“Jaws”… Happy 35th!

posted by Coate on June 18, 2010 at 4:15 pm


Compiled by Michael Coate[/b]

Dedicated to:
Robert Shaw (“Quint”), 1927-1978
Charlsie Bryant (Script Supervisor), 1917-1978
John R. Carter (Sound), 1907-1982
Verna Fields (Film Editor), 1918-1982
Howard Sackler (Screenwriter), 1929-1982
Murray Hamilton (“Vaughn”), 1923-1986
Roger Heman, Jr. (Sound), 1932-1989
Manfred Zendar (Technical Advisor), 1907-1990
Chris Rebello (“Michael Brody”), 1963-2000
Lew Wasserman (Universal Chairman), 1913-2002
Peter Benchley (Screenwriter), 1940-2006
Roy Scheider (“Brody”), 1932-2008
Shari Rhodes (Location Casting), 1938-2009
Ned Tanen (Universal Executive), 1931-2009
David Brown (Producer), 1916-2010

June 20, 1975…the day the modern summer blockbuster was born. (Or so goes the legend.)

Timed to coincide with schools letting out and families beginning their summer vacations, Universal Pictures released Jaws, Steven Spielberg’s thrilling cinematic adaptation of Peter Benchley’s best-selling novel about a great white shark that terrorizes a New England coastal resort town. Little did anyone realize the impact — positive and negative — that this one film would have in influencing a shift in the type of movies that would get made, when and how they would be released, their earnings potential, and, not to mention, causing people to reconsider swimming in the ocean.

Prompted by extraordinary feedback from the film’s sneak-preview screenings that spring, Universal saturated the market by opening Jaws simultaneously in nearly 500 theaters and promoting it with a massive television ad campaign at a time when the industry norm was to launch in a conservative number of theaters (and expand gradually) and to rely on minimal if any television advertising.

The premise that Jaws opened in an unusually large number of theaters inspired me to research and assemble a list of the theaters that took part in the film’s landmark release. But…as the project progressed, it was discovered that what has often been described in historical accounts as a record saturation opening is nothing more than a myth. As it turns out, there were numerous films produced prior to Jaws that were given large-scale television promotion and/or saturation distribution greater than that of Spielberg’s film, including most notably Columbia’s Breakout (1975) and Taylor-Laughlin’s The Trial Of Billy Jack (1974). Still, for its time, opening in hundreds of theaters at once is noteworthy as it was a sign of what would soon become the norm.

Another myth surrounding Jaws is the amount of money it made. Numerous sources claim it was the first motion picture to gross $100 million. Not true. What is not a myth is how quickly Jaws made its money, as it without question made money faster than any film in history up to that point in time, thanks in large part to it being advertised on television, excellent word-of-mouth, positive reviews, and that it was playing nationwide. Opening weekend brought in more than $7 million. After ten days: $21 million. A mere two weeks into release the film was in the black. And it cracked the blockbuster plateau of $100 million after only fifty-nine days in release. One by one, all of the big moneymaking records — The Sound Of Music, Gone With The Wind, Love Story, The Sting, The Exorcist, The Godfather — began to topple. Jaws went from a troubled production to the biggest hit the industry had ever seen, proving just how unpredictable the film business can be. It’s funny how things work out.

The industry also has a funny way of remembering only the films that are successful, and it likes to honor its (successful) past when round-numbered anniversaries turn up. So with that in mind, here, on the occasion of its 35th anniversary, is a quick-reference tribute to Steven Spielberg’s Jaws. Enjoy this flashback to the summer of ‘75…

Brody —– Roy Scheider
Quint —– Robert Shaw
Hooper —– Richard Dreyfuss
Ellen Brody —– Lorraine Gary
Vaughn —– Murray Hamilton
Meadows —– Carl Gottlieb
Hendricks —– Jeffrey C. Kramer
Chrissie —– Susan Backlinie
Cassidy —– Jonathan Filley
Estuary Victim —– Ted Grossman
Michael Brody —– Chris Rebello
Sean Brody —– Jay Mello
Mrs. Kintner —– Lee Fierro
Alex Kintner —– Jeffrey Voorhees
Ben Gardner —– Craig Kingsbury
Medical Examiner —– Dr. Robert Nevin
Interviewer —– Peter Benchley

Director —– Steven Spielberg
Producers —– Richard D. Zanuck and Robert Brown
Screenplay —– Peter Benchley and Carl Gottlieb (based upon the novel by Peter Benchley)
Director of Photography —– Bill Butler
Editor —– Verna Fields
Music —– John Williams
Production Designer —– Joseph Alves, Jr.
Special Effects —– Robert A. Mattey
Production Executive —– William S. Gilmore, Jr.

Studio —– Universal Pictures
Release Date —– June 20, 1975
Running Time —– 124 minutes
Projection Format —– Scope
Sound Format —– Mono
MPAA Rating —– PG


1 = Rank on top-grossing films of 1975
1 = Rank on all-time list of top-grossing films at close of run
1 = Rank on all-time list of top rentals at close of run
2 = Number of years held the #1 spot on list of all-time top-grossing films
3 = Number of Academy Awards
4 = Number of Academy Award nominations
7 = Number of years Universal Pictures' most-successful film
7 = Rank on current list of all-time top-grossing films (adjusted for inflation)
9 = Number of consecutive weeks it was the nation’s top-grossing film
14 = Number of days it took to turn a profit
26 = Steven Spielberg’s age when he was offered the directorial assignment
39 = Rank on current list of all-time top-grossing films
40 = Number of weeks longest-running engagement played
48 = Rank on American Film Institute’s list of the 100 Greatest American Films
59 = Number of days it took to surpass $100 million
78 = Number of days it took to become the industry’s top-grossing movie
159 = Number of days it took to shoot the movie
161 = Number of days it took to surpass $150 million
464 = Number of opening-week bookings in the United States and Canada
2,500+ = Number of theaters in North America that showed Jaws during original run

$175,000 = Amount paid to acquire motion picture rights
$2.5 million = Amount Universal spent on marketing in advance of its release
$3.0 million = Salary plus profit-participation earned by Spielberg
$7.1 million = Opening-weekend box-office gross
$9.0 million = Production cost
$129.5 million = Cumulative domestic box-office rental (original + re-releases)
$192.0 million = Cumulative domestic box-office gross (original release)
$210.7 million = Cumulative international box-office gross (original + re-releases)
$260.0 million = Cumulative domestic box-office gross (original + re-releases)
$470.7 million = Cumulative worldwide box-office gross (original + re-releases)
$802.9 million = Cumulative domestic box-office gross (adjusted for inflation)


“You’re gonna need a bigger boat.” — Brody

“Martin, it’s all psychological. You yell ‘barracuda’…and everybody says, ‘Huh? What?’ You yell ‘shark,’ we’ve got a panic on our hands on the Fourth of July.” — Vaughn

“Slow ahead. I can go slow ahead. Come on down and chum some of this sh*t.” — Brody

“This is not a boat accident.” — Hooper

“Smile, you son of a bitch.” — Brody


Jaws is an artistic and commercial smash. Producers Richard D. Zanuck and David Brown, and director Steven Spielberg, have the satisfaction of a production problem-plagued film turning out beautifully. Peter Benchley’s bestseller about a killer shark and a tourist beach town has become a film of consummate suspense, tension and terror. The Universal release looks like a torrid moneymaker everywhere.” — A.D. Murphy, Variety

“Destined to become a classic.” — Arthur Cooper, Newsweek

“The first and crucial thing to say about the movie Universal has made from Peter Benchley’s best-seller Jaws is that the PG rating is grievously wrong and misleading. The studio has rightly added its own cautionary notices in the ads, and the fact is that Jaws is too gruesome for children, and likely to turn stomachs of the impressionable at any age.” — Charles Champlin, Los Angeles Times

“Brilliant young director Steven Spielberg has taken the premise of Peter Benchley’s best-selling but rather pedestrian novel Jaws — a summer resort community terrorized by the presence of a rogue Great White Shark — and streamlined it into a new classic of cinematic horror and high adventure. The movie version of Jaws is one of the most exciting and satisfying thrillers ever made.” — Gary Arnold, The Washington Post

Jaws is a thriller of surprise rather than suspense. You feel like a rat, being given shock treatment, who has not yet figured out the pattern.” — Molly Haskell, The Village Voice

“The real hero of the film is young director Steven Spielberg. No review of Jaws should tell you too much of what happens, but every review of Jaws should tell you how masterfully Spielberg manipulates the audience. Wisely he relies on our imagination. For a long time we don’t see the whole shark, just the results. Or we are the shark, hovering beneath the swimmers, watching.” — Dominique Paul Noth, The Milwaukee Journal

“In spite of some rather gruesome scenes, Jaws is a superior piece of entertainment.” — Larry Stallings, Daytona Beach Journal

Jaws is a movie whose every shock is a devastating surprise. It is elaborate, technically intricate, and wonderfully crafted. Contains classic sequences of suspense…The final battle is literally explosive.” — Time Magazine

