American-Chinese co-production “The Meg” tops North American box office in opening weekend

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LOS ANGELES, Aug 12 (Xinhua) — An American-Chinese co-production, “The Meg,” dominated North American box office with an estimated 44.5 million U.S. dollars in its opening weekend, well surpassing all expectations.

The science fiction shark film, based on the New York Times best-selling novel “Meg: A Novel of Deep Terror” by Steve Alten, is a presentation of Warner Bros. Pictures and China’s Gravity Pictures. It is a production of di Bonaventura Pictures, Apelles Entertainment, Maeday Productions, Inc., and Flagship Entertainment, in association with Beijing Digital Impression (BDI) Film, Inc. The film was distributed in China by Gravity Pictures, and throughout the rest of the world by Warner Bros. Pictures.

Directed by Jon Turteltaub, “The Meg” stars English action star Jason Statham and award-winning Chinese actress Li Bingbing among others. Filming on the film was accomplished on location in China and New Zealand.

The plot follows a group of scientists who encounter a pre-historic 75-foot-long (23 m) Megalodon shark. With time running out, expert deep sea rescue diver Jonas Taylor (Jason Statham) is recruited by a visionary Chinese oceanographer (Winston Chao), against the wishes of his daughter Suyin (Li Bingbing), to save the crew-and the ocean itself-from this unstoppable threat.

“Meg” marks Warner Bros.’ biggest opening of the year in North American so far. The film brought even more in China with an impressive 50.3 million dollars this weekend for a total overseas opening of 96.8 million dollars and global weekend cume of 141.3 million dollars.

The film received a “B+” from moviegoers on CinemaScore.

“An insatiable audience appetite for shark movies continues,” wrote movie analyst Paul Dergarabedian at comScore in an email to Xinhua, adding that the film took a much bigger-than-expected bite out of the box office.

Paramount’s action film “Mission: Impossible – Fallout” moved to second place with an estimated 20 million dollars in its third weekend. The film has collected 161.9 million dollars in North America for a global cume of 437.5 million dollars through Sunday, according to studio figures collected by comScore.

Starring Tom Cruise as Ethan Hunt, “Mission: Impossible – Fallout” is the sixth installment in the franchise. Directed by Christopher McQuarrie, the film also stars Ving Rhames, Simon Pegg, Rebecca Ferguson, Sean Harris, Michelle Monaghan and Alec Baldwin, all of whom reprise their roles from previous films. McQuarrie is the first director to helm two films in the franchise.

Disney’s fantasy comedy film “Christopher Robin” came in third with an estimated 12.43 million dollars in its second weekend. The film has earned a total of 50 million dollars in North America. Directed by Marc Forster, the film is inspired by A. A. Milne and E. H. Shepard’s book “Winnie-the-Pooh.” It’s a live-action extension of the Disney franchise of the same name. The plot follows Christopher Robin as he has grown up and lost his sense of imagination, only to be reunited with his old stuffed bear friend, Winnie-the-Pooh.

Sony’s suspenseful horror “Slender Man” opened in fourth place with an estimated 11.32 million dollars in its opening weekend in North America.

Distributed by the Focus Features and Universal Pictures, another newcomer, biographical crime film “BlacKkKlansman” finished fifth with an estimated 10.8 million dollars in North America through Sunday.

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