The Meg

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The Meg
The Meg.png
Theatrical release poster
Directed byJon Turteltaub
Produced by
Screenplay by
  • Dean Georgaris
  • Jon Hoeber
  • Erich Hoeber
Based onMeg: A Novel of Deep Terror
by Steve Alten
Starring
Music byHarry Gregson-Williams
CinematographyTom Stern
Edited bySteven Kemper
Production
company
Distributed byWarner Bros. Pictures
Release date
  • August 10, 2018 (2018-08-10) (United States)
Running time
113 minutes[1]
Country
  • China
  • United States
LanguageEnglish
Budget$130–178 million[2][3]
Box office$527.8 million[4]

The Meg is a 2018 science fiction action thriller 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 $527 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.

Plot[edit]

A rescue team led by Jonas Taylor is saving a group of sailors trapped inside a sunken nuclear submarine when Jonas sees the hull of the submarine being damaged by an unknown creature. Two rescuers are stuck in the damaged submarine and say their return to the rescue submersible will take a few minutes. Taylor leaves them behind as he is afraid they will all die if they wait. As they leave, the damaged sub explodes. Taylor's claim is that a giant sea creature caused the disaster. He is dismissed by his teammate Dr. Heller, who believes Taylor was affected with pressure-induced psychosis and blames him for the loss of their friends.

Five years later, billionaire Jack Morris meets Dr. Minway Zhang at the underwater research facility "Mana One", which Morris finances. Zhang and his daughter, Suyin, an oceanographer, are supervising a mission to explore what may be a deeper section of the Marianas trench, concealed by a thermocline cloud of hydrogen sulfide. The mission is being conducted by Lori (Taylor's ex-wife), Toshi, and The Wall in a submersible. The mission appears to be going well until a very large creature hits the submersible, causing 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 to recruit Taylor anyway. Suyin attempts the rescue herself after receiving a signal from submerisble, but a colossal squid intervenes. Before it can destroy her craft, a massive shark appears and kills it. Agreeing to help, Taylor reaches the trapped submersible, saving Lori and The Wall. However, when the giant shark returns, Toshi sacrifices himself by closing the hatch door and detaching the rescue vessel. But before he did that, Toshi makes sure that the letter to his wife will be given by putting it inside The Wall's pocket. This allows Taylor, Lori, and The Wall to escape safely while he diverts the shark's attention to his sub, causing it to be driven into a thermal vent, causing an explosion.

Back at Mana One, the crew discovers that the shark is a Megalodon, the largest shark ever known, believed to be extinct for millions of years. Meanwhile, Suyin's daughter, Meiying, goes to the large glass leading to a beautiful underwater view of the ocean, and sees the Megalodon through the glass, and is petrified. When Suyin comes down with Taylor, they see a whale being eaten alive by the massive shark. The crew then realize that it has escaped from the depths of the trench by swimming through a hole in the thermocline created by the thermal vent explosion, briefly raising the temperature enough for it to safely pass. The group decides to track and poison the Megalodon, which they succeed in doing. While injecting the Megalodon with etorphine, Suyin's oxygen mask gets compromised, but Taylor revives her with CPR. Despite initial success, Taylor comments that the teeth don't match up with the previous attack. Shortly after, a second, more colossal Megalodon emerges from the water, devours The Wall and the smaller Megalodon, and capsizes the boat. It also devours Heller, who saves another crew member, Jaxx's life by luring it to himself. The surviving crew returns to Mana One in two dinghies, but Zhang succumbs and dies of injuries caused by the bigger Megalodon's attack. Morris announces that he has informed local governments and naval forces, but it is out of their hands. He dismissed the whole crew and advised them to evacuate in the morning.

At nightfall, Morris attempts to destroy the Megalodon himself by ordering a helicopter crew to drop modified depth charges at it, citing that the creature's actions could result in lawsuits. He approaches the carcass of the supposed Megalodon in a boat but discovers it's a whale. When the Megalodon approaches, the boat accelerates, causing Morris to fall overboard and be eaten by the Megalodon. Taylor and the remaining Mana One crew discover Morris' deception and resolve to track and kill the shark, realizing that it is en route to a crowded beach on the Sanya Bay.

The Megalodon kills several beachgoers before the Mana One crew plays audio of a whale call to divert the shark's attention towards them. Taylor and Suyin attempt to destroy the megalodon with rigged torpedoes, to no avail, and in the process, Taylor's submersible is severely damaged. Taylor manages to cut the megalodon with parts of his sub and stab it in the eye with a harpoon. Due to the presence of blood, multiple sharks in the area notice the blood and devour the Megalodon, killing it. During the fight, Suyin was able to evacuate everyone to a boat where a Chinese couple is getting married. Taylor gets on the boat, and he and Suyin consider taking a vacation to celebrate their triumph.

