Film News

Taking a Closer Look at the Rumor That Spielberg Wants to Reboot Jaws and Back to the Future

Steven Spielberg may or may not be interested in reviving Jaws and Back to the Future. He directed the former and produced the latter. So, he has an obvious invested interest in both, but we don’t really know what Spielberg has in mind beyond his next three movies: Bridge of Spies (due Oct. 16), BFG (due July 1, 2016) and Read Player One (just started the casting process). Plus, he remains attached as an executive producer to the Transformers franchise. DreamWorks’ distribution deal with Disney expires after BFG, and the most likely future home for Spielberg’s production company is Universal.

Nothing that happened in the last 24 hours has changed any of that, yet you wouldn’t know that from Twitter and the online film community’s outsized response to yesterday’s THR piece about the future of DreamWorks. Here’s the quote in question:

Spielberg’s likely future home is Universal, where he has maintained his offices even as DreamWorks distributed its films through Paramount and then Disney. Spielberg, 68, who was a hands-on executive producer on Universal’s Jurassic World, is essential to future dinosaur movies (the next already is dated for June 2018) as well as associated theme-park attractions […] He also is key on potential reboots of other Universal franchises such as Jaws and Back to the Future. Universal declined to comment, as did DreamWorks. A Universal source says “the studio would welcome the chance to be DreamWorks’ distribution partner” but any deal is premature.

Maybe it’s just a matter of semantics, but there’s a big difference between saying Spielberg is “keen” to do something and saying he is “key on” something happening. The former implies intent whereas the latter merely restates the obvious. Obviously, if Universal wants to do something with the Jaws and Back to the Future franchises Spielberg will be an important member of the producing team much as he was with Jurassic World. As the existence of the various Jaws sequels indicates, Universal can (or at least they could at one time) make more movies in that franchise without Spielberg, but back when Jaws 2 was first meant to be a parody of the first Jaws Spielberg threw an understandable fit and Universal backed down and made a more straight-forward sequel. It’s clearly much better to make a Jaws movie which doesn’t actively anger Spielberg, though he must have stopped paying attention by the time of Jaws IV: The Revenge.

back-to-the-future-fontAs for Back to the Future, both Bob Gale and Robert Zemekis have said on multiple occasions that they have the legal right to block a Back to the Future sequel/remake from happening, and they damn well intend to exercise that right should Universal ever be so foolish to try anything.

As far as I can tell, this is not a case of some insider leaking news to the press. This is a case of Kim Masters, a legendary entertainment journalist and author of the THR piece in question, merely pointing out one additional reason why DreamWorks moving to Universal in 2016 would make sense.  She could have also pointed out that Spielberg began his career as a Universal Studios intern and worked exclusively for the studio up until making Close Encounters of the Third Kind with Columbia Pictures in 1977.  Additionally, she could have thrown in E.T. and Batteries Not Included as additional Universal-controlled properties with a Spielberg-connection.  It’s simply a case of connecting the dots.

Maybe Spielberg will end his career where he began, at Universal.  Maybe he’d actually like to do something more with Jaws and Back to the Future.  Maybe not.  We definitely know that Spielberg is making more Jurassic World movies with Universal.  Beyond that?  No idea.

Source: THR


  1. Didn’t Spielberg always rued making Jaws because it is part of the reason why it is so difficult to protect this particular species? I doubt that he is into a remake unless it involves turning the concept around and pointing out that the sharks are not really the predators.
    A Back to the Future remake actually might make sense, but I don’t see Spielberg jumping at this one either.

    1. Such a great point swanpride – I don’t think the repercussions of that film was anticipated at all. I hope they just leave it alone and let it be a classic film with no potential terrible remake. I even A little stand offish about a Back to the Future remake. It hasn’t been enough time!

      1. I think a Back in the Future Remake could work nowadays because if now a teen would travel in the time of his parent, he would end either in the 1980s or the 1990s. The nostalgia potential especially for the 1980s is big.

