A fiberglass replica of Bruce the shark from Jaws will greet visitors at the new Academy Museum of Motion Pictures when it open its doors to the public in 2021. Weighing in at 1,208 pounds and measuring at 25 feet long, the 45-year-old shark was hoisted into its new home above the main escalator of the building where he'll remain for the foreseeable future. Video footage of its installation has also been posted to YouTube, providing a good look at how the restored shark appears.
The last of its kind, this particular Bruce was not one of the prop sharks actually shown in Jaws. The three mechanical sharks used for the production of the iconic movie were destroyed after filming had completed as the studio hadn't foreseen the movie's tremendous success. Using the original mold, a fourth Bruce was crafted after Jaws turned out to be a blockbuster hit, and he would spend the next 15 years hanging outside of Universal Studios Hollywood for photo-ops for tourists. No other sharks were ever crafted using the same original mold.
Unfortunately, renovations led to the last Bruce winding up in the Sun Valley junkyard where he was essentially left to rot away. After 25 years passed by, Nathan Adlan acquired the shark when he inherited the junkyard from his father. Adlan then donated it to the museum in 2016, but spending a quarter of a decade in a junkyard had taken its toll on the shark. Special FX guru and The Walking Dead executive producer Greg Nicotero then stepped in, volunteering to help restore Bruce to his original glory which culminated in a seven-month restoration project.
"One of the great things about being the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures is that we have access to Academy members in all craft areas of the industry," said Academy Museum Director Bill Kramer. "We can call on our members and other members of the film industry who have either worked on the film that the artifact is from or know enough about the provenance and work that had been done to help us restore it. We're in an incredibly privileged position."
Kramer added, "We plan on having Bruce greet our visitors for as long as we can keep him up there. It's a free space and a free moment for our visitors to bring delight and hopefully inspire them to learn more about the movies, the history of visual effects and how this prop was made."
Released in 1975, Jaws is one of the most popular movies of all time. Directed by Steven Spielberg, it stars Roy Scheider, Robert Shaw, and Richard Dreyfus as a crew of men hoping to put a stop to a hungry shark that's been feasting on swimmers at the local beach. Met with critical and financial success immediately upon its release, the movie set the new record for the highest-grossing movie at the time and remains widely considered to be among the greatest movies ever made.
The Academy Museum of Motion Pictures will open its doors on April 30, 2021. This news comes to us from The Ridgefield Press.