Jaws provides us with chills enough for the hottest of summers and hydrophobia for life.” — Judith Crist, New York Magazine

“Shock piles upon shock until the viewer is half-dead from fright, and it’s all so skillfully directed by 27-year-old Steven Spielberg, edited by Verna Fields, scored by John Williams and photographed by Bill Butler, that you can’t escape its tension and power even if you want to.” — Rex Reed, New York Daily News

“If you think about Jaws for more than 45 seconds you will recognize it as nonsense, but it’s the sort of nonsense that can be a good deal of fun if you like to have the wits scared out of you at irregular intervals.” — Vincent Canby, The New York Times

“Spielberg ranks with [William] Friedkin as a foremost commercial practitioner of a gritty, punchy, visual equivalent of best-seller prose.” — Tom Allen, The Village Voice

“The technical credits, from Bill Butler’s photography to John Williams' music, with a theme that recalls Bernard Herrmann’s classic score for Psycho, all add up to movie magic of a high order.” — George Anderson, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

“It is news when a 26-year-old film director goes $2 million over budget and two and a half months over schedule and manages to avoid getting fired. But then, Steven Spielberg has managed to perform the impossible for most of his brief adult life — like successfully directing Joan Crawford in her first television movie. His most recent accomplishment will be hard to beat.” — Bob Thomas, Associated Press


Promotional slogans used for the Jaws release included: “And so it began…” “She was the first…” “The terrifying motion picture from the terrifying No. 1 best seller.” “Amity Island had everything. Clear skies. Gentle surf. Warm water. People flocked there every summer. It was the perfect feeding ground.”

Author Peter Benchley appears as a reporter in the Fourth of July sequence.

Jaws spawned three sequels, a theme park attraction, a video game, a musical, and countless imitations.

The fictitious Jaws 19, directed by Max Spielberg (Steven’s real-life son), was featured as an inside joke in the Spielberg-produced Back To The Future Part II (1989). In a scene set in the year 2015, the character of Marty McFly (Michael J. Fox) sees a holographic shark promoting the movie at the Holomax Theater and responds by quipping, “Shark still looks fake.”

For his Jaws music, John Williams won an Oscar, a Grammy and a Golden Globe.

Jaws has been spoofed numerous times, most memorably in Mad Magazine (as Jaw’d), in Playboy (as Jugs), in the adult film Gums, and on an episode of Saturday Night Live.

The majority of Jaws was photographed on location in and near Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts.

The original shooting schedule called for 55 filming days. The shoot was so problematic and difficult that, ultimately, principal photography lasted 159 days. Crew members jokingly referred to the film as Flaws.

The longest run of Jaws in the United States is believed to have been a 40-week engagement in Denver (27 weeks at the Cooper followed by 13 weeks at the adjacent Cooper Cameo). The longest continuous run at a single-screen theater is believed to have been a 39-week run at the Coliseum in Seattle.

Director Steven Spielberg was 27 years old when Jaws was produced. (Many references, including one elsewhere in this article, cite 26 as Spielberg’s age at the time. Spielberg was 26 when he was offered Jaws to direct, but the age discrepancy can also be explained by pointing out that biographical information published early in Spielberg’s career often cited his year of birth as 1947 when, in fact, he was born in 1946.)

Jaws won three Academy Awards: Film Editing (Vera Fields), Original Score (John Williams) and Sound (Robert Hoyt, Roger Heman Jr., Earl Madery, John R. Carter). It addition, Jaws was nominated for Best Picture.

Aside from the Oscars, other awards and nominations Jaws received included an American Cinema Editors “Eddie” and Films and Filming Magazine’s Best Editing, a Grammy and Golden Globe for John Williams' music, six BAFTA nominations, a Directors Guild and Golden Globe nomination for Spielberg’s direction, and a People’s Choice Award for Favorite Motion Picture. In addition, Show-A-Rama awarded Spielberg Director of the Year and the Publicists Guild awarded Richard D. Zanuck and David Brown Producers of the Year.

The shark featured in the film was a combination of special effects (mechanical sharks nicknamed “Bruce” by the crew) and real underwater footage of live sharks shot near Australia by Ron and Valerie Taylor (Blue Water, White Death).

The memorable “treadmill” shot (i.e. simultaneous dolly-zoom) of Brody reacting to the shark attack during one of the beach sequences is one of, if not, the most effective examples of such a shot. It was inspired by similar shots featured in Alfred Hitchcock’s Vertigo (1958) and has been used (often to great effect) in numerous films since.

Jaws was, in 1978, the first movie mastered for release on the then-new DiscoVision videodisc format. The film was also released on the Beta and VHS formats.

Jaws was first broadcast on Pay TV (i.e cable television) in August of 1979.

Jaws was first broadcast on network television on November 4, 1979. An estimated 80 million viewers tuned in to the ABC broadcast, and it was at the time the second-most-watched movie broadcast, being out-watched only by a 1976 airing of Gone With The Wind.

Jaws was test-screened on March 26, 1975, in Dallas, Texas (at the Medallion), and March 28, 1975, in Lakewood, California (at Lakewood Center). An analysis of the screenings and questionnaire results prompted the filmmakers to shoot additional footage (in a Los Angeles swimming pool) for one scene. The final release version of the film was sneak-previewed in numerous cities during April and May of 1975 (often as a double feature with Universal’s The Great Waldo Pepper).

Jaws is often mistakenly cited as the first motion picture to have grossed over $100 million. The fact is it was the first to exceed $100 million in rental revenue (i.e. the percentage of the gross receipts returned to the distributor). A few movies released prior to Jaws grossed over $100 million (but the rentals for which were less than $100 million), including The Sound Of Music, The Godfather, The Exorcist, and, thanks to numerous re-releases, Gone With The Wind.

So certain he would receive an Academy Award nomination for Best Director, Spielberg, in February 1976, had a television news crew record live his reaction to the announcement broadcast of the Academy Award nominations. To his shock and disappointment, Spielberg was not nominated in the Best Director category, though the film was nominated in other categories. (Spielberg would in subsequent years receive a Best Director nomination for Close Encounters Of The Third Kind, Raiders Of The Lost Ark, E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial, Schindler’s List**, Saving Private Ryan, and Munich. [*nomination and win])

Jaws the was second collaboration between composer John Williams and director Steven Spielberg. Their first collaboration was The Sugarland Express in 1974. Subsequently, Williams has scored every one of Spielberg’s directorial efforts (except for 1985’s The Color Purple).

Repeat performances: Jaws cast members Richard Dreyfuss, Murray Hamilton, Lorraine Gary, Susan Backlinie, and Ted Grossman appeared in subsequent Spielberg films. Hamilton, Gary and Backlinie all appeared in 1941 (1979), with Backlinie spoofing her role as the first shark victim. Dreyfuss played the lead in Close Encounters Of The Third Kind (1977) and Always (1989). Ted Grossman appeared in small roles (and provided stunt work) in Spielberg’s Indiana Jones series and a few other films.

Jaws producers Richard D. Zanuck and Robert Brown also produced Spielberg’s The Sugarland Express (and offered Spielberg the Jaws directorial assignment during its production).

John Milius (The Wind And The Lion, Big Wednesday) and Howard Sackler (The Great White Hope) did uncredited rewrites of the script.

Roger Kastel was the artist who painted the famous image used on the cover of the Jaws novel and which subsequently was used on the film’s promotional material. (Other noteworthy work by Kastel included the “Style A” poster art for The Empire Strikes Back.)

Jaws was re-released multiple times between 1976 and 1979, adding tens of millions of dollars to its already phenomenal box-office take.

The camera operator on Jaws was Michael Chapman, who would go on to a successful career as a cinematographer (Taxi Driver, Raging Bull, The Lost Boys) and director (All The Right Moves, The Clan Of The Cave Bear).

In 1995, a feature-length retrospective documentary, produced by Laurent Bouzereau and showcasing new interviews with cast and crew members, was included on a collector’s edition laserdisc set. A condensed version of the documentary subsequently appeared on the Jaws DVD.

Jaws was selected in 2001 for preservation by the National Film Registry of the Library of Congress.

In June of 2005, Martha’s Vineyard hosted JawsFest, which featured a cast and crew reunion, Q&A and autograph sessions, film screenings and other activities. (Think: Star Trek convention for Jaws fans.)

Director Steven Spielberg in 2002 said: “Frankly, I don’t think that Jaws would do as well today as it did in 1975, because people would not wait so long to see the shark. Or they’d say there’s too much time between the first attack and the second attack. Which is too bad. We have an audience now that isn’t patient with us. They’ve been taught, by people like me, to be impatient with people like me.”


Ever wonder where Jaws opened on that fateful day in the summer of 1975? Ever wonder what a wide release circa 1975 looked like? Can’t remember the name of the theater in which you saw it? Well, look no further! What follows is a list of the theaters in the United States and Canada that opened Jaws on its initial June 20 release date.

