Jaws vs. Jurassic World

40 years since Jaws and fantasy monsters are still taking over the box office? Photo Courtesy: Dan Varner
Four decades since the monstrous Jaws and fantasy monsters are still taking over the box office. Photo Courtesy: Dan Varner

By Stephen Elliott

Forty years ago the movie that coined the phrase “summer blockbuster” opened on 400 plus screens. Jaws scored over $260 million shattering the early box office record. An astronomic number for 1975. The new record holder, Jurassic World, is bringing in well over $325 million dollars through their first two weekends in theaters. Obviously the dollar changes in four decades and money aside, these blockbusters have similar commercial characteristics that made them smash box office hits.

Public Reaction 
Do you remember going into the beaches the week after watching Jaws? That’s because you didn’t! The movie poster alone kept you out of the water, and then you had to see the movie. It seems cheesy now, but that gigantic, robotic shark prevented you from taking that annually family vacation to the coast. Jurassic World is different though, the possibility of a theme park filled with pre-historic dinosaurs will never happen. It’s much like Godzilla in which it’s a great reenactment of what could happen, if this would happen (but it won’t). At least Jaws could act as a reminder or precaution of severe shark attacks that happen often during the summer or that Shark Week is right around the corner on the Discovery channel.

People left both movies thinking either “That was amazing” or “I’ve got to see that again”. Nothing had ever been on the big screen as colossal as that huge shark and then you see a genetically modified dinosaur? Wow that looked incredible right? Just makes you want to get on Twitter and do that number sign thing with a caption after it like #mindblown and #indominusrex. What I’m trying to say is everyone was talking about these movies. You told your friends, family members and even the naysayers to see the movie. You saw that movie twice. Forty years later and fictional monsters are still a part of your Friday night plans.

Do these movies have a little rivalry brewing between a galaxy far, far away?
Two years after Jaws topped the record books, a “new hope” trumped the box office. Star Wars IV took the new honors as the most money making movie with a 1977 record of $300 million plus. Now in 2015, George Lucas and company are task to bring down another glorious money box office hit. Expect to see another changing in the money guzzling waterfall that is the Hollywood film industry. Come Christmas, the seventh Star Wars film will be the most expensive yet.