As Hollywood prepared to enter the 1970s, its future had never been less assured. Recognizing this, the National Association of Theatre Owners—the leading trade organization for film exhibitors—hosted their November 1969 convention centered around the theme: “The Challenge and Response to the Unconventional ’70s.” The organization’s president, Julian S. Rifkin, in his introduction to the event, declared the challenge of the upcoming decade to be “an all-inclusive, all-important one: the very problem of survival.”[i] Though the decade had not yet arrived, a host of existing challenges from the 1960s seemed poised to carry over and intensify in the coming years. And only industry response to these challenges, Rifkin contended, would “determine the future of the motion picture and motion picture theatre industries.”[ii]
These anxieties, while alarming, were not without reason. Weekly theatre attendance, which had declined in the prior decade, would reach an all-time low in 1971.[iii] Television viewership, meanwhile, was on the rise, and the introduction of “pay TV” presented as a great a perceived external threat as any the industry had yet faced. And overshadowing all of this was an industry-wide recession from 1969-71, the result of rampant overproduction and underperformance, that nearly drove several studios to the point of insolvency, Yet, out of these circumstances, the movie industry would develop itself anew and emerge transformed by decade’s end, no doubt because of the decisions made by executives over the course of the period.
Film historian, David A. Cook, likens the magnitude of the change undergone by the industry during the seventies to that of the introduction of sound during the twenties.[iv] When considering the full effects of the industry’s transformation, his statement is hard to dispute. Of the many consequences of this change, none were so important as the fundamental shifts in industry practices that gave birth to the modern blockbuster. Both a reaction to Hollywood’s challenges and a product of them, the blockbuster became a behemoth responsible for rewriting long held truths about film production, marketing, and distribution. By mid-decade, a “blockbuster syndrome” would consume Hollywood, redefining popular American movies ever since.
Before the Shark
Like many film historians, Thomas Schatz, in his essay, “The New Hollywood,” considers Jaws (1975) to be the demarcation point of a new Hollywood paradigm, writing that the film “redefined the nature, scope, and profit potential of a blockbuster movie.”[v] Yet long before Steven Spielberg’s shark-thriller was green lit, industry executives had already gained a taste for the sort of high earning potential that would come to define the seventies and beyond. The very term “blockbuster,” for instance, had been in frequent use since the end of WWII to describe those films achieving a fantastic degree of financial success, and for just as long such a status remained the aim for any film released. But because any film could have earned the distinction—it was after all “a purely economic term, with no generic preference”—the effect such lofty aspirations had on filmmaking largely remained limited.[vi] Blockbuster status was long a hope, not an explicit end goal. Until, of course, it became one.
To understand this shift, and also why it defied reason, requires one to first understand the circumstances surrounding Hollywood’s entry into the 1970s. In the midst of an industry, and national, recession, the “majors” (20th Century-Fox, Paramount, Warner Bros., Columbia, Universal, United Artists, and MGM) entered the decade reeling from poor business decisions in the preceding years. By the end of the 1960s, all but 20th Century-Fox and Columbia had been taken over by corporate conglomerates in effort to rectify their finances and business dealings that landed them in such dire straits.
While there were a number of underlying causes for industry’s recession, the two most notable were untenable studio debt and massive overproduction that left the studios with a combined inventory of films (those in theatres, waiting to be released, and in production) amounting to $1,250,000,000 at the start of 1969. To put the figure into some context, a “healthy” number would be less than half that; a single film in 1970 cost on average $2 million to make.[vii] Naturally the studios needed to recoup the cost of these backlogged films but they had to do so in the face of dwindling ticket sales, and competition from other studios looking to do the same, an unenviable task to be sure. Complicating matters further, as A.D. Murphy, Variety’s box-office guru wrote at the time, the situation likely would “not have been so economically disastrous had the money been spent on more films instead of a heard of behemoths.”[viii]
Caught up with efforts to replicate the successes of mid-sixties big budget musicals such as Sound of Music and Mary Poppins, heading into the 1970s major studios injected large sums into individual projects, largely without success. Fox’s Hello Dolly (1969) and Paramount’s Paint Your Wagon (1969) were both $20 million musical extravaganzas that failed to justify their exorbitant costs. The creation of such films helped to triple the average cost of films produced between 1960 and 1970, a trend that would continue at an even faster pace in subsequent decades.[ix] The temptation of creating larger pictures was understandable if only for the fact that common belief held them to be better box office bets in spite of any evidence to the contrary. Decades later, Variety would refer to this industry practice as “peace of mind through profligacy.”[x]
While certainly wasteful in appearance, such spending fit the persistent notion that a single hit film could make (or break) a studio’s yearly finances. In his forecast for the 1970s, Box Office editor-in-chief, Ben Shlyen, wrote that the industry had placed “too much reliance on the old slogan ‘one good picture is all we need’,” arguing instead for diversification and minimized risk taking in the coming years.[xi] Though practical, and certainly in line with observations of the industry’s recession, such advice—even with widespread industry acknowledgement—simply did not stick. Paramount president Frank Yablans spoke for all of Hollywood’s studios when he declared: “We want one big picture a year. The rest are budgeted to minimize risk.”[xii] When 40% of domestic rentals in 1970 came from only the top ten films that year, such thinking was only reaffirmed. As Variety wrote in their yearly review: “that so much of the available market was cornered by so few films is a further indication that it’s an age of the survival of fittest.”[xiii] As the article’s author was smart to point out, the very definition of a “fit” film, though, was still a rather fluid idea, but one that would find surer footing with the blockbuster mechanics in the following years.
