People often exaggerate when they say, “I think about that :insert random thing: at least once a month.” I’m guilty of doing that sometimes, too. But not when it comes to Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom. Honestly, and without hyperbole, I think about that movie every few weeks. And with good reason. Life provides constant reminders of a sequence that has confused me ever since I saw the film. It’s a moment so inexplicable it will haunt me until the day I die. I will never get over the the prices dinosaurs sold for at auction.
The people putting on Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom‘s invite-only dinosaur auction were smart enough to steal dinosaurs and organize this event. It was also not for any “normal” rich person, either. It was for the top .01%. Representatives for a pharmaceutical company, a Houston oil magnate, and a Slovenian arms dealer were in attendance. As was a suspicious Russian with an unknown title looking for two carnivores. And considering the sellers spoke to him, and only him, you know that guy had deep pockets and powerful allies. He might have secretly represented the Russian government itself. Regardless of his affiliation, the movie made clear this was a big night for making some big bucks. Buyers could purchase dinosaurs either meant to serve as pets or meant to serve as weapons.
At least that’s what I thought going into the scene. I can still remember sitting in the theater and wondering what a living dinosaur might really fetch on the open market. Fifty billion dollars? Two hundred and fifty billion dollars? Half a trillion? More? I had no idea! I just knew rich people spend a whole lot of dough on a whole lot of stuff, including nonsense. So how could anyone put a number on owning your very own prehistoric creature? The potential sales tag seemed nearly unlimited. A dinosaur might literally be priceless. And whomever sold them, especially the most dangerous ones, would instantly become one of the richest people in the world, if not the richest person ever.
Then the first one dinosaur went for 10 million dollars. That is not a typo. It sold for 10 million. Yes, “million” with an “m” rather than a “b.” Million. Million. That price is so inane it doesn’t seem real. Billionaires waste $10 million on parties. Ten million is just 1/14th the price of the most expensive car in the world. But you don’t even need a real world comparison to know that amount is ridiculous. Danny Ocean’s crew each got more than that for robbing Terry Benedict!
The rest of the auction was just as bad. The film doesn’t show every dinosaur purchased or list exactly how much they went for. But we do hear “sold” a handful of times. Yet, going into (what turned out to be) the last lot, the auction had only garnered a measly $128 million total. The single highest price for a dinosaur at that point was a paltry $21 million. Again, not a typo.
It’s the last item, though, that took a nonsensical scene and turned it into an all-time movie disaster. Buyers started bidding on the not-originally-for sale Indoraptor. That genetically-engineered killer, with supernatural strength and intelligence, had no equal in history. Here’s how the film described this creature to a room of “discriminating buyers” that, once again, included major weapons dealers:
A creature of the future, made from pieces of the past! Ladies and gentlemen, please be warned: this is the perfect blend of the two most dangerous creatures that ever walked the Earth. We call it the Indoraptor. The perfect weapon for the modern age. Built for combat, with tactical responses more acute than any human soldier.
What would a hostile nation pay for that kind of weapon? Especially one Dr. Henry Wu warned the buyer could then clone to make more of? What would the United States pony up for one when, in the first Jurassic World, it originally planned to employ regular raptors in combat? How about an eccentric billionaire with more money than he could spend in a thousand lifetimes? Those guys have so much disposable income they’re trying to leave the planet and pretending to buy Twitter. So what would an Indoraptor truly go for? If you said only $28 million, you’d be right. No objective human being would think that price made any sense. To highlight just how absurd it is, here’s a list of some things that cost more than the deadliest weapon ever created:
- World’s Most Expensive Racehorse: $70 million
- Jeff Koons’ 41-Inch Tall Stainless Steel “Rabbit” Statue: $91.1 million
- Most Expensive Fighter Jet – Lockheed Martin’s F-35B: $135.8 million
- New York City’s Most Expensive Penthouse: $229.5 million
- Jeff Bezos’ Flying Fox Mega Yacht: $400 million
- Most Expensive Painting Ever Sold – “Salvator Mundi” by Leonardo da Vinci: $450 million
That list could have been nothing but modern art and it would have showed how ridiculous the dino auction was. But this very real record-setting sale is the best example, even if it’s a lot less than those other pricey items:
- Most Expensive Dinosaur Skeleton Ever Sold – $31.8 million
Yes, a T. rex skeleton sold for more than a living dinosaur. Now do you understand why this sequence has slowly driven me to question reality itself?
I know this scene will haunt me forever, too, and not just because I have a broken brain. It’s because I am constantly reminded of it. People spend gross amounts of money on things all the time. People also do impossibly goofy stuff all the time. And any time someone spends way too much money, or someone does something inexplicably stupid, I think about Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom‘s auction and always will. Because in a sci-fi franchise about resurrecting dinosaurs, the only thing I can’t believe is how little one would cost.
Mikey Walsh is a staff writer at Nerdist. You can follow him on Twitter at @burgermike. And also anywhere someone is ranking the Targaryen kings.