2018’s The Meg, starring Jason Statham, is getting a second wind on Max this week with a number two ranking on FlixPatrol. This should come as no surprise, considering that this underwater epic is slated for a long-awaited sequel treatment with Meg 2: The Trench, which will be making its theatrical debut on August 4 2023.
Though The Meg found itself in “development hell” since 1996 before finally getting the green light in 2015, its upcoming follow up clearly had a much quicker turnaround, and could probably be attributed to how well its predecessor performed at the box office upon its release.
The Meg is your classic “one last job” kind of movie, but takes place in the deepest section of the Mariana Trench. Jason Statham portrays Jonas Taylor, a disgraced deep sea search and rescue diver, who is haunted by an incident in which two of his crew members were killed by an unidentified creature later revealed to be a giant prehistoric shark known as a megalodon, or “Meg.
By 1999, two different iterations of the script were rejected by the studio, and the rights for the intellectual property were reverted back to Alten in 1999 because the project was shelved at this time.
Taylor is tracked down by Suyin Zhang and James “Mac” Mackreides five years after the incident to do one last rescue mission after his ex-wife Lori’s submersible is compromised by a similar unidentified creature, which knocks out her communications with Mana One, the underwater research facility that she’s reporting to.
It’s at this point in The Meg that the Mana One crew comes to the realization that they’re dealing with a breed of shark that was thought to have been long extinct. Now that they know what kind of apex predator they’re dealing with, Jason Statham’s Taylor devises a plan to shoot the megalodon with a tracker, so Suyin can go into a shark-proof tank and poison the prehistoric beast.
The Meg is loosely based on the Steve Alten novel, Meg: A Novel of Deep Terror, and was originally picked up by Disney in 1996, long before Jason Statham would be involved with the project.
But the suspense doesn’t end here, however, because a much larger Meg emerges from the darkness, and the crew has reason to believe that this was the shark that was responsible for the original attack.
Despite the casualties and wrecked ships left in the Meg’s wake, the remaining crew are tasked with tracking down the beast, and killing it against all odds. Though this Jason Statham film concludes on a somewhat positive note, it was left open for a sequel when it’s revealed that there may be more Megs prowling deep beneath the surface that have yet to be encountered.
The Meg is loosely based on the Steve Alten novel, Meg: A Novel of Deep Terror, and was originally picked up by Disney in 1996, long before Jason Statham would be involved with the project. By 1999, two different iterations of the script were rejected by the studio, and the rights for the intellectual property were reverted back to Alten in 1999 because the project was shelved at this time.
New Line Cinema was the next studio to acquire the rights to The Meg in 2005, but the rights were once again reverted back to Alten when the project was once again canceled, this time due to budgetary concerns.
It wasn’t until 2015 that The Meg was picked up by Warner Bros., and was pushed forward to be fully developed and realized. The screenplay was penned by Dean Georgaris, and Jon Turtletaub took the helm as director. In August 2016, Jason Statham, Li Bingbing, Rainn Wilson, Ruby Rose, Winston Chao, and Cliff Curtis were signed onto the project, and principal photography commenced shortly after this announcement.
Upon its release, The Meg was a commercial success with a strong opening weekend, and a final box office total of $530.2 million off a budget of $178 million. Several months later, Jason Statham announced that there would likely be a sequel due to the film’s commercial success, stating that Hollywood typically tries to cash in on commercially successful films with the hopes of scoring another win in the form of a sequel.
Shortly after Statham’s announcement, executive producer Catherine Xujun Ying confirmed Statham’s statement, and officially announced that Meg 2: The Trench was in development.
Though this Jason Statham film concludes on a somewhat positive note, it was left open for a sequel when it’s revealed that there may be more Megs prowling deep beneath the surface that have yet to be encountered.
On the critical front, The Meg received mixed reviews, with a 46 percent critical score on Rotten Tomatoes. Though Jason Statham’s performance was praised, a number of reviewers considered the film to be a polished B movie, but without the charming camp, one would typically find in a lower-budget film.
Mixed critical reception aside, The Meg is a solid film, and Jason Statham presents us with a refreshing take on the “one last job” trope that has played out in so many films over the decades with mixed results. Given the fact that The Meg’s upcoming sequel is right around the corner, fans of the 2018 film are clearly streaming the heck out of this movie on Max, giving it a number two ranking on FlixPatrol.