In January 1971, Richard Zanuck, the recently deposed President of 20th Century-Fox, penned an extended editorial in Variety entitled, “Don’t Write Off the Film Biz.” As the title suggests, the article was largely a defense of the industry, its executives and the difficulty of predicting box office success. Attributing the downturn to the cyclical nature of the movie economy, Zanuck concluded by predicting, among other things, that the “motion picture business will come back on a scale that will dwarf the Golden Era of Hollywood.”[xiv] Zanuck, who would go on to produce Jaws in a few years’ time, could not have known just how accurate his prediction would be.
By September of that year, Hollywood was able to return their inventory to more manageable levels, prompting Variety to declare recovery imminent. By that point, though, the industry collapse had cost $525 million (approximately $3.2 billion in 2016 when adjusted for inflation), nearly 88% of which hit the seven major studios previously mentioned.[xv] During this time, industry reform ought to have dictated the path forward for the studios. Love Story (1970), for instance, was a modestly budgeted feature—albeit one with the early trappings of a blockbuster: book tie-in, pre-sold story, popular soundtrack—that proved enormously successful in 1971. The takeaway from the film, a “dream grosser,” should have been the potential profit of small, simple stories. Instead, it confirmed the belief that “every so often a smash attraction comes along that can ‘turn the company around’.”[xvi] The film earned Paramount $50 million domestically in rental costs.[xvii]
Paramount’s follow-up, The Godfather, similarly raised the bar of film profit potential in 1972, breaking the all-time record for highest grossing film and netting its studio $86.3 million in rentals. By decade’s close, however, the movie would rank only fifth all-time, a testament to the looming acceleration of “blockbuster syndrome” that was to come during the 1970s.[xviii] Just one year later, for instance, the mafia-flick would be eclipsed by The Exorcist which earned Warner Bros. $89.3 in rentals, while The Sting brought Universal an impressive $78.2 million the same year.[xix]
The rampant success of these films and others, year after year in the early 1970s, fed into an industry-wide fever to replicate a level of success theretofore unknown and unpredicted. Further, it solidified the industry’s overreliance on the mega-hit to carry them from year to year. Doubling down then on the potential “super grosser,” the major Hollywood studios cut their production from around 160 films annually in 1965-71 to around 80 by 1975-77.[xx] Production costs, meanwhile rose to help erase any of the potential economic benefit afforded by the reduced production schedules. The New York Times described this “bet big, win big” approach as “disturbing.”[xxi] Such, however, was of little concern to industry executives as they chased the money trail left by the likes of The Godfather, The Exorcist, and The Sting. Yet the combined influence of these films would pale in comparison to what was to come in 1975.
Several days before Steven Spielberg’s Jaws played in front of its first paying audience—on June 20, 1975—a critic for Variety felt sure enough in his review to preemptively declare the film “an artistic and commercial smash.”[xxii] Another industry newspaper, pronounced it “destined for the record books.”[xxiii] Among those less concerned with money, a critic from the Philadelphia Tribune declared it “the most adventurous film made today.”[xxiv] Even hoofer Gene Kelly, a holdover from the studio days of yore, could not help but marvel at its production at a pre-release screening, deeming it worthy of “every technical and special effects award at the Oscars.”[xxv] Within days of its proper release, the adulation of critics, though not entirely unanimous, would be met in even fuller force by the enthusiasm of the American movie-going public, rendering the film an immediately unqualified success.