Cast[edit]

Production[edit]

Development[edit]

The rights to the novel were initially acquired by Disney's Hollywood Pictures in 1996.[5] 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.[6] By 1999 the project had stalled and the rights reverted to Steve Alten, the book's author.[5]

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.[7] 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.[7] 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.[8] By June of that year, Eli Roth was reported to be in talks to direct,[9] but, due to creative differences, Roth was replaced by Jon Turteltaub in early 2016.[10] Jason Statham and much of the cast joined in August and September 2016.[11]

Filming[edit]

Principal photography on the film began on October 13, 2016, in West Auckland, New Zealand.[12][13] Filming ended on January 4, 2017, in Sanya City of Hainan, China.[14]

Visual effects[edit]

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.[15][16]

Release[edit]

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.[17] 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.[18]

The first official trailer was released on April 9, 2018.[19] The studio spent $140 million on global prints and advertisement for the film.[3]

Home media[edit]

The Meg was released for digital download on October 30, 2018, and on Ultra HD Blu-ray, Blu-ray and DVD on November 13.[20]

Reception[edit]

Box office[edit]

The Meg has grossed $143 million in the United States and Canada, and $384.8 million in other territories, for a total worldwide gross of $527.8 million, against a production budget between $130–178 million.[4]

In the United States and Canada, The Meg was released alongside Slender Man and BlacKkKlansman, and was originally projected to gross $20–22 million from 4,118 theaters in its opening weekend.[2] 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.[3] 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.[21] It made $21.5 million in its second weekend and $13 million in its third, finishing second behind Crazy Rich Asians both times.[22][23]

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).[24]

Critical response[edit]

On review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds an approval rating of 45% based on 240 reviews, and an average rating of 5.4/10. The website'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."[25] On Metacritic, the film has a weighted average score of 46 out of 100 based on 46 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews".[26] Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "B+" on an A+ to F scale.[3]

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."[27] In a more positive review, Alex Hudson from Exclaim! said the film succeeded nicely on modest terms; "As pulpy action films go, this is the best blockbuster about prehistoric monsters you'll see this summer. Sorry, Jurassic World."[28] Scott Mendelson of Forbes was impressed by the film's special effects and called it "a polished B movie that delivers the goods,"[29] while IGN's William Bibbiani praised the performances of the cast, particularly Statham.[30] Writing for The Hollywood Reporter, Simon Abrams said the film was "refreshingly unpretentious" and "a breath of fresh air" compared to the Sharknado series.[31]

Sequel[edit]

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."[32] 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."[33]

