Star attraction unveiled for new Motion Pictures museum in Los Angeles

Visitors will be greeted by a replica of the mechanical shark used in the movie Jaws.

A replica of Bruce, the shark featured in Steven Spielberg’s classic 1975 film Jaws, is lifted into a suspended position for display at the new Academy of Museum of Motion Pictures (Chris Pizzello/AP)
A replica of Bruce, the shark featured in Steven Spielberg’s classic 1975 film Jaws, is lifted into a suspended position for display at the new Academy of Museum of Motion Pictures (Chris Pizzello/AP)

Bruce, the fibreglass shark made from the Jaws mould, will be the less-than-welcoming face to the new Academy Museum of Motion Pictures in Los Angeles.

The 1,208lb, 25-foot-long, 45-year-old shark, famous for being difficult to work with on the set of Steven Spielberg’s classic thriller, has been hoisted up in the air above the main escalator of the new attraction where he will greet guests for the foreseeable future.

It is the culmination of years of planning, including a seven-month restoration by special effects and makeup artist Greg Nicotero.

The shark is expected to be a major draw for the museum, which plans to open its doors to the public on April 30 2021.

Super fans know that the Jaws crew started calling the shark Bruce after Spielberg’s lawyer Bruce Ramer.

A worker helps lift Bruce into place (Chris Pizzello/AP)
A worker helps lift Bruce into place (Chris Pizzello/AP)

They will also know that the Bruce that will greet guests in the museum was not technically in Jaws.

He is a replica and it is the last of his kind.

The three mechanical Great Whites designed by art director Joe Alves were destroyed when production wrapped.

But once the film proved to be a box office phenomenon, a fourth shark was made from the original mould.

For 15 years he hung at Universal Studios Hollywood as a photo opportunity for visitors until he wound up at the Sun Valley junkyard he would call home for the next 25.

Nathan Adlan, who inherited his father’s junkyard business, donated him to the museum in 2016.

A view of the Hollywood sign in Los Angeles, US (Yui Mok/PA)
A view of the Hollywood sign in Los Angeles, US (Yui Mok/PA)

Last week Bruce was transported from a storage facility on a 70-foot flatbed to the museum at Fairfax Avenue and Wilshire Boulevard where engineers, construction workers and art handlers removed two panels of glass three stories up to get him into the building.

Once inside with fins reattached and a final touching up, Bruce was hooked onto five cables, each of which could hold his weight if any were to fail, and hoisted up on a truss by remote control to get into position in the building’s “spine” where he faces East and is visible from Fairfax.

Shraddha Aryal, vice president of exhibition design and production, described the years of painstakingly detailed modelling and work that went in to preparing for this moment, including full scale mock-ups and light tests to ensure that all of Bruce’s 116 teeth would be visible to tourists.

Seeing him lifted into the building was “such an exciting moment”, she said.

Curious visitors can come and check out the massive great white, the restaurant and the Spielberg Family Gallery to see a 10-minute film on the history of cinema before even committing to purchasing a ticket.

There will also be a public programming series on conservation and restoration drawing on items from the collection that have been restored including the ruby slippers from The Wizard Of Oz, the Aries-1B from 2001: A Space Odyssey, the extra-terrestrial from Alien and, of course, Bruce.

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