Fifteen days after its premiere, Jaws recouped its full costs, budget overruns and all. In 59 days, it broke the $100 million mark in rentals, the first to ever do so. And in less than twelve weeks, it became the highest grossing picture of all time. By the end of its initial run, the film would rake in $129.5 million domestically for Universal, a staggering sum previously unimaginable for any prior film. This was appropriate as Jaws was hardly like any film that preceded it. Only its difference was not in plot or effects or any of the things that its audience might have noticed projected on the big screen. In fact, its New York Times review called it “at heart, the old standby, a science fiction film.”[xxvi] Rather, what set Jaws apart were the careful calculations behind the scenes, the choices that were made regarding production, marketing, and distribution, many decisions which bucked prevailing practices in favor of producing something grander than ever before.
In this regard, the efforts of the film’s producers, Richard D. Zanuck and David Brown, and distributor, Universal Studios, were perhaps the greatest of the movie’s successes. Zanuck, whose father Daryl was among the most legendary of American film producers, reportedly earned more in Jaws’ first six months of release than his father did in his entire career.[xxvii] It is no surprise then that Universal Studios, along with Zanuck and Brown, were eager to quickly capitalize off their runaway shark smash hit. By July 1975 a sequel, Jaws II, was already in the works. When the team reached out to Spielberg about returning to the helm of the new project, the 27-year old wunderkind claimed to have never even returned the call, instead dismissing sequels as “a cheap, carny trick.” In slightly more measured terms, he would explain to Variety that “doing a sequel is really like operating a slot machine knowing you’re going to get three cherries every time. It reduces moviemaking as an art to just a science.”[xxviii]
His metaphor, one of guaranteed success, was and remains one that film producers would disagree with in no uncertain terms. No formula has yet proven foolproof. Still, that has not hampered the search for one, the result of which has frequently been the same cold and dispassionate process of filmmaking that Spielberg rejected along with Jaws II. Nevertheless, Spielberg need not have commit to the sequel to have become an integral part of Hollywood’s frightfully hastening slide from art to science. His Jaws codified many existing industry suspicions about what made for a financially successful movie—namely large investments on proven properties—and studios ever since have been chasing their own great white using the same boat that landed them Jaws in the summer of ‘75.
A “Pre-sold” Picture
In his book aptly titled Blockbuster: How Hollywood Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Summer, film critic Tom Shone recounts an anecdote from Spielberg regarding Jaws’ multiple test screenings prior to its release. After a rapturous reception at an early screening in Dallas, the director expressed dissatisfaction that there was but one major scream from the audience in the entire film (around the eighty-minute mark). Resolved to add another, Spielberg quickly arranged a new scene be shot and inserted fifty minutes in. At the next screening, he remembered getting his new scream but in so doing, he put the audience on edge and halved the intensity of the initial shock he got in Dallas. Ultimately, he kept both in the film. As Shone wrote, “Spielberg had gone for two screams, and got them, but somehow they didn’t top the one scream he started out with.”[xxix] Such aptly describes the manufactured nature of the new blockbuster emerging out of the 1970s. The studios got the money they wanted, but it came at the cost of creating some real and original.
While the studios were largely content to cast aside the budgetary lessons learned from their recent recession, there existed a new hesitance to commit large sums to unproven properties. As a result, the decade saw the proliferation of the “pre-sold” picture, the film whose story had already proven itself and justified the costs associated with an adaptation, remake, or sequel. Additionally, one might include the disaster genre within this group as variations of it successfully saturated the market throughout the decade.
Four of the decade’s earliest big earners, Love Story (1970), The Godfather (1972), The Exorcist (1973), and Jaws (1975) were all bestselling books prior to their releases. Interestingly, though, none of the books had yet been published when their film rights were purchased by the studios (Love Story in fact had been created as a book solely to generate interest in the upcoming movie). Instead, the studios were able to capitalize on the works’ inexpensive rights and the second channel of free advertising their popularity offered. For an industry unable to consistently predict its own successes, one must admire their ability to select unpublished manuscripts in the hopes that the books would become popular enough to then create an audience for a big budget picture.
