Film fans to flock to beach resort for "Jawsfest"
By Chris Michaud
NEW YORK (Reuters) - Nearly 40 years ago, a group of filmmakers trekked to a quiet resort island for what was to be a very troubled film shoot and changed Hollywood forever when they produced what would become the first-ever summer blockbuster.
An inexperienced director named Steven Spielberg and his cast battled with a malfunctioning mechanical shark nicknamed "Bruce" throughout that summer of 1974 as studio executives, worried about delays and budget overruns, threatened to pull the plug.
About the only thing "Jaws" seemed to have going for it was its source material, the bestselling novel by Peter Benchley on which it was based.
But less than 80 days after its release, the film became Hollywood's all-time box office champion, a position it retained until the release of "Star Wars," which took six months to depose the shark thriller, according to Exhibitor Relations Co. Inc.
"Jaws" was also the first film to top $100 million in U.S. box office receipts.
FOUR-DAY TRIBUTE TO FILM
Today, Martha's Vineyard is a summer playground for presidents and Hollywood stars. Its summer population has ballooned, and traffic snarls the streets that criss-cross many of the six towns on the island.
In a few weeks, thousands more visitors will arrive for "Jawsfest," a four-day tribute to the film that cemented the fame of Martha's Vineyard, off the coast of Massachusetts, as the story's fictional Amity Island. Continued...