Don't expect Steven Spileberg and Amblin Entertainment's new blockbuster deal with Netflix to include a revival of the Jaws franchise. According to a news story breaking down some of the productions that Amblin is likely to take to the streaming giant, Spielberg himself has long since nixed the idea of returning to the franchise that helped launch him as one of Hollywood's biggest names. Spielberg is no stranger to exploiting intellectual property for sequels and remakes -- after all, he serves as a producer on the Indiana Jones movies -- but he seems uninterested in revisiting Jaws -- something that fans and critics often say shouhld be left alone, since the original still holds up, and it seems unlikely to be significantly improved by modern technology and filming methods.
According to a story at Deadline, Spielberg didn't reject the idea during talks with Netflix. Rather, he was reportedly approached by Universal (the studio behind the original Jaws films), and gave them a "firm" no quite some time ago.
The Netflix deal came as a surprise to many observers, since Spielberg has long been seen as somewhat adversarial to streaming companies. He was at one point characterized as one of the key voices in the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences who objected to streaming movies being considered for the Academy Awards without getting a traditional theatrical run.
Ironically, Spielberg and Amblin produced last year's The Trial of the Chicago 7, which was released on Netflix during the pandemic and ended up nominated for six Academy Awards. The Aaron Sorkin-directed drama is one of two projects that Netflix and Spielberg had collaborated on even before the deal fell into place, with the other being Maestro, Bradley Cooper's forthcoming biopic about composer Leonard Bernstein.
In announcing their deal, Netflix Co-CEO and chief content officer Ted Sarandos called Spielberg "a creative visionary and leader and, like so many others around the world, my growing up was shaped by his memorable characters and stories that have been enduring, inspiring and awakening. We cannot wait to get to work with the Amblin team and we are honored and thrilled to be part of this chapter of Steven's cinematic history."
Spielberg's Jaws franchise included four movies between 1975 and 1987 -- a brand that at the time seemed so ever-present that 1989's Back to the Future Part II famously joked that by 2015 there would be a holographic Jaws 19 playing in theaters. Kevin Smith, who has referenced Jaws in almost every movie he has written, is expected to produce Moose Jaws, a horror-comedy that takes the premise of Jaws and applies it to a monstrous Canadian moose, after Twilight of the Mallrats and Clerks 3 are done filming.