'The Meg' Wins the Weekend

Shark thriller The Meg wasn't expected to make much of a splash at the box office this weekend, but it ended up raking in more than twice as much as industry experts predicted. Read on for details about how this year's shark movie followed in the fin-prints of shark movies past.

Via The Hollywood Reporter.

For the third summer in a row, the shark movie has made a comeback.

Warner Bros.' The Meg blew past all expectations in its North American debut over the weekend, swimming to $44.5 million from 4,118 theaters, the biggest opening of all time for a live-action shark pic — not adjusted for inflation — and riding the wave of success enjoyed by 47 Meters Down (2017) and The Shallows (2016). The Meg also marks the studio's biggest opening of the year to date, supplanting Steven Spielberg's Ready Player One ($41.8 million) and Ocean's 8 ($41.6 million).

The big-budget movie is also showing strength overseas. China's Gravity Pictures, which put up a significant portion of the budget, is handling distribution duties in the Middle Kingdom, where The Meg debuted to $50.3 million for a total foreign launch of $96.8 million and a global tally of $141.3 million. Imax turned in $13.6 million, with more than half coming from China ($7 million).

The pic's showing in North America was particularly good news for Warner Bros. and Gravity, which paid at least $150 million to produce the long-in-the-making film (the studio says the net budget was $130 million), which was directed by Jon Turteltaub. The Meg still isn't out of danger in terms of making its production and marketing costs back.

Li Bingbing, Rainn Wilson, Ruby Rose, Winston Chao and Cliff Curtis co-star in the movie, which follows a group of scientists trying to stop a mammoth shark from causing destruction. Heading into the weekend, tracking showed The Meg opening to around $20 million. In addition to besting predictions, the film prospered despite receiving a B+ CinemaScore, versus an A. The pic skewed slightly male (52 percent), while nearly 70 percent of the audience was over 25.

"To double tracking is extraordinary," says Warners distribution president Jeff Goldstein.

The Meg overindexed among Hispanic audiences, with a number of the top-grossing theaters located in heavily Latino markets, according to Goldstein. The top-grossing theater in the entire country was in San Antonio, while other big earners were cinemas in Miami, Corpus Christi, Texas, and Phoenix.

"These are cities you don't normally see on the top 20 list," Goldstein says.

Get the rest of the story at The Hollywood Reporter.

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