Jaws (Movie Poster) Homage Covers
Jaws is a 1975 American cultural phenomenon considered in part to have ushered in the era of the summer blockbuster film. Jaws, directed by Stephen Spielberg, is based on Peter Benchley’s 1974 novel of the same name, which spent 44 weeks on the bestseller list. The paperback release, despite mixed reviews, sold millions of copies the following year. Prior to publication, film producers Richard D. Zanuck and David Brown read the novel and bought the film rights, selecting Steven Spielberg to direct.
Prior to the release of Jaws, blockbusters were historically released during the winter holidays to filmgoers seeking entertainment and distraction during the colder winter months. Jaws’ was intentionally released and heavily marketed at a time when millions of people would be spending time on sun-drenched beaches and cooling off in the refreshing waters of seaside resorts. This innovative approach — tying a film’s release to a particular event — drew audiences into air-conditioned theaters across the nation, selling 25 million tickets in its first 38 days. The summer blockbuster would become a trend when George Lucas’s Star Wars, released just two years later in the summer of 1977, and its sequels The Empire Strikes Back and The Return of the Jedi, set new benchmarks for summer releases. Thus, Steven Spielberg and George Lucas, according to popular folklore, invented the summer blockbuster.