The Meg is a 2018 science fiction thriller film directed by Jon Turteltaub with a screenplay by Dean Georgaris, Jon Hoeber, and Erich Hoeber, loosely 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 encounter a 75-foot-long (23 m) Megalodon shark while on a rescue mission at the floor of the Pacific Ocean.
The Walt Disney Studios originally purchased the film rights to the book in the 1990s, but after several years in development hell, the rights landed at Warner Bros. The film was eventually greenlit in 2015. Turteltaub and much of the cast joined by September 2016, and filming began the following month in New Zealand and ended in Sanya City of China in January 2017.
A Chinese-American co-production, The Meg was released in both countries on August 10, 2018, in RealD 3D. It has grossed over $465 million worldwide and received mixed reviews from critics, with some describing it as an entertaining B-movie and others calling it "neither good enough nor bad enough" to be fun.
James "Mac" Mackreides, another crew member at the station, suggests sending Taylor down to attempt a rescue, citing the similarity to his story. Despite Heller's objections, Zhang and Mac decide to travel to Thailand to recruit Taylor anyway. Suyin attempts the rescue herself, but a colossal squid intervenes. Before it can kill her, a massive shark kills it. Agreeing to help, Taylor reaches the trapped submersible, saving Lori and The Wall. However, when the giant shark returns, Toshi sacrifices himself by closing the hatch door and detaching the rescue vessel, allowing Taylor, Lori, and The Wall to escape safely while he diverts the shark's attention to his sub, causing it to be driven into a thermal vent, causing an explosion.
Back at Mana One, the crew discovers that the shark is a Megalodon, the largest shark ever known, believed to be extinct for millions of years. Meanwhile Suyin's daughter goes to the large glass leading to a beautiful underwater view of the ocean, and sees the Megalodon through the glass, and is petrified. When Suyin comes down with Jonas, they see a whale being eaten alive by the massive shark. The crew then realize that it has escaped from the depths of the trench by swimming through a hole in the thermocline created by the thermal vent explosion, briefly raising the temperature enough for it to safely pass. The group decides to track and poison the Megalodon, which they succeed in doing. While injecting the Megalodon with etorphine, Suyin's oxygen mask gets compromised, but Taylor revives her with CPR. Despite initial success, Taylor comments that the teeth don’t match up with the previous attack. Shortly after, a colossal Megalodon emerges from the water and kills The Wall, Heller, and Dr. Zhang, capsizing the boat and devours the smaller Megalodon. The surviving crew returns to Mana One in two dinghies. Morris announces that he has informed local governments and naval forces, but it is out of their hands.
At nightfall, Morris attempts to destroy the Megalodon himself by ordering a helicopter crew to drop modified depth charges at it, citing that the creature's actions could result in lawsuits. He approaches the carcass of the supposed Megalodon in a boat but discovers it's a whale. When the Megalodon approaches, the boat accelerates, causing Morris to fall overboard and be eaten by the Megalodon. Taylor and the remaining Mana One crew discover Morris’ deception and resolve to track and kill the shark, only to realize that it is en route to a crowded beach on the Sanya Bay.
The Megalodon kills several beachgoers before the Mana One crew plays audio of a whale call to divert the shark's attention towards them. Taylor and Suyin attempt to destroy the Megalodon with rigged torpedoes, to no avail, and in the process, Taylor's submersible is severely damaged. Taylor manages to cut the Megalodon with parts of his sub and stab it in the eye with a harpoon. Due to the presence of blood, multiple sharks in the area notice the blood and devour the Megalodon, killing it. During the fight, Suyin was able to evacuate everyone to a boat where a Chinese couple is getting married. Taylor gets on the boat, and he and Suyin consider taking a vacation.
The rights to the novel were initially acquired by Disney's Hollywood Pictures in 1996. Around that time, Tom Wheeler was hired to adapt the book into a screenplay, but, having decided that his script wasn't good enough, the studio hired Jeffrey Boam to write a new draft. Boam's script was later rejected for the same reason. By 1999 the project had stalled and the rights reverted back to Steve Alten, the book's author.
In 2005, reports surfaced that the project was being developed by New Line Cinema, with an estimated budget of $75 million, and a slated release of summer 2006. Names 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 budgetary concerns. The rights reverted to Alten again, but the film remained in development hell.
In 2015, it was announced that the film was now moving forward at Warner Bros., with a new script written by Dean Georgaris. By June of that year, Eli Roth was reported to be in talks to direct, but, due to creative differences, Roth was replaced by Jon Turteltaub in early 2016. Jason Statham and much of the cast joined in August and September 2016.
Principal photography on the film began on October 13, 2016 in West Auckland, New Zealand. Filming ended on January 4, 2017 in Sanya City of Hainan, China.
Released by Gravity Pictures in China and by Warner Bros. Pictures in the United States, The Meg was originally scheduled to open March 2, 2018. Warner and Gravity then said that the film would be released during the 2018 Chinese New Year period in China, a week-long annual holiday that kicked off on February 16, 2018. The film was later pushed back to its eventual date of August 10, 2018, in 3D and IMAX.
The first official trailer was released on April 9, 2018. The studio spent $140 million on global prints and advertisement for the film.
As of September 23, 2018, The Meg has grossed $140.4 million in the United States and Canada, and $377.3 million in other territories, for a total worldwide gross of $517.7 million. With a production budget between $130–178 million, and another $140 million spent on advertisement, the film needed to gross at least $400 million in order 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 in its opening weekend. The film made $4 million from Thursday night previews, leading 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. It went on to debut to $45.4 million, topping the box office and marking the best solo opening of Statham's career, as well as Turteltaub. It made $21.5 million in its second weekend and $13 million in its third, finishing second behind Crazy Rich Asians both times.
In other territories, the film debuted to $101.5 million from 96 countries, for a worldwide opening of $146.9 million. In China, a co-producer of the film, it grossed $50.3 million from 12,650 screens, ranked 3 in the opening weekend. Other top openings were Mexico ($6.2 million), Russia ($5 million), the United Kingdom ($4.4 million), Spain ($2.4 million) and the Philippines ($2 million).