Today on June 20, 1975, the iconic summertime thriller Jaws hits box offices across the United States.
Jaws has undoubtedly become one of the most famous films in history. Directed by the talented Steven Spielberg, it was adapted from the bestselling novel by Peter Benchley. The book was released the year before and captured the imagination of readers worldwide. Interestingly, the book had several other naming options, such as “The Stillness in the Water,” “The Silence of the Deep,” “Leviathan Rising,” and “The Jaws of Death." The film tells the story of a giant ‘man-eating’ great white shark that viciously attacks unexpecting beachgoers. The horrific events take place in the fictional town of Amity Island in New England. Local police eventually joined forces with a marine biologist to hunt down the menacing killer animal.
The highly anticipated film had a troubled production run that went way over budget and past schedule. The original plan called for 65 days of shooting, which ended up taking 165 days (not including post-production). Spielberg’s art department struggled with numerous mechanical sharks malfunctions. As a result, Jaws (the shark) doesn’t fully appear on screen until one hour and 21 minutes. The mechanical shark weighted a whopping 1.2 tons and measured over 25 feet in length. After an extensive marketing campaign, the movie finally hit theatres in time for the summer.
Jaws immediately became a huge box office success and is now considered one of the greatest films of all time. It’s budget of $9 million ended up grossing more than $470 million. Similar to Star Wars, Jaws was pivotal in establishing the modern-day Hollywood business model. Success for most high budget action and adventure films now heavily relies on massive advertising campaigns. One of the most famous aspects of Jaws is the iconic score. Spielberg thought it was a joke after hearing composer John Williams play it for the first time. He later stated, “the score was clearly responsible for half of the success of the movie.” Daah dun, daah dun, daah dun, dun dun…