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Today summer is known as the big season for movies. This is when some of the biggest hits of the year are released and the box office sees some of the biggest numbers. However, this was not always the case. Summers were spent on the beaches or other outdoor activities, and audiences didn’t always want to spend their summers indoors watching a movie. That all changed in 1975, the year Steven Spielberg made his first major appearance Jaw.

The film drew audiences in droves and quickly became the highest-grossing film of its time. This was the start of the summer blockbuster and cinema has never been the same. Jaw was based on the book by Peter Benchley and changed the way people saw the ocean. It is still widely regarded as one of the greatest films of all time. It was so popular that other shark films emerged to cash in on the craze. However, none came close to the success of the untouchables Jaw, including its own sequels. Looking ahead, summer was the peak season for major film releases, and Universal wanted to relive the film’s success with these sequels, which were released from 1978 to 1987.

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These three sequels didn’t match the success of the original. In fact, the latter two were huge box office bombs and are still considered some of the worst sequels. Suddenly people stopped thinking about what made the original so good. The name Jaw brought a laughingstock to the public. From jokes about the number of sequels to the fourth film’s silly tagline (“This time it’s personal”), Jaw was nothing more than a punch line. This begs the question – what happened? How did one of the most groundbreaking films of all time spawn some of the worst films of the ’80s?

Highest form of flattery

Look at the events leading up to this Jaw Sequels have to see the aftermath of the original film. Countless rip-offs have been released hoping to witness the film’s success. Suddenly one of the hottest genres was the killer shark movie. Put a shark on the poster and you’re sure to make an easy checkout batter, right? Not exactly. What these films failed to recognize is that Jaw was never a killer shark movie per se. A killer shark movie is about nothing but a shark. The shark drives the film at the expense of everything else. With Jaw, the shark drives the plot but not the story. This rip-off threw a bunch of uninteresting characters into the ocean where they got eaten by a shark. These filmmakers believed audiences wanted to see sharks and nothing more.


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This misdirection led to the films being panned by critics. But the success of Jaw should not be ignored. Their plan worked to a certain extent. The sequels drew crowds wanting to relive the feelings they felt upon seeing it Jaw (especially pine 2, which raised $208 million from a budget of $20 million, nearly $1 billion today, adjusted for inflation). By the time audiences realized the same sentiment wasn’t there, the studio already had their money. The success of these films (with sharply decreasing returns) led to more and more rip-offs.

Back in the water

In 1978, three years after the original, Universal took fans back to Amity pine 2. The film brought back Roy Scheider as Chief Brody who faces another shark. The film’s bait and switch nature kicked off right away, as the ads led fans to believe the original shark was back for more. In the original’s explosive finale, Brody blasts the shark into bloody pieces. The ads for pine 2 See a huge shark with some serious facial damage. This implied the shark survived and returned to kill like a slasher villain. That wasn’t the case, as fans quickly discovered.


This shark was an entirely new animal that suffered facial damage early in the film. The supposed rarity of the original shark attack had happened once again. pine 2 isn’t nearly as bad as the next two movies, but it doesn’t do justice to the original. Roy Scheider still gave an entertaining performance, but the storyline was essentially a watered-down version of the original. It even has a similar finale. Nevertheless, fans flocked to the cinemas to present a new one Jaw Movie. Although it only brought in half as much as the first Jawit was still an aforementioned success, so much so that Universal banked on another sequel for release in 1983.

From Jaws to Joke in 3D

For the third film, Universal decided to use a then-popular gimmick to lure in audiences. The third film was known to be released in 3-D. The third Friday the 13th Film revitalized the 3-D gimmick and Pine 3D jumped straight onto this train without asking any questions. The film had no recurring cast and focused solely on the shark. Pine 3D only existed to show 3-D effects and lure visitors to Sea World. The film was the least successful film of the series and was derided mainly for the poor special effects and forced 3-D. Other than that, the film was successful enough to spawn a final sequel. Jaws: The revenge was released in 1987 and bombed on all fronts.


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The film follows a shark who actually follows the Brody family from Amity to the Bahamas seeking revenge. As if that wasn’t ridiculous enough, Chief Brody was killed off-screen out of fear. The man who killed two great whites died fearing the return of another. This insult to a great character was just a minor issue in a movie full of them. This is the movie that killed the franchise and turned it into a laughing stock. So the damage was done, but why did these films fail? Aside from the obviously silly plots, why did these movies bombard so heavily?

A Shark’s Success

The three sequels focused way too much on the shark. The shark was the main character, just like Michael Myers later became the main character, weaker Halloween movies. This simple fact is why these films fell far short of the success of the original. The success of Jaw comes from the human characters. The chemistry between Brody, Hopper and Quint in the hunt for the shark is what gives the film its heart. The tension comes from the isolation felt by the characters. Trapped in the shark’s homeland, they must rely on their wits to survive.


On top of that, the relationship between the three men carries the film when the shark is not present. For example, check out one of the best scenes. The three men hang out and drink. They share stories of how they got their various scars as Quint tells a chilling story of the USS Indianapolis. This story not only allows Robert Shaw to pull off an incredible feat, but also lets the audience know just how deadly sharks can be.

No more jaws

Moments like that just don’t exist in the sequels as they are more interested in showing the shark every five minutes. Due to some famous behind-the-scenes troubles with the shark in the first film, he rarely appears on screen. When it does, viewers get scared because they aren’t used to seeing it. On top of that, the characters are all likeable in their own way, so nobody wants to see them die. With Jawa shark is in a film about human characters, not the other way around.

There are still countless ridiculous shark movies out there today Sharknado to The mega. These movies are usually confident and know they’re being goofy. With so many horrifying shark movies, there’s also the tarnished reputation Jaw franchise, it’s easy to forget how influential the original film was. There hasn’t been any Jaw film since the fourth in 1987, and that’s unlikely to change any time soon. The original film has a legacy that cannot be touched, and history has shown that it should not be questioned.

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