'The Meg' Swims Past Box Office Expectations…But Needs More


After a stronger-than-expected $16.5 million opening Friday from 4,119 screens, Warner Bros.’ monster movie “The Meg” looks like it will beat box office expectations with a $40 million opening weekend. But is that enough?

Before the weekend, “The Meg” was projected to open to $25 million, around the same total that Universal/Legendary’s “Skyscraper” opened to last month. Co-financed by Chinese and American money, that Dwayne Johnson film has had a tepid run at theaters with $280 million worldwide against a $125 million budget.

“The Meg,” which has a similar financial situation with a budget co-financed by China Media Capital’s Gravity Pictures, is already off to a better start than “Skyscraper.” But it also has a bigger budget. Warner Bros. has reported a budget of $130 million, while financial and box office analysts tell TheWrap that it could be as high as $150 million.

Regardless, $400 million global is the likely break-even point for this film, which means it needs to perform well in China. In the Middle Kingdom, “The Meg” is on pace for a similar opening to the domestic numbers with a $16 million opening day total. It remains to be seen whether the film can keep this pace going or whether this strong start will turn out to be the sign of a front-loaded weekend.

Elsewhere, Paramount’s “Mission: Impossible — Fallout” takes second with a third weekend total of $19 million, pushing its total to $161 million. In third is Disney’s “Christopher Robin,” which is projected to take a 50 percent drop from its $25 million opening for a $12.3 million second weekend and a 10-day total of just under $50 million.

Two new releases complete the top five, with Sony’s horror film “Slender Man” performing slightly above expectations with $11 million from 2,358 screens. Focus Features’ “BlacKkKlansman” completes the top five with a projected $9.5 million start, hitting tracker expectations as it opens on 1,512 screens.

Critical reception for the two films couldn’t be any wider. While “Slender Man” has been panned with a 15 percent Rotten Tomatoes score and a D- from audiences on CinemaScore, “BlacKkKlansman” has been acclaimed by audiences as highly as the crowd at the Cannes Film Festival. The Spike Lee film starring John David Washington and Adam Driver has a 97 percent Rotten Tomatoes score and an A- on CinemaScore.

Outside the top five, two July releases have hit domestic milestones. Universal’s “Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again” will cross $100 million domestic in its fourth weekend, adding $5.4 million for a seventh place finish. In tenth is Marvel Studios’ “Ant-Man and the Wasp,” which will add $3.9 million to cross the $200 million domestic mark.

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