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Trivia / Jaws: The Revenge

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  • Actor-Inspired Element: Judith Barsi wore her own swimsuit.
  • Author Existence Failure: Murray Hamilton was asked to return as Mayor Vaughn, but died before any serious work began on the screenplay.
  • Blooper: Hoagie infamously re-emerges from the water with a completely dry shirt in one scene. According to Michael Caine, this was because the shot took so long to set up that his shirt dried.
  • Box Office Bomb: This Jaws film was the first and only one to fail in American theaters, grossing $20,763,013 against a $20 million budget and an additional $3 million in marketing costs. But it made enough money internationally to make more than its budget back (albeit just barely).
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  • Christmas Rushed: The film was rushed into production (and had a very rushed pre-production) to meet the Summer 1987 deadline. This Den of Geek article suggested that the whole reason the film was made was to make up for Universal's disastrous Summer 1986 slate led by Howard the Duck.
  • Completely Different Title: The film was released in Japan as Jaws 4.
  • Creator Backlash: Director Joseph Sargent has been critical of the film in the years since its release, calling it the "quickest gestation of any project in film history", and in one interview called the production "idiotic".
  • Creator Killer: Emmy Award-winning director Joseph Sargent (he made the 1974 version of The Taking of Pelham One Two Three) was nominated for the Razzie for Worst Director for his work on the film; he was mostly relegated to TV movies for the remainder of his career. Screenwriter Michael de Guzman likewise spent the rest of his career in television, with no theatrical movie credits before or after this.
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  • Dawson Casting: 9-year old Judith Barsi as 5-year old Thea Brody. (She had a growth deformity that made her look much younger than she was.)
  • Deleted Scene: Here
  • Executive Meddling: The film's original ending made a little more sense, but was changed for overseas prints due to the poor performance in theaters. Yes, the impaled shark ending was used in original theatrical prints.
  • Focus Group Ending: The original theatrical ending had Jake be eaten by the shark and the shark killed by impalement on the boat's prow. However, test audiences were very disturbed by Jake's death, so he (somehow) survives. They also changed the shark's death to massively exploding for no reason whatsoever when it's impaled. The former is ridiculous, but Word of God has it that while the studio demanded changes, they didn't give the production enough money to re-shoot. (The original intent was the shark to be impaled, die and sink - taking much of the boat with it.)
  • Franchise Killer: One of the most infamous examples, and one of the few films on Rotten Tomatoes to have a 0% approval rating. After this attempt to extend the Jaws series was sent to the bottom of the ocean floor, Universal finally stopped making these movies and have not attempted to make a new film.
    • However, rumors are swimming around about a remake of Jaws.
  • Harpo Does Something Funny: As the script was a work-in-progress, Mario Van Peebles wrote most of his own dialogue.
  • Money, Dear Boy: Michael Caine only appeared because of it. In an interview given around the time of the movie's release, Caine said that he enjoyed shooting in the Bahamas and working with his costars, particularly Lorraine Gary, but largely viewed the movie as a working vacation. He did later regret being in the Bahamas shooting it instead of picking up his Academy Award for Hannah and Her Sisters when filming ran over schedule (though he also points out that, due to Orion Pictures' sluggish promotion of Hannah, he had little expectation that he'd actually win, otherwise he might have planned his schedule more carefully). Even today he's never even seen the film — but he assures fans that it paid for a lovely house! note 
    • This is also the reason for his notorious instantly dry shirt after climbing onto the boat. In the heat of the Bahamas it dried out between takes, and when no one else noticed he elected to remain comfortably dry rather than point it out.
  • Old Shame:
    • Michael Caine generally prefers not to acknowledge his involvement in the film. As mentioned above, he's never even watched it, but is well aware of its terrible reputation. Universal became aware of that reputation immediately, and embraced it, allowing Steven Spielberg to launch a Take That! to this movie in Back to the Future Part II.
    • Director Joseph Sargent did an interview with the Television Academy in 2006 when he was questioned about making this film. He even admitted in retrospect that the "shark seeking revenge on the Brodys" idea was ludicrous. In another interview, he described the set as a "ticking time bomb" due to the compressed schedule and studio interference, which he said accounted for much of the film's poor quality.
  • Orphaned Reference:
    • An early draft of the script (which formed the basis for the novelisation) explained that shark is acting under the influence of a vodooo witch doctor who has a vendetta against the Brody family. The only reference to it is this line from Michael:
    Come on, sharks don't commit murder. Tell me you don't believe in that voodoo.
