Jason Statham And Li Bingbing's 'The Meg' Devours Huge $141M At The Global Box Office

 forbes.com  8/12/2018 3:28:55 PM  3

The Meg overperformed this weekend, with a solid $44.5 million Fri-Sun domestic frame, including $4.1m in IMAX alone. Considering the film was projected to open with around $20m, that's a big win for Warner Bros./Time Warner Inc. The 2.69x weekend multiplier is merely okay (Kong: Skull Island and San Andreas pulled 3x weekend multipliers), but this is still a strong domestic performance for a movie that most of us assumed was going to make the vast majority of its money overseas.

And considering the reviews were mixed-negative, its relative overperformance is even more impressive. Like Dwayne Johnson’s earthquake flick from three years ago, this combo of macho bald action star and a larger-than-life natural threat is overperforming just a bit. Now, to be fair, the Jon Turteltaub-directed shark thriller cost around $150 million to produce, and it was more of a Chinese production than a Hollywood one.

Warner Bros./Time Warner Inc. and friends will get closer to 40% of the Chinese box office than the standard 25% so that the film opened with $50.3 million in China over the weekend is just as encouraging. Yes, shark movies are popular, but there is a difference between 47 Meters Down opening with $11m and The Meg costing around $150m. That this one opened is arguably a case of star + concept, along with the relative popularity of Steve Alten’s 1997 novel (which spawned several sequels).

Jason Statham is a “name” to be sure, and he’s a minor draw as a by-himself action lead or as an added value element in something like Spy or Furious 7. While The Meg is something of an ensemble picture, it’s still Statham’s movie and it’s not like Ruby Rose (who just got cast as the CW's Batwoman) or Cliff Curtis get above-the-title billing. For what it’s worth, San Andreas was also Dwayne Johnson’s first super-duper hit that wasn’t somewhat of an ensemble picture.

Maybe today’s audiences prefer to see their action heroes punching natural disasters or prehistoric monsters as opposed to bad guys. Either way, this is a big win for Statham, whose previous biggest-grossing “all by myself” action flick is Mechanic: Resurrection with a whopping $109 million worldwide (on a $40m budget). This isn’t quite Statham’s proverbial Under Siege, but this is as close as he’s probably going to get in this current marketplace.

If it legs it like S.W.A.T. (another August actioner that overperformed), it'll flirt with $140 million domestic. A run like San Andreas (2.8x) gets it to $127m domestic. Even a frontloaded (2.4x) run like Hercules or Geostorm gets it past $100m domestic by the end of its run. Point being, this is a good start.

The film earned a whopping $97 million overseas, including $50.3m launch in China, for a $141.3m global opening. The Meg is off to a promising start. There's enough that can go wrong from here on out, but it’s a fun popcorn flick, and I imagine general audiences  (who gave it a B+ Cinemascore grade last night) are going to have a good time with it. No, it probably won’t get an Oscar for… uh… “outstanding achievement in popular film,” but it’s well-staged and well-acted man versus shark fun.

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I've studied the film industry, both academically and informally, and with an emphasis in box office analysis, for 28 years. I have extensively written about all of said subjects for the last ten years. My outlets for film criticism, box office commentary, and film-skewing s...

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