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06/20: This Day in History- The Release of Jaws

Welcome back Wikimaniacs to this day in history. A series where we take you back in time to learn more about what happened on this day. Today is June 20th, which is filled of endless historical highlights - such as Alexandrina Victoria becoming the Queen of the United Kingdom in 1837, and the birth of American singer-song writer, Brian Wilson, in 1942. 

Today’s specific feature, however, will have you wanting to grab some popcorn and find a comfortable seat as we discuss one of the most iconic movie releases of all time. Get your popcorn ready and get comfortable, as we take a trip to almost 50 years ago. 

Some will argue that there’s nothing more exciting than a new Steven Spielberg thriller hitting the big screen. We see that on June 20th of 1975, when anxious American movie goers lined up outside theatres to watch his latest featured movie, Jaws. 

Jaws was adapted from the 1974 novel by Peter Benchley, which featured a terrifying rogue great-white shark that never learned the premise of sharing is caring - especially when it came to sharing a nearby New England beach town with local humans. 

The movie plot, for those who haven’t seen it, kicks off with a young woman’s body that is partially found on a beach on the small town of Amity Island. Locals flounder as to what happened to her, and local officials seek to close the beach down. After some back and forth, the beach stays open - and the shark takes its next victim.

In fear of losing more citizens, a bounty is placed on the shark - and so begins the battle between human vs nature. No spoiler alerts here, so if you want to know how the movie ends - make sure to dedicate over 2 hours of your time to watch this iconic film. 

The movie, which had a budget of $9 million, chomped its way at the box-office within days. By the first 10 days, the movie profited a grand total of $21,116, 354.00. Sources claim that the final box office number is $472 million. 

The movie also had swimming reviews and became a cult classic. This includes a Tomatometer of 98% on the infamous movie rating website, Rotten Tomatoes. The movie also saw a national win within the US by 2001, when it was selected by the Library of Congress for preservation in the United States National Film Registry as "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant”.

Although the movie splashed its competition out of the waters, it didn’t come without some headaches. Jaws was originally supposed to come out by Christmas of 1974, however due to lengthy shooting days and delays, the movie wouldn’t be ready for the cinematic waters until the following summer. There were also reported tensions on set, which I'm sure during production they didn't know the masterpiece that we know and appreciate now, was on the horizon.

With all its success, Steven Spielberg presumed that the movie was going to win all its 11 Oscar nominations. Unfortunately, the eager director assumed wrong. Even though then 27-year-old Spielberg didn’t get nominated for a directing Oscar for Jaws, the movie itself brought home the Oscar awards for Best Film Editing, Best Original Dramatic Score, and Best Sound. Whoever had to take those trophies home was going to need a bigger boat. 

And that Wikimaniacs, is what happened on June 20th, 1975. Today’s feature wouldn’t have stayed afloat without the following resources: