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47 Meters Down was a shocking and surprising hit movie in 2017 that appeared to arrive out of absolutely nowhere. The film starring a pre-This is Us Mandy Moore, alongside Clair Holt as young sisters trapped in a shark cage while on a fantasy vacation, was made on a shoestring, $6 million dollar budget, went on to gross more than $61 million dollars worldwide. Naturally, despite an ending that doesn’t exactly tease a sequel, producers are eager to capitalize on the hit.
A sequel called 47 Meters Down: Uncaged has not only been given the green light, it’s actually been completed and is headed to theaters on August 16th. The first teaser trailer and marketing bits for 47 Meters Down: Uncaged have now hit the net. Here are five takeaways from the teaser trailer and the news surrounding 47 Meters Down: Uncaged.
1. Entertainment Studios Motion Pictures:
I will admit that I cringed when I saw the logo for Entertainment Studios Motion Pictures. The low budget feature arm of Entertainment Studios, which made its name with comedian Byron Allen’s unending late night weekend syndicated chat shows and Court Room based reality TV knockoffs, doesn't exactly have a great reputation. Entertainment Studios Motion Pictures kicked off its theatrical release division with 47 Meters Down in 2017 and used that hit to launch a, fair to say, mediocre run of releases since.
The passable thrills of 47 Meters Down in 2017 were followed by the dreadful and box office anemic Friend Request. Then, Entertainment went out and acquired an Oscar contender in Christian Bale’s brilliant western Hostiles, which narrowly eked out a profit for the company after failing to make an awards splash. From there, Entertainment Studios has churned out Hurricane Heist, an admitted blast of wonderful nonsense, and the abysmal twofer of box office and critical bombs Chappaquiddick and Replicas.
What will that reputation mean for 47 Meters Down: Uncaged remains to be seen.
2. Spoiler Alert: No returning cast members
Now that Mandy Moore has a hit TV show on her hands she has no need to return to low budget shark movies. The star of This is Us was, along with the shark, the biggest drawing card of 47 Meters Down and while the shark gets the most credit, I really enjoyed Moore’s performance as Lisa, who wakes to find her sister has been eaten by the great white she had hallucinated having escaped. Lisa survived the end of the first movie but with Moore’s increasing profile and price tag, and the desire to stay in the realm of the super-low budget, there was no need to bring her back.
Besides, the shark was the biggest star of 47 Meters Down, though, spoiler alert, the one eyed beast from the first film, also does not return for the sequel… as far as we know.
3. Sistine Stallone:
A quick check of the cast list from IMDB reveals that Sly Stallone’s daughter, Sistine Rose Stallone, is playing one of the four young women who get caught up in some underwater catacombs, potentially to become #SharkBait, more on that in a moment, when a giant shark traps them. 47 Meters Down: Uncaged marks Sistine Stallone’s feature film debut. Her previous credits are mostly as part of archived footage of her father on Entertainment Tonight and as a former Miss Golden Globes at the 2016 Golden Globe Awards.
Another cringy bit, Entertainment Studios marketers have signaled their intent to use the hashtag #SharkBait as the big social media catchphrase for the movie. What is ostensibly a thriller or perhaps a horror movie is nevertheless being given a comic catchphrase to sell it. Does this signal an ugly turn toward selling the shark as an anti-hero and the victims as mere fodder for fishy gore? It would not surprise me, although director Johannes Roberts, who returns here, didn’t treat the first movie with anything less than serious thriller intent. Let’s hope the marketing team is behind this and it has nothing to do with the filmmakers.
Just to add a little more cringe to this hashtag debacle, Entertainment Studios Motion Pictures next feature, before releasing 47 Meters Down: Uncaged, is a documentary called Bethany Hamilton: Unstoppable. Bethany Hamilton, for the unfamiliar, is the teen surfing star who lost an arm to a shark attack and made a heroic comeback. Tone deaf barely describes the marketing team at Entertainment Studios.
5. Opening Weekend Competition
47 Meters Uncaged opens on August 16th with some stiff competition. The shark horror will be up against the buzz heavy comedy Good Boys from Seth Rogen and the team behind Superbad and the female niche movie Where’d You Go Bernadette starring Cate Blanchett. The R-Rating for Good Boys actually could work in the favor of 47 Meters Down: Uncaged. 47 Meters Down succeeded in part because of its PG-13 rating which gave the film a major advantage over competition that included the R-Rated Scarlett Johannson comedy Rough Night, which 47 Meters Down notably topped at the box office despite a far smaller marketing push.
One big question hanging over 47 Meters Down is just how big a star is the shark? Mandy Moore drove a little bit of the box office for the first film. John Corbett and Nia Long will not likely carry the same cache, especially as they are only bit players here to a cast of unknowns. 47 Meters Down: Uncaged will have one other advantage however, opening in August means following just two weeks after the ever-popular "Shark Week" on the Discovery Channel. The original film had already come and gone by the time Shark 2017 hit the air. Entertainment Studios would be wise to create a marketing stir around the debut of "Shark Week" 2019, which gets underway on July 28th.