But first a little more history of the film’s release and preface material for the list. Beginning July 25, 1975, the film’s sixth week, more than 200 additional engagements commenced in markets not included in the initial launch as well as in large markets already playing the film. By Labor Day weekend (the film’s eleventh week), Jaws had played or was still playing in more than 1,000 theaters.

No new bookings took place in-between the original June 20 date and the July 25 expansion except for a couple which are noted in the list and some New England coastal towns that exhibited Jaws on a rotational basis among a cluster of theaters.

Universal continued booking the film during the summer and into the autumn and winter months, primarily, at this stage, in small-town theaters located in remote areas. By the end of its record run more than 2,000 theaters in the United States and Canada had played the film (plus hundreds more internationally), with engagements of five and even six months long being average in numerous markets.

None of the post-June 20 engagements have been included in the list that follows. Listed instead, as an anniversary tribute, are the original 464 “first wave” bookings, which are being given special attention since these were the first anywhere to have played the landmark film.

The bookings list that follows has been tailored for readers of Cinema Treasures. Links have been provided for those theaters where a dedicated page exists so readers may learn more or post comments about a featured theater. In addition, note the number of entries for which there is no link. In other words, anyone with information or a desire to conduct research, please consider helping create pages for these unaccounted-for theaters.

In regard to the names of the theaters in which Jaws played, effort has been made to retain any special spelling or stylization used in its promotion based on referencing newspaper advertising and/or photographic evidence of theater marquees. The names of the theater owners, for the most part, have not been included.

Although Jaws played in numerous single-screen theaters, most of the theaters in which the film played, as you’ll glean from the list, were of the multiplex variety. In these instances, the total number of screens in a complex have been cited, rather than the specific screen/auditorium in which Jaws played, so as to provide an historical record of how many screens were in a given complex during 1975. (Theaters routinely expanded over the years, and historical accounts in books and websites, including Cinema Treasures, often do not accurately or comprehensively account for a venue’s screen-count timeline or alternate name history.)

And, lastly, the list serves many purposes. On one level it is nothing more than trivia related to Jaws. On another level it offers a nostalgic look at a classic movie. And on yet another level, it provides an historical snapshot of the film industry circa the mid-1970s.

So, here goes…

  • shown on two screens

Birmingham —– Village East 1 & 2
Decatur —– Gateway 1 & 2
Huntsville —– Westbury Cinerama
Mobile —– Airport Twin
Montgomery —– Martin Twin

Calgary —– 17th Avenue Drive-In
Calgary —– Grand 1 & 2
Edmonton —– Rialto 1 & 2
Edmonton —– Sky-Vue Drive-In
Lethbridge —– Paramount
Red Deer —– Paramount 1 & 2

Phoenix —– Chris-Town Mall Cinemas 6*
Scottsdale —– Round-Up Drive-In
Tucson —– Park Mall 4

Fort Smith —– Phoenix Village Twin
North Little Rock —– McCain Mall Cinema I & II

New Westminster —– Odeon
Prince George —– Princess
Surrey —– Surrey Drive-In
Vancouver —– Vogue
Victoria —– Odeon 1 & 2
West Vancouver —– Odeon

Anaheim —– Brookhurst
Bakersfield —– Stockdale 6
Buena Park —– Buena Park Drive-In
Burlingame —– Hyatt Cinemas
Carlsbad —– Cinema Plaza 4
Concord —– Solano Drive-In
Costa Mesa —– Cinema
Culver City —– Studio Drive-In
Daly City —– Serra
Fresno —– Country Squire
Gardena —– Vermont Drive-In
Highland —– Baseline Drive-In
Isla Vista —– Magic Lantern Twin

La Habra —– Fashion Square 4
La Mesa —– Alvarado Drive-In
La Puente —– Vineland Drive-In
Lakewood —– Lakewood Center
Long Beach —– Los Altos Drive-In
Los Angeles (Canoga Park) —– Holiday
Los Angeles (Century City) —– Century Plaza 1 & 2
Los Angeles (Hollywood) —– Pix
Los Angeles (Panorama City) —– Americana 6
Los Angeles (Van Nuys) —– Sepulveda Drive-In
Mill Valley —– Sequoia
Monterey —– Steinbeck
Oakland —– Piedmont
Oxnard —– Esplanade Triplex
Palm Springs —– Plaza
Paramount —– Rosecrans Drive-In
Pasadena —– Hastings Triplex
Pleasant Hill —– Century 25
Redondo Beach —– South Bay Cinema I-II-III-IV
Redwood City —– Redwood Drive-In
Riverside —– Tyler Mall Cinema 4
Sacramento —– Century 24
Sacramento —– Sacramento Drive-In
San Diego —– Fashion Valley 4

San Francisco —– Coliseum
San Jose —– Century 24
San Leandro —– Plaza Cinema I & II
South San Francisco —– Spruce Drive-In
Stockton —– Sherwood
Union City —– Union City Drive-In
Ventura —– 101 Drive-In
West Covina —– Wescove Twin

Boulder —– Regency
Colorado Springs —– Rustic Hills North 1 & 2
Denver —– Cooper
Fort Collins —– Campus West

Danbury —– Cine
Darien —– Darien Playhouse
Farmington —– The Movies at Westfarms
Greenwich —– Plaza
Groton —– UA Cinema
Hamden —– Whitney
Manchester —– East 1-2-3
Milford —– Milford Cinema I & II
Newington —– Newington Cinema I & II
Trumbull —– UA Cinema
Waterbury —– Naugatuck Valley Mall Cinema I-II-III
Westport —– Post

Rehoboth Beach —– Midway Palace I & II
Wilmington —– Edgemoor

Washington —– Jenifer Cinema I & II

Altamonte Springs —– Altamonte Mall Cinema I & II
Bradenton —– DeSoto Square Mall Cinema 1-2-3-4
Clearwater —– Capitol
Coral Gables —– Miracle
Daytona Beach —– Bellair Plaza Cinema I & II
Deerfield Beach —– Gold Coast Drive-In
Fort Lauderdale —– Village 3
Fort Myers —– Arcade
Fort Walton Beach —– Brooks Plaza Cinema III
Gainesville —– Royal Park Cinema 3
Hollywood —– Plaza Twin
Jacksonville —– Regency I & II
Lakeland —– Imperial Mall Cinema I & II
Lauderhill —– Lauderhill
Merritt Island —– Merritt Cinema I & II
North Miami Beach —– 170th Street
North Palm Beach —– Twin City
Orlando —– Plaza I & II
Panama City —– Capri
Pensacola —– Cordova Twin
St. Petersburg —– Plaza I & II
Sarasota —– Plaza I & II
Tallahassee —– Miracle 1 & 2
Tampa —– Hillsboro I & II
Tampa —– University Square Mall Cinema I-II-III-IV
West Palm Beach —– Cinema 70

Atlanta —– Phipps Plaza Triplex
Augusta —– Imperial
Jonesboro —– Arrowhead Cinema Centre
Macon —– Cinema Centre
Savannah —– Cinema Centre
Smyrna —– Belmont

Aiea —– Kam Drive-In
Honolulu —– Waikiki 3

Boise —– Midway Drive-In
Idaho Falls —– Rio

Aurora —– West Plaza Cinema I & II
Champaign —– Orpheum
Chicago —– Ford City Cinema I-II-III
Chicago —– Gateway
Chicago —– United Artists
DeKalb —– Cinema 1 & 2
Joliet —– Mode
Lombard —– Yorktown Cinema I & II
Milan —– Showcase Cinemas
Niles —– Golf Mill 1-2-3
Peoria —– Fox
Rockford —– Midway
Springfield —– Capital City
Waukegan —– Genesee

Anderson —– Mounds Mall Cinema I & II
Elkhart —– Concord Cinema 1 & 2
Evansville —– North Park Cinemas 1-2
Fort Wayne —– Northwood Cinema I & II
Greenwood —– Greenwood Cinema I-II-III
Indianapolis —– Glendale Cinema I-II-III-IV
Indianapolis —– Washington Square Cinema I & II
Kokomo —– Kokomo Mall Cinema I-II-III
Lafayette —– Lafayette
Muncie —– Northwest Plaza Cinema I & II
South Bend —– Scottsdale
Terre Haute —– Honey Creek Square Cinema I & II

Cedar Rapids —– Eastown Twin
Des Moines —– Fleur 4
Des Moines —– Forum 4
Dubuque —– Kennedy Mall Cinema I & II
Sioux City —– Plaza 1 & 2
Waterloo —– Crossroads 1 & 2

Lawrence —– Hillcrest Triplex
Salina —– Mid-State Cinemas
Topeka —– Topeka Boulevard Cinema I & II
Wichita —– Cinemas East

Lexington —– Fayette Mall Cinema I & II
Louisville —– Showcase Cinemas

Alexandria —– Alexandria Mall Cinema I & II
Baton Rouge —– University Cinema 4
Lafayette —– Center Cinema 1 & 2
Lake Charles —– Charles Cinema III
New Orleans —– Joy
Shreveport —– Cinema City 6*
West Monroe —– McMillan Cinema 1 & 2

