The Jurassic Park and Jurassic World make up one of the more popular Hollywood franchises, with a variety of Rotten Tomatoes scores, both good and bad. With Jurassic World Dominion arriving in June 2022 to complete the Jurassic World trilogy, how do the five movies released so far compare in Rotten Tomatoes?
The original Jurassic Park trilogy consisted of Stephen Spielberg’s original in 1993, Spielberg’s sequel The Lost World: Jurassic Park, and Jurassic Park III, directed by Joe Johnston in 2001. The franchise went dormant for a few years before it was revived with the Colin Trevorrow directed Jurassic World in 2015, followed by the J. A. Bayona directed Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, with Trevorrow returning to the director’s chair to close out the trilogy with Jurassic World Dominion.
Spielberg’s first Jurassic Park movie is famous for its groundbreaking VFX, John Williams’ iconic score, and the fact that it’s all about dinosaurs (who doesn’t like dinosaurs?), and while some of the movies to follow had positive reactions, the original is still the virtually undisputed epitome of the franchise. While each person may have their own preferences when ranking the franchise, Rotten Tomatoes gives an idea on how critics and audiences land on each movie and how that changed over time.
The original Jurassic Park movie currently has a 92 percent on Rotten Tomatoes, earning it the highest score of any Jurassic Park or Jurassic World movie so far. The Lost World: Jurassic Park has a Rotten 53 percent, Jurassic Park III has a Rotten 48 percent, Jurassic World has a Fresh 71 percent, and Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom has a Rotten 47 percent, the franchise’s lowest score. The franchise’s average Rotten Tomatoes score is just 62 percent, largely propped up by the original’s 92 percent.
It’s not just the critic Tomatomere score that sets Jurassic Park apart. While the first Jurassic Park‘s Top Critic score is a little lower at 85 percent, it’s still 25 points higher than the next best Top Critic score for Jurassic World at 60 percent, with a Top Critic average at 56 percent. The story is also the same for the Rotten Tomatoes audience score, where Jurassic Park‘s 91 percent is 13 points higher than Jurassic World‘s 78 percent and the whole franchise averages just 61 percent according to audiences.
It’s not uncommon for the first movie in a franchise to serve as the gold standard future installments are compared to, but the Jurassic movies are a special case where there’s two separate trilogies with the only Fresh scores going to the first installment of each trilogy (so far). Both Jurassic Park and Jurassic World have Fresh scores, but there has yet to be a follow-up to even get a Fresh score of 60 percent or higher, with the franchise’s third-highest movie scoring a Rotten 53 percent.
To be fair, with Jurassic World Dominion‘s impending release, the Jurassic World trilogy isn’t yet complete, so it’s entirely possible for Jurassic World Dominion to break this trend. Since one of the biggest complaints for the movies since Jurassic Park has been the fact that they mostly rely on the islands established in Jurassic Park, Jurassic World Dominion is breaking up the formula enough that it could find that fresh approach the franchise is looking for.
One of the most interesting things about the Jurassic franchise is how, despite the inconsistency in the Rotten Tomatoes scores, there’s a surprising consistency between the critic scores and audience scores. The movie with the highest audience score is Jurassic Park at 91 percent, which is only 1 point away from the 92 percent critic score. One other movie, Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, also sees critics and audiences disagree by just one point, while The Lost World: Jurassic Park sees audiences and critics disagree by two points, Jurassic World has audiences and critics disagreeing by seven points, and for Jurassic Park III there’s 12 points between the audience score and critic score.
Altogether, the franchise averages just four points between audiences and critics, which is lower than the MCU’s six-point average, and the MCU tends to see audiences and critics agree more consistently than most other franchises. The Jurassic movies certainly don’t enjoy the same scores as the MCU, where the movies have an 84 percent average from critics, making the consistency between audiences and critics even more interesting since lower critic scores generally lead to bigger splits with audiences.
Of course, Rotten Tomatoes scores are all subjective, and even though critics and audiences have been negative on the majority of the movies, there’s still enough love for the franchise to propel both Jurassic World and Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom to over $1 billion at the box office, even with Fallen Kingdom‘s 47 percent Rotten Tomatoes score. It’s highly possible the low scores partly suffer from comparisons to the high bar set by the original, but the sustained love for the first movie could also still give the movies a box office boost, especially since it’s the only franchise sustaining the audience’s love of dinosaurs.