One of the great classic films of all time is Jaws. If you ask my dad this was back when the studios made great films. The 70’s was a different time. The studio system had ended and there was an embrace of talented young film makers. Think about all the classics back then. From Godfather and Apocalypse now to Star Wars and Jaws. Jaws was based on Peter Benchley’s 1974 best selling novel just like Godfather was also based on a book. it was one of the first event films of the summer. In the old days people went to movies weekly. This was the start of big commercially mega advertised summer movies. Adjusted for inflation Jaws ranks #7 on the all time list. What is even more impressive is back in those days the movie theaters didn’t have 10 screens. And there where a lot less screens and available seats to sell. The local theater could only screen a picture a fraction of the number of times they can today.
The budget was only $7 million. Unlike titanic it didn’t have $200 million dollars to build life like sets in Mexico. They both did however film in tanks and not in the actual ocean. Jaws had to be filmed on the studio back lot. It’s still there in Universal City California. You can take a Universal Studio tour and get a look.
Back then they didnt have cgi. And sharks cant be trained to perform like other animals. The only option was to build a fake shark. The production was overwhelmed with getting the mechanical shark to work while making sure it still looked real. Luckily this wasn’t something most people had seen. So there wasn’t much to compare it to.
Originally the film was supposed to be released for Christmas but because the production ran into so many problems mainly due to the complication of filming a boat in the ocean. The release date was pushed back to June 20, 1975. So it launched the event summer block buster by accident. It was the first film to be released on 400 screens and gross over $100 million. For decades after the $100 million box office was the benchmark for a mega hit film.
They used Martha’s Vineyard to get the look of Amity Island. The shark was nick named Bruce. That name was also used in Pixar’s Finding Nemo.
How tough was it to film the water stuff? The opening scene with the swimmer getting eaten by a shark took three days to film. The actress was attached to a harness and jerked by crew members.
Most of the water stuff was filmed at the Universal Studio back lot in a huge water tank. On December 2, 2011, Universal Orlando Resort announced that the Jaws attraction along with the entire Amity area of Universal Studios Florida would close permanently on January 2, 2012 to “make room for an exciting, NEW, experience.” (the second phase of The Wizarding World Of Harry Potter