Bait 3D is out on DVD and Blu-Ray this week, and it is just one in a long line of “terror in the water” genre films. Terror in the water can include any and all of the above: alien lifeforms, evil mutant sea creatures, angry giant sea creatures, supernatural forces, unknown water demons, man-made water destruction. Over the past 30 plus years there have been countless takes on this idea, many very good, more pretty bad.
Most recently we’ve seen water terror return to popularity with the monster camp of SyFy originals and the vengeful summer bikini bloodbaths of the Piranha franchise. Some of these movies have taken on novelty charm over the years (Anaconda, ahem) but others actually destroyed at the box office. So, which churned out the most money opening weekend? FEARnet has the top 6 since 1975.
6. Open Water, 2004 - $11,413,017
Remember this one? It can only be assumed that the scuba tour industry took a dive in profits after this film came out. It was sort-of-based on a true story of two scuba divers who were left behind by their tour group. Slowly paced, tense and atmospheric, it was best to watch on the big screen. Even with the help of surround sound, and maybe a few tropical drinks, the effect of being trapped in the water with the couple doesn’t translate when you’re sitting on your couch. The film was made for only 500k and grossed $30,610,863 in total. Not too shabby.
5. Anacondas, the Hunt for the Blood Orchid, 2004- $12,812,287
Shockingly, this film, you might also call it Anaconda 2, made it to the box office. I have to be honest with you, I never saw it, but I can imagine it offers up an even bigger Anaconda and (hopefully) a John Voight look-a-like to play an even creepier version of deranged hunter Paul Serone.
4. Jaws 3-D, 1983 - 13,422,500
The third Jaws movie and by far the lamest, Jaws 3-D has a truly strange cast including Dennis Quaid, Lea Thompson and Louis Gossett, Jr. and, lest we forget the real stars, two adorable dolphins. Maybe Joe Alves, who also worked on the other Jaws films and Escape from New York, wanted to make a family-friendly Jaws or maybe he had a house to pay off because there’s no other reasonable explanation for setting a Jaws movie at Sea World. Well, unless the sharks mated with the dolphins to create some sort of super-smart ultra violent shark-dolphin hybrid. The hope was that Alves’ use of 3-D would wow the critics, but the only acclaim it brought him was a nomination for a Golden Raspberry Award.
3. Sphere, 1998 - $14,433,957
Based on a Michael Crichton book, Barry Levinson’s aquatic science-fiction odyssey, Sphere had an all-star cast, but even that couldn’t save the movie from mediocrity. The film has a classic set up, there’s an unknown alien ship, lifeforms of some sort are aboard, but are they friend or foe? What is supposed to be a tense underwater drama -- think Alien in the ocean -- is ruined by a cast that just doesn’t fit. Sharon Stone as a marine biologist and Liev Schreiber as an astrophysicist? The sight of Dustin Hoffman in a wet suit certainly adds a bit of comic relief, but that’s most likely not what Levinson was hoping for.
2. Anaconda, 1997 - $16,620,887
Anaconda had all the elements of a great monster movie. Well, a great monster movie in the '90s. Pop culture was well-represented in the casting of Jennifer Lopez, Ice Cube and Kari Wuhrer. There was an absurdly large snake pitted against some out-of-their-element city folk ripe for the pickin’. Then there was John Voight, snake charmer and anaconda caretaker who took the movie to a whole new threshold of camp. Forget what the anaconda ate, Voight’s chewing of scenery was a terror to behold. But the film did well, grossing $65,885,767 overall. Watch Voight in his Rassie-nominated role below:
1. Deep Blue Sea, 1999 - $19,107,643
The '90s was a heydey for water-logged terror and what better to finish it out than the movie that put giant sharks with mega-brains on the map: Deep Blue Sea. Samuel L. Jackson gets back in the water, this time with Thomas Jane, L.L. Cool J (he wrote the theme song!) and Saffron Burrows in a chum-fest that revolves around a remote marine biology station where a certain secretive red-haired scientist is studying how to make a cure for Alzheimer’s for a greedy corporate pharmaceutical. Everything is going swimmingly until the sharks get smart. Then all hell breaks loose and L.L. barely makes it out alive, while his bird pays the price. There are some obvious nods to Jaws in the film, the kids in a boat at the beginning and the license plate in the shark’s mouth. However, the story is nowhere near as interesting, nor are the characters as enduring. But it’s fun and it made a lot of money. $73,648,142 to be exact. Watch L.L. fight the shark:
Surprised Jaws didn’t make the top six? It was 14 on this list, but holds the title for highest lifetime gross of “terror in the water” movies with a total of $260,000,000 earned.
via Box Office Mojo