"Jaws" to circle big screens for 40th anniversary

A scene from 1975's "Jaws."
Universal Pictures

A predator will be lurking in movie theaters this summer, threatening to eat up ticket-sales.

"Jaws" is returning to 500 big screens across the U.S. on June 21 to celebrate the 40th anniversary of when the thriller made its big splash in 1975. The Steven Spielberg-directed film, based on the novel by Peter Benchley, is credited to be the trailblazer of the summer blockbuster phenomenon.

Spielberg was a mere 26-years-old when he made "Jaws" -- and movie history. The director has said he knew "Jaws" was going to be big when he saw someone bolt from the theater at the premiere to throw up in a trash can and then promptly return to his seat to watch the rest of the film.

The Richard Dreyfus and Roy Sheider-starring horror show had the same customers coming for seconds and thirds. After six months in theaters it became the top grossing film in history, beating out the "Godfather" series, and grossing $150 million -- approximately $660 million when adjusted for today's dollars. And it gave birth to a school of sequels -- "Jaws 2" (1978), "Jaws 3-D" (1983) and "Jaws: The Revenge" (1987), the whole franchise reeling in something close to a billion dollars. And "Jaws" perhaps ushered in a new realm of cinema success, as it was followed up -- or shown up -- by Geroge Lucas' "Star Wars" in 1977, which launched a movie saga spanning five decades.

Old fans and new flesh can relive the nightmare next month. The special "Jaws" showings are presented by Fathom Events and Turner Classic movies on June 21 and 24, and tickets will go on sale Friday, May 29.