World Box Office: Meg takes the weekend with help from China

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In the summer of 1975 audiences were thrilled by a film about a scary shark terrorizing beachgoers. It was called Jaws, it made Steven Spielberg a household name and it was followed by many other shark movies, including Deep Blue SeaThe Shallows in 2016 and, last year, 47 Meters Down.

43 years later, enter The Meg. The Megalodon is a prehistoric 80-feet long predator who was supposed to have gone into extinction. But as a deep-sea diver interpreted by Jason Statham leads a rescue mission in the depths of the Mariannas Trench, he inadvertently opens a gateway to the surface for the Meg. Unlike in Jaws, the focus here is on the beast and not on the human interaction, although our scary and gigantic predator leaves behind a pretty light body count. The Meg still took everyone by surprise and it had a domestic debut of $44.5 million: not bad for a movie projected to open at about $20 million. Internationally, it added $96.8 million, for a global launch of $141 million.

The Meg is a co-production of Warner Brothers, China Media Capital and China’s Gravity Pictures, that invested a significant portion of the $150 million budget. Statham is a big draw in the PROC. The film also stars Li Bingbing, Winston Chao and other Chinese actors. It scares the beachgoers of Sanya Bay, near Shanghai. And all these elements paid off, as the Middle Kingdom generated $50.3 million. Directed by Jon Turtletaub, The Meg was No. 1 in several other Asian markets, in Europe and in Latin America. It has not opened yet in major markets such as Korea, Australia and France.

The Meg took a major bite out of Mission: Impossible – Fallout. In its third weekend, the latest installment of the Tom Cruise franchise fell domestically to No. 2, with $20 million and a total of $162 million. Overseas Fallout generated $38.4 million, for a global total so far of $427.6 million.

Back to the domestic marketDisney’s Christopher Robin was No. 3 with $12.4 million, followed by the new entry Slender Man, a horror film that produced $11.3 million. Next in the charts was Spike Lee’s BlacKkKlansman, with $10.8 million. With a release timed to the one-year anniversary of the Charlottesville riots, BlacKkKlansman narrates the true story of a black Colorado detective (John David Washington) who infiltrated the Ku Klux Klan in the 70s, with the help of a Jewish cop (Adam Driver).

Among the holdovers, Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again generated an extra $21 million, for a global total of $280 million and is tracking to pass the original film. Hotel Transylvania 3 got an extra $17 million this frame, for a total of $378 million. Then there is Disney/Pixar’s Incredibles 2, about to pass the $500 million mark internationally and a global total close to $1.1 billion. The sequel based on the adventures of the Parr family is now Pixar’s biggest release ever worldwide.

By examining the global box office charts the second spot, after The Meg, belongs to China’s iPartment, with $80 million. But there is a lot confusion about this number and the title is surrounded by some rights issues. Still in China, The Island got $77 million. In Korea, Along With The Gods: The Last 49 Days is still at the top of the market, with $71 million so far.

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