Massive movies

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 14 June, 2009, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 14 June, 2009, 12:00am

Summer's here, and for millions of movie fans, that means it's time to head to the cinema to check out the year's blockbusters. A blockbuster is a very successful film, often one with an exciting plot, that in time becomes something of a cultural phenomenon.

We look at some of the biggest blockbusters ever made, and the films that look set to follow them this summer.

Jaws (1975)

The story of a giant great white shark which terrorises a resort town, Jaws was the first film to be distributed on 'wide release', or simultaneously on hundreds of screens across the United States. Previously, films had opened in a few cinemas in a few cities at a time, then moved to other cities if they were successful.

The combination of a gripping storyline, Hitchcockian thrills and a massive model shark meant Jaws set box office records and came to be regarded as the father of blockbuster movies.

Star Wars (1977)

The most successful film of the 1970s, George Lucas' space opera Star Wars is actually the fourth episode of a six-part series. It launched the career of Harrison Ford, challenged sci-fi movie directors to up the ante in special effects, and produced one of Hollywood's most memorable quotes: 'May the Force be with you'.

Titanic (1997)

The story of a sinking ship doesn't necessarily sound like blockbuster material, but Titanic, a love story based on the real naval disaster, won audience hearts and 11 Oscars with its combination of mind-boggling special effects, young heart-throb Leonardo DiCaprio and a song that gets stuck in your head for days.

This summer's films borrow the best ideas from their forerunners. Expect to see space travel, soldiers, giant robots, hot air balloons, teen wizards, prehistoric creatures and above all, incredible special effects as the year's blockbusters open at a cinema near you.