Ben Wheatley has refused to comment on whether his next film, The Meg 2, will be R-rated. Steve Alten, the author of the book The Meg is based on, had previously said that the film could be R-rated while praising the dark script.
In an interview with The Digital Fix, however, when we asked if The Meg 2 would be gory enough to get the more adult rating, Wheatley rather cagily replied: “Nothing I can tell you about that. No, I don’t know.” The Meg 2, provisionally titled The Trench, is a sequel to 2018’s The Meg, which saw Jason Statham go up against a megalodon, a humungous prehistoric shark.
Work reportedly began on the movie shortly after its release but it was only in 2020 that Wheatley was announced as director, with Statham returning as well. Plot details are currently unknown, but in an interview with Den of Geek, Wheatley teased that Statham may face more than one gigantic shark. He said: “I don’t think I can say at the moment what’s going on, the ins and outs of it. But guaranteed, there will be a Megalodon, maybe more than one.”
While we’re excited to see what Ben comes up with for The Meg 2 (the man’s never shy about showing a bit of blood), if we were to speculate, we think it’s unlikely the film will be R-rated for one simple reason: money.
Realistically, R-rated films tend to make less at the box office than movies with less restrictive ratings because their potential audience is smaller. This means Hollywood as a general rule tends to prefer to stick to the PG-13 rating so they can get more bums in seats and earn more cash. That said, the financial success of films like Deadpool and IT: Chapter One show that more adult films can still draw in the crowds if given a chance, so maybe Warner Bros. will cut Wheatley some slack.
While we wait for more concrete news on The Meg 2, it’s worth mentioning Wheatley has a new film in cinema this week, In the Earth. A surreal and haunting horror, In the Earth is a meditation on the pandemic, lockdown, and the dangers of a false narrative through the lens of folk horror.
Wheatley told The Digital Fix: “It was all part of a thing of trying to deal with feelings of what was going on in my own life, you know, and trying to process lockdown.” He continued: “So partially, it’s about the lockdown, but partially it’s about the kind of erosion of truth and narrative as a weapon, and all those things that have been happening and played out over the last year or so, and we’re still dealing with.”
In the Earth hits cinemas on June 18, with previews on June 17.