Brewer —– Cinema Center
Portland —– Fine Arts Twin
Waterville —– Cinema Center

Winnipeg —– Airliner Drive-In
Winnipeg —– Capitol

Annapolis —– Circle
Baltimore —– Senator
Catonsville —– Westview Cinema I-II-III-IV
Dundalk —– Strand
Frederick —– Mall Cinemas
Hagerstown —– Cinema 1 & 2
Ocean City —– Surf
Randallstown —– Liberty Twin
Riverdale —– Riverdale Plaza
Wheaton —– Aspen Hill 1 & 2

Boston —– Charles Triplex
Brockton —– Westgate Mall Cinema I-II-III-IV
Burlington —– Burlington Mall Cinema I & II
Danvers —– Cinema City
Dedham —– Showcase Cinemas
Fall River —– Center Twin
Falmouth —– Cod Drive-In
Framingham —– Shoppers World Cinema I-II-III-IV
Hanover —– Hanover Mall Cinema I-II-III-IV
Hyannis —– Cape Cod Mall
Lawrence —– Showcase Cinemas
Mashpee —– Seabury Twin
Nantucket —– Dreamland
North Dartmouth —– North Dartmouth Mall Cinema City I-II-III-IV
Oak Bluffs —– Island
Pittsfield —– Paris
Plymouth —– Cinema 1 & 2
Provincetown —– New Art
West Springfield —– Showcase Cinemas
Worcester —– Cinema 1 at Webster Square

Ann Arbor —– State
Bay City —– State
Benton Harbor —– Fairplain Cinema 1 & 2
Detroit —– Vogue
Flint —– Genesee Valley Twin
Grand Rapids —– Alpine Twin
Lansing —– Mall
Livonia —– Mai Kai
Portage —– Plaza Twin
Roseville —– Macomb Mall Cinema I & II
Saginaw —– Green Acres
Southfield —– Americana Complex
Southgate —– Southgate
Sterling Heights —– Showcase Cinemas
Waterford —– Pontiac Mall Cinema I & II

Duluth —– Kenwood I & II
Minneapolis —– Gopher
White Bear Lake —– Cine Capri

Biloxi —– Surfside 1 & 2
Hattiesburg —– Avanti
Jackson —– Ellis Isle Cinema I & II

Columbia —– Uptown
Creve Coeur —– Creve Coeur
Florissant —– Grandview
Joplin —– Eastgate Cinemas 1-2-3
Kansas City —– Midland 3
Mehlville —– South County
St. Louis —– Stadium Cinema I

Lincoln —– Plaza 1-2-3-4*
Omaha —– Indian Hills

Las Vegas —– Red Rock 11
Reno —– Granada Twin

Moncton —– Capitol
Saint John —– Plaza

Bedford —– Bedford Mall Cinema I & II
Nashua —– Nashua Mall Cinema I & II
Portsmouth —– Jerry Lewis Cinemas

Bayville —– Berkeley Cinemas
Beach Haven —– Colonial
Brick Township —– Circle Twin
Cherry Hill —– Ellisburg
East Brunswick —– Turnpike Twin
Edison —– Plainfield Drive-In
Fair Lawn —– Hyway
Freehold —– Pond Road
Hackensack —– Fox
Hazlet —– UA Twin
Jersey City —– Hudson Plaza Cinema I & II
Long Branch —– Movies
Maplewood —– Maplewood
Montclair —– Clairidge
Ocean City —– Village
Parsippany —– Morris Hills Cinema I & II
Pleasantville —– Towne 4
Princeton —– Garden
South Plainfield —– UA Cinema
Vineland —– Vineland Twin
Wayne —– UA Cinema
Westfield —– Rialto
Wildwood —– Blaker
Willingboro —– Twin Willingboro

Albuquerque —– Cinema East Twin

Amherst —– Boulevard Mall Cinema I-II-III
Bay Shore —– UA Cinema
Big Flats —– Cinema I & II
Bronxville —– UA Cinema
Cheektowaga —– Holiday 6
Coram —– Coram Drive-In
East Hampton —– UA Cinema
Endicott —– Cinema
Floral Park —– Floral
Hauppauge —– Hauppauge
Henrietta —– Todd Mart Cinema I & II
Hicksville —– UA Cinema
Huntington —– Shore Twin
Latham —– Towne
Middletown —– Cinema
Monticello —– Mall Cinema I & II
New City —– Cinema 304
New Hartford —– Cinema
New York (Bronx) —– Capri
New York (Brooklyn) —– Kings Plaza Twin
New York (Brooklyn) —– Marboro
New York (Brooklyn) —– Rialto
New York (Manhattan) —– 34th Street East
New York (Manhattan) —– Orpheum
New York (Manhattan) —– Rivoli
New York (Queens) —– Astoria
New York (Queens) —– Lefrak
New York (Queens) —– Prospect
New York (Staten Island) —– Island 1 & 2
Ossining —– Arcadian Cinema I & II
Patchogue —– UA Cinema
Pearl River —– Pearl River
Peekskill —– Beach Cinemas
Plattsburgh —– Plattsburgh Cinema 1 & 2
Poughkeepsie —– Dutchess
Queensbury —– Cinema 3
Syracuse —– Shop City
Valley Stream —– Green Acres
Wantagh —– Wantagh
White Plains —– UA Cinema

St. John’s —– Capitol

Asheville —– Merrimon Twin
Charlotte —– Tryon Mall I & II
Durham —– Yorktowne Twin
Fayetteville —– Bordeaux 1 & 2
Greensboro —– Terrace I & II
Raleigh —– Village Twin
Wilmington —– Bailey
Winston-Salem —– Parkview 1 & 2

Fargo —– Cinema 70

Dartmouth —– Penhorn Mall 1 & 2
Halifax —– Paramount 1 & 2

Akron —– Chapel Hill Cinema I-II-III
Canton —– Mellett Mall Cinema I & II
Cincinnati —– Northgate Cinemas 1-2-3-4-5
Cincinnati —– Skywalk Cinemas 1-2
Cincinnati —– Valley Cinemas 1-2
Cleveland Heights —– Severance I & II
Columbus —– University City
Dayton —– Dayton Mall Cinemas
Elyria —– Midway Twin
Fairview Park —– Fairview Cinema I & II
Mentor —– Mentor Mall Cinema I-II-III
Niles —– Eastwood 1 & 2
Ontario —– Richland Mall Cinema I & II
Parma —– Parmatown Cinema I-II-III
Springdale —– Princeton Cinemas 1-2
Springfield —– State
Steubenville —– Cinema
Toledo —– Showcase Cinemas
Trotwood —– Kon-Tiki Twin
Whitehall —– Cinema East

Lawton —– Video Twin
Oklahoma City —– North Park Cinema 4
Tulsa —– Southroads Mall

Belleville —– Quinte Mall Cinema 1 & 2
Brampton —– Odeon
Brantford —– Odeon
Burlington —– Odeon
Concord —– Dufferin Drive-In
Hamilton —– Hamilton Drive-In
Hamilton —– Odeon 1 & 2
Kingston —– Odeon
Kitchener —– Odeon
Kitchener —– Parkway Drive-In
London —– Mustang Drive-In
London —– Odeon 1 & 2
Mississauga —– Sheridan 1 & 2
North Bay —– Odeon
Oshawa —– Plaza
Ottawa —– Airport Drive-In
Ottawa —– Nelson
Peterborough —– Odeon
Pickering —– Bay Ridges Drive-In
Sarnia —– Odeon 1 & 2
St. Catharines —– Lincoln
Sault Ste. Marie —– Odeon
Scarborough —– Elane
Sudbury —– Odeon 1 & 2
Thunder Bay —– Victoria
Toronto —– Albion 1 & 2
Toronto —– Hyland 1 & 2
Windsor —– Odeon in the Holiday Inn

Beaverton —– Town Center Tri-Cinema
Eugene —– West 11th Tri-Cinema
Milwaukie —– Southgate Quad
Portland —– Foster Drive-In
Salem —– Lancaster Mall Quad

Camp Hill —– Camp Hill 1 & 2
Chester —– Twin West Goshen
Erie —– Strand
Fairless Hills —– U.S. #1 North Drive-In
Feasterville —– Feasterville
Harrisburg —– Union Deposit Twin
Horsham Township —– Twin Horsham
Johnstown —– Richland Mall Twin
Lancaster —– Wonderland Twin
Monaca —– Beaver Valley Mall Cinema I-II-III
Montgomeryville —– 309 Drive-In
Philadelphia —– City Line Center Twin
Philadelphia —– Goldman Twin
Philadelphia —– Merben
Pittsburgh —– Gateway
Plymouth Meeting —– Plymouth
Ridley Township —– MacDade Mall
Scranton —– Viewmont Mall Cinema I-II-III
Wayne —– Mainline Drive-In
Whitehall —– Plaza
Wilkes-Barre —– Wyoming Valley Mall Cinema I & II
Wyomissing —– Berkshire Mall
York —– Delco Plaza Mall Cinema 1-2-3

