“Meg 2: The Trench” sunk its pearly whites into $3.2 million in Thursday previews, as the followup to the 2018 Jason Statham hit is hoping to premiere to $30 million.
Critics have feasted on the film, giving it a dreadful 28% “rotten” rating on Rotten Tomatoes, but the pulverizing reviews may not have much impact on audiences who don’t turn up to these type of movies out of a desire to see a pioneering work of cinema. Instead, they’ll get a chance to witness a 75-foot-long megalodon, and other sea creatures who prefer human flesh to plankton, make short work of a group of scientists. Warner Bros. is backing the movie, which cost $129 million to produce.
“Meg 2” will do battle with Paramount and Nickelodeon’s animated adventure “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem,” which opened on Wednesday. The PG-rated family film has already generated $15.1 million, and is looking for a five-day opening of $35 million to $45 million. It earned $4.9 million on Thursday. “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” has a budget of $70 million, an economical figure given that most animated movies cost north of $100 million.
But neither movie will probably be able to dethrone “Barbie,” which continues to dominate the box office. The Warner Bros. release is the second-highest grossing movie of the year with $406 million in North America after picking up $11.8 million on Thursday.
Christopher Nolan’s “Oppenheimer” is also on the precipice of a box office milestone. The R-rated drama about physicist J. Robert Oppenheimer and his work on the atomic bomb has earned $199.9 million domestically. It should cross the $200 million mark at any moment after earning $5.6 million on Thursday. That’s a remarkable result for Universal, which backed the $100 million drama, and a sign that even a serious movie about a weighty subject can thrive at the summer box office, even when it faces competition from a very big shark.
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