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Jaws 3-D (also known as Jaws 3 or Jaws III) is a 1983 American thriller film directed by Joe Alves and starring Dennis Quaid, Bess Armstrong, Lea Thompson, and Louis Gossett, Jr. It is the second sequel to Steven Spielberg's Jaws and the third installment in the Jaws franchise. The film follows the Brody children from the previous films at SeaWorld, a Florida marine park with underwater tunnels and lagoons. As the park prepares for opening, a young great white shark infiltrates the park from the sea, seemingly attacking and killing the park's employees. Once the shark is captured, it becomes apparent that it was a second, much larger shark who also entered the park, that was the real culprit.

The film is notable for making use of 3D film during the revived interest in the technology in the 1980s, amongst other horror films such as Friday the 13th Part III and Amityville 3D. Cinema audiences could wear disposable cardboard polarized 3D glasses to create the illusion that elements penetrate the screen.[3] Several shots and sequences were designed to utilise the effect, such as the shark's destruction. Since 3D was ineffective in home viewing until the advent of 3D televisions in the late 2000s, the alternative title Jaws III is used for television broadcasts, VHS and DVD.[1] Jaws 3-D received negative reviews and was followed by Jaws: The Revenge in 1987.


While following an unsuspecting team of water skiers, a great white shark enters SeaWorld Orlando through its closing gates. Meanwhile, Florida announces the opening of the park's new underwater tunnels. Kathryn "Kay" Morgan, the park's senior marine biologist, and her assistants, notice the resident dolphins are afraid of leaving their pen. Shelby Overman, a mechanic, dives into the water to repair and secure the gates. He is attacked by the shark and killed, leaving only his severed right arm. Later that night, two men sneak into the park and go underwater to steal coral they intend to sell, but both are killed by the shark in the process.

The next day, Kay and Michael Brody are informed of Overman's disappearance. They go down in a submarine to look for his body, and during the search, they encounter a smaller shark. The dolphins rescue Kay and Mike, but the shark escapes back into the park. The news of the shark is disbelieved by Calvin Bouchard, the park manager, though it excites his hunter friend, Phillip FitzRoyce, who states his intention to kill the shark on network television. Kay protests and suggests capturing and keeping the shark alive in captivity, to guarantee more publicity for the park. The shark is successfully captured and Kay and her staff nurse it to health. Calvin, desperate to start the money rolling in immediately, orders it moved to an exhibit, but the shark dies.

Later, Overman's corpse is discovered. Reviewing the body, Kay realizes that the shark that killed him is the first shark's mother, and that it must also be inside the park. She is able to convince Calvin about this newest development when the shark herself shows up at the window of the underwater cafe. Flushed out from her refuge inside a filtration pipe, the shark begins to wreak havoc on the park, injures a water skier, and causes a leak that nearly drowns everyone in the underwater tunnel. FitzRoyce and his assistant, Jack, go down to the filtration pipe in an attempt to lure the shark back in as a trap. FitzRoyce leads the shark into the pipe, but is then attacked and killed.

Hearing the shark has been lured into the pipe, Michael and Kay go down to repair the underwater tunnel, so the technicians can restore air pressure and drain the water. Calvin orders the pump to be shut down to suffocate the shark, but this act instead allows her to break free from the pipe and attack Michael and Kay, but they are saved by the dolphins. They make their way back to the control room, but the shark appears in front of the window and smashes through the glass, flooding the room and killing a technician. Michael notices FitzRoyce's corpse still in the shark's throat with a grenade, and uses a bent pole to pull its pin, triggering the grenade's explosion and killing the shark. In the aftermath, Mike and Kay celebrate with the dolphins, who survived their brush with the shark.