The industry did not only look outward for inspiration however. Just a month after Jaws’ release, a story from Variety stated that “imitations of…’Jaws’ are coming from all directions — more shark thrillers, as well as scripts about killer bears, crocodiles, alligators, and even piranha fish.”[xxx] The industry figured past popularity meant future demand and success. From 1970 to 1979, the top grossing film each year—with the exception of ’74 and ‘79—would spawn a sequel. The two exceptions, Fiddler on the Roof (1974) and Kramer vs. Kramer (1979), were adaptations already. Countless other franchises formed from the years’ top ten lists (e.g. Dirty Harry, Airport, Benji, Rocky) in the hopes of capitalizing on an industry axiom that declared sequels worth at least one-third of their predecessor’s earnings. Citing this figure, Richard Zanuck declared to Variety in 1978: “I do not believe the film business has gotten involved in sequels out of sheer ignorance.”[xxxi]
Ignorance? No, it was strictly economics. But the industry’s slide away from original content—17.6% of major films between 1974 and 1978 were either sequels or re-releases—also reflected a protection measure of sorts for producers unwilling to risk the ever rising costs of production on an untested story.[xxxii] A Los Angeles Times headline in fall 1975 aptly read: “Hollywood the Re-Dream Factory.”[xxxiii] As the decade proved, however, story was but a single component of the new blockbuster, even the best one needed an extra oomph, some “hype,” before it hit the screen.
In a positively blistering opinion piece published in the New York Times in August 1975, critic Stephen Farber attacked Jaws and its popularity as a mere “logical conclusion to [a] relentless ad campaign” that displayed a startlingly “manipulative contempt for the public.” The rest of the article, if not for its truth, might read as a protracted conspiracy theory regarding “how little free choice people have” and how “pitifully naïve [audiences] are about the mass media.” His argument, despite its at times unapologetic condescension, was a sound one that underscored a fundamental fear over the future of American movies. In setting up his piece, Farber asked his readers to consider Jaws alongside Bug, another of the year’s “monster pic” releases, only one labeled a B-movie and relegated to the discount screens. Upon offering a summary comparison, his conclusion: “the only difference is the hype.”[xxxiv]
Whether one is willing to discount the cinematic achievement of Spielberg’s classic or not, it is impossible to deny the massive promotional undertaking by Universal Studios. The film’s television advertisement campaign, the biggest in history, was so large that Universal began taking ads out in Variety that spoke more to their advertising efforts than the movie itself. A two-page spread in April 1975 boldly pronounced the “Biggest National…Campaign in Motion Picture History!”[xxxv] With the film’s poster on one page, the other featured an even bigger listing of the television programs and times one could find the movie’s ad playing that week.
Jaws’ embrace of television was significant for a number of reasons. For one, though it was not the pioneer of TV advertising—the ’74 reissue of Billy Jack (1971) arguably was—it was the first film to make such extensive use of a medium many long deemed a direct rival to the movie theatre. Secondly, it introduced the film’s iconic score and sense of dread directly to Americans in their homes. Punctuated with an ominous tagline: “It’s as if God created the Devil…and gave him Jaws,” the movie’s marketing team spent $700,000 to air the advertisement campaign on network TV across the nation.[xxxvi] In total, the team spent $2.5 million advertising the movie. These efforts included parading producers Zanuck and Brown and author Peter Benchley before TV and radio talk shows as many as eight months before the film’s release. And just three days before its opening, the team rolled out an overwhelming national media blitz that featured 30-second TV spots, and plastered the iconic poster design—the movie’s consistent symbol—the nation over.[xxxvii] It worked.
As historian David A. Cook aptly put it, “Jaws was produced for only $12 million and promoted as if it were the arrival of the New Millennium.”[xxxviii] At the time of the film’s release in 1975, its marketing budget of $2.5 million was 67% higher than the average film that year.[xxxix] In a sign of just how quickly others in the industry caught on: by 1979, Jaws’ ad budget would have been below average (at that point $2.8 million). Throughout the decade, the average movie marketing campaign’s size rose 12.5% annually, eclipsing what was the average production cost of movies at the start of the seventies.[xl]
As to be expected, the techniques used by Jaws were reused and amplified in subsequent years. The Deep (1977), another beach-themed thriller, nearly doubled Jaws’ television budget in a massively orchestrated attempt to “saturate [TV] markets with 2.5 billion visual images of the film” before its release.[xli] Critically rejected, the film still managed to finish seventh-best that year on the merits of its marketing. Besting it in ’77 was, of course, Star Wars, a film that engulfed even Jaws and redefined the promotional and merchandizing potential of films. Of course, marketing could only get films so far, especially when every film began to undertake such large scale efforts.
