Jaws 3-D (also known as Jaws 3 or Jaws III or Jaws 3D) is a 1983 American horror-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, which was based on the novel by Peter Benchley and is the third installment in the Jaws franchise. It is also the only one in the series not made directly by Universal, and one of the few theatrical films produced by Alan Landsburg Productions (the film is copyrighted to "MCA Theatricals Ltd").

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. 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 early 2000s, the alternative title Jaws III is used for television broadcasts, VHS and DVD.

Jaws 3-D was followed by Jaws: The Revenge in 1987.


Jaws 3-D

A great white shark starts to follow an unsuspecting team of water skiers. The driver stalls the ski boat but manages to restart it before the shark can attack. The shark follows the water skiers into the SeaWorld park and throws the gate off its rails while it is closing. Meanwhile, Florida announces the opening of SeaWorld's new glass covered underwater tunnels that allow close up views of the park's animals.

Kathryn "Kay" Morgan (Bess Armstrong), SeaWorld's senior marine biologist, wonders why dolphins Cindy and Sandy are so afraid of leaving their dolphin pen. When Shelby Overman dives into the water to repair and secure the gates, he is killed by a shark. That night, two men in diving equipment sneak into the park in a small inflatable boat to steal coral they intend to sell. Both are killed by the shark, which also bites and sinks the inflatable.

The next day, Kay and Mike Brody (Dennis Quaid, playing a grownup version of Martin Brody's son from the original Jaws film) are informed of Overman's disappearance. They use a small submarine to search through an underwater Spanish Galleon fixture, despite dolphins Cindy and Sandy's attempting to keep them out. As they search the Spanish Galleon they encounter a small great white shark. The dolphins rescue Kay and Mike.

SeaWorld park manager Calvin Bouchard (Louis Gossett, Jr.) does not believe the shark story until a firsthand examination of the fence damage that connects to Cindy and Sandy's pen. The news is exciting to his publicity-obsessed oceanographer/filmmaker friend, Phillip FitzRoyce (Simon MacCorkindale), who states his intention to kill the shark on network television. Kay argues that killing the shark would be good for one headline, but capturing and keeping a great white shark in captivity would guarantee TV crews and money constantly rolling into SeaWorld. The young shark is captured and Kay and her staff nurse it to health. Calvin, desperate to start the money rolling in immediately, prematurely orders it moved to a small tank for exhibit, where the young shark soon dies.

At the underwater tunnels, a girl is terrified when she sees part of Overman's corpse float up to a window. Examining the bite marks on Overman's corpse, Kay realizes that the shark that killed him must be the small shark's mother, and that since Overman was killed inside the park, the mother shark must also be inside the park. Based on the shape of the bite, Kay concludes that the shark's mouth must be about three feet wide and thus the shark about 35 feet long. This captures the attention of FitzRoyce, but she cannot convince Calvin until the enormous shark shows herself at the window of the park's underwater cafe, terrifying the customers.

Flushed out from her refuge inside the filtration pipe, where fast moving water flowed across her gills, the shark wreaks havoc throughout the park. The shark attacks water skier Kelly Ann Bukowski (Lea Thompson) and Mike's brother Sean (John Putch), injuring Kelly's leg before causing a leak that nearly drowns everyone in the underwater tunnels.

FitzRoyce and his assistant Jack (P. H. Moriarty) lure the shark into the filtration pipe in an attempt to kill it. When FitzRoyce is attacked by the shark he attempts to use a grenade to kill it, but the shark devours him before he can pull the safety pin. With the shark safely in the pipe, Mike and Kay dive down to repair the underwater tunnel so the technicians can restore air pressure and save the customers. Calvin orders the filtration pump shut down to suffocate the shark, but the shark breaks free from the pipe and attacks Mike and Kay. They escape thanks to help from dolphins Cindy and Sandy, who attack the shark to distract her briefly.

They join Calvin in the control room, but the shark appears in front of the window and smashes its way through the glass and floods the room, knocking out a technician. Calvin manages to swim out and rescue the unconscious technician, but another technician is eaten by the shark in the process. Mike notices FitzRoyce's corpse still in the shark's throat with the grenade in his hand, and uses a bent pole to pull the grenade's pin, killing the shark.


Jaws 3-D
  • Dennis Quaid as Mike Brody
  • Bess Armstrong as Kathryn Morgan
  • Simon MacCorkindale as Philip FitzRoyce
  • Louis Gossett, Jr. as Calvin Bouchard
  • John Putch as Sean Brody
  • Lea Thompson as Kelly Ann Bukowski
  • P. H. Moriarty as Jack Tate
  • Dan Blasko as Dan
  • Liz Morris as Liz
  • Harry Grant as Shelby Overman


Jaws 3-D

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. 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. Joe Dante was briefly pursued as a director. The project was shut down due to conflicts with Universal Studios. 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."

Alan Landsburg bought the rights to produce the film. 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 declined to be involved in the film.

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. It was filmed at SeaWorld Orlando, a landlocked water park; and Navarre, Florida, a community in the Florida Panhandle near Pensacola.

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". 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. 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". 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 â€" it had no effect whatsoever. It was a waste of time.

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. Carl Gottlieb, who had also revised the screenplays for the first two Jaws films, was credited for the script alongside Richard Matheson. Matheson has reported in interviews that the screenplay was revised by script doctors.