David Brown and Richard Zanuck, the producers for the first two films, originally pitched the second Jaws sequel as a spoof named Jaws 3, People 0.[4] Matty Simmons, fresh off the success of National Lampoon's Animal House, was brought in as producer, with Brown and Zanuck taking on executive producer roles. Simmons outlined a story and commissioned National Lampoon writers John Hughes and Todd Carroll for a script.[5] Joe Dante was briefly pursued as a director.[6] The project was shut down due to conflicts with Universal Studios.[5] David Brown later said that the studio attitude was that a spoof would have been a mistake and that it would be like "fouling in your own nest. We should have fouled the nest. It would have been golden, maybe even platinum."[4]

Alan Landsburg bought the rights to produce the film.[7] He attempted to involve experimental filmmaker Murray Lerner in Jaws 3, telling him that people at the Marineland theme park in Florida had seen his 1978 3D film Sea Dream. Lerner said that his "heart sank" when he was sent the first script of Jaws 3-D, saying "I can't really get involved in this". As the production already had an art director, Lerner, who didn't like the script, declined to be involved in the film.[7]

The film was directed by Joe Alves, who was the production designer for the first two films and was the second unit director for Jaws 2. It had been suggested that Alves co-direct the first sequel with Verna Fields when first director John D. Hancock left the project.[4] It was filmed at SeaWorld Orlando, a landlocked water park; and Navarre, Florida, a community in the Florida Panhandle near Pensacola.[8]

As with the first two films in the series, many people were involved in writing the film. Richard Matheson, who had written the script for Steven Spielberg's celebrated 1971 television film Duel, says that he wrote a "very interesting" outline, although the story is credited to "some other writer".[9] Universal forced Matheson to include Brody's two sons, which the writer "thought was dumb". They also wanted it to be the same shark that was electrocuted in Jaws 2.[9] Matheson was also requested to write a custom-role for Mickey Rooney, "which I did so successfully that when Mickey Rooney turned out not to be available, the whole part was pointless".[10] The writer was unhappy with the finished film.

I'm a good storyteller and I wrote a good outline and a good script. And if they had done it right and if it had been directed by somebody who knew how to direct, I think it would have been an excellent movie. Jaws 3-D was the only thing Joe Alves ever directed; the man is a very skilled production designer, but as a director, no. And the so-called 3D just made the film look murky – it had no effect whatsoever. It was a waste of time.[9]

Guerdon Trueblood is credited for the story; a reviewer for the website SciFilm says that the screenplay was based upon Trueblood's story about a white shark swimming upstream and becoming trapped in a lake.[11] Carl Gottlieb, who had also revised the screenplays for the first two Jaws films, was credited for the script alongside Richard Matheson.[12] Matheson has reported in interviews that the screenplay was revised by script doctors.[11]

The film did not use any actors from the first two Jaws films. Roy Scheider, who played Police Chief Martin Brody in the first two films, laughed at the thought of Jaws 3, saying that "Mephistopheles ... couldn't talk me into doing [it] ... They knew better than to even ask".[13] He agreed to do Blue Thunder to ensure his unavailability for Jaws 3-D.[13]


There was a revival in popularity of 3D at this time, with many films using the technique. Jaws's second sequel integrated the technology into its title, as did Amityville 3D. Friday the 13th Part III could also make dual use of the number three.[14] The gimmick was also advertised in the tagline "the third dimension is terror."[11] As it was Joe Alves' first film as director, he thought that 3D would "give him an edge".[14]

File:Jaws 3 - shark explosion - 3-D effect.jpg

The shark's jaws coming toward the viewer after its destruction.

Cinema audiences could wear disposable polarized glasses to view the film, creating the illusion that elements from the film were penetrating the screen to come towards the viewers. The opening sequence makes obvious use of the technique, with the titles flying to the forefront of the screen, leaving a trail. There are more subtle instances in the film where props are meant to leave the screen. The more obvious examples are in the climactic sequence of the shark attacking the control room and its subsequent destruction. The glass as the shark smashes into the room uses 3D, as does the shot where the shark explodes, with fragmented parts of it apparently bursting through the screen, ending with its jaws. There were many difficulties in making the green screen compositing work in 3D, and a lot of material had to be reshot.[7]

