Gates Closed: The Rise and Fall of Jurassic Park’s Crowdfund Campaign

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Jurassic Park, the iconic movie that introduced us to the thrilling world of dinosaurs, recently celebrated its 30th anniversary. As part of the celebration, the franchise’s toy manufacturer, Mattel, announced an ambitious crowdfund initiative to create a collector’s dream: motorized entry gates, and the Ford Explorer #5. However, despite the initial excitement, the crowdfunding campaign faced a series of challenges that led to its ultimate failure. In this blog post, we delve into the reasons behind the Jurassic Park crowdfund’s downfall and explore the lessons that can be learned from this experience.

International Fans

From the outset, the crowdfund faced criticism due to its exclusion of international fans from the first 5000 backers. The decision seemed perplexing, considering that Jurassic Park’s popularity transcends borders, and there are passionate fans worldwide eager to participate in the celebration. By restricting access to the campaign, Mattel missed out on a significant portion of the global fanbase, leaving international enthusiasts feeling undervalued and unappreciated. Exclusivity can work in certain cases, but when it comes to a franchise as beloved and far-reaching as Jurassic Park, inclusion and diversity are essential to the success of such initiatives.

The Backtrack on International Fans

After realizing the detrimental impact of the exclusionary approach, Mattel made a late decision to allow international fans to participate. While this move was commendable, it came after a considerable portion of the campaign’s initial days had passed, resulting in a missed opportunity to capture the enthusiasm of international backers right from the start. The late change might have also caused confusion and mistrust among potential supporters, leaving them unsure about the campaign’s organization and intentions.

Perceived Value

The crowdfund faced a significant hurdle due to the perceived high pricing of the items, which left critical collectors and fans questioning the value of the campaign’s offerings. While the motorized entry gates and the Ford Explorer came with a $250 price tag, the true value of the entire package, including action figures of Lex and Tim, fences, the Buck T. rex, and the famous goat with a removable leg, might not have been immediately apparent to potential backers. Unfortunately, the campaign struggled to effectively communicate the combined value and unique features of the tiers, leading to uncertainty among fans about the overall worth . This lack of clarity and awareness surrounding the potential benefits of all the tiers combined likely contributed to the campaign’s difficulty in resonating with the Jurassic Park community and securing the necessary support for a triumphant funding outcome.

The lack of a crowdfunding culture within the Jurassic Park community further exacerbated the issue. Unlike established fan communities such as Star Wars, Transformers, and GI Joe, who are well-acquainted with the crowdfunding model and have witnessed successful campaigns, the Jurassic Park community was relatively new to the concept. This unfamiliarity likely influenced potential backers’ willingness to pledge their support, as they might have been cautious about investing in an unproven crowdfunding initiative.

Another factor that contributed to the downfall of the Jurassic Park crowdfunding campaign was the community’s lack of understanding of how crowdfunding works and their expectations regarding the campaign’s structure. Many fans expressed confusion and frustration, questioning why a billion-dollar company like Mattel was using crowdfunding to finance a toy project. They felt that such initiatives should be fully funded by the company itself, rather than relying on the backing of individual fans.


One peculiar aspect that added to the confusion and disappointment during the Jurassic Park crowdfund was the bundling of the gates with the Buck T. rex from The Lost World: Jurassic Park. While the gates were undeniably an integral part of the original movie, some fans found it perplexing that they were being offered alongside a dinosaur from a different film in the franchise. The inclusion of the Buck T. rex might have muddled the campaign’s focus and left potential backers uncertain about the thematic cohesion of the crowdfunding project. As a result, some fans might have hesitated to pledge their support, wondering why the Buck T. rex was bundled with the gates instead of focusing solely on the nostalgia of the original Jurassic Park movie.

Additionally, some fans expected the Buck T. rex to be available for separate purchase outside of the crowdfunding campaign. However, it’s important to note that crowdfunding campaigns often bundle exclusive items and rewards together as part of their strategy to incentivize backers and create a sense of limited-edition collectibility. Unfortunately, this lack of understanding about the crowdfunding model led to misconceptions and unmet expectations within the community.

Getting the word out

One of the critical factors contributing to the Jurassic Park crowdfund’s downfall was the limited promotion carried out by Mattel. Instead of implementing a comprehensive marketing strategy to reach a broader audience, the promotion was primarily confined to Instagram and a select few Jurassic Park fan websites. By adopting this restricted approach, Mattel missed out on tapping into the vast potential of other social media platforms and digital communities where fervent Jurassic Park fans might have been eager to participate. The lack of visibility and outreach to more extensive fan bases limited the campaign’s exposure and hindered its ability to attract a substantial number of backers. A more robust and diverse promotional effort, incorporating various online platforms and engagement with fan communities, could have amplified the excitement and awareness surrounding the crowdfund, potentially leading to a higher level of participation and greater success.

In addition to the limited promotion, the Jurassic Park crowdfund faced significant criticism from fans on various social media platforms, particularly Facebook groups and Twitter. Instead of acknowledging and addressing these concerns head-on, Mattel seemed to overlook the negative feedback and failed to implement any meaningful efforts to counter the criticism. By not engaging with the passionate community on these platforms and addressing their doubts and questions, the company missed a valuable opportunity to build trust, clarify misconceptions, and showcase the true value of the crowdfunding campaign. The lack of responsiveness to fan feedback further exacerbated the campaign’s challenges, as potential backers felt unheard and discouraged from pledging their support. A proactive approach to address criticism and communicate openly with the community could have not only mitigated negative sentiments but also fostered a stronger connection between the company and its loyal fan base.