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". He agreed to do Blue Thunder to ensure his unavailability for Jaws 3-D.

Use of 3D

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

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.

Jaws 3-D had two 3D consultants: the production started with Chris Condon, president of StereoVision, 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". 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." Historian R. M. Hayes says that the film was shot using both the Arrivision and StereoVision single strip-over-and-under units. 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 â€" 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. This system allows 3D films to be shown in almost any cinema since it does not require two projectors running simultaneously through the presentation â€" something most cinemas are not equipped to handle. According to the company that built the underwater camera housings for Jaws 3-D, the underwater sequences were shot using an Arriflex 35â€"3 camera with Arrivision 18 mm over/under 3D lens.

This kind of 3D effect does not work on television without special electronic hardware, 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. 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.

TVRI in Indonesia broadcast the 3D version of the film on New Year's Eve 2011 & 2012. 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.

Visual Effects

The film was made during a time of early experiments with digital compositing for motion pictures. The original plan was to perform many of the film's composites as digital rather than photochemical composites, but there were difficulties in achieving satisfactory results. These would have been for shots involving model work, such as a severed limb, the shark's jaws drifting towards the camera, the underwater submersible, or shots of the shark attacking underwater structures. These used models that were shot "dry for wet," using smoke to create the expected light fall-off that occurs under water. Because of difficulties with the digital compositing system, those shots were finished hastily using a conventional optical printer techniques. A handful of shots remained uncomposited by release time, and for a few, the green-screen behind the models was simply color-timed to match the hue of other underwater shots.


Jaws 3-D

The score was composed and conducted by Alan Parker, who had previously provided music for British television shows including Angels, Van der Valk and Minder. It was Parker's first feature score, but he would later work on What's Eating Gilbert Grape and American Gothic. John Williams' famous shark motif is 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, limited to only 3000 copies; in 2015 Intrada released the complete score, including numerous alternate cues.


Jaws 3-D

The film opened in more than a thousand screens across the United States. There were many promotions to accompany the release of the film. As with Jaws 2, Topps produced a series of trading cards. 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. 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.

Box office

The film grossed $13,422,500 on its opening weekend, 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. Despite being No. 1 at the box office, this illustrates the series' diminishing returns, since Jaws 3-D has earned $120 million less than the total lifetime gross of its predecessor and almost $400 million less than the original film which is even less when taking inflation into account. The final sequel would attract an even lower income, with around two thirds of Jaws 3-D's total lifetime gross.

Critical response

Reception was generally negative. Variety calls it "tepid" and suggests that Alves "fails to linger long enough on the Great White." It has an 11% 'rotten' rating at Rotten Tomatoes. The 3D was criticized as being a gimmick to attract audiences to the aging series and for being ineffective. Allmovie, 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." 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." Others are disappointed that Matheson and Gottlieb produced this script given their previous success. One critic summed up the general consensus:

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 worseâ€"Jaws: the Revenge.

Amongst some flaws, some critics describe the film as "marginally entertaining." 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. Gossett, Jet magazine says, was the "only cast member to survive the generally negative reviews".

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 center of the action. She also highlights inaccuracies in the plot. For instance, she rejects the idea of a "mother shark protecting her offspring [as] sharks do not mother their young," and points out that dolphins can attack sharks.

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

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.

Home Media

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.

See also

  • Revenge of the Creature, a 1955 3D sequel film, featuring an attack on a Floridian marine mammal park by a piscene antagonist.
  • List of killer shark films


Jaws 3-D
  • Aronson, Linda (2000). Scriptwriting updated: new and conventional ways of writing for the screen. Allen & Unwin. ISBN 978-1-876351-03-8. 
  • Bensman, Marvin R. (1990). Broadcast/cable regulation (3 ed.). University Press of America. ISBN 978-0-8191-7661-5. 
  • Hayes, R. M. (1998). 3D movies: a history and filmography of stereoscopic cinema. McFarland. ISBN 978-0-7864-0578-7. 
  • Kachmar, Diane C. (2002). Roy Scheider: a film biography. McFarland. ISBN 978-0-7864-1201-3. 
  • Lofficier, Randy (2003). Into the Twilight Zone: The Rod Serling Programme Guide. iUniverse. ISBN 978-0-595-27612-7. 
  • McGee, Mark Thomas (2001). Beyond Ballyhoo: Motion Picture Promotion and Gimmicks. McFarland. ISBN 978-0-7864-1114-6. 
  • Pohlen, Jerome (2003). Oddball Florida: A Guide to Some Really Strange Places. Chicago Review Press. ISBN 978-1-55652-503-2. 
  • Weaver, Tom (2006). Science Fiction Stars and Horror Heroes: Interviews with Actors, Directors, Producers and Writers of the 1940s Through 1960s. McFarland. p. 318. ISBN 978-0-7864-2857-1. 
  • Winnert, Derek (1993). Radio Times Film & Video Guide 1994. London: Hodder & Stoughton. ISBN 978-0-340-57477-5. 
  • Zone, Ray (2005). 3D filmmakers: Conversations with creators of stereoscopic motion pictures. Scarecrow Press. ISBN 978-0-8108-5437-6. 

External links

Jaws 3-D
  • Jaws 3-D at the Internet Movie Database
  • Jaws 3-D at Box Office Mojo
  • Jaws 3-D at Rotten Tomatoes

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