Dorval —– Dorval Twin
Greenfield Park —– Greenfield Park Twin
Laval —– Laval Twin
Montreal —– Kent
Montreal —– Loew’s

Lincoln —– Lincoln Mall Cinema I-II-III-IV (opened June 25)
Warwick —– Warwick Mall Cinema I & II
Westerly —– Westerly Twin

Regina —– Centre
Saskatoon —– Capitol

Columbia —– Dutch Square Twin
Greenville —– Astro Twin
Myrtle Beach —– Camelot (opened July 4)
North Charleston —– Terrace
Spartanburg —– Hillcrest Twin

Chattanooga —– Eastgate 1 & 2
Goodlettsville —– Rivergate 4
Knoxville —– Studio One
Memphis —– Park
Nashville —– Green Hills

Abilene —– Westwood
Amarillo —– Western Plaza Cinema I & II*
Arlington —– Forum 6
Austin —– Highland Mall Cinema I & II
Beaumont —– Gaylynn Twin
Corpus Christi —– Cine 4
Dallas —– Inwood
El Paso —– Cielo Vista Mall Cinema I-II-III
Fort Worth —– Seminary South Cinema I & II
Galveston —– Galvez Plaza Cinema I-II-III
Houston —– Galleria Cinema I & II
Lubbock —– Cinema West
Port Arthur —– Park Plaza
Richardson —– Promenade I & II
San Antonio —– Broadway
San Antonio —– Century South 6
Waco —– Cinema 1 & 2
Wichita Falls —– Cinema 1 & 2

Provo —– Academy
Riverdale —– Cinedome 70
Salt Lake City —– Regency

South Burlington —– Burlington Plaza Cinema I & II

Hampton —– Riverdale Twin
Lynchburg —– Boonsboro I & II
Richmond —– Westhampton
Roanoke —– Towers I & II
Springfield —– Springfield Mall Cinema I & II
Vienna —– Tysons
Virginia Beach —– Pembroke 1 & 2

Kenmore —– Kenmore Drive-In
Lakewood —– Villa Plaza Cinema I & II
Seattle —– Coliseum
Tacoma —– Auto-View Drive-In

Charleston —– Capitol

Brookfield —– Brookfield Square Cinemas
Green Bay —– Marc
Kenosha —– Roosevelt
Madison —– Esquire
Milwaukee —– Northridge Movies 1-2-3
Milwaukee —– Skyway Cinemas
Racine —– Cinema I & II

06.20.1975 … Canada
06.20.1975 … United States
10.22.1975 … Portugal (Tubarao [Shark])
11.20.1975 … Hong Kong
11.28.1975 … Australia
12.06.1975 … Japan (Jaws)
12.18.1975 … Netherlands (De Zomer Van De Witte Haai [The Summer Of The White Shark])
12.19.1975 … Belgium (Les Dents De La Mer [The Teeth Of The Sea])
12.19.1975 … Italy (Lo Squalo [The Shark])
12.19.1975 … Spain (Tiburon [Shark])
12.19.1975 … Switzerland (French, German or Italian depending on city)
12.20.1975 … Austria (Der Weisse Hai [The White Shark])
12.20.1975 … Finland (Tappajahai [The Killer Shark])
12.20.1975 … Israel (Meltaoth [Jaws])
12.20.1975 … Sweden (Hajen [Shark])
12.20.1975 … West Germany (Der Weisse Hai [The White Shark])
12.22.1975 … Egypt
12.22.1975 … Greece
12.22.1975 … Lebanon
12.24.1975 … Philippines
12.24.1975 … Singapore
12.24.1975 … Thailand
12.25.1975 … Argentina (Tiburon [Shark])
12.25.1975 … Bolivia (Tiburon [Shark])
12.25.1975 … Brazil (Tubarao [Shark])
12.25.1975 … Chile (Tiburon [Shark])
12.25.1975 … Colombia (Tiburon [Shark])
12.25.1975 … Costa Rica (Tiburon [Shark])
12.25.1975 … Dominican Republic (Tiburon [Shark])
12.25.1975 … Ecuador (Tiburon [Shark])
12.25.1975 … Peru (Tiburon [Shark])
12.25.1975 … Puerto Rico (Tiburon [Shark])
12.25.1975 … South Africa
12.25.1975 … Trinidad (Tiburon [Shark])
12.25.1975 … Venezuela (Tiburon [Shark])
12.26.1975 … Denmark (Dodens Gab [Jaws Of Death])
12.26.1976 … Ireland
12.26.1975 … New Zealand
12.26.1975 … United Kingdom
12.26.1975 … Virgin Islands
01.28.1976 … France (Les Dents De La Mer [The Teeth Of The Sea])
02.16.1976 … Norway (Hai Sommer [Shark Summer])
04.15.1976 … Mexico (Tiburon [Shark])
04.22.1976 … South Korea


Primary references for this project were hundreds of daily newspapers archived digitally and/or on microfilm and the trade publications Boxoffice, The Hollywood Reporter, and Variety. Additional references for selected information included Mad Magazine, New York Magazine, Newsweek, Playboy, and Time Magazine. Books referenced included Easy Riders, Raging Bulls: How The Sex-Drugs-And-Rock ‘N’ Roll Generation Saved Hollywood by Peter Biskind (1998, Simon & Schuster), Epics, Spectacles, And Blockbusters: A Hollywood History by Sheldon Hall and Steve Neale (2010, Wayne State University Press), The Films Of Steven Spielberg by Douglas Brode (1995, Citadel), George Lucas’s Blockbusting: A Decade-By-Decade Survey Of Timeless Movies Including Untold Secrets Of Their Financial And Cultural Success edited by Alex Ben Block and Lucy Autrey Wilson (2010, George Lucas Books/HarperCollins), The Movie Brats: How The Film Generation Took Over Hollywood by Michael Pye and Lynda Myles (1979, Holt, Rinehart and Winston), Open Wide: How Hollywood Box Office Became A National Obsession by Dade Hayes & Jonathan Bing (2004, Miramax), Spielberg: The Man, The Movies, The Mythology by Frank Sanello (1996, Taylor), Steven Spielberg: A Biography by Joseph McBride (1997, Simon & Schuster), and Steven Spielberg: The Man, His Movies And Their Meaning by Philip M. Taylor (1992, Continuum). The following films were referenced: Back To The Future Part II (1989, Amblin Entertainment/Universal Pictures), Easy Riders, Raging Bulls: How The Sex-Drugs-And-Rock ‘N’ Roll Generation Saved Hollywood (2002, Trio/Fremantle/BBC/Shout! Factory), Jaws (1975, Universal Pictures), and The Making Of Jaws (1995, Universal Studios Home Entertainment). Websites referenced include BoxOfficeMojo, CinemaTour, CinemaTreasures, and the InternetMovieDatabase.

Canadian engagement details researched and contributed by Bill Kretzel.

Special Thanks: Brad Adams, Jerry Alexander, Al Alvarez, Claude Ayakawa, Kirk Besse, Serge Bosschaerts, Laurent Bouzereau, Raymond Caple, Miguel Carrara, Bob Collins, Adam Cray, Nick DiMaggio, Sheldon Hall, John Hawkinson, William Hooper, Mark Huffstetler, Bill Kretzel, Mark Lensenmayer, Paul Linfesty, Stan Malone, Gabriel Neeb, Jim Perry, Tim Reed, John Stewart, Robert Throop, Joel Weide, and Vince Young. And a big thank-you to the numerous librarians who helped me research information for this project

You are invited to share any memories you have of seeing Jaws or any thoughts you may have pertaining to this retrospective article.

Theaters in this post

Comments (72)

William on June 18, 2010 at 4:38 pm

Another good one Michael! I remember it at the Plitt Century Plaza & the Pix Theatres. And saw it afew more times at the Mann Criterion Theatre. Boy the Criterion had a great scope image.

kencmcintyre on June 18, 2010 at 5:15 pm

Great story. I saw it at some theater in South Jersey, but I absolutely cannot remember where. Your list says the Towne 4, which makes sense.

BradE41 on June 18, 2010 at 5:15 pm

This is great!

William, I saw it opening day first show at the Plitt Century Plaza. It was last day of school (6th Grade), as soon as they let us go I was there. My friends and I all read the book months before the film opened. I also re-watched it when it played at the Criterion on a Double Feature with The Great Waldo Pepper.

Fun stuff! Back then Summer movies were actually fun. Now Summer movies are over hyped, over produced and pretty much forgotten about my Labor Day.

William on June 18, 2010 at 5:40 pm

Yes, Summer was Fun back then. That’s right it was playing “The Great Waldo Pepper”.

Bill Huelbig
Bill Huelbig on June 18, 2010 at 5:59 pm

My family and I saw “Jaws” at the Fox in Hackensack NJ on the second or third day, but that short time was enough for every kid in town to have already seen it. And most of them were all back again at the matinee show we attended, and making more noise than any other movie audience in my 53-year moviegoing life: “Wait till you see what happens”, “A head is gonna come out of that hole”, “His leg is gonna come off”, etc. Not just talking low, but screaming everything out. During the movie’s quiet moments, they were just talking about other stuff as loud as they could. My brother and I changed our seats several times, but wherever we ended up we were surrounded.

