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Making its Movie Debut: Jaws
An event every year that begins at 12:00 am on day 20 of June, repeating indefinitely
On June 20, 1975, Jaws was released in the United States, ushering in the trend of “summer blockbusters.” The famous movie, focused on the hunt for a killer great white shark off the coast of Massachusetts, grossed $7 million in its first weekend (that’s roughly $35 million today!) At the time, it was the highest-grossing movie in North American history. Everyone was talking about Jaws, and many moviegoers went and saw it multiple times.
Prior to Jaws, production companies tended to release their best pictures in the winter, usually around the Christmas holiday. Surprisingly, summer was considered a less desirable time of year when “B-movies” were often released.
After Jaws, several successful movies (right up into the present) were released during the summer, including Star Wars two years later.
Did you know? The term “blockbuster” originally came from World War II, used to describe highly destructive bombs that could take out an entire city block. The term was then adopted to describe anything bold or explosive, including successful films.
The mechanical sharks used for the movie were named Bruce (Finding Nemo gave a nod to Jaws with its own shark named Bruce in 2003).
Shark fishing, Winslow Homer, 1885