Warner Bros.’ shark pic The Meg, starring perennial action star Jason Statham, grossed a promising $4 million in Thursday-evening previews as it swam into North American theaters.
The big question is whether The Meg can beat prerelease tracking and earn more than $20 million in its domestic debut against a budget of $150 million (the studio says the net budget was $130 million).
The Meg is hoping for a far bigger return offshore. China’s Gravity put up a significant portion of the budget, and is handling distribution duties in China, where the movie opens Friday.
The movie earned $7.2 million from its first raft and markets on Thursday. In China, the movie is pacing to gross a solid $16 million on Friday, putting it at No. 2 behind two local films. So far in China, The Meg out is outpacing San Andreas, Skyscraper and Geostorm.
Li Bingbing, Rainn Wilson, Ruby Rose, Winston Chao and Cliff Curtis co-star in the film, which follows a group of scientists trying to stop a mammoth shark from causing destruction.
In summer 1975, director Steven Spielberg made history with the classic shark film Jaws.