The Meg Movie Review

There’s not a whole lot to add to the finned villain genre some 43 years after Jaws, but The Meg tries to do so in the form of size. The title refers to a megalodon. That’s a creature long thought to be extinct. It’s so big that it can eat normal sharks as a light snack. Size matters in this movie. We actually have two gargantuan megs that a crew must contend with. The human group of potential chum is led by Jason Statham, his massive biceps, and that voice that sounds as if he gargles gravel.

Statham plays Jonas and he’s still reeling from an incident five years ago in which he lost a group of sailors on a submarine. Jonas is convinced that an unknown and large ocean dweller caused that tragedy. As a side note, it’s interesting that the screenplay portrays him as despondent over that loss. Other characters later on seem to develop a process of rapid grieving for people they actually know.

Yet we don’t watch these pictures for lessons on dealing with death. We watch to see inventive ways for it to happen. Jonas is lured back into the water when his ex-wife (Jessica McNamee) and her mates are trapped deep underwater with that big fish lurking. She’s an employee of Mana One, a cool looking research facility looking for new species. The corporation is headed by an eccentric (is there any other kind?) billionaire played by Rainn Wilson. Li Bingbing is an oceanographer with a precocious young daughter who also serves as Jonas’s immediate love interest. Recognizable faces like Cliff Curtis and Ruby Rose are also along for the ride.

The Meg never quite develops a satisfying identity. The PG-13 rating eliminates the opportunity for gory delights. There’s winking humor and even some of it lands. And there’s also dramatic moments that seem to want to be taken seriously. It spills its creative guts early on and essentially repeats itself. A third act that finally lets the monster expose himself to the beach going masses feels truncated.

Statham throws himself into the role and it’s admirable. We do see a couple of man vs. beast exchanges that I hadn’t seen before. However, this doesn’t rise to the level of genuine guilty pleasure or generate enough suspense, humor, or horror. They’re too infrequent to completely excuse the sizable gaps of mediocrity.

** (out of four)

Box Office Predictions: September 14-16

A quartet of new titles make their way to multiplexes this weekend: franchise reboot The Predator, Anna Kendrick/Blake Lively thriller A Simple Favor, crime drama White Boy Rick with Matthew McConaughey, and “spiritual sequel” Unbroken: Path to Redemption. You can peruse my detailed prediction posts on each of them here:

The Predator should have little trouble hitting the top spot, but I do have it on the lower end of the expectation range in the mid to high 20s.

The Nun got off a terrific start (more on that below) and I do expect a rather large decline due to both front loaded business and fairly poor word of mouth (a C Cinemascore grade). A drop in the low to mid 60s is feasible here and horror pics often have significant declines anyway.

A Simple Favor is intriguing. I believe it should place third and I have it managing to reach its intended female audience with a healthy showing at the top end of estimates.

White Boy Rick has generated zero awards buzz after its Telluride premiere and I’m having trouble seeing it hit double digits. That would put it in fourth.

Even though Peppermint just outdid Crazy Rich Asians for the #2 spot this past weekend, I expect the latter to have a smaller decline and get the five-spot.

As for Unbroken: Path to Redemption, my lowly $2.5 million forecast puts it well outside the top 5.

And with that, my top 5 estimates for the weekend:

1. The Predator

Predicted Gross: $27.4 million

2. The Nun

Predicted Gross: $19.8 million

3. A Simple Favor

Predicted Gross: $17.9 million

4. White Boy Rick

Predicted Gross: $8.7 million

5. Crazy Rich Asians

Predicted Gross: $8.2 million

Box Office Results (September 7-9)

Warner Bros was in full sister act level celebration mode this weekend as The Nun conquered the charts. The fifth entry in the Conjuring Cinematic Universe experienced the best debut of the franchise with $53.8 million compared to my $45.4 million projection. That’s good for the second highest September opening of all time behind last year’s It.

In a bit of a surprise, Jennifer Garner’s revenge tale Peppermint was second with a decent $13.4 million, topping my $11.8 million prediction. Overcoming poor reviews, the film reached the upper end of its projections. I see it dipping around 50% next weekend and falling out of the top five.

The three-week reign of Crazy Rich Asians came to an end as it placed third with $13.1 million (I said $14.2 million) for $135 million total.

