Shark movies are a dime a dozen but here are a few of the most popular shark movies that stand out from the rest.
By now we all know that sharks typically don’t have that much interest in eating humans: they’d rather eat fish and seal. But for some reason Hollywood just won’t leave that man eater idea alone!
Apparently, movie producers appear hell-bent on portraying sharks as raging, crazed, and bloodthirsty man eating fiends of the deep. Also, people will flock out in their millions to see new movies depicting sharks tearing everything in sight – well, let’s not get too graphic.
The producers have noticed this interest and the general public keeps gobbling it all up.
Strangely, people won’t let go of this odd fascination/terror thing they’ve got going on for sharks.
In this article, we’ll look at some of the most popular shark movies ever made with a brief summary on what each movie is about.
From the box office successes to a couple of documentaries, and even those flicks that were so ridiculous they became popular, here are 10 of the most popular shark movies of all time.
10 Of The Most Popular Shark Movies Of All Time
10) Shark Night 3D
Year Produced: 2011
Summary: A college student named Sara Paxton arrives at her family’s lake-island cabin along with her friends for a relaxing weekend. But not long after diving into the lake, one of their group stumbles out of the water severely injured.
They all quickly pile into a tiny boat and try to get him to the hospital only to discover that they are completely surrounded by massive, and very hungry sharks.
9) The Shallows
Year Produced: 2016
Summary: Blake Lively stars in this flick as a surfer. She goes surfing alone in a secluded cove, and gets stranded not too far from the shore. What causes so much tension is the fact that she is so close to shore but she can’t quite get there because this massive great white shark that wants her for dinner.
She has to use her wits: and almost every single piece of her wardrobe to fight for survival.
Flawless execution and nail-biting suspense earned this movie almost $120 million on just $17 million budget.
8) Blue Water, White Death
Year Produced: 1971
Summary: This is a documentary about sharks, in fact it’s a forerunner to most shark movies that began the “ shark movie frenzy.” It was released some years before the Jaws movie.
Basically, it follows the journey of a team of photographers and filmmakers trying to capture great white sharks on film for the first time ever.
The thrilling, real-life footage makes this one old documentary every shark lover should see.
7) Shark Tale
Year Produced: 2004
Summary: an underachiever Oscar (voice of Will Smith), is literally a small fish with big dreams. One day, the son of a mob boss, a great white shark named Frankie (Michael Imperioli), is accidentally killed. Oscar witnesses the incident but capitalizes on and claims that he actually killed Frankie.
He becomes an overnight celebrity and is nicknamed the Sharkslayer. All goes well, until the grieving father sends his henchmen to track down his son’s killer.
Fantastic and catchy soundtrack, crisp graphics, and interesting storyline for all young at heart shark/fish lovers.
This wildly popular animation comes in on our list on a lighter note. After all, the greatest shark movies don’t all have to be about death and horror.
6) Open Water
Year Produced: 2003
Summary: The only way to describe this movie is haunting and harrowing. It’s a horror movie partly based on the true story of a couple left to fight for survival in the open ocean: in shark infested waters.
They were forgotten and left behind by the rest of their scuba diving team.
No doubt, Open Water is one of the most popular shark movies ever and it grossed around $55 million at the box office on an initial budget of just $500,000!
Interestingly, the movie featured real sharks rather than mechanical ones.
Year Produced: 2006
Sharkwater is a truly informative watch and well worth your time.
It’s a globally successful documentary that was directed and produced by Canadian filmmaker and conservationist, Rob Stewart in 2006.
Rather than focus on their predatory side, Sharkwater draws attention to shark conservation. There’s a lot of coverage and information on shark hunting and shark finning. You can find out more about it here.
Sadly, Rob Stewart died earlier this year (2017) at the age of 37 during a dive to find the elusive sawfish.
4) Ghost Shark
Year Produced: 2003
This movie aired on the Syfy channel in 2003 and it’s based on the unbelievable premise of a vengeful ghost shark. This shark can appear just about anywhere and is more dangerous than other sharks since it’s well – a ghost!
Silly. Yes. But despite a lot of negative critical reviews, the public liked it a lot. So much that it got a sequel, Ghost Shark 2: Urban Jaws.
3) The Reef
Year Produced: 2010
In The Reef, a group of friends are on a sailing trip when they get stranded in the middle of the ocean. Unfortunately, they are in the territory of a great white shark that proceeds to terrorize them.
Although The Reef flopped at the Box Office, it has a large fan following. It earned just about $125,000 back then on a budget of almost $4 million. This Australian movie production has some interesting psychological turns that ranks it among the most popular shark movies.
Year Produced: 2013 (First Release)
This is another shark movie based on a preposterous idea. But hey, people just couldn’t get enough of it. In fact, it has something close to a cult following now.
In this disaster/horror/comedy film, a freak storm hits Los Angeles resulting in “tornadoes filled with sharks” all over the city. Of course, the sharks are man eating hungry monsters: as usual. Hence the name Sharknado.
But don’t laugh it off just yet. This series now has video games, numerous comics, and a string of sequels with titles like Sharknado 3: Oh Hell No! And Sharknado: The 4th Awakens.
If you’re in the mood for some serious laughs and have some time to spare, definitely check it out.
1) Jaws (We bet you’re not surprised)
Year Produced: 1975
The number one spot goes to no other flick than the iconic movie that officially birthed the shark-movie thirst: Jaws.
Yes. It’s over 4-decades old but it holds firmly to its spot as the most popular shark movie – ever. Steven Spielberg did what he knows how to do best with this production based on a 1974 novel by Peter Benchley.
Jaws is about a giant shark that systematically attacks the residents, and visitors of a New England beach resort town named Amity. A marine biologist/shark hunter and the local police chief team up to hunt it.
This box office smash hit surprised everyone by earning over $470 million on a $9 million budget.
Jaws won several awards include the highly-coveted Academy Awards for Best Film Editing.
If you’re looking for just one shark movie: watch this one.
You can get it here.
And what about the soundtrack? That dum-dum-dum-dum score by John Williams is epic!
We just have to say it again. If you’ve not seen this movie please do so as soon as possible. That sound alone will follow you for life!