When the trailer landed for Meg 2: The Trench, it was clear that it carries over some of the not-at-all serious tone of the first movie. This was a surprise, as the hiring of Ben Wheatley had set some expectations, mainly that his genre roots would be evident. The first movie was directed by Jon Turteltaub, family film expert and the man behind the National Treasure movies. Could Wheatley’s resume be any more different?
Giving an interview to Total Film Wheatley revealed that he was lucky enough to get a lot of time to figure things out. The reason was COVID, and he used delays to make sure he had clarity of approach and a plan before they even started shooting. This also meant he took almost the opposite approach to things such as, for example, the MCU. He could keep the new film’s budget on track and the FX work was not pushed blowing out like so many other films this year have. Namely, he went old school and used downtime during COVID to map out the entire film ahead of time:
“By the time I got to ‘The Meg,’ I’d done a lot of effects work, and I had an inkling of it. And because of the pandemic, I had an extra six or seven months, so I storyboarded the whole thing, every frame of it. So when we came to start it, there was a massive amount of prep that had been done. I don’t like the idea of these tales of people making it up on the day. I wanted every dollar on screen.”
As many Outposters have spoken about recently, movies are simply too expensive these days. The first movie was made for significantly less than $200 million, even with a 20-year development budget to absorb from numerous failed attempts to bring it to the screen. It was Warner Bros. surprise hit of that summer, with audiences seeming to embrace its sense of fun and silliness. It pulled in $530.2 million at the box office. The second movie is not thought to have a higher budget, a rare example of cost control in a summer blockbuster.
Meg 2: The Trench opens in cinemas on August 4th.
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