The Meg was fourth with $6 million compared to my $5.4 million take and the shark tale has amassed $131 million.

Searching rounded out the top five with $4.5 million (in line with my $4.2 million prediction) for $14 million overall.

Finally, faith-based drama God Bless the Broken Road premiered in 11th place with a weak $1.3 million. I was a bit more generous at $2.1 million.

And that does it for now, folks! Until next time…

Box Office Predictions: September 7-9

Blogger’s Note (09/06/18): I am making a change at #5 spot for the weekend and taking out Mission: Impossible – Fallout (still predicted at $4.1 million) and replacing it with Searching at $4.2 million.

While my attention on the blog has shifted in recent days to the many Oscar hopefuls premiering at film festivals, we still have box office predictions to consider. And there’s a trio of newcomers opening this weekend: horror pic The Nun from the Conjuring Cinematic Universe, Jennifer Garner revenge thriller Peppermint, and faith-based war drama God Bless the Broken Road. You can peruse my individual prediction posts on each of them here:

The Nun (with my mid 40s estimate) should have no trouble ending the three-week reign of Crazy Rich Asians atop the charts. The Conjuring franchise has been remarkably consistent in its opening weekend grosses and I expect that will continue here.

With that scary sister easily holding down the top spot, the real battle could be at #2 between Asians and Peppermint. I’ll give the former the edge by a couple million.

Summer holdovers The Meg and Mission: Impossible – Fallout should round out the top five. My lowly $2.1 million take on God Bless the Broken Road leaves it on the outside looking in.

And with that, my top 5 take on the weekend ahead:

1. The Nun

Predicted Gross: $45.4 million

2. Crazy Rich Asians

Predicted Gross: $14.2 million

3. Peppermint

Predicted Gross: $11.8 million

4. The Meg

Predicted Gross: $5.4 million

5. Searching 

Predicted Gross: $4.2 million

Box Office Results (August 31-September 3)

Crazy Rich Asians easily topped the charts for the third frame in a row with $28.5 million  over the Labor Day long holiday weekend (I was just a tad over at $30.6 million). The breakout comedy of the summer is up to $117 million thus far.

The Meg followed in second at $13.8 million (I said $14.5 million) for a tally of $123 million.

Mission: Impossible – Fallout was third with $9.3 million, in range with my $10 million projection. The sixth franchise entry stands at $206 million and is right on the doorstep at becoming the series highest domestic earner. That record is currently held by part 2 with $215 million.

Operation Finale had the biggest debut of the weekend in fourth with $7.8 million. I was close with an $8.8 million estimate. The Oscar Isaac/Ben Kingsley Nazi hunting drama has earned $9.6 million since its Wednesday opening.

The critically acclaimed computer screen set thriller Searching was close behind in fifth with $7.6 million, just ahead of my $7.1 million forecast. Counting its limited release a week prior, it’s made $8.1 million total.

I incorrectly had Christopher Robin in the top 5 but it placed 6th with $7.2 million (I said $8 million). The Winnie the Pooh tale has earned $87 million as it seems likely to eek out a $100 million gross.

A trio of newcomers all posted unimpressive results. Sci-fi family adventure Kin was 12th with $3.8 million (I was right there at $3.9 million). Mexican import Ya Veremos placed 14th at $2.2 million (I said $2.5 million). And the poorly reviewed Gothic horror effort The Little Stranger managed a piddling $496,000 for 23rd position… way under my $2.6 million guess.

And that does it for now, folks! Until next time…

Box Office Predictions: August 31-September 3

The summer box office season officially draws to a close this Labor Day weekend and there’s five new releases to consider. They are the Oscar Isaac/Ben Kingsley Nazi hunting drama Operation Finale, John Cho’s computer based thriller Searching, family sci-fi tale Kin, Gothic horror tale The Little Stranger and Mexican import Ya Veremos. You can peruse my detailed prediction posts on each of them here:

I don’t have any of them breaking the $10 million mark for the four-day holiday weekend. I have Finale faring the best, mostly due to the fact that it’s slated to open on about 700 more screens than the critically hailed Searching.

My $3.9 million estimate for Kin, $2.6 million projection for Stranger and $2.5 million forecast for Veremos leave them outside of the top five. And even my $7.1 million prediction for Searching leaves it on the outside looking in.

