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The Major Reasons Jurassic World Dominion’s Extended Cut Wasn’t Released To Theaters

Beta and Blue stand by a tree in a snowy forest in Jurassic World Dominion.
(Image credit: Universal)

One of the deadliest places to be on a major motion picture has to be, without question, the editing room. Decisions are made in there that can majorly impact a movie, as we saw in the differences between the warring cuts of DC’s Justice League movie. To a lesser extent, a similar tale could be told about the 2022 movie release Jurassic World Dominion.

While there wasn’t any sort of strife similar to that previously mentioned example, co-writer/director Colin Trevorrow did have to “streamline” his summer blockbuster into a shorter theatrical cut. Decisions had to be made, as some moments would go missing or be rearranged in the previously released edit. However, when it came time for the home video release, an opportunity presented itself, and both Trevorrow and Universal got to treat the fans to another way to watch Jurassic World Dominion

Laura Dern and Sam Neill talk in a tent over a locust in Jurassic World Dominion.

(Image credit: Universal)

Why Jurassic World Dominion’s Theatrical Cut Came To Be

I learned about the process that led to the theatrical cut of Jurassic World Dominion firsthand. Thanks to Universal Pictures Home Entertainment, a massive event was held in Malta celebrating the home release of the studio’s huge summer hit. Colin Trevorrow was part of that experience, and more than ready to dig into the nuts and bolts of the theatrical cut’s formation. Starting with the story of how the cut came to be, Trevorrow revealed to CinemaBlend just how far the extended cut got before having to be trimmed down: 

Very late in the game, because the extended cut was the movie until very late in the game. We just reached a point where we were really almost in the mix. We were in the mix, actually, and we realized that we needed to make a movie [that’s] less than two and a half hours. If anyone wants to be a filmmaker out there, it’s just one of those things that’s a part of the job. There’s a level of negotiation and collaboration that needs to happen with what a studio needs. … They say you have to like ‘kill all your children’ when you make a movie. This is all my children, this movie.

One of those children that was initially sacrificed was, of course, Jurassic World Dominion’s original opening. While it would eventually be used as a marketing tool, released in IMAX theaters as “The Prologue” with last summer’s F9, the intended bookending that Dominion was supposed to achieve in its story was interrupted. 

Sadly, the “less than two and a half hours” mandate resulted in that theatrical cut becoming a necessity. To be fair, the reasons that Colin Trevorrow cited for that decision were pretty smart when it comes to the theatrical climate the film was released into.

Jeff Goldblum and Campbell Scott debate, while Mamadou Athie watches in Jurassic World Dominion.

(Image credit: Universal)

Streamlining Jurassic World Dominion’s Theatrical Cut, And Why The Extended Edition Is Different From Most Alternates

Continuing his story about Jurassic World Dominion’s theatrical refinement, Trevorrow revealed another major factor when it came to what he would call a “streamlined experience.” Colin Trevorrow’s story of the road to the theatrical cut continued as follows: 

Here we have a movie coming out during COVID, we’re not sure if people are going to go back to the theater to see it. We want to make sure we can get people in for a streamlined experience. And so, I had to do something kind of complicated. I had a movie that I had to streamline to a certain amount, I had to choose what had to go. I did feel everything was necessary. What’s different about this is it’s not a traditional ‘director’s cut,’ it’s also not something where we added a bunch of footage. It’s just that we got to go back to that previous file and print it.

Normally when the words “director’s cut” come out to play, one can’t help but think of a movie like Ridley Scott’s Kingdom of Heaven or Zack Snyder’s Justice League. Much longer cuts of movies that were shrunk down in the name of theatrical exhibition, these “true visions” have sparked much debate with fans in the years since they’ve been released. However, it’s only 14 minutes worth of footage that’s been restored to Jurassic World Dominion. Thanks to the extended edition making its way through production as the cut for as long as it did, there was no real need for reshoots, touch ups or massive edits. 

As a result, Colin Trevorrow’s preferred version of Jurassic World Dominion is allowed to exist. Having seen the movie myself, it is absolutely the way to fly when experiencing the movie, as the moments restored help the movie breathe so much better. Diving more into why this experience is his chosen form for the film, Trevorrow invoked an absolutely fitting comedy classic: 

It’s such balance, right? And then you have dinosaurs who are characters, who we care about. … It’s like It’s A Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World at times. It’s so many characters you have to honor, but to make that feel like a cohesive story. I feel like that’s why the extended edition is important, it means so much to me, is that’s its resting weight. It needed that to feel healthy and for everybody to be paid attention to and honored.

Sitting down with the man who’s been living with this world since 2015’s Jurassic World, you can’t help but feel Colin Trevorrow’s enthusiasm for Jurassic World Dominion. Honoring that crucial balance between current and legacy cast members was important to Trevorrow, co-writer Emily Carmichael and everyone else involved in Dominion’s production. The pride couldn’t have been more on display, which brings me to one final note that the director had shared about the existence of the extended cut.

Roberta the T-Rex creates havoc at drive in in Jurassic World Dominion.

(Image credit: Universal )

Why Colin Trevorrow Feels Utter Gratitude That Jurassic World Dominion’s Extended Edition Exists

Time and again, alternate cuts have been rumored for many a movie during theatrical press cycles. Colin Trevorrow even got ahead of the matter pretty early, discussing how he was hoping this new version of Jurassic World Dominion would see the light of day. Now that the extended edition is out and ready for all audiences to discover it, Trevorrow couldn’t be happier, as seen in the following message of thanks: 

But I gotta say man, I am genuinely grateful that this cut exists. We’ve seen how these things go in the studio world, and in Hollywood. [Universal] didn’t have to do this. They didn’t have to put this out in the way that they did, and they didn’t have to create an opportunity for the audience to experience this version of the movie. So the fact that Universal was down with it, and Amblin was down with it, and it’s not something you have to buy again later and spend more money on…I love it too. I’m grateful to all of them.

Jurassic World Dominion is one of those 2022 movies that divided fans and critics. So it only feels right to give the fans a little more of what they apparently enjoyed, as well as allow Colin Trevorrow to have his preferred vision in the wild. Though considering how much of a Jurassic franchise fan that Trevorrow happens to be, it’s a Venn diagram that overlaps to the tune of a richer, more enhanced experience for all species involved. 

If you’re ready to experience the final chapter of this blockbuster trilogy, Jurassic World Dominion is now available for purchase or rental (opens in new tab) in its theatrical and extended versions. Physical media enthusiasts can snap up the film on 4K UHD, Blu-ray and DVD, while digital patrons can rent or buy the movie in that format as well. And as Colin Trevorrow mentioned above, if you purchased the theatrical version of the movie previously on Digital HD, the extended edition should be available to you at no extra charge. 

Mike Reyes
Senior Movies Contributor

CinemaBlend's James Bond (expert). Also versed in Large Scale Aggressors, time travel, and Guillermo del Toro. He fights for The User.