According to the book "Roy Scheider: a film biography" (2002) by Diane C. Kachmar, Scheider, who starred in the first two Jaws movies, once said, "Mephistopheles....couldn't talk me into doing [it]...They knew better than to even ask". Reportedly, Scheider agreed to make Blue Thunder (1983) in order to ensure that he was definitely and contractually unavailable for this film. Scheider had made Jaws 2 (1978) reluctantly due to a contract issue with Universal Studios whereby he owed the studio two films after withdrawing from The Deer Hunter (1978). To get out of this situation, he opted to make to do Jaws 2 (1978), a picture he didn't want to work on, in exchange for the studio releasing him from his contract.
David Brown and Richard D. Zanuck, producers of the first two films, originally pitched this as a spoof, based on a suggestion by Matty Simmons and John Hughes. Titled "National Lampoon's Jaws 3, People 0", it was about a movie studio trying to make a second sequel to Jaws (1975). It opened with author Peter Benchley being eaten in his pool by a shark, and included a naked Bo Derek and shark-costumed aliens. Joe Dante was attached as director. Steven Spielberg rejected the idea and threatened to walk from his deal with Universal. When Zanuck and Brown learned of the rejection, they quit the studio.
The female dolphin called Sandy in the movie is really a male dolphin named Capricorn. He currently lives in Discovery Cove which is owned by SeaWorld Orlando and has interactions with guests like giving them rides and doing tricks for them. Capricorn is 50 years old.
The film made $13,422,500 in its first weekend of release. At the time, that was the highest grossing opening for a 3-D film, it wouldn't be until 20 years later when Spy Kids 3-D Game Over broke that record ($33,417,739).
The filmmakers initially planned to have very few "pop-out" effects where objects extend beyond the screen in 3D. Studio executives ultimately pressured them to include more, worried that audiences would leave disappointed and spread bad word-of-mouth if the 3D were used mainly for depth.
Actresses Lorraine Gary and Fritzi Jane Courtney starred in three of the four "Jaws" films. This movie is the only one that they don't appear. It is also arguably the only one that Roy Scheider does not appear, given the fact that he appeared in the first two films, and the fourth, Jaws: The Revenge (1987), but in the latter only via the inclusion of a framed photograph, and archive footage used for flashbacks.
"Jaws 3-D" and "Halloween III: Season of the Witch" have several things in common. Both are the third films in a popular series that began with very successful films released in the 1970s ("Jaws" (1975) and "Halloween" (1978)), both of which launched the careers of their respective directors (Steven Spielberg and John Carpenter). Both were set in new locales not seen in the first two films (the "Jaws" movies took place in Amity Island, and the "Halloween" movies in Haddonfield, Illinois), and were unsuccessful attempts to deviate from previous sequels, which had been highly derivative of the originals ("Jaws 2" (1978) and "Halloween II" (1981)). And both were made by first-time directors who had been the production designers of the previous films (Joe Alves for "Jaws" and Tommy Lee Wallace for "Halloween").
The movie was directed by Joe Alves who had been the production designer on Jaws (1975) and Jaws 2 (1978) and was also the second unit director for on the latter. Trade paper 'Variety' said "Joe Alves was instrumental in the design of the first Jaws shark and was the unsung production hero in both the first two pictures".
The first major film to use FX shots composited on video equipment instead of via optical film printing. Originally this was to be used for all of the composite shots in the movie, and the vast majority of them were completed via this process by Private Stock Effects. This method proved much quicker and more flexible than traditional film printing. However, because the video system being used was of relatively low resolution, the resulting images looked soft. Because the FX shots were underwater, this was initially deemed acceptable. However, producer Alan Landsburg changed his mind at the last minute and ordered the work re-done in the traditional film process by Praxis Film Works. The time crunch meant over two-thirds of the planned composite shots were cut from the movie, many more were simplified to make them easier and quicker to complete via optical printing, and a handful of unfinished shots showing blank green screens were left in the finished film. Only three or four video-composited shots remain in the final cut.
This film was the first shot on Arriflex's single-camera ArriVision 3D system. However, the system was not actually ready for use until a week into production. During the wait, the Optimax and StereoVision 3D systems were used. All of the footage from the Optimax system was deemed unusable and thrown out (that system was prone to serious misalignment issues), while StereoVision was deemed acceptable enough that it continued to be used for second-unit work through the entire production. ArriVision footage makes up the bulk of the final film, with the earliest-shot and second-unit scenes shot in StereoVision and miniatures and effects shot with a two-camera beam-splitter system similar to later digital 3D setups.
On the set of Jaws 3 filming at Turkey Lake Plaza in the bar scene Dennis Quiad tried to pick a fight with an extra for asking Lea Thompson for her autograph claiming that the extra was harrassing Ms. Thompson.
In all four Jaws movies, a reference is made earlier in each film to how the shark is going to die. In Jaws, Hooper warns Brody about the air tank "blowing up if you screw around with it;" in Jaws 2, Hendrix and the old man find the power line which later electrocutes the shark; in Jaws 3, an argument ensues about Philip FitzRoyce using grenades; and in Jaws: The Revenge, Jake is working on a transmitter that sends out high frequency.