Steven Spielberg was saved from being fired from his most important film by one person

Steven Spielberg was saved from being fired from his most

In 1975, Steven Spielberg brought his first masterpiece to the cinema with Jaws. The film is considered one of the Founder of blockbuster cinemawhich was later expanded upon by Star Wars, and turned into a sizable box-office triumph, grossing over $470 million.

However, the making of the film turned out to be a rocky affair. Although Spielberg was initially in good spirits about implementing the shark horror, the situation spiraled out of control when it came to the Filming in the water came. Spielberg went over budget and couldn’t keep to the schedule.

Steven Spielberg was worried about his directing position on Jaws, but he had a powerful ally

Universal, the studio behind Jaws, would have had many reasons to do so to fire young filmmakers and to replace it with an experienced craftsman who can carry out the project in a routine manner. But Spielberg had a powerful ally at Universal: Sidney Sheinberg, the studio’s president at the time.


The White shark

When Entertainment Weekly asked Spielberg in 2011 how he managed to avoid being fired from Jaws, the director said:

Sid Sheinberg always prevented that. [Die Produzenten] Dick Zanuck and David Brown always told me that next bad news will arrive soon. They didn’t warn me to threaten or intimidate me – they just said, ‘Is there anything you can do about the script or the schedule to prevent them from stopping production?’

Spielberg further explained:

But I couldn’t do anything because I couldn’t cut the script. I could Don’t just delete the third act of Jaws! I just had to get on with it and the schedule was dictated by the mechanical shark and weather conditions. Every time there was an intention to replace me, Sid intervened behind the scenes and prevented it. After the gigantic success of Jaws, Steven Spielberg’s cinema career really took off

Spielberg’s career would probably look very different today if the film had been a flop or if he had even been replaced as director. When Sheinberg died in 2019, he remembered the studio boss and producer with the following words.

He gave me Jaws, I gave him ET and he gave me Schindler’s List. We were a team for 25 years and he was my good friend for 50 years. […] For the rest of my life I will owe him more than I can express.

Ultimately, Jaws made Spielberg one of the most sought-after directors in Hollywood made. With a few exceptions, his subsequent films were able to convince the studios. Together with Sheinberg, he later created timeless masterpieces such as Jurassic Park, ET – The Extra-Terrestrial and Schindler’s List.