We don't like Jaws because of the shark -- hell, you don't see the beast until well over an hour into the film. Brody trying to get a grip on an uncontrollable situation, Hooper's rants and raves and Quint's haggard, old sea man are what drive the movie. Since that film's success, the shark has been in Hollywood's blood-thirsty eye -- from Deep Blue Sea to the made-for-video Megalodon. Meg (assumably short for Megalodon, a giant prehistoric shark) has been swimming in production hell for years, and it looks like it could continue to swim the vastness of budget constraints, according to the Los Angeles Times.
New Line has been entertaining the idea since September 2005, but budget restraints have kept the story of a huge shark devouring all in its path contained. "[Jan De Bont, director] invested a substantial amount of money in art work and mock-ups of how the shark would look like," Ken Atchity, one of the planned-producers, told the L.A. Times. "He was convinced they were going to do it. They kept saying they were, but we never really got a clear sign from [New Line co-Chairmen] Bob Shaye and Michael Lynne."
The studio execs won't make the film for more than $100 million. Of course, the massive special effects shots were raising the film's budget up to the $200 million mark. To cut production costs, De Bont, writer Shane Salerno and the line producer cut effect-intensive scenes such as Meg being attacked by a pack of giant Humbolt squid, Meg devouring a surfer and Meg attacking a low-flying helicopter. De Bont figured he could further trim production costs by filming ocean scenes inside 20th Century Fox's huge water tank in Rosarito Beach, where director James Cameron had filmed Titanic, the Times stated.
Yet, there's still a ray of hope for the film. "Most of the [tent-pole franchises] come out of big ideas," Bill Mechanic, the former production chief at 20th Century Fox, said. "Poseidon seemed like a good idea but, in retrospect, it was a terrible idea. Most people thought Titanic was a stupid idea and wondered, 'Why are you making a moving about a ship that sinks?'"
With all the budget talk being thrown around, Meg could take a note from Jaws. Sure, it would be cool to see Meg fight a T-Rex in the opening scene as stated in the film's script, but you could put Jaws on a theater stage with some guy in a shark costume and the story would still work. Perhaps if the film invests more in its characters instead of a CG shark, it could have a chance to swim in the open sea of box office returns.
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