No ‘Dominion’ as renewed ‘Jurassic’ sequel hit by COVID…

There's a degree of irony to a dinosaur project attempting to meet deadlines but being thwarted by nature...

Remember that story about an ambitious project with dinosaurs that is rushed through production in an effort to meet a deadline and unfortunately all hell breaks loose when guidelines and advice are not enough? The book and the film were, of course, Jurassic Park… but several movies later the same might well be holding true for the next film in the franchise.

After a long hiatus in production, starting in March, the UK finally allowed Jurassic Park: Dominion to go back to work this week filming at Pinewood Studios … but there are reports than on the very first day of filming several members of the crew (not actors) were confirmed to be positive for COVID-19, making it likely that the entire production will once again have to be delayed.  The production had already done four weeks filming in Canada, but the main bulk of the expected 20-week shoot was scheduled to be done in the UK.

Until now, the British government had halted all such projects but announced that they were letting the film recommence shooting under some restricted conditions and safety protocols. Industry site Deadline previously reported that Universal would be spending over $5m in safety protocols, including not just testing on the crew’s return, but consistently throughout production and comprehensive temperature-checking stations on site and on-location medical staff. (“We want to make sure that we are going above and beyond the national protocols to create a safe environment. Cost isn’t our main concern now: it’s safety. We will take direction from our medical team, but we’re confident that with the staggered scheduling and zones of talent and crew, along with a system of contact tracing, we can move forward with limited delay in production…” a studio source told Deadline at the time).

It appears those tests picked up the contamination immediately.

Dominion, originally slated for a summer 2021 release, will unite members of the original films and the newer revamp with the cast including Sam Neill, Laura Dern, Bryce Dallas Howard, Jeff Goldblum and Chris Pratt, though several of the main actors had not started their scenes as yet. The delay may have helped in giving more time for the VFX departments to work on the CGI aspects, but given  Dominion was the first film to be allowed to return to production in the UK – after the stringent lockdown –  the latest news may have wider implications than merely one film.

Even more ironically, the news comes in the same week that movie-starved cinemas, with limited openings and even less product to show, have been screening the original Jurassic Park, technically making it the number one film at the week’s box-office.