Brow Beat

Box Office Metaphor Roundup: Here Are All the Different Shark Jokes People Made While Reporting on The Meg

A giant shark eating a surfer in a still from The Meg.
Ok, so if the surfer represents money in moviegoers’ bank accounts, and the giant shark represents The Meg… Apelles Entertainment

Preface to the Third Edition

This anthology is designed to be used in those indispensable college-level courses in which students are introduced, many for the first time, to the shark-related jokes, puns, and metaphors used by box office reporters over the weekend of Aug. 11–12, 2018 when covering the $44.5 million domestic box office and $97 million in foreign box office earned by The Meg, a movie about a shark. For ease of use, the selections in the anthology have been arranged based on the literary period or school the author is most associated with, rather than slavishly following a strict chronology. The editors humbly dedicate this volume to Professor Thresher Q. Hammerhead of Cornell, without whose thoughtful advice and patient counsel this anthology would never have existed.

Chapter One: Shark Jokes About the Box Office Results of The Meg

• “Following hits like The Shallows and 47 Meters Down, the shark movie—43 years after Steven Spielberg’s Jaws—has been showing surprising bite at the box office.” – Jake Coyle, Associated Press
• “Warner Bros./China Gravity’s co-production The Meg is swimming in with an opening of $44.5M at 4,118 theaters, per Warner Bros.—the second-widest August release after Suicide Squad (4,255 locations).” – Anthony D’Alessandro, Deadline
• “Warner Bros.’ The Meg has snuck up on an unsuspecting box office and devoured a $44 million opening weekend from 4,119, well above the $25 million projected by box office trackers this past week.” – Jeremy Fuster, The Wrap.
• “Moviegoers are swimming with the shark this weekend.” – Oliver Gettell, Entertainment Weekly.
• “Warner Bros.’ over-the-top sci-fi thriller “The Meg” took an unexpectedly massive chomp out of the North American box office with $44.5 million in ticket sales, according to figures from measurement firm ComScore.” – Sonaiya Kelley, Los Angeles Times
• “The Meg Has Surprisingly Huge Bite With $44.5M U.S. Debut” – Pamela McClintock, Hollywood Reporter.
• “The Meg devoured the competition at the domestic box office.” – Rebecca Rubin, Variety.
• “The Meg took a shark-sized bite out of the international box office.” – Rebecca Rubin, Variety.
• “Warner Bros/Gravity Pictures’ prehistoric shark took a whale of a bite out of the box office in its opening this session as it surprised both at home and abroad.” – Nancy Tartaglione, Deadline

Chapter Two: The Restoration

No one wrote about the box office results of The Meg during the Restoration.


Coyle, Jake, 1.
D’Alessandro, Anthony, 1.
Fuster, Jeremy, 1.
Gettell, Oliver, 1.
Hammerhead, Professor Thresher Q., 1.
Kelley, Sonaiya, 1.
McClintock, Pamela, 1.
Meg, The, Chap. 1–2 passim.
Restoration, the, 1.
Rubin, Rebecca, 1, 1, 1–1.
Tartaglione, Nancy, 1.


We’d like to reiterate our gratitude to that made-up shark professor we mentioned in the Preface. As for you, dear reader, gentle reader, we all know you bought a used copy of this book and will probably sell it right back the day you hand in your final essay, and if you think we’re going to thank you for participating in a shadow economy that hurts us economically, you are out of your dear, gentle mind. Happy reading!