Gravity Pictures has confirmed that there are already plans to make a sequel to surprise summer blockbuster The Meg. The Chinese distribution and production house provided much of the financing for what turned out to be one of this year's most unexpected successes.
Based on the book series by Steve Alten, The Meg saw Jason Statham and a team of unlucky oceanographers as they fought to contain not one, but two giant prehistoric sharks that were accidentally released. The sharks had managed to avoid both extinction (and evolution) because they'd been trapped in a warmer portion of the Mariana Trench, due to a layer of frigid water that served as an impermeable barrier. The team manages to fend off the first shark and then its much larger cousin, as well as curtail the delusions of grandeur of Rainn Wilson's billionaire villain. What the film lacked in overall substance, it made up for in exceptional special effects and Jason Statham's brilliant self-parody. The film made an extremely impressive $100 million worldwide in its first weekend, and has gone on to gross over $500 million since its release - a huge return on its original $150 million dollar budget.
So, it's no surprise that Deadline reports out of the U.S.-China Entertainment Summit that when producer Catherine Xujun Ying was asked if there were plans for a Meg sequel she replied, "That's definitely the plan." Ying went on to say that everything was in "the very early stages," and currently they were working hard to keep things under wraps. Deadline also reports that producer Belle Avery has already purchased the rights to the novel series the film was based on, and that there are already Meg-themed amusement park rides in the works in China. All signs point to Gravity Pictures betting on The Meg turning into a franchise.
The question now at hand is what The Meg's sequels will look like. Fans can most likely expect to see a fair amount of story pulled from the books if the first film was any indication, but what will the rating be? Most action/horror sequels need to up the ante from the original, but The Meg cut a significant amount of gore and violence in order to keep its PG-13 rating.
The sequel will either have to get innovative with special effects and prehistoric creatures (which is pretty possible given the breadth of the source material), or they'll have to lean on increased blood and guts as Statham originally wanted. There's also the larger question of whether or not The Meg can pull off the perfect balance of cheese, action and fantastic monsters that made it so successful the first time around. Either way, it's safe to say fans haven't seen the last of what that heated pocket in the Mariana Trench has to offer. What will come out of it next (and how audiences will receive it) remains to be seen.