In October 2018, executive producer Catherine Xujun Ying announced a sequel was in the early stages of development.[34] Alten said in his September 2018 newsletter that he will be asking for more creative control on the sequel.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "THE MEG (12A)". British Board of Film Classification. July 5, 2018. Retrieved July 5, 2018.
  2. ^ a b McClintock, Pamela (August 8, 2018). "Box-Office Preview: Big-Budget 'The Meg' Heads for Tepid $20M-Plus U.S. Debut". The Hollywood Reporter. Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved August 8, 2018.
  3. ^ a b c d D'Alessandro, Anthony (August 11, 2018). "'Meg's Opening Grows To $40M+…But Is It Big Enough? What The Shark Movie Means During Trump's Trade War With China". Deadline Hollywood. Penske Business Media. Retrieved August 11, 2018.
  4. ^ a b "The Meg (2018)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved October 29, 2018.
  5. ^ a b Raftery, Brian (August 9, 2018). "The 20-Year Journey of 'The Meg'—the Movie the Internet Wouldn't Let Die". Wired. Condé Nast. Retrieved August 20, 2018.
  6. ^ Turek, Ryan (July 12, 2007). "The Details of Meg's Demise". ComingSoon.net. Mandatory. Retrieved August 20, 2018.
  7. ^ a b Welkos, Robert W. (April 13, 2008). "Trapped down in the depths". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved August 20, 2018.
  8. ^ Allen, Clark (June 3, 2015). "Long-Awaited Giant Shark Thriller 'Meg' Swims To Warner Bros". The Tracking Board. Retrieved September 17, 2017.
  9. ^ Kroll, Justin (June 16, 2015). "Eli Roth to Direct Giant Shark Thriller 'Meg' for Warner Bros". Variety. Penske Business Media. Retrieved September 17, 2017.
  10. ^ Chitwood, Adam (March 6, 2016). "Eli Roth Exits Giant Shark Movie 'Meg'". Collider. Complex Media. Retrieved August 10, 2018.
  11. ^ Foutch, Haleigh (April 14, 2016). "Jason Statham Is Going to Fight a Giant Dinosaur Shark in 'Meg'". Collider. Complex Media. Retrieved August 20, 2018.
  12. ^ Butler, Karen (October 15, 2016). "Jason Statham, Jon Turteltaub start shooting shark tale 'Meg' in New Zealand". United Press International. Retrieved September 17, 2017.
  13. ^ Chitwood, Adam (October 13, 2016). "Meg: Filming Begins on Giant Shark Movie with Jason Statham". Collider. Complex Media. Retrieved September 17, 2017.
  14. ^ "李冰冰杰森斯坦森联袂《巨齿鲨》杀青后期制作一年2018年上映". Mtime.com (in Chinese). January 13, 2018. Retrieved August 13, 2018.
  15. ^ Failes, Ian (September 11, 2018). "THE MEG: How Imageworks Helped Make a Massive Megalodon". VFX Voice. Retrieved September 11, 2018.
  16. ^ Hogg, Trevor (September 17, 2018). "Entrenched in the Deep, Dark Depths with THE MEG". VFX Voice. Retrieved September 21, 2018.
  17. ^ McNary, Dave (May 16, 2016). "Jason Statham's Shark Movie 'Meg' Gets 2018 Release Date". Variety. Penske Business Media. Retrieved September 17, 2017.
  18. ^ McNary, Dave (March 2, 2017). "Jason Statham's Shark Thriller 'Meg' Swims Back Five Months". Variety. Penske Business Media. Retrieved September 17, 2017.
  19. ^ Warner Bros. Pictures (April 9, 2018). "THE MEG - Official Trailer #1 [HD]". YouTube. Retrieved June 26, 2018.
  20. ^ "After Chomping Up Over $500 Million Worldwide, 'The Meg' Swims to Home Video in November". Retrieved October 3, 2018.
  21. ^ D'Alessandro, Anthony (August 12, 2018). "'August Audiences Get Hooked On 'Meg' Shelling Out $44.5M". Deadline Hollywood. Penske Business Media. Retrieved August 12, 2018.
  22. ^ D'Alessandro, Anthony (August 19, 2018). "'Crazy Rich Asians' Even Richer On Saturday With $10M+; Weekend Bling Now At $25M+ With $34M 5-Day Debut". Deadline Hollywood. Penske Business Media. Retrieved August 19, 2018.
  23. ^ D'Alessandro, Anthony (August 26, 2018). "'Why 'Happytime Murders' Reps A Solo Career B.O. Low For Melissa McCarthy In A 'Crazy Rich' Weekend – Update". Deadline Hollywood. Penske Business Media. Retrieved August 26, 2018.
  24. ^ Tartaglione, Nancy (August 12, 2018). "'The Meg' Devours $97M Overseas/$141M Global Opening; 'Fallout' Flies Past $400M WW – International Box Office". Deadline Hollywood. Penske Business Media. Retrieved August 12, 2018.
  25. ^ "The Meg (2018)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved October 17, 2018.
  26. ^ "The Meg Reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved October 17, 2018.
  27. ^ Gleiberman, Owen (August 8, 2018). "Film Review: 'The Meg'". Variety. Penske Business Media. Retrieved August 9, 2018.
  28. ^ Hudson, Alex (August 9, 2018). "'The Meg' Review: Outrageous Shark Romp Brings Prehistoric Thrills". Exclaim!. Retrieved August 9, 2018.
  29. ^ Mendelson, Scott (August 9, 2018). "Review: Jason Statham's 'The Meg' Is So Much Better Than 'Sharknado'". Forbes. Retrieved August 9, 2018.
  30. ^ Bibbiani, William (August 9, 2018). "The Meg Review". IGN. Ziff Davis. Retrieved August 10, 2018.
  31. ^ Abrams, Simon (August 13, 2018). "'The Meg' Feels Refreshingly Unpretentious". The Hollywood Reporter. Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved August 16, 2018.
  32. ^ https://ew.com/movies/2018/04/23/jason-statham-the-meg-sequel/
  33. ^ https://www.metro.us/entertainment/movies/will-there-be-a-sequel-to-the-meg-writer-steve-alten-talks-us-through-it
  34. ^ https://deadline.com/2018/10/the-meg-2-early-development-warner-bros-china-1202492498/

External links[edit]