Jaws 3-D had two 3D consultants: the production started with Chris Condon, president of StereoVision,[15] and Stan Loth was later added to the team for the Arrivision 3D. Production began using the StereoVision, but this was dropped after a week for the Arrivision system, "which Alves believed was a superior system because it has a wider variety of lenses".[14] According to Alves, inferior systems lead to ghosting and blurring, leaving audiences with headaches. He says that "the left and right images [in Jaws 3-D] are very well-matched, and the photography is very clean; it's restful to the eye, and though we do have the occasional effects where things do emerge toward the audience from the plane of projection, you come out of the film without a headache."[14][16] Historian R. M. Hayes says that the film was shot using both the Arrivision and StereoVision single strip-over-and-under units.[17] Both cameras were used in conjunction with each other. This is a means of shooting 3D movies in normal color with a single camera and single strip of film: the Arrivision 3D technique uses a special twin-lens adapter fitted to the film camera, and divides the 35 mm film frame in half along the middle, capturing the left-eye image in the upper half of the frame and the right-eye image in the lower half – this is known as "over/under". This allows filming to proceed as for any standard 2D film, without the considerable additional expense of having to double up on cameras and film stock for every shot. When the resultant film is projected through a normal projector (albeit one requiring a special lens that combines the upper and lower images), a true polarised 3D image is produced. This system allows 3D films to be shown in almost any cinema since it does not require two projectors running simultaneously through the presentation – something most cinemas are not equipped to handle. What is required of the theatre is both the special projection lens and a reflective "silver" screen to enable the polarized images to reflect back to the viewer with the appropriate filter on each eye blocking out the wrong image, thus leaving the viewer to see the film from two angles as the eyes naturally see the world. According to the company that built the underwater camera housings for Jaws 3-D, the underwater sequences were shot using an Arriflex 35–3 camera with Arrivision 18 mm over/under 3D lens.[3]

This kind of 3D effect does not work on television without special electronic hardware at the viewer's end, and so with two exceptions, the home video and broadcast TV versions of Jaws 3-D were created using just the left-eye image, and with the title changed to "Jaws 3" or "Jaws III". Because the left-eye image only takes up half the 35 mm film frame, the picture resolution is noticeably poorer than would normally be expected of a film shot on 35 mm.

One of the above-mentioned exceptions was a 1986 release of the film for the now-obsolete VHD video disc system (not to be confused with LaserDisc). This required a special 3D VHD player, or a standard VHD player with a hardware 3D adapter, and a set of LCD glasses that shuttered the viewer's eyes according to control signals sent by the player, allowing the polarised 3D effect to work.[18] The other exception was the Sensio 3D DVD of Jaws 3-D released in February 2008. The Sensio 3D Processor is needed for 3D home viewing.[19]

SCTV in Indonesian television broadcast the 3D version of the film on HD by 30 September 1994 at 19:30 to 22:30 WIB, STAR TV Xing Kong in Chinese satellite television broadcast on Chinese New Year's Eve Rabbit 2011 (22 January 2012) at 22:00 to 00:00 CST and TVB Pearl in Hong Kong English television broadcast on 3 July 2016 at 21:30 to 23:40 Hong Kong Time before News Roundup programme. The event was advertised heavily and required viewers to buy or obtain a pair of anaglyph glasses to fully enjoy the movie; this was an anaglyph 3D version of the film created from the Arrivision original.

On June 14, 2016 Universal released a Blu Ray transfer of the film. Though advertised as a 2-D release a complete Blu-Ray 3D version is included as a special feature.[20]


The score was composed and conducted by Alan Parker, who had previously provided music for British television shows including Van der Valk and Minder.[21][22] It was Parker's first feature score, but he would later work on What's Eating Gilbert Grape and American Gothic.[23] John Williams' original shark motif is, however, integrated into the score. The soundtrack album was released by MCA Records which was absorbed by Geffen Records. The soundtrack was later released on CD by Intrada and was limited to only 3000 copies.[24]

Track listing

  1. "Jaws 3-D Main Title" (2:59)
  2. "Kay and Mike's Love Theme" (2:18)
  3. "Panic at Seaworld" (2:07)
  4. "Underwater Kingdom and Shark Chase" (4:20)
  5. "Shark Chase and Dolphin Rescue" (1:22)
  6. "Saved by the Dolphins" (2:05)
  7. "The Shark's Gonna Hit Us!" (2:42)
  8. "It's Alive/Seaworld Opening Day/Silver Bullet" (2:34)
  9. "Overman's Last Dive" (1:18)
  10. "Philip's Demise" (4:59)
  11. "Night Capture" (4:53)
  12. "Jaws 3-D End Titles" (4:06)


