No one was expecting Jurassic World to enter the box office with a whimper, but it came as a surprise to pretty much everyone – including producer Frank Marshall, as revealed during a recent press interview for Jason Bourne – when it roared into theaters so loudly that it became not only the second-highest grossing movie of last year but the fourth biggest of all time.
“No, I wasn’t [prepared for the numbers],” Marshall said. “That’s the honest truth. I was hoping to open at 100, they were projecting 100 which is huge, and that would’ve be the biggest opening for a movie that I’ve produced, but we pretty much doubled my expectations [Laughs] at every turn.”
With all those zeroes attached to the movie’s total haul, it’s not that shocking that Universal is eagerly moving forward with a sequel, currently just known as Jurassic World 2. According to Marshall, director Juan Antonio Bayona (taking over from Colin Trevorrow) is busily designing sets, doing storyboards, and generally readying production to start early next year in Hawaii. It’s a big project, and he’s approaching it with appropriate TLC. And yet, the story remains primarily a product of Trevorrow and co-writer Derek Connolly’s minds:
“No, as a director Bayona has his input but Colin and Derek are writing the script, so there have been numerous meetings and we have the template for the movie, but of course he’s putting in his own ideas and taking ownership of it, but it’s pretty much the same story that they originally came up with.”
Despite many of the original people behind Jurassic World staying involved, Marshall said he still feels a keen sense of pressure related to the surefire blockbuster – though less around earnings and more around creative expansion:
I think we have that pressure both on Bourne movies and on Jurassic movies [Laughs], we set the bar pretty high. For me it’s always a bout story, as long as the action sequences move the story forward, that’s what’s important, and I think just having to look and see how we can involve the characters in the story with whatever dinosaur we have in the action sequence. So, it’s a challenge but a healthy challenge.
It’s good to hear that Marshall and others are committed to ensuring Jurassic World 2 is more than just empty visuals. There are interesting characters in this new universe, and though the first film painted them with a somewhat generic brush, the follow-up is the perfect place to deepen those original protagonists. Plus, “involving the characters in the story with whatever dinosaur we have in the action sequence” doesn’t rule out more motorcycling with velociraptors, which is A-okay by this writer.
Jurassic World 2 opens June 22, 2018.