Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Jon Turteltaub|
|Based on||Meg: A Novel of Deep Terror|
by Steve Alten
|Music by||Harry Gregson-Williams|
|Edited by||Steven Kemper|
|Distributed by||Warner Bros. Pictures|
|Box office||$530.2 million|
The Meg is a 2018 science fiction action film directed by Jon Turteltaub with a screenplay by Dean Georgaris, Jon Hoeber, and Erich Hoeber, loosely based on the 1997 book Meg: A Novel of Deep Terror by Steve Alten. The film stars Jason Statham, Li Bingbing, Rainn Wilson, Ruby Rose, Winston Chao, and Cliff Curtis. The film follows a group of scientists who encounter a 75-foot-long (23 m) megalodon shark while on a rescue mission at the floor of the Pacific Ocean.
Walt Disney Studios originally purchased the film rights to the book in the 1990s, but after several years in development hell, the rights landed at Warner Bros. The movie was eventually greenlit in 2015. Turteltaub and much of the cast joined by September 2016, and filming began the following month in New Zealand and ended in Sanya, China, in January 2017.
A Chinese-American co-production, The Meg was released in both countries on August 10, 2018, in RealD 3D. It has grossed over $530 million worldwide and received mixed reviews from critics, with some describing it as an entertaining B-movie and others calling it "neither good enough nor bad enough" to be fun.
Jonas Taylor, a rescue diver, attempts to save a group of scientists in a damaged nuclear submarine. As Taylor is rescuing the last survivor, he sees the hull of the submarine being rammed in by a giant creature. When he returns to the rescue vessel, two of his crew are trapped in the damaged submarine; Taylor leaves, realizing that attempting rescue would result in the death of everyone. Moments after leaving in the rescue submarine, the damaged sub is destroyed in an explosion. Taylor's account of the story stating that a giant sea creature was the cause of the disaster was dismissed by Dr. Heller, who believes that Taylor was affected by pressure-induced psychosis.
Five years later, billionaire Jack Morris meets Dr. Minway Zhang at an underwater research facility called Mana One, which Morris finances. Zhang and his daughter, Suyin, an oceanographer, are supervising a mission to explore what may be an even deeper section of the Mariana Trench concealed by a cloud of hydrogen sulfide, forming a thermocline. The mission is being conducted by Lori, Taylor’s ex-wife, and scientists Toshi and "The Wall" in a submersible. The mission appears to be going well until a very large creature collides with the submersible and causes it to lose contact with Mana One.
James "Mac" Mackreides, another crew member at the station, suggests sending Taylor down to attempt a rescue, citing the similarity to his story. Despite Heller's objections, Zhang and Mac decide to travel to Thailand and recruit Taylor. While they are away, Suyin attempts the rescue herself by taking a submersible and diving beneath the thermocline. Her sub collides with the large creature before being nearly crushed by the tentacles of a giant squid. A giant shark attacks and kills the squid, saving her. Before the shark can attack Suyin, Taylor reaches them in a submersible and distracts it with underwater flares, then orders Suyin to return to Mana One. Taylor attaches to the damaged submersible and saves Lori and The Wall. However, when the giant creature returns to attack the subs, Toshi sacrifices himself by closing the hatch door, allowing Taylor, Lori, and The Wall to escape safely while he diverts the creature's attention to his sub.
Back at Mana One, Suyin's daughter Meiying witnesses the shark damage a section of the underwater level of the facility and the crew realizes that the shark followed them. The crew discovers that the shark is a megalodon, the largest shark ever known to mankind and thought to be extinct for millions of years. They discern that it escaped from the depths of the trench by swimming through a hole in the thermocline which Taylor's submersible created when breaching it. The group successfully tracks and poisons the megalodon. However, a second, much larger megalodon emerges and kills The Wall, Heller, and Zhang as it devours the smaller megalodon. The surviving crew makes it back to Mana One on two dinghies.
That night, Morris attempts to destroy the megalodon himself by ordering a helicopter crew to drop modified depth charges at it. He approaches the remains of the supposed megalodon in a boat but discovers it is a whale. The megalodon approaches the boat which accelerates, causing Morris to fall overboard and get killed by the shark.
Taylor and the remaining Mana One crew resolve to track and kill the shark. They realize that the megalodon is en route to a crowded beach on the Sanya Bay in the Chinese mainland. The megalodon kills several beachgoers before the Mana One crew projects audio of a whale call to divert the shark's attention away from the crowd and towards them. After attempts to shoot it with rigged torpedoes fail, Taylor manages to cut the megalodon's belly with his damaged sub, as well as stab it in the eye with poison which immobilizes it. Suyin evacuates the rest of the crew to a nearby boat as other sharks approach and begin to devour the megalodon, finally killing it. Taylor rejoins the surviving crew, and he and Suyin consider taking a vacation.