When the movie ended I felt like I hadn’t even seen it. Fortunately we saw it again a couple of weeks later at the Colony in Brant Beach NJ, with an audience that was deathly quiet from fear and suspense. Maybe the location of the theater (a block away from the Atlantic Ocean) had something to do with that?

View link

PeterApruzzese on June 18, 2010 at 6:08 pm

Great article, Michael. I remember seeing it about 3 weeks into the first run at the UA Wayne in New Jersey on a Saturday afternoon sold-out show. The place went nuts during the Ben Gardner boat sequence.

One minor correction – Jerry Goldsmith scored Spielberg’s segment from “Twilight Zone: The movie”.

raysson on June 18, 2010 at 6:20 pm

Great article,Michael. You have outdone yourself again this time around. Glad that you mentioned the theatres in North Carolina.

JAWS here in North Carolina only played in selected cities during its initial opening run on June 20,1975(Raleigh,Durham,Greensboro,
Wilmington,Charlotte,Asheville,Fayetteville,and Winston-Salem).

Other cities didn’t get it until July of 1975 or later till August.

Chapel Hill: Carolina Theatre
Burlington: Terrace 1 & 2
Southern Pines/Aberdeen: Town and Country 1 & 2
Jacksonville: Cardinal Theatre
Rockingham: Cinema 1 & 2 aka Richmond Plaza Cinema
Henderson: Embassy Theatre
Roxboro: Person Drive-In Theatre
Dunn: Plaza 1 & 2

Other cities in North Carolina didn’t get the film until late that year somewhere between September of October of 1975 and into early 1976.

PeterApruzzese on June 18, 2010 at 6:30 pm

Here’s the CT link to the theatre referred to above as the ‘UA Wayne’ in Wayne, NJ:


It’s currently called “Clearview’s Wayne Preakness Cinemas”

raysson on June 18, 2010 at 6:36 pm

Again Michael,great article.

I remember seeing JAWS about three weeks into its first-run at the Yorktowne Theatre in Durham in June of 1975. I do remember that the theatre had a 7:00 evening show and it was on a Sunday night,and it was sold-out within the first twenty minutes. The lines snaked all the way around the cinema(which at the time was still a single screen theatre with a seating capacity of 800)since the parking lot was already full…folks had to either park in the lot of the Hutton Building at the corner of Bedford Street and Chapel Hill Boulevard or some folks just parked their cars alongside Chapel Hill Boulevard which stretch from on end of the street to the other. Some folks like my parents had to park in the Shrimp Boats parking lot and take a risk crossing a dangerous street like Chapel Hill Boulevard to get to the theatre[Parking has always been a problem at this theatre too]

The 7:00 evening show was sold-out and every seat was packed to capacity including some folks who had to stand in the aisle or alongside the curtains of the auditorium or sit on the floor because there was no more seats available which was a problem for those who brought tickets earlier on. I mean capacity crowds for a Sunday evening show. The place went nuts during the boat sequence with Roy Scheider,Robert Shaw and Richard Dreyfuss facing the sheer terror of the shark. In all a great movie,but where this played at was even bigger than the management of the Yorktowne even thought of.

JAWS played at the Yorktowne for a mere 21 weeks from June through mid-September of 1975,and it for the first two months it played to capacity crowds. However,construction was already started on the second auditorium too that opened in mid-June of 1975 for the showing of FRENCH CONNECTION II that had a 545 seat capacity to even boost bigger business for both films.

Bill Huelbig
Bill Huelbig on June 18, 2010 at 7:30 pm

If anyone is going to watch the movie on DVD to commemmorate 35 years, I advise them to stay away from the Dolby 5.1 remix. It’s terrible – most of the sound effects have been changed for some reason and as a result, the whole movie becomes much less powerful and effective. What were they thinking? Stick with the Oscar-winning 2.0 mono mix, and turn it up. THAT’S the way “Jaws” is supposed to sound. That’s what helped scare all those audiences in 1975.

mhvbear on June 18, 2010 at 7:39 pm

Wrong link for Poughkeepsie New Your. It was the Dutchess Cinema not the Dutchess Theater.

Mike Rogers
Mike Rogers on June 18, 2010 at 7:59 pm

If any one cares the IMPERIAL THEATRE has a great ad put together by Jerry Tinney,City Manager on “JAWS” when so many managers in this city would cut and glue ads from pressbooks he would go the extra mile.Don’t think you will ever see a “JAWS” ad like that.I need to get Nick DiMaggio to put the ad here instead of the IMPERIAL in Augusta,Georgia.And Yes,I worked “BENJI” during the day at National Hills then drove downtown to work “JAWS” on the evening shows, those were the real Theatre days,my Friends!

Mike Rogers
Mike Rogers on June 18, 2010 at 8:04 pm

May 27.2010 post on the Imperial,Augusta,To make it easy to find.Hope you guys like it.

ChasSmith on June 18, 2010 at 8:08 pm

My God, this is a great one! Thank you for all of that — and in particular for fleshing out my own memory of seeing it at the Pix in Hollywood!

Identifying that theater has been bugging me for quite a while. I remember standing in the kind of line that I’d only been used to from “The Godfather” and “The Exorcist” up to that point. I sat near the front of the balcony, and the experience was thrilling beyond belief.

Is there no listing and page for the Pix here? If there is, or if some other name was involved, then I’m missing it so I will appreciate it if someone speaks up. In my memory it was a few blocks east of Hollywood and Vine, on the south side of the street. It wasn’t a huge theater, I don’t think, and I always wondered if that was simply a spillover from the Chinese or somewhere else down the street. But you list no others, at least for the opening engagement, so I guess the Century Plaza was the “blockbuster” venue in L.A. for a while.

William on June 18, 2010 at 8:18 pm

ChasSmith, the Pix is listed as the Music Box @Fonda, The.

ChasSmith on June 18, 2010 at 8:21 pm

Oops, sorry, never mind — next time I’ll read more closely the first time through. You provided the link to the Pix. Thank you!!!

Bill Huelbig
Bill Huelbig on June 18, 2010 at 8:32 pm

This is the ad Mike Rogers was referring to. It’s great!:

View link

BradE41 on June 18, 2010 at 9:14 pm

This is the ad Mike Rogers was referring to. It’s great!:

View link

Showtimes: 2:10-4:30-6:45-9:00. I cannot believe how tight the showtimes were on this engagement. The film runs just over 2 hours, essentially they started letting people in as soon as it emptied. No clean up of the auditorium and I guess very few previews.

Nunzienick on June 18, 2010 at 9:32 pm

This is another great one Michael! I saw “Jaws” either the first or second week it opened at the
500-seat Hillsboro II in Tampa. I could actually feel the suspense and anxiety of the audience in the packed theatre amidst the screams and jolts as the film unfolded. After seeing Spielberg’s “Duel” you realize he was the absolute perfect director for “Jaws.” The film played at the Hillsboro II all summer long to record breaking crowds.

SethLewis on June 18, 2010 at 9:40 pm

Saturday night 10:30 pm show at the UA Rivoli in New York. A great great full house crowd. As good as The Godfather at Loews Tower East on opening Saturday morning.

CinemarkFan on June 18, 2010 at 9:43 pm

Thank you for another great retrospective, Michael.

It was 1975, which means I was still 15 years away from entering the world. Anyway, my dad took my mom & oldest siblings to see “Jaws” at the General Cinema Ford City I-II-III on the southwest side of Chicago. My mother was pregnant with my second brother (who would be born the next month on 7/17). She has said that after the movie, she was feeling nauseous and had to go to the (women’s) restroom, which had a long line of women also feeling nauseous. For the other women, it was probably the shark violence that got to them. For my mom, it could’ve been the movie, or it could be that she was eight months pregnant. Perhaps it was both?

Amazing how things change. 15 years later, General Cinema opened a new 14 screen theater on the other side of the parking lot, closing the old theater which had 5 screens at the time. It is now the site of an Old Navy & other shops.

I would also like to add (if Michael or anyone might be interested in Ford City) that screens I and II both held (according to BO magazine) 1,250 each, which means “Jaws” opened in one of those screens. III was much smaller, possibly 500-700 seats. GC did some cut jobs in the 80s to make it a 5 screener.

TLSLOEWS on June 18, 2010 at 9:47 pm

Jaws was listed as opening at the Green Hills Theatre in Nashville,but I must have seen it somewhere else later.

Aparofan on June 18, 2010 at 10:45 pm

Here’s a scan of the opening day ad in Kansas City. I had to crop out the top since it didn’t fit on the microfilm machine. I miss the days of huge movie ads in newspapers.

