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Every Film in the Jaws Franchise, Ranked

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Roy Schneider in Jaws.

The original Jaws movie was released in 1975, directed by Steven Spielberg, and was a massive hit. Jaws was the first big blockbuster to be shot on the ocean, and forever changed how people felt about the water, the beach, and sharks. At the time of its release, the movie was the highest-grossing film of all time. The studio utilized a massive television advertisement push and a large simultaneous theater release, which paved the way for modern Hollywood release models. Following its release, the film sparked a new fear in many of its viewers. In 1975, there was a reduced beach attendance and an increase in shark sightings, which many attribute to the cultural repercussions of the film. With such a strong response from the general public, it is no surprise that the franchise went on to create three subsequent films.

Steven Spielberg was not involved in the production of the following three films, and they did not perform nearly as well as the original. All three films did make a profit at the box office; however, the combined domestic gross was only a little over half of what the original film made. Fans of the series still find enjoyment in the sequels, but when compared to the original, there really is no competition. Here is every film in the Jaws

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Jaws: The Revenge was the last film to be released in the franchise and debuted in 1987. The film was directed by Joseph Sargent and brings back Lorraine Gary from the original film, who stars alongside Lance Guest, and Mario Van Peebles. This film tells the story of Ellen Brody, who is convinced that there is a massive great white shark that is specifically targeting her and her family, with the aim of seeking revenge. The film grossed $51.9 million and was the weakest of the franchise. Where the original film defines its horror through realism, this film lives in the realm of the implausible and absurd. Still a treat for those who enjoy campy creature features or sequel films, but ultimately serves as the last nail in the coffin for the overstretched IP.

Jaws 3D is the third film in the series, which was released in 1983 and is directed by Joe Alves. The movie doesn’t include any of the original cast members, and stars Dennis Quaid, Bess Armstrong, and Simon MacCorkindale. The story follows the Brody children to SeaWorld, where a great white shark has broken into the park and begins to attack and kill employees. The film attempts to capitalize on the popularity of 3D at the time, and incorporates many scenes that utilize the technology. The setting of SeaWorld is a refreshing backdrop for the film and adds a new dynamic to the series, but ultimately this sequel did not live up to the original film or Jaws 2 in box office revenue or critical acclaim. The movie held the number one box office spot for its opening weekend, but pulled in a meager $87,987,055 worldwide gross.

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Jaws 2 is directed by Jeannot Szwarc and keeps some of the original cast with Roy Scheider, Lorraine Gary, and Murray Hamilton all starring. The plot of this film mirrors the original in a lot of ways, as it follows Brody, who suspects another great white shark is feeding in the waters of the fictional Amity Island after a series of disappearances. At the time of its release in 1978, Jaws 2 was the most expensive movie that Universal had produced, costing the studio $30 million. Its initial release earned a gross of $77,737,272, with subsequent re-releases earning $208,900,376 worldwide. The film had mixed reviews, with some feeling like it did not live up to the original, while others enjoyed the expanded story based on the main characters from the original film. Many regard this film as the best of the sequels and most true to the essence of the original film.

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