‘The Meg’ Swims Away With Surprising $44M-$45M Opening Weekend

EARLY SUNDAY AM UPDATE: Warner Bros./China Gravity’s co-production The Meg is swimming in with an opening between $44M-$45M at 4,118 theaters — the second widest August release after Suicide Squad (4,255 locations).

This is to be commended. Tracking, the industry nor Warner Bros. ever thought that another shark movie had the potential to open at this level which one studio insider heralded as “the largest live action shark movie opening ever at the box office” (that’s true, while the legendary Jaws franchise was released at a significantly smaller run of theaters back in the ’80s, the last notable shark opening at the B.O. was Warner’s own Deep Blue Sea at $19.1M).

Meg held fantastically well on Saturday with $16.3M, -1% from Friday’s $16.5M, which remember includes $4M of Thursday previews. Technically, Saturday is really +30% over Friday which means that Meg wasn’t frontloaded like a genre movie.

Given how high Warner’s has opened Meg here off a B+ CinemaScore, they can certainly get the movie past $100M stateside. The grade carries a 3.2 multiple which puts Meg at around $144M, but Warrners has propelled these cinematic Asian exports like Pacific Rim ($37.2M opening, $101.8M domestic) and Rampage ($35.7M, with a domestic that we’re told will ultimately cross $100M). This bodes quite well for this year’s August box office which collapsed last year delivering a 20-year low of around $657.7M.

Profitability is a whole other topic when it comes to Meg and we’ll assess that in the days to come. Warners says this Sino-Foreign co-production cost $130M net, we’ve heard from people who have knowledge of the production cost that it’s $178M. The latter number isn’t out of the realm for what these types of Chinese co-productions cost, read The Great Wall ($150M), Warcraft ($160M), etc.

We’ll have more updates for you later, and studios have yet to report, but among the new stuff, Sony’s Slender Man is coming in at an estimated $11.2M at 2,358 in fourth place which isn’t scary enough to keep moviegoers. The movie received a D- CinemaScore. Focus Features’ BlacKkKlansman improved over the weekend, now looking at an estimated $10.8M opening at 1,512 after a Saturday that was $4.1M, +14% over Friday’s $3.6M. BlacKkKlansman‘s 3-day bests the debuts of The Birth of a Nation ($7M) and Detroit‘s second weekend wide break in 3K theaters ($7.1M). CinemaScore crowds gave the Spike Lee movie an A- CinemaScore with PostTrak crowds saying that the pic has a great 67% definite recommend and 85% overall positive score.

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