What Happens to the Legacy of Jurassic Park Now that Jurassic World Dominion is Out?
A franchise that commenced in 1993 has concluded for the second time, with the reboot sequel trilogy Jurassic World seeing its third installment, Dominion, hit cinemas worldwide. While it’s debatable if Jurassic Park gets into the list of the best Spielberg films, few can deny how successful the dinosaur romp was, how it changed the course of cinema, and managed to remain relevant for decades to come. After five films over 35 years, the franchise averaged $1 billion per movie at the worldwide box office, per The Numbers. Still, even the most adored films or TV series can be cast aside with a feeble installment, and Dominion didn’t exactly get off to a roaring start with the critics. So, will the sixth movie impact the legacy of the revered Jurassic Park?
Dominion’s success depends on how you look at it
The Jurassic World leg of the franchise didn’t have a lot of steam coming out of the so-so reviews for the second movie, Fallen Kingdom. While it fell short in many regards, particularly with key plot points, it did move the story forward and into new territory. The delays of Dominion didn’t help, but the franchise has enough pull that it shouldn’t have mattered too much. After all, it’s easily the top live-action franchise in terms of return on budget. In its opening weekend, it’d be fair to say that Dominion crushed it at the box office, with Deadline highlighting how impressive its $143.37 million opening domestic weekend and $319 million worldwide openings were in this cinematic climate.
What makes this even more of a feat is how defeatist the majority of reviews have been in the run to its release. Our Dominion review notes that this isn’t an exceptional film, outside of its technical achievements, but that those looking to enjoy a very similar formula to the previous movies will get what they expect. Its story aside, it still has very impressive dinosaurs, action set pieces, and creatures to the scale that many can seldom comprehend roaming around. This may go some way to explaining the Metacritic swing of a 38 out of 100 from the critics but a more favorable 5.7 from audiences. As the final chapter of a franchise so far, has this reception altered the once-mighty legacy of Jurassic Park?
It would take a titanosaur to topple Jurassic Park
As superb as the first movie was for its time, and as well as it holds up today, the real power of the Jurassic Park franchise is in its incredible merchandising and licensing. You only have to look to the T. Rex Breakout 18+ LEGO set that was released in May and quickly became only available for backorder. There’s even still a massive demand for even more premium goods, such as the Stern Jurassic Park pinball range, which was only released in 2019, ranging in price from $6,899 to the $9,099 limited edition (and sold out) version. Also available in the premium adults range of merchandise comes the range of online slots at Betway. Jurassic Park, Jurassic Park Gold, Jurassic World, and Jurassic World: Raptor Riches remain high-ranking among the site’s most popular games, with those based on the original movie getting the edge. It was only in 2020 that SYFY reported the Folio Society releasing illustrated editions of Michael Crichton’s classic novels for around $60 each.
Away from the premium content, there’s an ocean of more accessible, lower-priced goods. As well as the franchise being blended into existing products, there’s also a load of products made specifically for Jurassic Park. From British simulation game developers Frontier Developments, Jurassic World Evolution proved a long-lasting hit for the park-building genre, with Jurassic World Evolution 2 hitting the ground running as well. Most recently, the Dominion Biosyn expansion integrated dinosaurs and a new campaign from the final movie. Then there are the more classic collectors’ items, such as the dinosaur busts from Noble Collection.
The core power of Jurassic Park as a franchise is that it became the brand for dinosaur content and products. Just one year after its release, Jurassic Park merchandise hit the $1 billion mark, per Inverse. That skeletal upper body of a Tyrannosaurus rex on a red background now reads “official dinosaur product.” So, its pulling power across merchandising will possibly never fade. For the movies, however, the chagrin reflected in review scores may only emphasize the quality of the first films. This has already been demonstrated by CBR and its look at how the Star Wars sequel trilogy made the prequels – which received mixed reactions at release, to say the least – look better and appreciated to a greater degree. This could easily become the case as more outlets and fans compare Jurassic Park to Jurassic World.
Regardless of how Jurassic World Dominion performs over the coming weeks, there’s very little doubt that the Jurassic Park brand will remain very strong and appealing to the masses.