Cook Library Cinema Club: Summer Blockbusters
"You're gonna need a bigger boat...."
Summer is movie blockbuster season, and this year is no exception with huge hits such as Transformers: Age of Distinction, Edge of Tomorrow, X-Men: Days of Future Past and Godzilla luring hoards of moviegoers into theaters in recent weeks. It is the monumental success of the iconic thriller Jaws -- which was released 39 years ago this summer -- that is credited with establishing the summer as the go-to season for the release of big-budget, action-adventure films.
Released to a then-unheard of 450+ movie screens all at once, and supported by a massive ad campaign, Jaws first hit theaters in June, 1975, and has been striking fear into the hearts of summer beach-goers ever since! Based on the popular novel by Peter Benchley, the movie chronicles the terror imposed on a small New England beach community by a giant, man-eating Great White Shark, and the efforts of the local police chief, an oceanographer, and a grizzled shark hunter to track down and destroy the menace. Jaws was seen by an estimated 67 million viewers in its initial release, becoming the highest grossing movie in film history at that time, and the business model that supported its release is one that is still followed by studios today. The classic film, enhanced by an especially memorable and menacing score by composer John Williams, was directed by Steven Spielberg, and stars Roy Scheider, Richard Dreyfuss, and Robert Shaw. The success of the film spawned three sequels, though none achieved the level of respect or success of the first film.
A fun fact about the film (from IMDb): Steven Spielberg nicknamed the mechanical shark used in the film "Bruce" -- after his lawyer! Go ahead and scare yourselves silly by re-visiting this summer movie classic!