The ominous tones of the now-famous “shark theme” (composed by John Williams and performed by tuba player Tommy Johnson) marked the arrival of Hollywood’s first major summer blockbuster on this day in 1975, when director Steven Spielberg’s thriller Jaws debuted in U.S. theaters. I remember it like yesterday. I was a 15-year-old boy, thrilled to be included with the “big boys” who let me ride along in a car full of teenagers intent on being there the day the movie came out.
Based on the bestselling book by Peter Benchley, Jaws took place in the fictional resort town of Amity Island, where police chief Martin Brody (played by Roy Scheider) learned that a young woman had been killed in a probable shark attack. Though greedy town officials wanted to cover up the threat to tourist business, another attack forced Brody to enlist the help of a marine biologist (Richard Dreyfuss) and a shark hunter (Robert Shaw) to try to catch the lethal beast, which turned out to be an enormous great white shark.
Eventually shown in nearly 700 U.S. theaters, Jaws became the first summer mega-hit, racking up an impressive $260 million at the domestic box office. All told, the film would gross some $450 million worldwide and establish Spielberg as the preeminent creator of summer movie magic.
Again, the movie grossed $450 million – back when that was a lot of money. It is amazing what people will pay for a couple hours of entertainment. But I know of a better deal. You can have eternal joy, and it costs nothing. Actually, it costs a lot, but the price has already been paid. Through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, you have the offer of eternal life, eternal joy – in a place called heaven.
What a deal! And the best part? The admission has already been covered – by the blood of the Lamb.