Last-Minute Changes

Adding to the discontent, Mattel’s decision to lower the tiers one week before the deadline raised eyebrows within the community. While the intention might have been to encourage more backers by making the rewards more accessible, it had the unintended consequence of creating doubt and skepticism. Fans questioned whether the initial pricing was ever justified and felt uncertain about the stability of the campaign’s structure.

The future

In conclusion, the Jurassic Park crowdfund faced a series of challenges that led to its ultimate failure. The campaign’s exclusionary approach, high pricing perception, limited promotion, and lack of responsiveness to fan feedback all played crucial roles in hindering its success.

It also raises critical questions about the potential impact on Mattel’s strategy regarding Jurassic Park and Jurassic World toys. With the campaign’s lack of success highlighting a disconnect with the fanbase and a misunderstanding of their expectations, it leaves one wondering if it will prompt them to reassess their approach and make necessary adjustments to cater to the discerning collectors’ market? Additionally, it remains uncertain whether the failure of this crowdfunding initiative will have any significant impact on Mattel’s broader Jurassic World business plan. Will they continue with their planned toy releases and merchandise for the franchise, or will they rethink their strategy due to the potential consequences of this unsuccessful interest in a high quality Jurassic Park collectible? These questions loom large, leaving fans curious about how Mattel will navigate their Jurassic Park and Jurassic World toy ventures in the wake of this setback.

3 thoughts on “Gates Closed: The Rise and Fall of Jurassic Park’s Crowdfund Campaign

  1. Why BIG Companies like this have to crowd fund is a joke !!

  2. The biggest issue with this was the perceived value just not existing. Minis the cost pf the Rex and Tim and Lex with the Explorer, you are left with what is essentially a $150 backdrop.
    No one wanted it to electronically open and play music. The lights in the torches were nice, but everything else that drove up the cost was not needed or wanted by anyone. This whole thing should have been $150 max. The electronic features are a novelty that will at most be used by people once or twice and then never again as it collects dust on your shelves.
    People wanted a playset. Specifically a command compound like from the Kenner days. This was not even close to that. As again for 99% of people who would buy this, it would just be a backdrop behind their Dinos. Another big issue that collectors do not think about is how this could have sold to kids. or not, kids have always been and always will be thw bread and butter of this toy line. A crowdfund like this has no real way to reach them. And if kids dont know about it they cant beg their parents to buy it.
    Take out the electronics, and the Rex, throw everything else in a Legacy collection box at Target for $100 and I think it would sell incredibly well.

  3. When Mattel has unleashed countless numbers and versions of Raptors, an overall toy line distribution is either famine or feast depending on where you live here in the United states or abroad, is it any surprise that this crowdfunding went as badly as it did?
    They missed out on an opportunity to really focus in on celebrating the most loved movie out of all of them by releasing items that seemed chosen at random by some marketing vp who had been blindfolded and instructed to throw darts at a wall full of post-it notes, all in an effort to feel like they had been “creative”.
    When you have companies like super 7 releasing something like the thundercats layer, and a slew of other companies all going overboard to really push the envelope and releases, how does Mattel fumble this so badly?
    What was preventing them from opening it up to worldwide shipment and distribution? Why didn’t they decide on a visitor center playset? It being a Kickstarter and then claiming that this was for collectors should have justified more than a handful of additional characters to be included with it that absolutely would have sweetened the deal. Any of them like doctor Harding, doctor wu, any of the park workers from additional lab scientists to the Jeep driver from the brachiosaur scene… any of those and so many more would have allowed for the collector like myself to have indulged in a magnificent centerpiece play set. An argument might be made that they were trying to create something that had wide mass appeal, but then why was the San Diego Comic Con exclusive a box set of Steven Spielberg with camera and director chair? They could have created a Phil tippett action figure maybe even with a miniature Dino input device that they pioneered and invented so that the stop motion animators could still work with the computer animation that was now needed. Why the hell not a Stan Winston set, With more animatronics that it could have directly complemented the Steven Spielberg set?
    I used to work for a company that had quite a few IP’s and I can understand that there are a lot of people in large companies like Mattel that have no damn business making decisions on anything that is pop culture related, much less than the toy industry, especially on a line that is fairly niche and aimed at a small contingent of collectors.
    I agree with many others that say that this Kickstarter really wasn’t aimed at children, hell to be honest a lot of modern day toys really aren’t aimed at children. Regardless of what these big toy companies are attempting to put out in their marketing. But there is always an overwhelming amount of dinosaurs for the Jurassic Park line, and I don’t think I’ve ever been to a target or a Walmart where I didn’t find at least a few that would appease any kids that had seen the movies, or just wanted some decent looking dinosaurs that to mattel’s credit are pretty well made.
    My biggest fear is that this failure of the Kickstarter will no doubt cause some higher ups to begin to get cold feet or an indifference toward really innovating or pushing more new things out for the Jurassic Park IP. There will be more product, make no mistake because companies like to make money, but they don’t like to think and they don’t like to innovate and they don’t like to listen to the fans or to common sense.

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