Paired with Jaws’ marketing efforts was the decision to release the film simultaneously in 409 theatres across the country instead of the more traditional “roll out” that staggered release dates across regional markets. The “wide opening,” saturation approach was pulled directly from the playbook of exploitation films of the period that did so in order to pull in as much money as possible before word could spread about their actual quality. In this regard again, Jaws did not truly innovate but instead follow the example set by Billy Jack in its 1974 reissue, and to a lesser extent The Exorcist, both of which experimented with regional saturation booking with mainstream films the prior year.
What the producers of Jaws added, however, was a fanfare heralding the film’s arrival unlike any other. Situating the film not only as an event, but the event of the summer, its saturated release was a tool to further feed the fervor the film’s producers had carefully built in the preceding months. In the face of television, American cinema long tried to differentiate itself as a “spectacle” or “big theatrical experience” that could not be replicated elsewhere.[xlii] For a while this meant embracing new technology unavailable to the average consumer, yet Jaws’ appeal was far grander than mere theatre curiosity rather it became a cultural phenomenon through which all could participate.
Admittedly, this might arguably be sorted amongst the rest of the film’s marketing efforts, yet the choice to release the film at once, everywhere, rested in recognition of the potential for an organic groundswell of buzz to develop in addition to team’s carefully scheduled efforts. In Variety’s “Analysis of ‘Jaws’ Smasheroo,” published after just one week of screenings, the magazine described a “shark fever” sweeping the country. Citing the surging popularity of aquariums, shark sightings, and a general shark-craze across the nation’s media, the article outlined the film’s quick transformation into a cultural icon as it permeated all areas of American life.[xliii] The film’s profits and the ensuing “Jaws-mania” were reason enough for others to take notice of the movie’s untraditional roll out. Just one year later, King Kong opened in 1,000 theatres, though it failed to achieve even a fraction of Jaws’ success.
More than a year before Jaws’ release, Paramount producer Robert Evans was readying for the premiere of a decidedly different sort of film, The Great Gatsby, one of 1974’s most anticipated pictures. An adaptation of a literary giant, the movie boasted a big budget, star power, a tested plot, commercial tie-ins, and perhaps most important of all, buzz. A smash hit looked as likely as ever when Time devoted a cover story to the picture in the weeks leading up to its release. In their feature article, Evans prophetically boasted: “The making of a blockbuster is the newest art form of the 20th century,” and he thought he had one too with his Robert Redford-led flick.[xliv] But for all that the film had going for it, it was met only by tepid reviews and a lackluster financial performance that just eked out its costs, a disappointment when the aims had been so much higher.
The Great Gatsby, in its 1974 iteration, is now largely irrelevant. Yet, Evans’ brazen proclamation at the time of its release remains as pertinent as ever. Film, as an art form, has always had the misfortune of being uncomfortably intertwined with its economics. Yet out of these complicated arrangements have bloomed countless prized works over the decades. The blockbuster-making that emerged out of the 1970s, conversely, indulged the medium’s basest instinct for profit, and did so to the nth degree.
Notably, the rise of this all-consuming blockbuster mentality did not go unnoticed during the 1970s. An extended takedown in Film Comment declared the industry a “hopelessly hooked junkie” seeking mega-profit in the same big budget type productions that it swore off following its recession. Even producer Richard Zanuck admitted, “[I]t’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking you can do it again. When you have a tremendous success, it kind of goes to your head.”[xlv] In the New York Times, Stephen Farber declared—even before Jaws—that Hollywood’s increasing penchant for big budget sensationalism and spectacle was alarming, writing, “films began as three‐ring circus, and that’s the backward direction they seem to be taking in the seventies.”[xlvi]
The alarm did little to quell the industry’s fervor though. Even the decade’s “failed blockbusters,” which were many, could not slow the hastening trend that focused on rehashing past successes rather than innovating future possibilities. Even Spielberg, who remember criticized sequels as a “cheap, carny trick,” went on to make three Indiana Jones movies during the 1980s, so much for the sanctity of the art he had preached in 1975. Looking at the box office charts, it’s not hard to see why producers got hooked on the big bucks though. By 1980, of the top twenty “film rental champs” of all time, all but three were released during the 1970s.[xlvii] For a period that began with such industry uncertainty, it ended with greater economic possibility than ever, and Hollywood has not looked back since.
[i] “Knowledge of Future Trends Is Key to Exhibition Success, Says Rifkin,” Box Office, 17 November 1969, 8.
[ii] “Challenge of the 1970s to Be Theme at NATO’s 1969 Convention,” Box Office, 28 July 1969, 4.
