The Jason Statham/Li Bingbing vehicle will debut for Chinese New Year audiences a full two weeks before it attacks the rest of the world in early 2018.
Chinese audiences will be the first to see shark thriller Meg (巨齿鲨) during Chinese New Year 2018, before opening throughout the rest of the world two weeks later.
Shooting is already underway in Auckland for the film that stars British action hero Jason Statham and Chinese actress Li Bingbing.
The adaptation of Steve Alten’s 1997 novel swapped out a California location for a Chinese coastline setting, with the change helping to bring China’s Gravity Pictures on as a co-producer and co-financier.
Meg will be distributed in China by Gravity Pictures during Chinese New Year 2018, which falls on February 16, and throughout the rest of the world by Warner Bros. Pictures, a Warner Entertainment Company, slated for release on March 2, 2018.
Actress Fan Bingbing was originally meant to fill the lead female role in the film but was later replaced by Li after Fan announced her departure from the project due to a hectic schedule.
Li’s management clarified with China Film Insider that the actress originally turned down an invitation last year to join the film due to scheduling conflicts but later accepted a second invitation when it was proffered.
Li, who is best known outside of China for her roles in Transformers: Age of Extinction, Forbidden Kingdom, and Resident Evil: Retribution will play the role of Dr. Zhang Suyin, the lead oceanographer. Zhang works together with a former naval captain (Statham) to rescue a deep-sea submersible trapped at the bottom of the Marianas Trench before it succumbs to the attacks of a Megalodon, an extinct species of giant shark.
In addition to New Zealand, filming for Meg is also being accomplished on location in China. Scouting for locations in China will begin this year, according to local media reports.
Also part of the confirmed cast are Winston Chao, Sophia Shuya Cai, Cliff Curtis, Rainn Wilson, Ruby Rose, Page Kennedy, Jessica McNamee, Ólafur Darri Ólafsson, Robert Taylor, and Masi Oka.
Meg is being directed by Jon Turteltaub, whose past films include the National Treasure movies and Last Vegas.
Lorenzo di Bonaventura, Belle Avery, and Colin Wilson are producing the film, with Wayne Wei Jiang, Randy Greenberg, Barrie M. Osborne and Gerald R. Molen serving as executive producers.
It is being produced by di Bonaventura Pictures, Apelles Entertainment, Maeday Productions, Inc., and Flagship Entertainment, in association with Beijing Digital Impression (BDI) Film.