    • Hoagie's line about doing his laundry refers to a deleted subplot involving him smuggling drugs onto the island. The scenes were shot, then deleted during post-production, because it took away from the film's main premise involving the shark. It's fully detailed in the film's novelization.
  • The Other Darrin: Dennis Quaid was asked to reprise his character as Mike Brody but declined.
  • Real-Life Relative: Mario Van Peebles' father Melvin Van Peebles has a cameo in the film as Nassau's mayor.
  • Refitted for Sequel: The underwater chase scene between Mike and the shark in Revenge was lifted from an early screenplay draft of Jaws 3D.
  • Science Marches On: It turns out that for the great white shark and some of its relatives like the mako, electroreception is a low-priority sense. The zapper device the shark eats would only have caused it to react if it was strong enough to give the shark actual electrical jolts.
  • Star-Derailing Role:
    • Although she had been mostly retired from acting for eight years prior to appearing in the film, and gave it up completely after its release, it was still a sad last effort for actress Lorraine Gary, who got a Worst Actress nomination for her performance.
      • One could also argue that she did it as a favor for her husband, Sidney Sheinberg, who was head of Universal Pictures at the time.
    • It was one of many box-office bombs that helped set back Michael Caine's career for a brief time, until he had a Career Resurrection in the late 1990's.
    • Lance Guest had looked like he might have a promising career after playing the title character in The Last Starfighter. After his performance here was soundly trashed by critics for his Dull Surprise acting, he's appeared in a grand total of two theatrically released films.
  • Troubled Production: Surprisingly enough, the film almost managed to avert this trope... almost.
    • Universal was in a financial rough patch after a disastrous slate of films during 1986, headlined by Howard the Duck. CEO Sid Sheinberg, who noted the strong box office of Jaws 3D despite tepid reviews, ordered a new Jaws film fast-tracked into production to hopefully give a boost to the company's financial position.
    • The problem was that producer-director Joseph Sargent was only given ten months from pre-production to release date. This resulted in a hastily written, hastily filmed production that Sargent later described as "a ticking time-bomb". While the process of filming was mostly free of trouble (and unlike prior films, within the budget), it still went over the allotted time due to storms and prevented Michael Caine from accepting an Oscar he won for Hannah and Her Sisters.
    • Then the studio demanded the ending be reshot for international releases and home video due to test audiences having a negative reaction to the original US theatrical ending, allegedly refusing to give the production money to do so properly. This resulted in the infamous and widely mocked exploding shark ending, along with a big case of Not Quite Dead from a character last seen being chewed on by the shark.
  • Vacation, Dear Boy: Michael Caine said yes to the film the moment he read in the script, "We cut to the Bahamas".
  • What Could Have Been:
    • Roy Scheider was originally asked to reprise his role as Martin Brody, but he flat-out refused to come back when he saw that his character was there just to be killed off in the first minutes. That's right - Sean's death scene was originally intended for Martin.
    • The studio considered making the film in 3D — which would have made this the first film franchise to have two 3D sequels — but worries about the cost of shipping the 3D film cameras to the Bahamas and keeping them working properly in the tropical climate nixed that idea.
    • The infamous "Exploding Shark" ending was a hasty reaction to poor testings of the original ending, where the shark was impaled by the boat. Another bit hastily changed was the fate of Jake, who originally died during the ending. Test audiences were upset by this, and it was changed so that he lives (though the footage of him being mauled by the shark was left in anyway, making his survival quite the Ass Pull).
    • Earlier drafts of the script (titled Jaws: The Return) re-used the "kill the shark via electrocution" ending of Jaws 2, which was likely changed due to the film-makers wanting something different, and the script depicting it in such a way that it would also have killed Ellen as well. Other drafts had the shark being the shark from the second film out for revenge and the offspring of the shark from the second film out for revenge.
    • The original script featured a cameo for Matt Hooper. In Hooper's scene, he calls the Brodys and is greeted on the phone by Thea, who knows him as "Uncle Matt". Hooper is established as being close to Michael and Carla, who calls him "my second favorite marine biologist", and he gives them his condolences about Sean's death. Hooper and Michael discuss their careers, the late Martin Brody, and Hooper's once spending Christmas with the family, with Martin dressed as Santa Claus. The scene ends when Michael heads off to summon Ellen to the phone to talk to Hooper. This was scrapped when Richard Dreyfuss refused to return.
    • Carla Brody was meant to be Kathryn Morgan from the previous film.
  • Working Title: Jaws: The Return, Jaws 4, Jaws '87.
  • Writing by the Seat of Your Pants: Due to the fast-tracked production, the script was barely finished before principal photography started.


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