“You’ll never go in the water again!”
It has been 40 years since Jaws hit theaters the first time, striking fear in the hearts of teenage beachcombers everywhere and that fierce great white shark is coming around to theaters again for the anniversary of Jaws‘ original release.
June 21 will mark the second time Jaws will grace the big screen, marking its anniversary by allowing new generations to experience Jaws on the big screen as it was intended. Let’s face it: If you haven’t seen Jaws in a theater, you haven’t seen Jaws.
The theatrical event, which is being organized by Universal Pictures in conjunction with Fathom Events and Turner Classic Movies, will present special screenings of Jaws in nearly 500 theaters around the country. A special introduction will be given by TCM’s Ben Mankiewicz, which will be included in an encore presentation on June 24.
“Jaws is a classic thriller enjoyed by generations and it is ready for a comeback,” Fathom Events vice president of programming Kymberli Frueh-Owens said. “Movie buffs will love seeing their favorite killer shark larger than life on the big screen. No risk of shark bite!”
For those familiar with Jaws only through pop culture references and sub-par imitations, experience the original theatrical trailer, followed by the official synopsis for Jaws.
“It’s a hot summer on Amity Island, a small community whose main business is its beaches. When new Sheriff Martin Brody discovers the remains of a shark attack victim, his first inclination is to close the beaches to swimmers. This doesn’t sit well with Mayor Larry Vaughn and several of the local businessmen. Brody backs down to his regret as that weekend a young boy is killed by the predator. The dead boy’s mother puts out a bounty on the shark and Amity is soon swamped with amateur hunters and fisherman hoping to cash in on the reward. A local fisherman with much experience hunting sharks, Quint, offers to hunt down the creature for a hefty fee. Soon Quint, Brody and Matt Hooper from the Oceanographic Institute are at sea hunting the Great White shark. As Brody succinctly surmises after their first encounter with the creature, they’re going to need a bigger boat.”
After 40 years of sequels, imitations, and parodies, Jaws seems to have lost its bite, but the original 1975 release gave moviegoers a glimpse of a new kind of movie and it packed theaters with fans over and over again. Jaws became the highest grossing film of its time and held onto that prestigious title until the release of Star Wars two years later. Credited for setting the standard, Jaws created the business model still employed by Hollywood forty years later in regard to the treatment of high-end action/adventure films: the summer blockbuster.
In 2001, Jaws was selected by the Library of Congress for preservation in the United States National Film Registry, being deemed “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant.”
Steven Spielberg once told the story of his first clue that Jaws would be a big hit. During a preview screening of Jaws, one audience member rushed out in the middle of the film and made it as far as the theater lobby, before vomiting all over the floor. In terms of horror films, of which Jaws has long been considered an honorary member, there can be no higher praise.
Information for the 40th anniversary theatrical release of Jaws, including ticket purchases, can be found at the Fathom Events website.
[Featured image courtesy of Universal Studios/Jaws]