[iii] David A. Cook, Lost Illusions: American Cinema in the Shadow of Watergate and Vietnam, 1970-1979 (New York: C. Scribner, 2000), 490.
[iv] Cook, 1.
[v] Thomas Schatz, “The New Hollywood” in Julian Stringer, ed., Movie Blockbusters (London: Routledge, 2003), 17.
[vi] Tom Shone, Blockbuster: How Hollywood Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Summer (New York: Free Press, 2004), 28.
[vii] A.D. Murphy, “Upbeat Signs for Film Biz,” Variety, 1 September 1971, 3, 60.
[viii] Murphy, “Upbeat Signs.”
[ix] “In 10 Years, Film Costs Tripled,” Variety, 7 January 1970, 10.
[x] Peter Bart, “Peace Through Profligacy,” Variety, 3 February 1997.
[xi] Ben Shylen, “Challenges – Old and New,” Box Office, 17 November 1969, 3.
[xii] Cook, 25.
[xiii] Robert B. Frederick, “Top 10 Films Yield 40% of Rentals,” Variety, 6 January 1971, 11-12.
[xiv] Richard D. Zanuck, “Don’t Write off the Film Biz,” Variety, 20 January 1971, 5, 23.
[xv] A.D. Murphy, “’Recovery’ Omens Within U.S. Trade Clouded by Downslide Data Since ’68,” Variety, 29 September 1971.
[xvi] Abel Green, “Looks Like Paramount’s Turn with Smash Film That Can ‘Turn Around’ a Company, Yclept Boffo ‘Love Story’,” Variety, 6 January 1971, 5.
[xviii] Cook, 33.
[xix] Cook, 499.
[xx] Cook, 14.
[xxi] Robert Lindsey, “All Hollywood Loves a Blockbuster —And Chips Off the Old Blockbuster,” New York Times, 30 May 1976, sec. 2, pp. 1, 11.
[xxii] A.D. Murphy, “Jaws,” Variety, 18 June 1975, 16.
[xxiii] “Jaws,” Independent Film Journal, 25 June 1975.
[xxiv] Charles D. Barnes III, “’Jaws’, A Gripping Movie,” Philadelphia Tribune, 1 July 1975, 12.
[xxv] Joyce Haber, “The Man Who Bit the Bullet on ‘Jaws’,” Los Angeles Times, 13 July 1975, T31.
[xxvi] Vincent Canby, “Screen: Entrapped by ‘Jaws’ of Fear,” New York Times, 21 June 1975, 19.
[xxvii] Cook, 143.
[xxviii] “Spielberg Spanks Sequels As ‘Cheap, Carnival Trick’,” Variety, 28 October 1975, 30, 40.
[xxix] Shone, 26.
[xxx] Joseph McBride, “More Sharks, Other Killers, Due; ‘Jaws’ Quickens Monster Spree; Recall Fatal Frogs, Bugs, Bees,” Variety, 30 July 1975, 7, 32.
[xxxi] Frank Segers, “Afraid of Sequels? Not Zanuck-Brown,” Variety, 28 December 1977, 5, 20.
[xxxii] Cook, 30.
[xxxiii] Mary Murphy, “Hollywood the Re-Dream Factory,” Los Angeles Times, 22 October 1975, sec. G, 11.
[xxxiv] Stephen Farber, “’Jaws’ and ‘Bug’ – The Only Difference Is the Hype,” New York Times, 24 August 1975, sec. D, pp. 1, 11.
[xxxv] “Jaws” [Advertisement], Variety, 9 April 1975, 10-11.
[xxxvi] Frederick Wasser, Steven Spielberg’s America (Cambridge, U.K.: Polity Press, 2010), 78.
[xxxvii] Shone, 29.
[xxxviii] Cook, 142.
[xxxix] Wasser, 78.
[xl] Cook, 493.
[xli] Cook, 46.
[xlii] Wasser, 30.
[xliii] “Analysis of ‘Jaws’ Smasheroo,” Variety, 2 July 1975, 37.
[xliv] “Ready or Not, Here Comes Gatsby,” Time, 18 March 1974.
[xlv] Lindsey, 11.
[xlvi] Stephen Farber, “Hollywood’s New Sensationalism: The Power and the Gory,” New York Times, 7 July 1974, sec. D, 11.
[xlvii] “All-Time Film Rental Champs (of U.S.-Canada Market),” Variety, 9 January 1980, 24.
The above essay was originally submitted as an assignment for a history course at Queens College, CUNY during the Fall 2016 semester.