‘The Meg 2: Trench’ Trailer Pits Jason Statham and Wu Jing Against Multiple Murderous Megalodons (Video)
Warner Bros. Discovery’s potential summer sleeper “The Meg 2: Trench” dropped its first teaser trailer, essentially the same mouth-watering footage audiences saw at last month’s CinemaCon presentation.
As noted last month, the trailer’s tagline is “They’re back… for seconds,” mimicking the refreshingly cheeky marketing that helped turn “The Meg” into a surprise super-smash. The trailer opens with two land-bound prehistoric monsters eating a large bug, with onscreen text warning that for 65 million years one species ruled the world. The answer is not the tyrannosaurus rex, but rather a megalodon which is introduced eating a T-rex.
That was actually the prologue of Steve Alton’s first novel which didn’t make it into the first movie. One may recall that “The Lost World: Jurassic Park” and “Jurassic Park III” included setpieces and ideas from Michael Crichton’s “Jurassic Park” novel that didn’t make it into Steven Spielberg’s first dino blockbuster.
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Jason Statham is recruited again by Cliff Curtis to hunt another giant creature in the trench. Alas, the team starts getting picked off by the biggest meg anyone has ever seen. We then witness various monsters attacking by land and by sea, with Statham almost getting eaten by a shark and Wu Jing doing his best to save the day. We get more scenes of tourists almost getting eaten, and a tentacled creature grabbing and devouring a helicopter. The teaser ends with Statham leaping into the air on a jetski to face off against a shark with a sword. Because, yeah, it’s that kind of movie.
“The Meg” earned $155 million in North America from a $44 million domestic debut in the summer of 2018, while earning another $155 million in China toward a $530 million global total. That cume was bigger than any giant monster movie save for “Kong: Skull Island” ($569 million in 2017) and (most of) the “Jurassic” movies.
It was also the first and thus-far only big-budget Hollywood/Chinese co-production that qualified as a success on both shores, although Jackie Chan and Pierce Brosnan’s “The Foreigner” earned a good enough $145 million globally on a $35 million budget in 2017. Can “The Meg 2: Trench” repeat that performance?
The sequel could easily suffer from a case of “folks were just curious the first time,” and five years is a long time for almost any straight-up franchise continuation. However, the films are based on Steve Alten’s long-running (eight novels between 1997 and 2022) and popular airport/beach read series about various prehistoric underwater killing machines. It’s not just the core hook of Jason Statham fighting a giant shark in and around China.
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Moreover, this new installment, with director Ben Wheatley (“High Rise,” “Kill List,” “Free Fire”) subbing in for Jon Turteltaub (“Cool Runnings,” “While You Were Sleeping,” “National Treasure”), pairs Statham with Wu Jing. Wu Jing is possibly China’s biggest movie star. As noted last month, if any Hollywood flick is going to thrive in China despite years of comparatively declining grosses, it’ll be “The Meg 2” which pairs Statham with the star of “Wolf Warrior II” ($754 million in 2017), “The Wandering Earth” ($700 million in 2019), “The Battle at Lake Changjin” ($912 million in 2021), “The Battle at Lake Changjin 2” ($626 million in 2022) and “Wandering Earth 2” ($604 million in 2023).
A pre-COVID normal box office performance for “The Meg,” think around $150 million, will be $150 million that most Hollywood releases won’t have this summer.
Or, hyperbole alert, “The Meg 2” could play like a local Chinese blockbuster, as in grosses between on par with “Too Cool to Kill” ($413 million) and “Moon Man” ($460 million) or “Full River Red” ($673 million) and “Detective Chinatown 3” ($685 million). However implausible that might be, even a run on par with the two bigger “Fast and Furious” sequels ($390 million in 2015 and 2017) could it may end up flirting with the worldwide totals of Hollywood’s biggest summer movie releases no matter how well it performs elsewhere.
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