It appears as though filmmaker Eli Roth won’t be making his studio debut on a monster movie for Warner Bros. anymore. The Hostel filmmaker boarded the giant shark movie Meg last summer, aiming to make the film his big studio debut, but now Roth has departed the project over budget concerns. The film has been in development for years and tells the story of two men who band together to take out a giant, prehistoric shark that’s threatening the California coast. The film almost came together in 1997 at Disney, but the failure of Deep Blue Sea caused the studio to rethink its decision.
It appears a similar situation befell Roth, as THR reports that Warner Bros. became wary of the film’s $100 million price tag after the studio’s disappointing box office performance in 2015. Indeed, Warner Bros. is apparently reconsidering much of its slate, but it’s trying to keep Meg together by entering early talks with National Treasure helmer Jon Turteltaub to take over as director as they search for a way to scale back the budget, which will include a rewrite of Dean Georgaris’ (Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life) script.
Roth is just coming off back-to-back films The Green Inferno and the home invasion thriller Knock Knock, and he told us just last fall that he had decided to go CG for the creature at the center of Meg after Warner Bros. showed him some footage from In the Heart of the Sea. I suppose the disappointing box office prospects of the Ron Howard film, in addition to costly tentpoles like Pan and The Man from U.N.C.L.E. performing below expectations, were factors in reconsidering the development of Meg.
Turteltaub most recently helmed the pilot for the Rush Hour TV series and the ensemble comedy Last Vegas, but he has experience with effects-driven pictures like 2010’s The Sorcerer’s Apprentice. That said, it’s a bummer that Roth won’t be making his studio debut on a creature feature for Warner Bros. He seemed like a pretty perfect fit for this particular material.