The Meg, Jason Statham

Warner Bros.

Never bet against a giant shark!

You know what? Jason Statham may not have liked that PG-13 "The Meg" was less gory and bloody than he originally wanted. But it probably helped it at the box office ... which was the whole point of that family friendly change.

"The Meg" picked up $44.5 million in its opening weekend, which was apparently shocking to all the people who whip up estimates for these things.

As Deadline put it: "Tracking, the industry nor Warner Bros. ever thought that another shark movie had the potential to open at this level..."

As Variety put it: "The estimate is significantly higher than earlier predictions, which had placed the film in the $20 million to $22 million frame."

Yeah, but tracking numbers are as reliable as voting poll numbers -- sometimes they're dead-on, sometimes they're close, but occasionally they're way, way off.

"The Meg" has a Cinemascore of B+, a Metascore of 45, and about 49 percent from Rotten Tomatoes critics. The RT Audience Score is 63, and IMDb users currently have it at 6.2.

It looked like it might be a meh movie to do OK. It did better than OK. It also picked up $97 million at the foreign box office for a current total of $141.5 million. But considering the reported production budget was $130 million -- not counting marketing and other factors -- it still has an uphill climb to be a major money-maker.

Mission: Impossible - Fallout gif

Paramount Pictures

So "The Meg" pushed "Mission: Impossible - Fallout" to second place for the first time since Henry Cavill's guns reloaded two weekends ago. "M:I-6" nabbed another $20 million on the domestic front.

That beat "Christopher Robin," again, leaving Pooh in third place with $12.4 million.

"Slender Man," which has a D- Cinemascore, somehow found itself making $11.3 million to take No. 4 on the weekend box office chart.

Spike Lee's "BlacKkKlansman," which got an A- Cinemascore, picked up fifth place with $10.8 million. It has a stronger per-screen average than "Slender Man," but "Slender Man" was given about a thousand more screens for its opening.


Focus Features

The rest of the top 10 was shared by "The Spy Who Dumped Me" at No. 6, followed by "Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again," "The Equalizer 2," "Hotel Transylvania 3: Summer Vacation," and "Ant-Man and the Wasp."

The "Mamma Mia!" and "Equalizer" sequels have been very close on the weekend box office charts since Denzel trumped ABBA in the first weekend. But "Mamma Mia! 2" has beaten the assassin every time since they opened, and now it has really broken away. "Here We Go Again" just passed $100 million at the domestic box office, and it's dancing off with a much higher overall tally so far.

"Incredibles 2" just missed the top 10 this week, but still managed to do better than "Dog Days," which opened this week at No. 12 with $2.63 million. And "Dog Days" actually played in a handful *more* theaters than "Slender Man."

What's next?

Get crazy excited for "Crazy Rich Asians," which opens this coming Wednesday for a head start on what is hoped to be a big debut.

[Via: Deadline, Box Office Mojo, Variety]

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