If Jurassic World's unprecedented, record-shattering $524 million worldwide gross is any indication, prehistoric creatures wreaking havoc on helpless humans have captured the imagination of moviegoers and are once again at the forefront of the current pop culture zeitgeist. One of the biggest (both figuratively and literally) crowd-pleasing dinos in the film is a gargantuan water-dwelling beast known as the Mosasaur, which is spotlighted in the trailer and has several memorable moments in the film.
Fans hungry for more ancient sea monster action could be in luck, because whenever a blockbuster like Jurassic World shatters box office records, studios often rush to acquire similar screenplays or scour their assets for properties already under control. In this case, Warner Bros. is moving forward on a long-gestating film featuring a massive, man-eating leviathan of the deep, and they want a veteran horror director to bring it to life.
According to a Variety report, director Eli Roth (Hostel, The Green Inferno) is in negotiations with the studio to helm a big-budget adaptation of the Steve Alten novel Meg, with a screenplay by Dean Geogaris (Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life, The Manchurian Candidate). Gerald Molen and Randy Greenberg will serve as executive producers, and the project will be co-financed by Gravity Pictures. One interesting note is that - in a preemptive effort to ensure higher foreign box office - Gravity's production capital was only secured after the studio agreed to switch the film's setting from the coast of California to China.
Meg (short for Megalodon) centers on the efforts of two deep-sea divers to contain an enormous prehistoric shark - one large enough to devour a freighter whole. (The novel even begins with a Meg surfacing and devouring a Tyrannosaurus rex!) Disney owned the rights back in 1997, but couldn't beat another shark-themed movie, Deep Blue Sea, into production. It was then left in limbo after that film underperformed at the box office.
Of course, just because Jurassic World blew the doors off of the box office doesn't necessarily mean it was the determining factor in getting Meg rolling. The Variety report claims Warner Bros. was "very high" on Georgaris' script before Jurassic World annihilated all financial expectations, but the timing of the story does seem curious. The studio will have to approach this project with caution and care, because while seeing a terrifying, 70-foot long shark devour people and boats with ease could make for amazing summer spectacle - without compelling human characters to oppose the behemoth and a streamlined narrative, it could be waved off by audiences as an empty, calculated attempt to ride Jurassic World's coattails.
That's why having a seasoned and skilled master of blood-and-guts horror cinema like Roth on board would go a long way toward putting the studio at ease and ensuring fan trust. Roth's abilities to create a high-level of dread and tension, as well as splatter the screen with gore, make him the ideal director to put moviegoers on the edge of their seats and likely keep them out of the oceans for a long time.
We'll bring you more news on Meg as the project develops. Are you excited about the prospect of seeing a shark devour a T. rex on screen? Let us know in the comments section.