The film opened in more than a thousand screens across the U.S. There were many promotions to accompany the release of the film. As with Jaws 2, Topps produced a series of trading cards.[25] Television stations were encouraged to broadcast the featurette, Making of Jaws 3-D: Sharks Don't Die, in a prime-time slot between July 16 and 22, 1983 to take advantage of an advertisement in that week's issue of TV Guide.[26] Alan Landsburg Productions found itself in trouble for using 90 seconds of footage from the National Geographic's 1983 documentary film The Sharks in the featurette without authorization.[27]

Box office

The film grossed $13,422,500 on its opening weekend,[28] playing to 1,311 theaters at its widest release. This was 29.5% of its total gross. It has achieved total lifetime worldwide gross of $87,987,055.[29] Despite being No. 1 at the box office, this illustrates the series' diminishing returns, since Jaws 3-D has earned nearly $100 million less than the total lifetime gross of its predecessor[30] and $300 million less than the original film.[31] The final sequel would attract an even lower income, with around two thirds of Jaws 3-D's total lifetime gross.[32] However, the film was still drawing huge audiences when it was pulled from theaters; film historian R.M. Hayes says this action "was pure nonsense considering some cinemas were actually turning over more money per screen than the latest Star Wars film".[17]

Critical response

Reception for the movie was generally poor. Variety calls it "tepid" and suggests that Alves "fails to linger long enough on the Great White."[33] It has a 12% 'rotten' rating at Rotten Tomatoes.[34] The 3D was criticized as being a gimmick to attract audiences to the aging series[35] and for being ineffective.[36] Allrovi, however, says that "the suspense sequences were made somewhat more memorable during the film's original release with 3D photography, an attribute lost on video, thereby removing the most distinctive element of an otherwise run-of-the-mill sequel."[37] Derek Winnert says that "with Richard Matheson's name on the script you'd expect a better yarn" although he continues to say that the film "is entirely watchable with a big pack of popcorn."[38] Others are disappointed that Matheson and Gottlieb produced this script given their previous success.[11]

Although most critics are in agreement that Jaws 2 is the best of the Jaws sequels, some are unsure if Jaws-3D is better than Jaws: The Revenge. One reviewer says of Jaws 3-D:

Campy performances, cheesy special effects, and downright awful dialogue all contribute to making Jaws 3 a truly dismal experience for just about everyone. It's not only hard to believe that a sequel this downright abominable didn't kill the franchise, but that it actually would be followed by a movie that was arguably worse—Jaws: the Revenge.[23]

Amongst some flaws, some critics describe the film as "marginally entertaining."[39] The sound design has been commended, however. The moment when an infant's cry is heard when the baby shark dies in the pool is particularly praised by one reviewer.[11] Gossett, Jet magazine says, was the "only cast member to survive the generally negative reviews".[28]

In her screenwriting textbook, Linda Aronson suggests that its protagonist, played by Quaid, is a major problem with the film. She says that after taking too long for him to be introduced, the character is "essentially a passive onlooker." There is no hunt until the climax when the shark is terrorizing the people in the aquarium; only then does Mike Brody become centre of the action. She also highlights inaccuracies in the plot. For instance, she refutes the idea of a "mother shark protecting her offspring [as] sharks do not mother their young," and points out that dolphins can attack sharks.[40]

Leonard Maltin calls the film a "road-company Irwin Allen type-disaster film" and notes that its premise is similar to the 1955 sequel to Creature from the Black Lagoon.[41]

Jaws 3-D was nominated for five 1983 Golden Raspberry Awards, including Worst Picture, Director, Supporting Actor (Lou Gossett, Jr.), Screenplay, and Newcomer (Cindy and Sandy, "The Shrieking Dolphins"), but received none.[42]

DVD release

The film was released in a standard 2-D format on DVD by Universal on June 3, 2003 under the title Jaws 3. With the exception of one theatrical trailer, no bonus features were included. Universal Studios Home Entertainment released the Jaws series of films in HD on Blu-ray in 2016.

See also



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External links

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