What did the success of Jaws teach Hollywood producers?


The success of Jaws at the box office set the producers and movie studios in Hollywood thinking about the reasons for the huge success of the movie. They undoubtedly tried to emulate the formula and also tried to create similar films which garnered wide commercial approval of the audience.

Slowly, the producers started pumping in great amount of money in production of the motion picture in a bid to make them stand out of the ordinary and capture people’s imagination. There were some great hits and a lot many more misses.

Why are the films in Hollywood always timed for summer?

The movie ‘Jaws’ was released in the summer of 1975, and incidentally July 4 is also an important day in American history. Slowly and surely, directors and producers almost always preferred to release their films during this period. That is why most of them are often referred to as summer releases.

Bigger budgets

Director Steven Spielberg may have thought that he would never work in Hollywood again after producing jaws in 1975. The shooting period ballooned from 55-159 days and the budget went up by 300% spending $12 million which was almost four times the average production cost of films in 1975.

Today, big budgets have become the norm in Hollywood film production. Depending on the size of the studio, genre of the film, the time of the year the film is being released and the distributor releasing the film, the average production cost is around $95 million but this does not include the marketing and distribution cost which is another $55 million. This brings the total average cost of producing a Hollywood film to $150 million.

However, there are some films that have gone above and beyond costing several hundred million of dollars. For example, the Prorates of the Caribbean which was released on May 20, 2011 had a budget of $378.5 million while The Hobbit trilogy holds the record with combined costs of $623 million.

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Before jaws, Hollywood studios did not advertise their movies on TV. All this changed after the summer of 1975.

Jaws spent $700,000 on marketing which is $3.2 billion today hitting the major networks of the time and the prime time weeks before the movie came out hence building anticipation. People were talking about it before it was even released and planning how they will be at the theatre on the opening night. Everyone was excited in anticipation for the jaws movies which is what every Hollywood film producer aims at today.

Wide Opening

The way jaws was released has also changed how films are released today.

Before the summer of 1975, Hollywood producers rolled out the release of a films over several months but jaws opened in 465 theaters simultaneously collecting $7 million in its first week. By the second week, it had recovered the production cost and in 78 day, it had taken over to become the blockbuster of the time.