‘Jurassic 3’ slated by U

Spielberg, Crichton to pen pic

It will be once more into the Jurassic breach for Universal Pictures with its announcement Monday that “Jurassic Park 3” would be headed to screens in the summer of 2000.

Steven Spielberg, who helmed and produced “Jurassic Park” (1993) and its sequel “The Lost World: Jurassic Park” (1997), will not direct but will produce through his Amblin Entertainment.

Michael Crichton, who penned the novels on which the “Jurassic Park” pics were based and co-wrote the screenplay of the original with David Koepp, will again collaborate with Spielberg to create a storyline and write a script.

It was unclear whether Koepp would be involved in the third episode.

Spielberg added, “We have had an opportunity to build on the experience and excitement that audiences have come to expect from us. Michael Crichton knows how to surprise and entertain audiences with themes and stories that are smart and original.”

The dinosaur franchise has become one of U’s most lucrative, earning more than $1.5 billion in combined worldwide B.O. revenue, as well as megaprofitable ancillaries such as theme park attractions, TV, music, publishing and merchandising. The sequel’s opening weekend earned $90.4 million, making it the biggest opening weekend in history.

Said Crichton: “I’m enormously pleased that after 65 million years, the fascination with dinosaurs seems here to stay and I’m delighted at this opportunity to collaborate again with Steven.”