- Jason Statham as Jonas Taylor
- Li Bingbing as Suyin Zhang
- Rainn Wilson as Jack Morris
- Ruby Rose as Jaxx Herd
- Winston Chao as Dr. Minway Zhang
- Sophia Cai as Meiying Zhang
- Cliff Curtis as James "Mac" Mackreides
- Page Kennedy as DJ
- Jessica McNamee as Lori
- Robert Taylor as Dr. Heller
- Ólafur Darri Ólafsson as The Wall
- Masi Oka as Toshi
The rights to the novel were initially acquired by Disney's Hollywood Pictures in 1996. Around that time, Tom Wheeler was hired to adapt the book into a screenplay, but, having decided that his script wasn't good enough, the studio hired Jeffrey Boam to write a new draft. Boam's script was later rejected for the same reason. By 1999 the project had stalled and the rights reverted to Steve Alten, the book's author.
In 2005, reports surfaced that the project was being developed by New Line Cinema, with an estimated budget of $75 million, and a slated release of summer 2006. Names attached to the production included Jan de Bont as director, Guillermo Del Toro as producer and Shane Salerno as screenwriter. However, New Line later cancelled the project due to budgetary concerns. The rights reverted to Alten again, but the film remained in development hell.
In 2015, it was announced that the film was now moving forward at Warner Bros., with a new script written by Dean Georgaris. By June of that year, Eli Roth was reported to be in talks to direct, but, due to creative differences, Roth was replaced by Jon Turteltaub in early 2016. Jason Statham and much of the cast joined in August and September 2016.
Visual effects were done by Sony Imageworks, Image Engine and Scanline VFX. The visual effects team was challenged with not only designing a previously undiscovered prehistoric giant shark, but also designing the underwater environments and atmospherics, including realistic coral reefs, bubbles, and other sea life.
Released by Gravity Pictures in China and by Warner Bros. Pictures in the United States, The Meg was originally scheduled to open March 2, 2018. Warner and Gravity then said that the film would be released during the 2018 Chinese New Year period in China, a week-long annual holiday that kicked off on February 16, 2018. The film was later pushed back to its eventual date of August 10, 2018, in 3D and IMAX.
The Meg grossed $145.4 million in the United States and Canada, as well as $384.8 million in other territories, for a total worldwide gross of $530.2 million, against a production budget between $130–178 million.
In the United States and Canada, The Meg was released alongside Slender Man and BlacKkKlansman; it was originally projected to gross $20–22 million from 4,118 theaters in its opening weekend. The film made $4 million from Thursday night previews, leading analysts to predict it would outperform its low-$20 million projections. After making $16.5 million on its first day, weekend estimates were raised to $40 million. It went on to debut to $45.4 million, topping the box office and marking the best solo opening of Statham's career, as well as Turteltaub. It made $21.5 million in its second weekend and $13 million in its third, finishing second behind Crazy Rich Asians both times.
In other territories, the film debuted to $101.5 million from 96 countries, for a worldwide opening of $146.9 million. In China, a co-producer of the film, it grossed $50.3 million from 12,650 screens, ranked 3 in the opening weekend. Other top openings were Mexico ($6.2 million), Russia ($5 million), the United Kingdom ($4.4 million), Spain ($2.4 million) and the Philippines ($2 million).
On Rotten Tomatoes, the film has an approval rating of 46% based on 267 reviews and an average rating of 5.4/10. The site's critical consensus reads, "The Meg sets audiences up for a good old-fashioned B-movie creature feature, but lacks the genre thrills -- or the cheesy bite -- to make it worth diving in." On Metacritic, the film has a score of 46 out of 100 based on 46 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews". Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "B+" on an A+ to F scale.
Owen Gleiberman of Variety gave the film a mixed review, calling it "neither good enough -- nor bad enough," and writing, "The Meg, a rote sci-fi horror adventure film that features a shark the size of a blue whale, comes on like it wants to be the mother of all deep-sea attack movies. But it's really just the mother of all generically pandering, totally unsurprising Jaws ripoffs." Scott Mendelson of Forbes was impressed by the film's special effects and called it "a polished B movie that delivers the goods," while IGN's William Bibbiani praised the performances of the cast, particularly Statham. Writing for The Hollywood Reporter, Simon Abrams said the film was "refreshingly unpretentious" and "a breath of fresh air" compared to the Sharknado series.
|List of awards and nominations|
|2019||Golden Raspberry Awards||Worst Prequel, Remake, Rip-off or Sequel||The Meg (rip-off of Jaws)||Nominated|||
In April 2018, Jason Statham said a Meg sequel would happen if the film did well with the public, saying "I think it's like anything in this day and age — if it makes money, there's obviously an appetite to make more money. And if it doesn't do well, they'll soon sweep it under the carpet. But that's the way Hollywood works." That August, Steve Alten said "My feeling has always been that this is a billion dollar franchise if it was done right. But to be done right you had to get the shark right, get the cast right, get the tone right. And Warner Bros. have nailed it completely. The producers have nailed it."
In October 2018, executive producer Catherine Xujun Ying announced a sequel was in the early stages of development.
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