Strange things are happening at Jurassic Park, and they have nothing to do with velociraptors.
On Wednesday, Universal Pictures released a statement revealing that the studio has put production of "Jurassic Park IV" on pause, confirming widespread speculation that had been buzzing on various movie blogs since Tuesday afternoon.
Universal's statement read, "In coordination with filmmakers, Universal has decided to release 'Jurassic Park 4' at a later date, giving the studio and filmmakers adequate time to bring audiences the best possible version of the fourth installment in Universal's beloved franchise. We could not be more excited about the vision that [director] Colin Trevorrow has created for this film, and we look forward to watching as he and the producers create another great chapter in this franchise's storied history."
Word began to spread that something was amiss with "Jurassic Park IV" on Tuesday, when two figures involved in the film posted messages on Twitter suggesting production has been suspended.
Dean Sherriff, a concept artist on the picture, tweeted, "Jp4 on hold." And more dramatically, Todd Smoyer, the film's digital asset manager, tweeted, "Hollywood makes and crushes dreams. Goodbye JP4." Both tweets have since been deleted.
These hints came as a surprise to fans, since "Jurassic Park IV" director Colin Trevorrow (best known for the indie comedy/drama "Safety Not Guaranteed") tweeted a photo from the film's location on May 2, confirming speculation that the new story will take place on the island of Isla Nubar, as in the first film. Also, producer Frank Marshall posted a tweet on March 13, reading, "All's well on JP4, updates soon."
Also on Tuesday, a fan site devoted to the upcoming picture cited a report from an unnamed crew member, saying those working on the movie had been laid off, but that production was on hold rather than cancelled. Another post, quoting yet another unnamed source, essentially repeated this, saying the studio had differences with the project's creative team, and that the concept were being re-tooled to make the movie more visually spectacular, though director Trevorrow is still said to be on board. Universal's statement, which suggests a vote of confidence for Tevorrow, shows that the fan site's reporting was on the right track.
Now that "Jurassic Park IV"'s anticipated release date of June 13, 2014 is a thing of the past, it's anyone's guess how Trevorrow, Marshall, and Universal plan to retool the project, or when the movie will see the light of day, though given the history of the franchise, it will certainly arrive in theaters eventually. Needless to say, this should be one of the more intriguing Hollywood stories to follow over the coming months.
Watch a clip from the original 'Jurassic Park':