Meg 2: The Trench, a movie about giant killer sharks, is dominating box-office sales in China, thanks to a helping hand from the Chinese government.
(Bloomberg) — Meg 2: The Trench, a movie about giant killer sharks, is dominating box-office sales in China, thanks to a helping hand from the Chinese government.
The film, a joint production between Warner Bros. Discovery Inc. and local partner China Media Capital, generated $53.3 million in its debut last weekend in China, 77% more than it did in the US.
The tally for Meg 2 in China already exceeds what Barbie and Tom Cruise’s new Mission Impossible earned in that country since they opened in mid-July. If the present trend continues, it could end up being the top US film locally this year, a spot currently held by Universal Pictures’ Fast X.
Once a great growth engine for Hollywood, the Chinese film market has become tough to crack for US firms. Studios that used to get prime placement in theaters now wait anxiously to see if they’ll even be allowed access to the market, as the Chinese government has been favoring local content.
Meg 2, like its 2018 predecessor The Meg, is deemed a local production because it has a significant Chinese partner. The film, which is largely in English, stars Jason Statham but features Chinese actors in major roles, including one of the country’s biggest stars, Wu Jing, as well as scenes shot in China. The picture had its world premiere at the Shanghai International Film Festival in June.
Beijing’s support provides huge distribution advantages and outsized marketing access, according to Chris Fenton, an American film producer and trustee of the US-Asia Institute.
“Chinese filmgoers take pride in Meg 2’s national relevancy, leading to bigger attendance,” he said.
The film, about prehistoric megalodon sharks that terrorize modern-day ocean explorers, cost about $129 million to produce, an amount jointly financed by the two partners. China Media and its affiliates handled the distribution in that country and keep the local box-office receipts.
The first film in the series generated $530 million in ticket sales worldwide, including $153 million in China.
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