Universal wouldn’t mind making a whole new generation of viewers completely terrified of entering the ocean. It’s an ambitious goal and one they apparently are really incentivized to get off the ground if possible. In fact, they even approached someone with rather intimate knowledge of the original film. That’s right, according to Deadline, the studio went to Steven Spielberg to see if there was interest in possibly rebooting Jaws and the franchise. He was pretty clear in his response.
Deadline let on that when approached about the Jaws reboot Spielberg gave a pretty emphatic “No” where that was concerned. Apparently, on his part, there is little interest in helping to re-explore the concept for a new day and age. And that makes sense, the original movie pretty much hit on all of the markers and in some ways is rather timeless. Sharks still attack people and, in that way, very little has changed over the years.
The question of rebooting Jaws was part of the ongoing deal between Steven Spielberg’s Amblin Entertainment and Universal, a partnership that goes all the way to 1981. The studio apparently had some interest in updating the story for the modern-day and who better than to get behind the camera, or at least produce it than Spielberg who helmed the original all the way back in 1975? The story of a massive shark with a hankering for human flesh, the film was an instant hit for the director and his first major release. It vaulted him into the discussion of best directors around and he’d quickly follow it up with Closer Encounters of the Third Kind, 1941, and then, of course, Raiders of the Lost Ark and E.T. the Extraterrestrial.
And Jaws has stood the test of time. In many ways, especially for unsuspecting viewers, it’s just as scary now as it was back then. In a day and age where movies can age poorly, this one really hasn’t thanks to a careful approach with the special effects and a solid suspense-building narrative arc. There’s a reason on a budget of only $9 million dollars it’s managed over $470 million at the box office over the years. At one point, it was the highest-grossing of all time.
Some Jaws sequels came over the years though Spielberg wasn’t the director for any of those and they all failed to live up to the masterstroke of the original. It’s probably for the best that Spielberg wants to leave well enough alone with a possible reboot. There’s almost no chance it captures the same spark and angst of the original and could end up being pointlessly derivative. The director for sure knows how to pick his spots.
This word of Universal approaching Amblin and Spielberg about a Jaws reboot comes on the heels of the director and his production company signing a side-by-side deal with Netflix to produce a number of movies over the next few years. He’ll remain in business with Universal but will have a streaming outlet as well. We could see other reboots along the way, but that hasn’t necessarily been part of his approach over the years, focusing much more on newer content.