If anyone was ever in doubt about how important the overseas box office is for certain films, look no further than Meg 2: The Trench, the sequel to 2018's surprise hit The Meg, which starred Jason Statham as Jonas Taylor. The Meg was a fun, if slightly too serious film given the subject matter—enormous prehistoric shark terrorising panicking undersea fodder—but the film ended up making $529 million worldwide.
The sequel brought Ben Wheatley aboard, the director behind the harrowing and bleak movies like In The Earth, High Rise, Kill List and Sightseers. However, Wheatley's movies all have a streak of very dark humour in them, and that humour's been brought out tenfold in Meg 2, which sees Statham return to punch three megalodons instead of just one. Despite what was considered an underwhelming opening weekend of $30 million domestic, the movie has absolutely exploded overseas, reaching a total of $316 million in just 16 days. More importantly, $250 million of this has come from the international box office.
That's vitally important, for a number of reasons. Firstly, it marks 79% of the film's total gross but also underlines how crucial the international co-operation on the film is. As with The Meg, Meg 2 was a co-production between the United States and China, as CMC Pictures (China Media Capital) was a heavy contributor in the funding of the film. It also features Chinese megastar Wu Jing in a starring, and heroic, role in the movie. Jing, coincidentally, starred in The Battle of Lake Changjin, an enormous box office sensation that holds the distinction of being both the highest grossing Chinese movie of all time, the highest grossing film in worldwide history to never top the domestic box office, a distinction it may lose soon.
The film never bashes this co-operation over the audience's head, and is all the better for it. And it's been rewarded with that worldwide haul of money, as the film continues to play very strongly overseas. Almost a third of the global takings ($94.8 million) have come from China, while the film carried a budget of $129 million. So once again, if you ever underestimated the importance of foreign markets, look no further than Statham and his shark-punching friends. Meg 3 seems all but assured at this point.