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||$51 million|
The Meg is a 2018 science fiction horror film directed by Jon Turteltaub with a screenplay by Dean Georgaris, Jon Hoeber, and Erich Hoeber, 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, and follows a group of scientists who must stop a 75-foot-long (23 m) Megalodon shark from terrorizing a beach.
Disney originally purchased the film rights to the book in the 1990s, but after several years in development hell the project landed at Warner Bros. Turteltaub and much of the cast joined by September 2016, and filming began the following month in New Zealand.
An American-Chinese co-production, The Meg was released in both countries on August 10, 2018, in Real D 3D, Dolby Cinema, and IMAX. It has grossed $51 million worldwide and received mixed reviews from critics, with some describing it as an entertaining B-movie and others calling “neither good enough or bad enough” to be fun.
Jonas Taylor, a rescue diver, attempts to save a group of scientists, among them Dr. Heller, from a massive, underwater shark attack. Taylor is able to rescue some but refuses to go back to save the rest, having realized that going back for the rest would mean the death of all.
Five years later, 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 dive further into the depths of the ocean, which 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 large object hits 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, after he suspects the object which hit the underwater ship to be Megalodon, a giant shark thought to have been extinct. Dr. Heller objects, but Zhang and Mac decide to travel to Thailand to recruit Taylor anyway. Persuaded to help, Taylor is able to reach the stranded three scientists. Toshi then sacrifices himself in order to allow Taylor to safely escape the submersible with the Wall and Lori.
Back at Mana One, the station receives a signal that sharks have broken through the depths of the ocean – including the Megalodon. The group decide to track and inject poison into the Megalodon. However, in carrying out this plan, the crew kill the wrong shark. The Megalodon then attacks the crew, resulting in the deaths of Zhang, Dr. Heller, and the Wall.
Morris later attempts to destroy the Megalodon himself by chucking grenades at it from a helicopter. However, he fails and is eaten by the Megalodon. Taylor and the remaining Mana One crew realize that the Megalodon is en route to a local Chinese beach, full of civilians. The crew manages to divert the attention of the Megalodon away from the beachgoers and toward them. Taylor is then able to scratch the Megalodon, causing it to bleed and attract other sharks to eat it, killing it.
- 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
- Cliff Curtis as James “Mac” Mackreides
- Shuya Sophia Cai as Meiying
- Page Kennedy as DJ
- Robert Taylor as Dr. Heller
- Ólafur Darri Ólafsson as The Wall
- Jessica McNamee as Lori
- Masi Oka as Toshi
In 2005, reports surfaced that the project was being developed by New Line Cinema, with a slated release of summer 2006. Names that were 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 budget concerns. The rights reverted again to Alten, but the film remained in development hell.
In 2015, it was announced that the film was moving forward at Warner Bros., with a new script penned by Dean Georgaris. By June of that year Eli Roth was reported to be in talks to direct, however due to creative differences he was replaced by Jon Turteltaub in early 2016. Jason Statham and much of the cast joined in August and September 2016.
The Meg was originally scheduled to be released by Gravity Pictures in China and by Warner Bros. Pictures in the United States on March 2, 2018. Warner Bros. Pictures and China’s Gravity Pictures then said that the film will release during the 2018 Chinese New Year period in China. The week-long annual holidays kicked off on February 16, 2018, some two weeks ahead of the March 2, 2018 date. The film was then pushed back to be released on August 10, 2018, in 3D and IMAX.
As of August 10, 2018[update], The Meg has grossed $16.5 million in the United States and Canada, and $34.5 million in other territories, for a total worldwide gross of $51 million. With a production budget between $130–178 million, and another $140 million spent on advertisement, the film will need to gross at least $400 million to break-even.
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 (the second-highest August total ever) in its opening weekend. The film made $4 million from Thursday night previews, leading some 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.
On the review aggregation website Rotten Tomatoes, The Meg has an approval rating of 49% based on 152 reviews, with 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 weighted average score of 45 out of 100, based on 42 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 or 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.” 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.” 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 and Li.[24