      2. Yeah thats very true. There would also be so many opportunities for funny references to appeal to the older generations.

  2. Is it just me, or is anyone else afraid that Spielberg will go the route of the Lucas? What I mean is that when George Lucas revisited the Star Wars series he actually did more harm than good. He took a franchise that seemed nearly indestructible, and brought it to the brink; in quality at least. Movies like Episode I and Jurassic World are bound to make money. Were either good? No (I really do think people let their love for Jurassic Park cloud their vision when judging World).

    As someone who is largely a Disney fan, if these comments are any indication of where Spielberg’s mind is at creatively than it may be a blessing that they are parting ways. I was just saying the other day that as avid cinema goers we need to take the responsibility to support these independent films when they come to our local theaters because we need to support original stories. I’m so tired of these reboots and remakes, especially when it concerns two classics like Back to the Future and Jaws.

    Sorry if this is too negative, but George Lucas nearly crushed my spirit years ago, and now I fear an even better director could do the same again.


    1. Just to be clear, there is not a single Spielberg quote in the entire THR piece I was referencing. If he has shared his opinion about DreamWorks leaving Disney and setting up shop at Universal, Kim Masters didn’t quote it in her article (in fact, she said neither DreamWorks nor Universal would comment). She did, however, provide a bit more information that I didn’t include because it didn’t seem pertinent to my main point which was specific to the Jaws/Back to the Future thing. But I feel as if I should share to help you better understand why exactly DreamWorks might leave Disney:

      “A new deal could mean a fresh start for DreamWorks, which has faced struggles from the inception of the Disney relationship. Sources say the DreamWorks team felt something of a strain from the start because its deal was negotiated with Dick Cook, then chairman of the studio, with the understanding that Disney would invest in DreamWorks’ films and invite DreamWorks to participate in some of its projects. But soon after the deal was made, Cook was ousted and Disney CEO Bob Iger set a strategy of fully financing Disney movies.

      Given market factors at the time, DreamWorks was left to fight for financing. It found backing from Indian giant Reliance, which could retain some participation in a new deal, but money became very tight as DreamWorks hit a prolonged cold streak, with disappointments including Need for Speed and Delivery Man.”

      So, don’t look at Spielberg’s company potentially leaving Disney as any sign of his state of mind creatively. It just comes down to dollars and cents, and it sounds like DreamWorks has had a bad relationship with Disney ever since the guy who recruited them there was fired.

      As for the remakes, Jaws and Back to the Future are no more at risk of being remade than they were this time last week. That was simply something Kim Masters threw into her article as idle speculation about what Spielberg might possibly do if he moves back to Universal. Bob Gale and Robert Zemeckis can legally stop any future Back to the Future movie from happening, and Zemeckis recently said they’d have to make another one over his dead body.

      As for Spielberg v Lucas, they both have a history of tinkering with their movies post-fact, such as Spielberg’s re-release of Close Encounters and digital altering of E.T. And Spielberg still does like to produce the “big, dumb” movies like Transformers, or at least receive his standard Executive producer credit. However, the types of films he makes these days have largely been ponderous period pieces like Lincoln, War Horse and the upcoming Cold War spy flick Bridge of Spies. He experimented with technology in Tintin, and is doing so again with next year’s BFG. But I dodn’t see anything on the level of Lucas Star Wars prequels yet.

      1. Thanks. That information on DreamWorks does make more sense of the decisions he’s made, and I by no means hope Spielberg becomes at all like Lucas. I have very much enjoyed Spielberg’s period pieces. It’s what he’s attached to as producer that troubles me.

  3. I couldn’t handle a back to the future reboot. they are my some of my favourite movies and if they made another one I think it would totally ruin it. Come on, they’re classics. And without micheal j fox as the lead it would be a catastrophe. (I love him!) and he is too old to do that now so…. They really have nowhere to go. Hmmm

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