Over 2000 people gathered at The Civic Theatre in Auckland on Monday 13th August for a special screening of the science action thriller The Meg.
Warner Bros. Pictures, New Zealand Film Commission and Auckland Tourism, Events and Economic Development, hosted the event as a special thank you to those involved in the films production and to acknowledge the economic benefits the movie has brought to the region.
The Meg is a science action thriller about a prehistoric shark, the megalodon, starring Jason Statham, Rainn Wilson, Ruby Rose and New Zealand actor Cliff Curtis. It was filmed almost entirely in and around Auckland, with the majority of filming taking place at the purpose built Kumeu Film Studios.
Cliff Curtis who stars as “Mac” said being able to film at home in New Zealand was the number one drawcard for taking the role and also supporting the film industry in New Zealand.
“Having another great studio facility like Kumeu creates more opportunities and more jobs and puts the spotlight on our huge pool of creative talent.”
More than 900 crew worked on the production, which included 64 principal photography days, and 29 days of filming on the waters around Auckland, with up to 100 cast and crew on the water.
The Meg has also showcased New Zealand’s creative sector, with special mention by actor Jason Statham, of the design and interactive props developed for the movie.
“The technical stuff that was built, the subs the gliders, the Mana One station, blows your mind, it’s like something out of the future. Some of the subs we were in felt so real, you couldn’t get more authentic.”
Local suppliers such as Main Reactor, Rebel Fleet and Glass Hammer brought expertise to the production. Glass Hammer created the top jaw and eye of the megalodon, Main Reactor built many of the interactive props while Rebel Fleet provided technical solutions for shooting and post production.
Director Jon Turteltaub said the skill, talent and creativity is what has brought The Meg to life. “The production design was just extraordinary, and creating imagery that is massive and beautiful and strange and mysterious is fantastic.”
New Zealand Film Commission Chief Executive Annabelle Sheehan says The Meg is yet another example of how the New Zealand Screen Production Grant is generating and attracting high value productions. “The production secured Kumeu Film Studios and has enabled us to showcase our incredible talent, as well as cutting edge innovation and design. By providing employment for more than 900 people it also shows that jobs in the screen sector are stable and enduring.”
Nick Hill, Chief Executive of Auckland Tourism, Events and Economic Development, says The Meg was a catalyst for the screen industry’s largest transformational shift in Auckland.
“The value for Auckland was obviously significant in terms of employment, direct spend into our economy, and as a showcase of our industry’s capability. But beyond that, The Meg legacy was the emergence of KFS as a world-class studio asset that is in hot demand and will be the cornerstone of our industry for many years to come.”
The Meg is a joint production between Warner Bros. Pictures and China-based Gravity Pictures, and the film is one of the very first true Hollywood/China co-productions.
Set in China, The Meg is based on the best-selling book of the same name by Steve Alten and centres on a prehistoric 75-foot-long shark known as the megalodon.
The Meg successfully secured the New Zealand Screen Production Grant’s 5% uplift. A small number of international productions which qualify for the 20% grant and offer significant economic benefits to New Zealand may be invited to apply for the 5% Uplift. One of the reasons The Meg was successful was because the producers were able to deliver a range of economic benefits to New Zealand. The key factor was the legacy of multi-million-dollar facilities built for The Meg – particularly two world-class water tanks (one a 1.3 million litre underwater tank, and one 2.5 million litre for ‘ocean’ filming), and one of the largest green screen walls in the Asia-Pacific.
The Meg has already made a big splash at the box office, with opening figures sitting on US$141.3M, the biggest August opening since Suicide Squad two years ago.