Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the Miracle Theatre in Coral Gables, Jaws is coming back to take another bite out of the city.
The 1975 Steven Spielberg thriller, the smash film that basically created the summer movie blockbuster, will be the premiere screening at the new Rediscover the Miracle Community Film Series at Actors’ Playhouse at the Miracle Theatre.
The film, which screens Aug. 31 and Sept. 1, was chosen to launch the series because practically everyone of a certain age who grew up in South Florida caught the shark tale at the Miracle 38 years ago.
“That’s where I saw Jaws and I have been scarred for life,” joked Silvia Clarke, 50, of Miami Shores. “I was 12 years old and my parents were getting a divorce. My mom took my brother — 8 at the time — and me to the movies to see Jaws. She never imagined this movie would be so intense. When the movie was over, she had a massive headache. I can’t help laugh remembering how frazzled my mom was after the movie. It was a good experience and I’m glad the theater is still around. So much of what we remember growing up doesn’t exist anymore.”
WSVN-7 Deco Drive personality Louis Aguirre, 46, also remembers a childhood Jaws screening at the Miracle in that summer of ’75.
“That’s the theater my dad took me to go see Jaws back in ’75. I was so excited, terrified and happy at the same time. I remember it well. Great father-son bonding moment. How great they’re playing it there again,” he said.
These boomer memories, of course, are a major reason for the theater’s choice of Jaws to kick start the series. The other films — including Annie Hall, Midnight in Paris and the current version of The Great Gatsby — were chosen because they dovetail nicely with the performing arts theater’s play and musical offerings for its 26th season.
Meanwhile, a single late-night screening of The Rocky Horror Picture Show in October and National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation serve as Halloween and Christmas holiday offerings.
“People are absolutely going crazy over the idea of this series and when they hear Jaws, they all remember,” said Actors’ Playhouse executive director Barbara Stein.
The theater also hopes to bring in the younger generations, in keeping with Coral Gables Mayor Jim Cason’s oft-stated desire to have more youthful offerings on the Mile and downtown to keep its business professionals and residents from having to go to Coconut Grove, South Beach and the Design District for date-nights and other activities.
“We wanted to develop the younger generation audience in their 20s and 30s who like to stay out late but are sick of the bar scene,” Stein said.
The movies are free to the public — a donation at the door is welcome after you RSVP ahead of time. There also will be refreshments on sale to help offset the rental cost of the films, which run between $250 for Woody Allen’s Annie Hall and $550 for the cult favorite Rocky Horror.
“This is going to bring a lot of enthusiasm and excitement for who we are, what we are doing here and what people remember us for and make people think more about the plays,” Stein said of the city-owned theater, which recently restored its marquee to its original ‘40s glory.