it id not matter much to me. It was a pure, fun thrill ride. A few years ago, I introduced the movie to my son, who at the time was 6. He was totally captivated by it, and since then his interest (and grades) in science has risen exponentially. We’ve even had a few “dinosaur” vacations in Utah, Colorado and Wyoming, visiting places such as Dinosaur National Monument.

As far as DTS goes, my hope that it would re-energize 70 mm film has been partially materialized. No new 70 mm/DTS, but quite a few restorations have utilized the format.

Michael: My guess is “Days of Thunder” is one of them.


markp on June 13, 2008 at 10:13 pm

I remember 2 things about Jurassic Park that summer. 1) I was running it at a 14 screen theatre, and we had it on 2 screens, and we kept both prints until Thanksgiving, when we let go of one, and kept the other print until the following February. And 2) I was in Shamokin PA. that summer for a friends wedding, and I remember him taking me to now demolished Victoria theatre, and there were about 1400 people in this theatre that night. ( and this was 5 weeks after it opened)

CinemarkFan on June 13, 2008 at 10:21 pm

Wow, 15 years already. I was three years old when I saw it with my mom & brothers about two weeks later at the Sony Evergreen. I remember the sound being very, very loud.

pbubny on June 13, 2008 at 11:01 pm

Steven Spielberg’s explanation for filming “Jurassic Park” in 1.85 rather than ‘scope format was, I’ve read, “Dinosaurs are tall.” In fact I recall seeing a JP trailer cropped for 'scope a few weeks before the movie’s release and I remember thinking, when I saw the actual movie in its correct aspect ratio, that the dinosaurs (at least the T. Rex and Brachiosaurus) did look taller in 1.85, even if the screen was narrower (this was on a common-height screen). Cropping the frames for 'scope took away some of the headroom. I’ve always loved 'scope but it’s not always the most appropriate format, even for large-scale movies.

I agree that in many ways JP hasn’t worn well, but that first time seeing it on opening day at the Loews Wayne (not in DTS) was a doozy.

Edward Havens
Edward Havens on June 14, 2008 at 3:20 am

DTS was tested on several titles at the Cineplex Odeon Beverly Center in 1992 and 1993 (where I was an assistant manager at the time) before its official debut with Jurassic Park. I don’t remember every title we tested, but I do remember Mr. Baseball and The Public Eye were the first two titles we tested, and I seem to remember Matinee and CB4 also being tested.

moviebuff82 on June 14, 2008 at 4:35 pm

FYI, the DTS version of JP played only in a smaller theater in Wayne, the quad (before Clearview took over) by UA. Vallyview Cinemas didn’t show this movie as they had mono equipment. The one thing that I liked about the movie when I was young was a short cartoon that played inside the museum about DNA and dinosaurs. Who animated that cute cartoon? BTW, Jurassic Park mania reached its peak with the sequel, and when the third one came out, it was overkill, and another sequel will soon come out in 2009.

markinthedark on June 14, 2008 at 5:11 pm

Edward, which auditorium at the Beverly Center did they put the DTS in? The “big” one upstairs?

KingBiscuits on June 14, 2008 at 11:50 pm

I’m guessing these were the other test titles:

Dr. Giggles
Scent Of A Woman
Lorenzo’s Oil
Mad Dog and Glory
Cop and A Half
Splitting Heirs
Dragon: The Bruce Lee Story

moviebuff82 on June 15, 2008 at 7:10 am

Out of all those movies, Scent of a Woman was the most popular…too bad Universal didn’t show it in DTS. By late 1997, Universal would release all of their movies in the three digital surround sound formats, and would soon release DTS versions of the films on DVD (and soon Blu-Ray), and Dolby Digital Plus versions on HD-DVD, which Universal supported for awhile until its discontinuation this year.

DonSolosan on June 15, 2008 at 2:35 pm

Remember the scene where Ellie Sattler is diagnosing the triceratops' illness and starts to dig into a pile of its droppings? Right then, a kid sitting next to me with bad breath exhaled into my face. Aroma-rama!

JodarMovieFan on June 15, 2008 at 8:54 pm

i blogged on CT, about watching Jurassic Park 1 in DTS, /THX at the Universal movie plex, in LA back in ‘93. The auditorium had a balcony from what I recalled, which I thought was unusual for a multiplex. It was super loud and my cousin’s long fingernails left their marks on my arm because of the tenseness of the movie.

On another first, my first DLP movie was in ‘01 watching JP3 at the same venue but a smaller auditorium.

JodarMovieFan on June 15, 2008 at 9:45 pm

i blogged on CT, about watching Jurassic Park 1 in DTS, /THX at the Universal movie plex, in LA back in ‘93. The auditorium had a balcony from what I recalled, which I thought was unusual for a multiplex. It was super loud and my cousin’s long fingernails left their marks on my arm because of the tenseness of the movie.

On another first, my first DLP movie was in ‘01 watching JP3 at the same venue but a smaller auditorium.

William on June 16, 2008 at 10:33 am

Theatres #1 & 14 at Universal City Walk had balconies and was equipped to run change-overs or platter operation plus 70MM too.

moviebuff82 on June 16, 2008 at 3:33 pm

I first saw Jurassic Park 1 on VHS, the second one twice at the Loews in Wayne (now equipped with DTS after its renovations back in Thanksgiving of ‘96 and seeing it first with my family and second with the teen fun club of the boys and girls club) and the third one once at the Clifton Commons with Dolby Digital Surround EX equipped and in one of the non-THX auditoriums. I also sneaked in to see the end of the movie while waiting for another movie to begin that summer. Can’t wait to see JP4 at the AMC in Rockaway come 2009!!!

moviebuff82 on June 16, 2008 at 3:36 pm

btw, I still have the vhs version of the first JP at my dad’s house, as well as the vhs version of its sequel, which had a nice Mercedes Benz promo since the new SUV made its debut in that movie (talk about cross promotion!!!) and the third one on DVD (in Full Screen and in Dolby and DTS)…can’t wait for a Blu-Ray trilogy release now that Universal has ditched HD-DVD for Blu-Ray!!!

efriedmann on June 16, 2008 at 3:58 pm

Sad news, people. STAN WINSTON passed away yesterday of cancer. He was only 62 years-old.

Now while I’m always bitching about how Hollywood has degraded itself over the years by producing too many movies that are over-dependent on CGI effects, I cannot deny that many of my favorite sci-fi films like THE THING (1982), THE TERMINATOR, ALIENS, JURASSIC PARK and A.I. could not have been possible without the talents of this man.

R.I.P., Stan.

moviebuff82 on June 16, 2008 at 4:23 pm

he died two days after Tim Russert died. I guess he was a movie fan, not to mention a fan of the Bills and democrats. What did he die of? I’ll probably check wikipedia to read about him. His studio will live on. Next up, Ray Harryhausen, and some of the old timers from ILM and in the future, Digital domain.

Fernando Munhoz
Fernando Munhoz on October 11, 2017 at 2:45 pm

I saw this movie when I was 7 years old. Since I was a kid, I’ve always really liked dinosaurs. When I first watched, it seemed like a dream come true that I always wanted.

The following films were not as incredible as the first “real” experience with the dinosaurs. Recently I watched the new one and until I found it reasonable.

Rubens – My personal blog

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