View link

muviebuf on June 18, 2010 at 11:01 pm

The movie that I remember as being the first really wide release with TV ad blockbuster was the Godfather in March of 1972.

muviebuf on June 18, 2010 at 11:01 pm

The movie that I remember as being the first really wide release with TV ad blockbuster was the Godfather in March of 1972.

BradE41 on June 18, 2010 at 11:32 pm

JAWS is really bringing back so many fond memories for so many. I also miss the Friday / Sunday ads. The Sunday LA Times Calendar always had a full page ad of what was opening the following Friday (or Wednesday) with usually the Westwood (Century City) and Hollywood opening locations. Now the ads are hit or miss and they do not always list the theatres, which are now Hollywood/Beverly Hills (The Grove)/Century City/Westwood/Santa Monica/Universal City/West L.A. (Landmark/Rave 18)/Archlight Sherman Oaks etc….

Mike Rogers
Mike Rogers on June 18, 2010 at 11:38 pm

BradE41,Let me tell you I was Assistant Mgr. at National Hills and after my Matinee shift i went down to the Imperial to help out,Good old Mr.Tinney who was a whiz at Ads was not much at predicting movies.So he hired no one until about that coming Monday.He had Old Margaret Whitehead behind the concession,she had been there since the 1940’s He had one other girl and a boxoffice girl.and one doorman. So Naturally the other ABC theatre staff was invited to help,but even in those days the staff at National Hills was lilly white and really didn’t want any part of the Imperial.It never bothered me.One guy he hired justed popped popcorn for two weeks.The show times were just like that it is amazing we were sold any concession and he wouldn’t dare hold the starting time.I have the original showtime sheet from the ticket chopper framed in my house.But I am sure there are hundreds of the same story on “JAWS” those were the days before Day and date booking.

Mike Rogers
Mike Rogers on June 18, 2010 at 11:41 pm

And Bill,thanks for putting the ad on this site.It deserves to be here.I wish Bill Barkley was into computers.{projectionist}So he could see these stories.

Aparofan on June 18, 2010 at 11:54 pm

I believe that was the admission schedule at the bottom of the KC ad. I need to dig out the original copy I printed off the microfilm. The Midland had an exclusive on it for a while so it was kind of like a roadshow minus the reserved seats.

Bill Huelbig
Bill Huelbig on June 19, 2010 at 12:08 am

You’re welcome, Mike. You and anyone else who enjoys movie ads should check out this site:

View link

It’s the Google News edition of the Pittsburgh Press. This particular issue features the opening week review of “Psycho” on page 6. I wasn’t able to find the “Jaws” review – there are some gaps in the collection. But I’m hooked on this, looking up every classic movie I can think of. If you click on Browse This Newspaper and change the date, you can go all the way back to 1888.

I think the Pittsburgh movie ads are often much more interesting than the ones we got in New York City. Like Stan Malone said, a lot of them have that local touch – more imaginative, more personal, more fun.

One bad side effect of looking here: you’ll see how many great movies were showing back then on any given day (especially the 1960’s and 1970’s), and you’ll be reminded how many crummy ones there are today. I’ve practically given up looking at current movie ads, such as they are. If you don’t like comic book movies, you might as well stay home.

Mike Rogers
Mike Rogers on June 19, 2010 at 12:09 am

I bet you guys ran them in and out like we did.in those days i don’t ever remember cleaning the theatre between shows.No one had ever thought of it in the 70’s.

Mike Rogers
Mike Rogers on June 19, 2010 at 12:54 am

Pretty good ad,but haven’t seen anyone top the Imperial.I am being objective,too.Bill,I can remember as a kid on Friday the first thing before the comics or sports was the movie ads.we didn’t have all the theatres you guys had,but i enjoyed usually a full page of movie ads. Heck, I would even cut them out.

KingBiscuits on June 19, 2010 at 1:40 am

I didn’t see this movie until 2002, when I rented it on DVD from a now-closed Blockbuster in Springfield, Missouri. Great movie.

As for Springfield, they didn’t run the film until July 25th, when the Century 21 began a nine week run on it.

markp on June 19, 2010 at 1:19 pm

I remember when this opened at the Planfield Drive-In listed above. The movie played on the indoor and outdoor screens. UA was big on that up till the time they twinned the indoor. The crowds were so huge that Oak Tree Road, a two lane road with no shoulders had to be closed on several occasions because of the people entering and exiting. This went on for almost a month. Something I believe we will never see again.

Mike Rogers
Mike Rogers on June 19, 2010 at 3:52 pm

I wasn’t aware it opened first run at Drive-ins,but i guess it did.Thanks movie 534.

pbubny on June 19, 2010 at 4:37 pm

I posted on a thread a few weeks ago marking the upcoming 35th anni of the movie’s release, but I’ll put in a couple more cents here. I first saw “Jaws” three days after its opening at what was then the single-screen Clairidge Theatre. As I’ve mentioned earlier, one of the great moviegoing experiences of my life. I remember a vociferous but well-behaved audience that screamed, laughed and applauded as if on cue. (Among other things, they burst into applause when the Richard Dreyfuss character, who’d just been told by the mayor that he didn’t understand the town’s problems, shot back that the mayor was going to “ignore this particular problem until it swims up and bites you in the ass.”) I also remember that during the opening credits, the projectionist gradually rolled open the giant maroon curtain covering the giant Cinerama screen, until you got the full shark’s- eye-view effect—and he did that throughout the movie’s run, apparently, because I went to to see it there again in September, October and November of that year, and he did the same thing each time. A nice touch.

pbubny on June 19, 2010 at 4:56 pm

One other thing—of the list that MC compiled (thanks for another terrific job of research, Michael), I wonder how many locations are even still open, let alone in the same configuration they were in 1975. For example, in the New York metro area (including Fairfield County in CT), there’s maybe a dozen theatres that survive out of about 50 listed. All, so far as I know, have long since been subdivided into anywhere from two to seven smaller auditoriums.

hmtinc on June 19, 2010 at 5:25 pm

I remember seeing this picture at the Capital Theatre in Grand Island Nebraska in late September and we stood in line 4 wide all Sunday afternoon to see this picture They had a small shark tank in the lobby This theatre seated 2200 if I remember right

EnnisCAdkins on June 19, 2010 at 7:00 pm

Check this out with Universal with someone who is still alive and worked the JAWS release. I’ve heard, before the sneaks in Dallas and Lakewood, Universal planned to saturate the picture with over a 1000 prints in the US and Canada on June 20th as they felt the picture was a fast burn. They labeled it an exploitation (2) week release. No one at Universal had seen the picture as of yet and with the picture so far over budget, they were looking for as much boxoffice as they could get in a short period of time. Of course, everything changed after those sneaks. 500 theaters, even in 1975, was not a wide saturation release. It was more of a platform release.

Jon Lidolt
Jon Lidolt on June 19, 2010 at 8:36 pm

I first saw Jaws at a sneak preview in Toronto’s Odeon Fairlawn theatre. Being in the business, I knew which film was being shown but for most of the other 1200 in attendance that night, they could only guess. Mind you, the newspaper ads gave some good hints. I’ll never forget what happened after the Universal logo hit the screen, we found ourselves forging forward underwater accompanied by John William’s pulsating musical score… when the title JAWS hit the screen there was an audible buzz of excitement from the audience. And when that head unexpectedly rolled out from the boat the audience screamed, jumped out of their seats and didn’t quiet down until the film ended.

After it ended I ran into Barry Allen in the lobby. He owned a small theatre chain but wasn’t interested in sitting through the sneak that night. He spent the time walking around the block. He asked me what I thought. “Will it do business?” I told him “you gotta be kidding… YES!” Barry asked me how I knew and I just told him that you had to be there. By the way, the main feature that night was Earthquake in Sensurround.

This was without a doubt the most fun I had ever had at the movies. It was thrilling!

Al Alvarez
Al Alvarez on June 19, 2010 at 10:16 pm

I think the ‘saturation’ press had more to do with how many markets opened at once rather than how many screens. In Florida, for example, some secondary markets like Pensacola and Fort Meyers would normally not open at the same time as Miami like they did for “JAWS”.

In South Florida “JAWS” opened in seven locations when the average release would have opened in twenty to thirty screens from West Palm Beach to South Miami.

Mark_L on June 20, 2010 at 3:18 am

Jaws was the only film that ever gave me nightmares! I kept dreaming about that shark eating the boat.

I saw the film the at Cinema East in Whitehall (Columbus), Ohio. This was a large single screen with about a 40' screen…which seemed pretty large from the 3rd row, where I had to sit due to the crowd!!

KingBiscuits on June 20, 2010 at 5:13 am

Richard Dreyfuss will be spoofing his Matt Hooper character in the forthcoming Piranha 3-D.

moviebuff82 on June 20, 2010 at 5:04 pm

jaws won’t be on bluray until 2011.

kencmcintyre on June 20, 2010 at 9:08 pm

I remember seeing Jaws 2 in the summer of 78 in Somers Point, I think. There was a lot of hype about this film, believe it or not, and it actually made some money.

