Patience was definitely a virtue for the making of this upcoming monster flick.
The best things come to those who wait, so they say.
Sometimes, the wait is worth it, as was the case for Incredibles 2, which took 14 years to hit screens after its initial release and raked in over $1 billion (AED 3.6 billion) globally in cinemas this summer.
The same can be said for Star Wars, Jurassic World and Deadpool, which all proved that the test of time can be a stroke of genius when it comes to developing a box office big hitter – even when it’s unintentional.
In the biz, the phenomenon is usually described as ‘development limbo’. A cinematic purgatory where scripts are redrafted, actors are replaced, finances run dry and production companies pass movie rights around in a game of hot potato, it’s a place where good ideas get stymied by bureaucracy.
Some films, such as Bill and Ted 3, Beetlejuice 2 and World War Z 2, never made it out. But for The Meg, set to hit cinemas on 9th August, there is some small victory to be had in finally making waves after 22 years of waiting.
The story began in 1997, when self-confessed Jaws fan and author Steve Alten, struggling to support his family of five, got a bright idea for a book. Inspired by the tales of the ocean deep, he set to work on a novel about a shark of leviathan proportions – the megalodon – believed to be extinct for more than two million years.
“The megalodon is something that was alive until a few million years ago,” Alten told Variety, speaking about the inspiration for the book.
“And only one percent of the deep water in the world has ever been explored. Are there thousands still around? Probably not, but you never completely know what’s down there.”
In the tale, when a plucky palaeontologist discovers that the big fish is still alive and well in the Mariana Trench in the Pacific Ocean, the sea beast attacks, leaving the crew stranded and triggering a rescue mission of epic proportions.
Looks like we’re gonna need a bigger boat.
So why has it taken over two decades for The Meg to see the light of day? After the novel was published in 1997, things initially looked bright as Disney picked up the movie rights. Disney dropped the project, but New Line Cinema stepped in at the height of a financial crisis, only to let it lapse once more as funds ran dry.
Finally, Warner took the bait in 2015 and production began on the monster tale. Time will tell whether or not The Meg will make good on its 22-year wait, but it seems that audiences are in for a turbulent ride with suspense, laughs and plenty of bite, if screenwriter Erich Hoeber is anything to go by.
“The Meg is like Sharknado if it had a $150 million budget and a heart,” he joked. “We know that it’s outrageous, but it’s also a lot of fun. So the people you want to get eaten by the shark are going to get eaten by the shark.”
Starring: Jason Statham, Ruby Rose, Rainn Wilson and Bingbing Li
Directed by: Jon Turteltaub
Running time: 115 mins
WORDS Camille Hogg