The Labor Day weekend typically means that holdovers will experience increases in their grosses from the previous weekend. There is, of course, an extra day of totals to consider so that doesn’t hurt. It is not uncommon to see percentage bumps anywhere from the mid teens to high 20s and I expect that will hold true once again.

That means Crazy Rich Asians should have no trouble at all holding the top spot for the third frame in a row. Giving it an increase in the low to mid twenties seems plausible and that could it mean hits over $30 million. I suspect The Meg, Mission: Impossible – Fallout, and Christopher Robin will also experience solid weekends.

The only holdover that may fall is The Happytime Murders, which had a pretty bad debut over the weekend (more on that below).

And with that, my top 5 estimates for the long Labor Day weekend:

1. Crazy Rich Asians

Predicted Gross: $30.6 million

2. The Meg

Predicted Gross: $14.5 million

3. Mission: ImpossibleFallout

Predicted Gross: $10 million

4. Operation Finale

Predicted Gross: $8.8 million

5. Christopher Robin

Predicted Gross: $8 million

Box Office Results (August 24-26) 

Crazy Rich Asians had a magnificent hold in its sophomore weekend to easily remain #1. The comedy dropped just 6%, taking in $24.8 million (blasting past my $16.9 million estimate). The two-week total is $76 million.

The Meg was second with $12.8 million (I said $11.2 million). The shark tale crossed the century mark and stands at $105 million after three weeks.

The Happytime Murders proved American audiences were in no mood for randy puppets. The poorly reviewed pic was third with a putrid $9.5 million, falling under my $13.8 million forecast.

Mission: ImpossibleFallout was fourth with $8 million (ahead of my $6.8 million take). It’s edging close to $200 million with $193 million total.

Mile 22 rounded out the top five with $6.3 million (I said $7.5 million). The Mark Wahlberg action thriller has made a middling $25 million in its two weeks of release.

Finally, robot dog flick A.X.L. opened meekly in 10th position with $2.7 million. It did manage to edge past my $2.1 million prediction.

And that does it for now, folks! Until next time…

Box Office Predictions: August 24-26

This weekend at the box office features a battle between two very different comedies for the #1 spot: the second weekend of critically acclaimed rom com Crazy Rich Asians and the debut of dirty puppet pic The Happytime Murders. We also have the family science fiction tale A.X.L. opening. You can peruse my detailed prediction posts on the newcomers here:

If Asians falls in the mid 30s range, it might manage to edge out Melissa McCarthy’s Murders. My estimates indicate this should be the first weekend since early February where no picture makes over $20 million as the summer season slows down.

The Meg should fall to third place with action flicks Mile 22 and Mission: ImpossibleFallout in a race for the 4 spot (I give Mile an edge).

As for A.X.L., I’m not expecting much at all and my tiny $2.1 million forecast leaves it outside the top 5. And with that, here’s those top five projections for the weekend:

1. Crazy Rich Asians

Predicted Gross: $16.9 million

2. The Happytime Murders

Predicted Gross: $13.8 million

3. The Meg

Predicted Gross: $11.2 million

4. Mile 22

Predicted Gross: $7.5 million

5. Mission: Impossible – Fallout

Predicted Gross: $6.8 million

Box Office Results (August 17-19)

Riding a wave of positive buzz and anticipation from its bestseller source material, Crazy Rich Asians had a terrific start in first place with $26.5 million for the weekend (topping my $22.5 million prediction). When factoring in its Wednesday debut, the critically praised comedy has made $35.2 million and that’s a bit above my call of $33.4 million.

The Meg dropped to second with $21.1 million, in line with my $20.3 million projection for $83 million so far.

Mark Wahlberg’s Mile 22 was a disappointment with a third place premiere at $13.7 million. I was a touch higher at $16.7 million. This definitely ranks on the lower end of the star’s action debuts.

Mission: Impossible – Fallout was fourth with $10.7 million (I said $11 million) for $181 million overall. The sixth franchise entry stands a decent shot at surpassing the $215 million made by Mission: Impossible II and becoming the series all-time domestic earner.

Alpha performed better than I figured with a fifth place start at $10.3 million. I was way lower at $5.2 million.

Christopher Robin was sixth with $8.8 million (I said $7.4 million) for $66 million. The Disney feature could come close to $100 million when all is said and done, but it may fall a little short.

