We may earn a commission when you buy through links in our articles. Learn more.

Steven Spielberg beat James Cameron to Jurassic Park by mere hours

According to James Cameron, Steven Spielberg beat him to the rights to Michael Crichton's Jurassic Park book by a few hours, would have been horror movie

Jurassic Park

It’s always fun to speculate on what might have been, especially when it comes to Hollywood. One change of actor or director, and we could have ended up with a very different movie to the one we got. And that is very much the case with something that almost came to pass – James Cameron’s Jurassic Park.

Steven Spielberg and Jurassic Park feel like a match made in heaven, especially when it comes to his work with Joseph Mazzello (Tim) and Ariana Richards (Lex). The kids are an essential component to the success of the movie, especially considering who made up most of the audience – and Spielberg is a master at working with kids.

According to a 2012 interview with James Cameron, things came very close to being very different. “I tried to buy the book rights and he [Spielberg] beat me to it by a few hours,” Cameron revealed at the opening of the Titanic Museum in Belfast. “But when I saw the film, I realised that I was not the right person to make the film, he was.”

Cameron continued; “Because he made a dinosaur movie for kids, and mine would have been Aliens with dinosaurs, and that wouldn’t have been fair. Dinosaurs are for 8-year-olds. We can all enjoy it, too, but kids get dinosaurs and they should not have been excluded for that. His sensibility was right for that film, I’d have gone further, nastier, much nastier.” It’s not completely clear from the interview whether Cameron means he would have done Jurassic Park in the action-horror style of Aliens (1986), or if he envisioned an alien-dinosaur movie.

Either way, it would probably have been quite different from the version we got, which is not to say that Spielberg’s movie doesn’t have some scary moments.

Check out our guide to the best adventure movies.