JAWS re-enters the Top 10 at the box office thanks to the 3D re-release


There are classic movies, and then there are movies like Jaws it kind of completely transcends that phrasing to become something entirely different. Existing in a very elite group of films, Steven Spielberg’s 1975 classic coined the blockbuster as we know it by telling the timeless story of a killer shark terrorizing the otherwise quiet seaside town of Amity Island. Now, nearly five decades after leaving its mark on the world, the film has resurfaced to claim a spot on the box office charts alongside current hits like Top Gun: Maverick and High-speed train.

Jaws was recently converted to 3D by the folks at Universal Pictures, and since things were looking pretty slow this Labor Day weekend in terms of new releases, they opted to re-release the film on 3D and other premium format screens, such as IMAX. The combination of a lack of strong competition, $3 tickets on National Movie Day last Saturday, and the enduring nature of Spielberg’s work resulted in Jaws earn $3.3 million over the weekend (per Box Office Mojo), counting holiday Monday.

That number was good enough to clinch No. 8 on the holiday weekend charts, just ahead of Thor: Love and Thunder ($3.1 million) and just behind Minions: The Rise of Gru ($4.5 million). Yes, sandwiched right between two modern blockbusters with mass appeal was Spielberg’s beloved classic, proving that no other shark film can top the cinematic shark perfection achieved in 1975.

The tale of Jaws is well known at this point, but Spielberg was a relatively unknown director at the time, and Universal was given a measly $7 million to create a feature-length creature based on Peter Benchley’s 1974 novel. The filmmaker encountered many problems during production, including massive issues with the mechanical shark, affectionately nicknamed Bruce. This required Spielberg to get creative with making the shots work, but this “less is more” approach to actually showing the shark is, ultimately, part of what makes the film so effective. A happy accident that created the summer blockbuster as we know it.

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The film was a smash hit and, including the re-release, grossed $474.7 million worldwide against that low production budget. That is to say, none of the untold millions generated from merchandise, TV rights, Blu-ray/DVD sales and other revenue streams over the years.

The Jaws the re-release is still in theaters now in 3D and IMAX, so watch it while you can.


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