The Meg 巨齿鲨 is not exactly a critics darling. Sitting on a 49% review rating on Rotten Tomatoes, the film is criticized as either being too silly to be taken seriously, yet not silly enough to be enjoyed without serious viewing.
Which makes it all the more remarkable that, whether the critics like it or not, the weekend of August 10th, 2018, when The Meg opened simultaneously in the US and China cinema markets, will go down in history as the first time a China and US co-production managed to do good business in both territories at the same time.
Produced and distributed by Warner Bros., together with China’s Gravity Pictures, and based on the 1997 novel of the same name by Steve Alten, The Meg opened at number 1 in the U.S. box office while also swallowing the number 3 spot in the China market.
Everywhere else, The Meg made waves. The film was the number 1 movie that weekend in 28 territories around the world including Italy, South Africa, Ukraine, and the United Kingdom.
All in all, the mega-shark thriller’s take is at 157 million USD at the time of writing. Not bad after a first week’s swim around the world.
Prior to THE MEG, the norm was usually that China-US collaborations could only hope for good business in some markets, with movies like xXx: The Return of Xander Cage, The Great Wall and Pacific Rim 2 performing well in China, but collapsing in front of American audiences.
Not so with The Meg, which seeks to promote itself as nothing more than “that big shark movie” bringing up the tail end of 2018’s summer blockbuster season. Then again, maybe the real secret of the film is Statham and Li’s partner in crime: a 70 foot CGI shark developed by visual effects wizards at Hollywood effects house Double Negative.
The Meg is currently playing in theatres worldwide.
Giancarlo Ng is the director of Reversion and a founding member of The Magic Movie Machine.