The summer movie season is entering its final stretch, and there are still a few more major motion pictures on the way for audiences to catch if they want a break from catching some rays. This weekend's biggest release is The Meg, which was directed by Jon Turteltaub and stars Jason Statham as Jonas Taylor, who leads the effort to bring down a 75-foot long Megalodon. Along with opening in the United States, The Meg has also launched in China, and it got off to an impressive start in that country with $16 million.
China is just one of the 29 offshore territories that The Meg has opened in, and excluding China, Deadline reports that the blockbuster's international opening added up to $7.2 million, less than half of that $16 million haul. So clearly Chinese audiences were eager to see Jason Statham and his cohorts to battle with a prehistoric shark, and that's taking into account how competitive the summer marketplace is over there. The Meg's biggest competition in China includes local productions iPartment and The Island, but if The Meg can putting butts in seats, then it should end its first weekend in Chinese theaters somewhere in the $40 million range. Internationally, The Meg could bring in upwards of $60 million opening weekend.
Domestically, The Meg made $4 million in Thursday night previews, and is estimated to make around $36 million by the time the weekend is over. Critically-speaking, The Meg has fallen into mixed territory (it ranks at 52% among critics on Rotten Tomatoes), but as we've seen in recent years, not only do reviews not necessarily indicate how a movie will perform commercially (I'm looking at you, Transformers franchise), but sometimes a movie that isn't financially successful stateside doesn't mean that will be the same case in other countries. In China's case, movies like Terminator Genisys and Warcraft did a lot better over there compared to the States, while more recent examples of movies that opened strong in China include San Andreas, Geostorm and Skyscraper.
Along with Jason Statham, The Meg's cast includes Li Bingbing, Rainn Wilson, Ruby Rose, Winston Chao and Cliff Curtis. Along with Bingbing being a well-known Chinese actress, Statham is particularly popular in China, so those factors, as well as The Meg being co-produced by the China-based Gravity Pictures, surely helped contribute to the movie doing so well in that country. Still, with a budget of somewhere between $130 million to $178 million, we'll have to wait and see if The Meg can make a profit in the coming weeks.