Bill Huelbig
Bill Huelbig on June 21, 2010 at 1:36 am

Paul Bubny: You mentioned subdividing of the various theaters, but probably the saddest case of subdividing is what was done to the poor old Clairidge (Montclair NJ). I’m glad you got to see Jaws on that amazing screen. I saw How the West Was Won there in 3-strip Cinerama, and also Star Wars 14 years later. Now it’s a dreary sixplex with no trace in sight of what it once was.

Mike Rogers
Mike Rogers on June 21, 2010 at 3:22 am

Ken Mc “JAWS II ” was horrible.I pulled for the shark in that one just to shut those dirty mouth teenagers up.

MPol on June 21, 2010 at 5:39 am

Oh yes…I remember “Jaws”! Although I first saw “Jaws” when it was kind of out of date, and past the height of its popularity, and despite the obvious fakery in some spots, I’ve enjoyed it the few times I’ve seen it. Regarding “Jaws II”, which I never saw…why does Hollywood insist on making sequels all the time, instead of leaving well enough alone?

Btw—did anyone here on CinemaTreasures know that “Jaws” is actually based on a true story of a Great White Shark that terrorized a New Jersey coastal resort town, in the early 1900’s? If anyone can get hold of the book “Close to Shore” (the author’s name escapes me at the moment), I strongly recommend reading it. It’s a great book.

Mike Durrett
Mike Durrett on June 21, 2010 at 6:39 am

Impressive, Michael and everyone. Thanks for sharing.

I posted my memories of the first days of JAWS in Atlanta and Wilmington. Also, a photo of the Atlanta Fox for the recent 35th anniversary showing.


Eric Friedmann
Eric Friedmann on June 21, 2010 at 2:20 pm

I was denied seeing JAWS in the theater by my parents when I was a kid. I saw it for the first time (edited) on the ABC Sunday Night Movie in 1979. In honor of that, take a look at this…


Chris Utley
Chris Utley on June 21, 2010 at 5:26 pm

My earliest memory of seeing a movie in a theater is this flick here. Summer 1975 at the Airway Drive-In in St. Louis. I was 2 years old when it dropped. Memories are very faint…but I do remember seeing this.

Mike Rogers
Mike Rogers on June 21, 2010 at 11:53 pm

Eric F, It did have a warning tag by the PG rating{may be Too intense for younger children}.Sounds like you had pretty decent parents.I watched for years parents bringing kids to R-rated movies at theatres I managed.Couldn’t believe it.“COMING HOME” lets bring two pre-teens with mom and dad.

richjr37 on June 22, 2010 at 3:11 pm

I didn’t see Jaws in its original theatrical run in 1975.

My dad took my older sister,who was 7 at the time,to the Rosecrans Drive in to see it. I first saw it on tv in 1979.

Cobalt on June 23, 2010 at 6:35 am

Wow, I never would have guessed that a major first run film would play at so many drive-ins. I didn’t count them but looking over the list I spotted a lot more than I expected, especially on the west coast and in Canada.

There also were a lot of theatres that showed JAWS in resorty/beach front type areas. I wonder if they were booked there on purpose due to the theme of the movie? That had to be a real kick seeing JAWS at one of those theaters on the coast and then come out of the movie and see the beach with people swimming. Me…I saw JAWS within the safe confines of landlocked Kansas City…and loved every minute of it.

Eric Friedmann
Eric Friedmann on June 23, 2010 at 1:25 pm

I managed to see JAWS on screen only once – in 1997 during a special one-night-only screening at Radio City Music Hall. This may have been 22 years overdue for me, but man, what a screen to see it on!

Mike Rogers
Mike Rogers on July 6, 2010 at 11:39 pm

Glad so many folks enjoyed “JAWS” guess it is worth making about two bucks an hour to work.

AdamBomb1701 on July 7, 2010 at 4:08 pm

The late actor Percy Rodrigues was the narrator of the “Jaws” trailer. I don’t think the picture would have been as successful if a different narrator had been used; Mr. Rodrigues had the perfect voice for it. A lot of the success of the film should be credited to the trailer, and his great narration.
I saw the film on its second day at the Island theater in Staten Island; it had just been twinned. Foolishly, only one side was used; the second part was dark during the film’s run. The theater oversold tickets, and some people were left standing in the back. Theater 2 was saved for a festival of Disney films that played during summers in the 70s. I had no kids than, and considered that a waste of space.

Mike Rogers
Mike Rogers on July 15, 2010 at 3:08 am

Never knew who did the voice over on the trailer.I saw it enough plugging it at the other ABC THEATRE i worked in Town.You are right AdamBomb 1701 his voice makes that one of the best trailers ever made if they are even ranked.Never saw the shark.

MPol on July 24, 2010 at 7:03 pm

The 35th Anniversary screening of “Jaws” will be coming to the Coolidge Corner Theatre, in Brookline, MA, on the 13th of September.

andysummers on August 11, 2010 at 12:24 am

“JAWS” is pure and simple shark classic film that doesn’t loss its bite even after 35 years.

Saw it in its original monaural form at ABC screen1 Bournemouth somewhere around January 1976.

Mike Rogers
Mike Rogers on September 12, 2010 at 2:54 am

I had a friend I worked with at the IMPERIAL in Augusta.He showed me his “JAWS” T-Shirt they wore opening week; he still kept in a box.Tommy,why didn’t GET ONE !

MontyM on November 19, 2010 at 10:39 pm

I saw Jaws July 4th weekend 1975 at the Cooper Theater in Denver on the giant curved Cinerama screen. I was a little guy at the time all of ten years old. I remember my sixteen year old brother coming home after seeing it himself and telling us how scary it was. He also proceeded to tell my parents not to take me see it as it was too intense for children to see, but they did anyway. Thank Goodness they did as It was great scary fun, but think my mom was more scared than I was.
I also remember when Jaws was moved over to the shoebox Cameo Theater adjacent to the Copper in December 1975 to make way for Liza Minnelli and gang in Lucky Lady.

MPol on November 27, 2010 at 4:18 pm

Since I’d bought a ticket for the 35th Anniversary screening of “Jaws” at the Coolidge Corner Theatre, I saw it…and enjoyed it immensely, as usual. Here’s one thing, however, that emcees at cinemas don’t make their audiences aware of: “Jaws” was actually based on a true story—it’s prequel was actually the book (the author’s name escapes me at the moment) “Close To Shore”, which took place in the early 1900’s, about a Great White Shark that actually did terrorize a coastal New Jersey resort town.

Coate on March 13, 2011 at 6:40 am

A few corrections…

Inadvertently left off the list:
Youngstown, OH – Uptown

Listed with incorrect screen count:
Gainesville, FL – Royal Park Cinema 3 (should be listed as Royal Park Cinema 4)
Green Bay, WI – Marc (should be listed as Marc Twin)

Mike Rogers
Mike Rogers on March 15, 2011 at 3:16 am

You did a fantastic job with “JAWS”,no one noticed i am sure.

Mike Rogers
Mike Rogers on January 30, 2012 at 11:29 pm

Noticed Athens,Ga. wasn’t on. pretty good size city,maybe i missed it.

Siddique on August 16, 2012 at 12:11 pm

Although I’d heard of Jaws in 1976 I didn’t see it. In fact my cinema going days had not yet gotten into gear. But at school I do remember a friend and avid movie goer saying in English class (he sat behind me)that he’d just seen something called Star Wars (winter of ‘78)and that it was even better than Jaws which he saw a couple of years earlier. He saw them both a what was then the premiere theatre in Birmingham, UK – the Gaumont. This had a huge curved screen with a capacity of over 2000. See article here http://cinematreasures.org/theaters/2083. My first visit to this great cinema came in June of 1980 to see The Empire Strikes Back. But I never saw Jaws during its original theatrical run but as a double bill with Jaws 2 in a flea pit called The Globe while at University during the early 80s in Cardiff, UK.

Siddique on August 16, 2012 at 12:14 pm

But I did see it a few weeks ago on its release and introduced my daughter to it. She loved it and thought it stood up very well and that Robert Shaw should have gotten an Oscar! I thought it looked the best it ever has. And the sound mix was just great.

raysson on October 8, 2013 at 7:43 pm

Other small cities and towns in North Carolina didn’t get JAWS until late-June or August of 1975.

Aberdeen/Southern Pines: Town and Country

Statesville: Playhouse

Hickory: Terrace 1 & 2

Greenville: Plaza Cinema 1 & 2

Sanford: Kendale Cinema 1 & 2

Chapel Hill: Carolina

Burlington: Terrace 1 & 2

mirella21 on July 19, 2014 at 5:02 am

@Mike Rogers – sorry, but Jaws 2 was not ‘horrible’, it was a classic. In fact I know a lot of kid’s who think it’s better than the original.

AdamBomb1701 on June 11, 2015 at 3:53 pm

“Jaws” has its 40th anniversary this month. It’s returning to selected theaters on June 21 and 24th. Go to fathomevents.com for more information.

Coate on October 27, 2016 at 11:40 pm

If anyone is interested, a revised and updated version of this “Jaws” article can be found here.

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