June 18, 2010— -- It was the summer of '75, and beach attendance fell as folks flocked to theaters to catch the phenomenon known as "Jaws."
The movie, released in theaters 35 years ago this Sunday, not only instilled a fear of killer great white sharks, leading to a marked drop in beach attendance, but launched the beginning of the summer blockbuster.
"It had a good scary premise lots of people could relate to," Gregg Kilday, film editor at The Hollywood Reporter, told ABCNews.com.
Never before had a movie done so well in the previously dead summer months. Following the widest distribution of its time and a national television advertising campaign, "Jaws" became the first film to top $100 million at the domestic box office.
On the heels of the success of "Jaws," the Hollywood studios began shifting their action and thriller movies to a wide summer release, creating what has become known as the summer movie season.
"Jaws" was a critical success, too. The New Yorker's Pauline Kael called it "the most cheerfully perverse scare movie ever made."
Filmgoers developed a fear of sharks in much the same way they feared showers after the release of "Psycho."