BlacKkKlansman was 7th in its sophomore outing with $7.3 million (I said $7.1 million) for a total of $23 million.

And that does it for now, folks! Until next time…

Box Office Predictions: August 17-19

Blogger’s Note (08/14/18): On the eve of its opening, I’m upgrading my Crazy Rich Asians estimate to low 20s and mid 30s for the three and five-day. That now gives it the #1 spot.

A trio of newcomers attempt to bite into the unexpected huge performance of The Meg and it keep it from a second frame atop the charts. We have critically acclaimed rom com Crazy Rich Asians, Mark Wahlberg’s action thriller Mile 22, and Ice Age adventure Alpha. You can peruse my detailed prediction posts on each of them here:

Let’s start with the low hanging fruit. I don’t expect much from Alpha at all and my $5.2 million projection leaves it outside of the top five.

Even if The Meg falls over 50% in its second frame, it could still maintain the top spot with a gross in the low 20s.

However, that’s if Crazy Rich Asians doesn’t manage those numbers. My estimate has steadily risen, but its Wednesday opening could prevent it from hitting #1 (I’ve got it awfully close). Mile 22 should place third in the mid teens for a so-so start.

Mission: Impossible – Fallout should drop to fourth. The five-spot could be interesting as I have Christopher Robin and BlacKkKlansman grossing roughly the same amount.

And with that, here’s my top 6 projections for the weekend ahead:

1. Crazy Rich Asians

Predicted Gross: $22.5 million (Friday to Sunday), $33.4 million (Wednesday to Sunday)

2. The Meg

Predicted Gross: $20.3 million

3. Mile 22

Predicted Gross: $16.7 million

4. Mission: Impossible – Fallout

Predicted Gross: $11 million

5. Christopher Robin

Predicted Gross: $7.4 million

6. BlacKkKlansman

Predicted Gross: $7.1 million

Box Office Results (August 10-12)

The Meg turned out to have the quite the mega opening stateside with $45.4 million, doubling (yes DOUBLING) my meager $22.7 million estimate. Never bet against sharks apparently. The shark tale performed well overseas as well, which was needed considering its reported $150 million plus budget.

Mission: Impossible – Fallout was runner-up with $19.3 million (a tad below my $21.3 million prediction) for $161 million in its three weeks of release.

Christopher Robin was third with $12.9 million compared to my $13.8 million estimate. The Disney pic has made $50 million in two weeks.

Critically reviled horror flick Slender Man was fourth, debuting to $11.3 million (a couple notches above my take of $9.1 million). Look for it (with a D- Cinemascore grade) to fade quickly.

Spike Lee’s BlacKkKlansman, with terrific reviews and awards buzz, started out strong on just over 1500 screens in fifth with $10.8 million (I said $9.6 million).

Finally, Dog Days premiered to totally unimpressive numbers in just 12th place with $2.5 million. I gave it way too much credit at $5.1 million. Woof.

And that does it for now, folks! Until next time…

Box Office Predictions: August 10-12

***Blogger’s Note II (08/09/18): A big change has happened. I am revising my estimate for The Meg up to $22.7 million, therefore giving it the #1 spot. I am also increasing my BlacKkKlansman estimate once again from $7.6M to $9.6M

**Blogger’s Note (08/08/18): I have revised my BlacKkKlansman estimate from $5.6M to $7.6M, which gives it the #5 spot and drops The Spy Who Dumped Me outside the top five.

A quartet of newbies attempt to dethrone Tom Cruise this weekend as shark tale The Meg, Internet meme based horror pic Slender Man, canine tale Dog Days, and Spike Lee’s awards hopeful BlacKkKlansman all open. You can peruse my detailed prediction posts on each here:

Of the four newcomers, The Meg appears poised to earn the most. Audiences have proven they dig their shark flicks and the upside here is real. However, my high teens projection leaves it behind Mission: ImpossibleFallout and that would give Cruise and company a third weekend atop the charts.

Slender Man is a real question mark. Its studio doesn’t seem to have much faith in it, but horror titles can often surprise. I’m definitely at the lower end of expectations currently with a forecast in the high single digits. That would leave it lurking in fourth place behind Christopher Robin. 

