Very much a throwback creature feature –– with all the advantages and disadvantages that implies –– 2018’s ‘The Meg’ pitted Jason Statham up against a giant, prehistoric Megalodon shark for some campy, swimmer-snacking action.

It faced a mixed critical reaction but did good business at the box office, earning more than $530 million worldwide from a $130 million budget.

So, how do you follow that? If you’re Warner Bros., you switch up directors (British genre expert Ben Wheatley replaces Jon Turteltaub), and double down on the shark action.

The first trailer for ‘Meg 2: The Trench’ is the first look at the result…

‘Meg 2: The Trench’ opens in theaters on August 4th.

‘Meg 2: The Trench’ opens in theaters on August 4th.

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What’s the setup for ‘Meg 2: The Trench’?

The new movie sees the return of Statham’s Jonas Taylor, who in the first movie was haunted by the megalodon shark attack that massacred his crew and the people he was trying to save in his capacity as a navy diver. Few believed his report about the giant creature, and it cost him his marriage, his job and his honor.

He recouped at least the last two when he helped a research team out after they disturbed the giant creature. But that film hinted there could be more Megs out there.

For the sequel, Taylor and a character played by Wu Jing lead a daring research team on an exploratory dive into the deepest depths of the ocean. Their voyage spirals into chaos when a malevolent mining operation threatens their mission and forces them into a high stakes battle for survival. Pitted against colossal Megs and relentless environmental plunderers, our heroes must outrun, outsmart, and outswim their merciless predators in a pulse-pounding race against time.

And this time, it’s not just sharks lurking in the ocean –– there are other creatures waiting to destroy property and consume unwary swimmers and pedal boaters. From the looks of the trailer, the tone is still very much ‘Deep Blue Sea’, but bigger.

Jason Statham in 2018's 'The Meg.'

Jason Statham in 2018's 'The Meg.'

Here’s what Wheatley told Total Film about his hopes for the movie.

“The thrill side of it is super-important. But it’s summer thrills, rather than gory thrills. Things can still be edge-of-your-seat without them having to be what happens in ‘In The Earth’ [his harrowing horror movie from last year]. That’s what we’ve been concentrating on – the handling of tension, of action, and looking at a lot of... well, basically Spielberg."

And here’s what attracted him to take on a big-spectacle film,

“There’s something very blue-collar about all of it, the nuts and bolts, and they’re not superheroes. Even though they do quite outlandish stuff, there’s a vulnerability to them, which is exciting. There’s something about the superhero genre where, much as I enjoy it, as it gets bigger and bigger and bigger, there’s problems with the way they’re just invulnerable. That lessens the tension. I like human risk. That side of it is interesting to me.”

We’ll find out whether his gamble paid off when ‘Meg 2: The Trench’ chomps its way into theaters on August 4th.

‘Meg 2: The Trench’ opens in theaters on August 4th.

‘Meg 2: The Trench’ opens in theaters on August 4th.

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Buy 'The Meg' On Amazon

'Meg 2: The Trench’ is produced by Apelles Entertainment, Warner Bros. Pictures, di Bonaventura Pictures, and CMC Pictures. It is scheduled to release in theaters on August 4th, 2023.