It appears that as summer wraps up, moviegoers are jonesing for pure escapist fun. Enter the giant shark movie ‘The Meg’, which will probably be the last big summer movie of 2018, unless next week’s Mark Wahlberg action thriller ‘Mile 22’ performs extremely well. ‘The Meg’ opened to $44.5 million at the weekend box office, the second best August premiere after ‘Suicide Squad’. It’s also Jason Statham’s best solo opening, not counting his appearances in the ‘Fast & Furious’ franchise. It earned a so-so B+ CinemaScore and a predictably poor 49% Rotten Tomatoes ranking. But it’s hard to imagine anyone going into this movie is expecting a fine piece of cinema.
According to social media aggregate site RelishMix:
“[Film goers] are having a very seasonal, popcorn/air-conditioned feeling of fun. Fans of ‘Shark Week,’ the original Jaws, horror films, thrillers, Jason Statham action pics, all things Ruby Rose – they’re all showing up for The Meg. This movie gives the sense it’s almost a thinking fan’s Sharknado. The movie knows it’s ludicrous, but it has genuinely funny lines in its clips – and a superb cast everyone can root for. Moviegoers who are going to see it cite their fear of sharks, ‘Dwight from The Office,’ the 3D offering, and more as reasons they’ll be going this weekend.”
The only problem is that ‘The Meg’ was a little expensive to make. Warner Brothers swears that it cost $130M before advertising and promotion, but others estimate it cost closer to $178M. Why? Because this movie isn’t even targeted at the U.S. market. It’s expected to be a much bigger hit in China and other Asian markets. And a hefty chunk of the cost of making ‘The Meg’ was actually provided by China. Warner Brothers didn’t expect ‘The Meg’ to make more than $100M in the U.S., but it’s off to an extremely strong start and it should cross that mark in less than a month.
Here’s the Top Five:
- The Meg (Warner Brothers) – $44.5M
- Mission: Impossible – Fallout (Paramount) – $18.9M
- Christopher Robin (Disney) – $12.3M
- Slender Man (Sony) – $11.3M
- BlacKkKlansman (Focus) – $10.8M
Regarding the #4 movie, Sony’s horror flick ‘Slender Man’ a rival producer declared, “The movie is just so bad!” Indeed, on a budget of approximately $30M (which is high for a horror movie), this $11.3M opening is extremely weak. For comparison’s sake, in April, ‘Truth or Dare’ cost $5M to make and made $19M on its opening weekend. According to RelishMix:
“The majority’s feeling toward this film is negative. For more conservative moviegoers, they take particular exception to Slender Man because it’s based on a real tragedy, which was covered in the news and even an HBO documentary. For horror fans, they’re asking, ‘Where was this five or six years ago when I was really into these videos?’ And for others loyal to the genre, they feel Slender Man might go one step too far in offering a story that has not only been covered, but also can’t capture the fright they already experienced in finding Slender Man online years ago.”
The #5 movie is also a new entry, Spike Lee’s independent ‘BlacKkKlansman’ which has sparked heated debate online but received an A- CinemaScore and an excellent 97% on Rotten Tomatoes.
In older movie news, ‘Ant-Man and the Wasp’ has now flown past the $200M mark, while ‘Mama Mia! Here We Go Again’ has shimmied past $100M, meaning that it is tracking to do better than the original ‘Mama Mia!’.
Next week sees the release of Peter Berg’s action movie ‘Mile 22’ which may take the top spot from ‘The Meg’. Also opening is John M. Chu’s ‘Crazy Rich Asians’ which may tap into the same audience that made ‘The Big Sick’ a hit last year. As of right now, it has an amazing 100% Rotten Tomatoes score. There are also a few smaller movies that may generate some buzz, including ‘Alpha’ and the non-Disney ‘The Little Mermaid’.
Check back to see how things work out!