Hollywood may not be making the same impact in China as it was prior to the pandemic, but Meg 2: The Trench is poised to buck that trend and take a huge bite out of the local box office, matters which are most definitely helped by its status as a co-production with the country’s CMC and other outfits.
Recruiting Wu Jing to co-star alongside Jason Statham was a smart move on paper seeing as the superstar’s filmography has racked up billions of dollars from local theaters, and even though the sequel isn’t on course to come anywhere near to matching its predecessor’s $530 million tally, what’s looking like a robust debut in China looks set to save it from becoming the summer’s latest high-profile bomb.
When asked by Collider if its status as cooperative effort caused any issues behind the scenes, director Ben Wheatley denied that compromises needed to be made in order to strike the right balance.
“I didn’t ever see it as groups of people wanting their stuff. There’s no hierarchy in that, in a way. It’s more like you’re trying to make a film that will play internationally, and China is a massive part of that international audience. We were making a film that wasn’t like, “Oh, look at the differences between East and West, and the funny confusions between people.” It’s not that. It’s just like an international crew of people, of characters, working together towards a goal of basically surviving or whatever.
And we had Chinese writers who were kind of helping with making sure that Wu Jing’s character would fit within culturally, so there was no clumsiness from our side, and it would all make sense to the Chinese audience. We just paid really clear attention to those little bits of detail that would help the Chinese audience. But equally, we didn’t want that to overbear the western side of it, so it was a very subtle balance between the two as much as we could.”
Meg 2 is on course to earn less than $30 million in domestic ticket sales this weekend, but a worldwide opening of anywhere up to $140 million remains on the cards, and it won’t be a shock to discover that China is set to be its largest marked. Whether or not it matches the opener’s $153 million haul from those shores alone remains an entirely different question, though.