The five-spot depends on how the other two newcomers perform. Dog Days is opening on Wednesday and my $5.1 million estimate for its Friday to Sunday performance leaves it behind the $5.6 million I’m predicting for BlacKkKlansman (which certainly could go higher). That leaves both of them behind the second frame of The Spy Who Dumped Me, which should drop in the mid 40s range.

It’s an unpredictable weekend we have before us, but here’s how I have the top 5 looking:

1. The Meg

Predicted Gross: $22.7 million

2. Mission: Impossible – Fallout

Predicted Gross: $21.3 million

3. Christopher Robin

Predicted Gross:$13.8 million

4. BlacKkKlansman

Predicted Gross: $9.6 million

5. Slender Man

Predicted Gross: $9.1 million

***If these numbers change throughout the week, I’ll post updates!

Box Office Results (August 3-5) 

Mission: Impossible – Fallout had a terrific hold in weekend #2, dropping just 42% to gross $35.3 million (above my $32 million projection) and remain #1. The sixth installment of Tom Cruise’s franchise has amassed $124 million so far.

Disney’s Christopher Robin came in on the bottom end of expectations in the runner-up position with $24.5 million compared to my more generous $29.6 million estimate. Winnie the Pooh and company will hope for small declines in coming weekends.

The Mila Kunis/Kate McKinnon comedy The Spy Who Dumped Me also debuted on the low-end of the expected scale in third with just $12.1 million, under my $15.3 million forecast.

Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again was fourth with $9 million (I said $8.3 million) for $91 million in three weeks.

I mistakenly left The Equalizer 2 out of the top five, but it was fifth with $8.7 million. The Denzel Washington sequel has made $79 million and looks to potentially top the $101 million earned by its predecessor.

Hotel Transylvania 3 was sixth with $8 million (I was lower at $6.9 million) and it’s earned $136 million overall. The franchise has shown remarkable consistency and I’d look for a fourth installment in about three years.

Finally, YA adaptation The Darkest Minds suffered a bad opening in 8th place with $5.8 million, in line with my $6.3 million prediction.

And that does it for now, folks! Until next time…

Slender Man Box Office Prediction

Blogger’s Note (08/03/18): I am revising my estimate down from $12.1 million to $9.1 million

No matter how it performs next weekend, Slender Man should certainly achieve the biggest horror opening of all time for a movie based on an Internet meme. The supernatural tale comes from director Sylvain White with a cast including Joey King, Julia Goldani Telles, Jaz Sinclair, Annalise Basso, Talitha Bateman, and Javier Botet.

Based on the frightening meme that hit our small screens nearly a decade ago, this Screen  Gems release was originally scheduled for release in May before the August pushback. Horror flicks can always exceed expectations, but I’m skeptical here. Shark tale The Meg could provide serious competition for eyeballs. Furthermore, the marketing campaign for this seems a tad subdued.

I’ll project Slender Man struggles to reach the teens for its start.

Slender Man opening weekend prediction: $9.1 million

For my The Meg prediction, click here:

For my Dog Days prediction, click here:

For my BlacKkKlansman prediction, click here:

The Meg Box Office Prediction

Blogger’s Note (08/08/18): On the eve of its premiere, I am bumping my estimate up from $19.7 million to $22.7 million

The second weekend of August is one that Warner Bros hopes is their Shark Week when The Meg opens. Focused on a group of scientists tracking a 75-foot creature sporting massive jaws, the film stars Jason Statham, Li Bingbing, Rainn Wilson, Ruby Rose, Winston Chao, and Cliff Curtis. Jon Turteltaub, whose had a lengthy directorial career including the National Treasure pics, is behind the camera.

Other than the giant shark itself, the most eye-popping thing about The Meg is its reported $150 million budget. This is an American/Chinese co-production and it better hope for generous earnings overseas.

As for its stateside expectations, it can be dangerous to underestimate audiences shark love. Two summers ago, The Shallows debuted to a better than anticipated $16.8 million. Last summer, 47 Meters Down (which was originally slated for a TV premiere) took in $11.2 million for its start.

There’s always breakout potential in this genre, but I’m looking at The Meg managing to hit Shallows numbers and a bit more.

The Meg opening weekend prediction: $22.7 million

For my Slender Man prediction, click here:

For my Dog Days prediction, click here:

For my BlacKkKlansman prediction, click here: