To celebrate their 100th anniversary, Universal Studios is remastering and rereleasing many of their classic films, including films like The Sting, To Kill A Mockingbird (Nikki’s favorite book), All Quiet on the Western Front and a special Blu-Ray edition of Hollywood’s first blockbuster, Jaws. Not only did the film mark a dramatic shift in American cinema, it also introduced audiences to Steven Spielberg. Filming Jaws, or rather, the nightmare of filming Jaws, has become the stuff of Hollywood legend. Budget overruns and problems with Bruce, the mechanical shark abounded, left Spielberg scrambling to get the film completed. On June 20th, 1975, right in the middle of summer, Jaws hit the theaters and began terrorizing audiences all over the country. Jaws opened with a $7 million weekend and recouped its production costs in two weeks. In just 78 days, it overtook The Godfather as the highest-grossing film at the North American box office. I remember seeing it in the theater and, like many others, refused to go anywhere near the ocean for quite some time. Nikki remembers seeing it at the drive-in with her parents, crouching on the floor of the back seat of the car. “I was terrified,” she says, “from the opening scene where the girl gets dragged under. I hated that movie for years after that.”
Along with the Blu-Ray is a wonderful book by Matt Taylor, called Jaws: Memories from Martha’s Vineyard. It’s a great collection of behind the scenes photographs and stories from the plagued production, and even includes a new forward by Steven Spielberg as well as interviews with production designer Joe Alves, screenwriter Carl Gottlieb, location casting director Shari Rhodes. If you, or someone you know, is a die-hard Jaws fan, you may also want to check out a book written by my friend Patrick, called Just When You Thought It Was Safe: A Jaws Companion. Patrick has an encyclopedic knowledge of cinema and has created a really fantastic book for Jaws fans and film-buffs alike.