Between “Bullet Train” in August to “Wakanda Forever” in October, expect no new blockbusters. New movies that should be out now are going straight to streaming or coming out next year. Theaters are bringing in old blockbusters to fill out the calendar.
I recently saw “E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial” for the first time after it came out 40 years ago. This weekend I saw “Jaws” on the big screen for the first time. Out of those two Steven Spielberg movies, “Jaws” was a better movie than “E.T.” on IMAX.
Why I Didn’t See Jaws in 1975
Like many 1970s kids, I did have a “Jaws” T-shirt. What I didn’t have was a shark toy to terrorize a goldfish bowl of guppies. A scene from “E.T.” that went overboard for product placements in that movie.
“Jaws” was the first summer blockbuster with an unusually wide release of 475 screens. The movie cost $9 million US to make and earned $472 million US at the box office.
A blockbuster today requires 3,000 screens, cost $150 million US or more to make, and earn $1 billion US at the box office.
The success of “Jaws” paved the way for “Star Wars” to become a summer blockbuster two years later.
“Jaws” was not only a classic man versus nature movie but also a small-town horror movie.
- Chief Martin Brody, played by Roy Scheider, tries to shut down the beaches after the first shark attack. Local officials intervene to convince him to leave the beaches open. The town economy relies on summer tourists, especially during the upcoming Fourth of July weekend.
- Oceanographer Matt Hooper, played by Richard Dreyfuss, comes in after the second shark attack. He confirms that the first victim got killed by an unusually large great white shark. He asks if anyone notified the Coast Guard about the shark attacks. Brody replies that it was a local jurisdiction matter.
- Shark hunter Quint, played by Robert Shaw, gets hired after the Fourth of July shark attack. When Brody realizes that the shark is too much for them to handle, he calls for the Coast Guard on the boat radio. Quint destroys the radio since he became obsess to kill the shark.
“Jaws” would have been a shorter movie if town officials shut down the beaches and notified the Coast Guard.
What I Love About Jaws
“Jaws” is still one of my all-time favorite movies. Seeing it in IMAX on the big screen for the first time was fantastic. Unlike “E.T.” on IMAX, I didn’t see any film grain in the darkest areas of the screen for “Jaws”.
I prefer the movie over the book even though the author, Peter Benchley, wrote the screenplay. The book had a subplot where Chief Brody’s wife has an affair with Hooper and she cries when the shark killed him in the shark cage. Affairs were somewhat common in 1970s novels.
The movie cuts out the affair, Hooper disappears after the shark rips open his shark cage, and pops up after Chief Brody kills the shark.
If you want to see an updated version of “Jaws,” check out “The Meg” about an even bigger shark.