The Meg takes a $44.5 million bite out of the box office

Moviegoers are swimming with the shark this weekend.

Warner Bros’. summer thriller The Meg is on track to earn an estimated $44.5 million in ticket sales from 4,118 theaters in the U.S. and Canada from Friday through Sunday, exceeding expectations and unseating Mission: Impossible — Fallout for the No. 1 box office spot.

Heading into the weekend, The Meg had been expected to debut in the $18 million to $22 million range. Marking a high-profile collaboration between Warner Bros. and China’s Gravity Pictures, The Meg cost at least $130 million to produce and will have to perform well overseas to be considered a hit. It’s off to a solid start, grossing an estimated $96.8 million in international markets, including China, this weekend.

Directed by Jon Turteltaub and based on a novel by Steve Alten, The Meg stars Jason Statham as a rescue diver who faces off with a prehistoric shark — the titular megalodon — to save a research team. The cast also includes Li Bingbing, Rainn Wilson, and Ruby Rose.

Critics’ reviews have been underwhelming, but audiences gave The Meg a decent B-plus CinemaScore.

Taking second place this weekend is Mission: Impossible — Fallout, with an estimated $20 million. That brings the film’s domestic total to an estimated $162 million after 17 days in theaters, plus another $275.6 million overseas, for a worldwide total of about $437.6 million.

Disney’s live-action Winnie the Pooh movie Christopher Robin will take third place, with about $12.4 million. After 10 days, its North American total sits at an estimated $50 million.

Rounding out the top five are two newcomers: Sony’s horror movie Slender Man, with an estimated $11.3 million from 2,358 theaters, and Focus Features’ BlacKkKlansman, with an estimated $10.8 million from 1,512 theaters. That’s a decent debut for Slender Man, which cost a modest $10 million to make, though the film’s D-minus CinemaScore suggests dreary word-of-mouth prospects.

As for BlacKkKlansman, the film represents the best opening in more than a decade for director and co-writer Spike Lee. Based on Ron Stallworth’s memoir, the film stars John David Washington as an African-American detective in 1972  Colorado who, with the help of a white partner (Adam Driver), goes undercover to infiltrate the local chapter of the Ku Klux Klan.

BlacKkKlansman has received excellent reviews, with many critics hailing it as a return to form for Lee, while audiences gave it an A-minus CinemaScore.

According to ComScore, overall box office is up 8.4 percent year-to-date. Check out the Aug. 10-12 figures below.

1. The Meg — $44.5 million
2. Mission: Impossible — Fallout — $20 million
3. Christopher Robin — $12.4 million
4. Slender Man — $11.3 million
5. BlacKkKlansman — $10.8 million
6. The Spy Who Dumped Me — $6.6 million
7. Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again — $5.8 million
8. The Equalizer 2 — $5.5 million
9. Hotel Transylvania 3 — $5.1 million
10. Ant-Man and the Wasp — $4 million








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