Although he may never have troubled with Oscar nominations, Jason Statham has built up a cult following of fans since bursting into the scene with Guy Ritchie's Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels and has proven himself a top tier action star in movies such as the The Transporter series. He also surprised many by displaying impressive comic chops in the Melissa McCarthy-led Spy. Statham's latest project sees him take to the high seas in Meg - a shark thriller that continues Hollywood's ongoing fascination with the deadly sea creatures.
Meg is based on the 1997 Steve Alten novel about an ocean0dwelling Megalodon that survives into the modern day by hiding in the Mariana Trench. Statham plays ex Navy Captain and deep sea diver, Jonas Taylor, who retired after tangling with the beast once before and is subsequently recruited to rescue a team of Chinese scientists trapped at the bottom of the ocean, under attack from the creature. The movie is being co-produced between American and Chinese studios and after another recent joint-venture - The Great Wall - flopped in both countries, everyone involved will be hoping for more luck this time around.
Unfortunately, they'll have to wait a little longer before finding out as Variety have reported that the project has been bumped back by five months. Originally slated to drop on March 2nd next year, Meg's release has been moved to August 10th. The movie will still be released in 3D and IMAX. It is currently not known whether this decision is due to delays in shooting or simply a marketing tactic.
Although the reason for the delay is unclear, the fact that the timing of this decision coincides with the news of The Great Wall's disappointing box office numbers is unlikely to be a coincidence. Keen to ensure the same fate doesn't fall upon Meg, Warner Bros. and Gravity Pictures may have attempted to give the movie the best possible chance to succeed. Its original release date would've seen Meg go up against a Fox-produced Marvel movie - possibly something like New Mutants.
In terms of its concept and story, it certainly could be argued that Meg has a healthier chance of success than The Great Wall ever did. Movie fans love a good shark story - as evidenced by Jaws - and the sub-genre has had a recent resurgence thanks to the 'so bad it's good' Sharknado franchise. While Meg will likely be very different from those movies, it does at least set its stall out quite clearly.
With that said, perhaps these collaborations between American and Chinese studios are simply bound to fail. Despite the belief that since some Hollywood movies do very well over in China, co-productions would allow studios to further tailor their products to an Asian audience, the result so far as been middling from both audiences. Perhaps this shouldn't be too surprising; after all, the two countries have vastly different cinematic cultures and histories. Whether Meg can prove that statement wrong, only time - plus an additional five months - will tell.
Meg hits theaters on August 10th 2018.