The biggest opening all-time for a live-action shark movie is … not Jaws.

Or Deep Blue Sea or 47 Meters Down or The Shallows.

It's now officially The Meg (not adjusted for inflation. Or dialogue), which surprised box-office observers, and its own studio, by grossing $44.5 million in North America, doubling tracking forecasts that had The Meg pegged at roughly $20 mil.

"To double tracking is extraordinary," Warner Bros. distribution president Jeff Goldstein told the Hollywood Reporter.

That should make Northeast Philadelphia-born and -raised Steve Alten happy. He's the author behind The Meg books and he spent 20 years trying to bring his novel to the big screen. "I think the moment I accepted it was truly for real is when they cast Jason Statham. That's when I did my happy dance," Alten told the Inquirer and Daily News.

Kim and Steve Alten, author of “The Meg,” at the movie’s premiere Aug. 6 in Los Angeles.
Warner Bros. Pictures
Kim and Steve Alten, author of “The Meg,” at the movie’s premiere Aug. 6 in Los Angeles.

Also extraordinary is that The Meg – about scientists and a rescue worker (Statham) doing battle with a 60-foot Megalodon shark – is Warner Bros.' best-performing movie of the year. It bested Steven Spielberg's Ready Player One ($41.8 million opening weekend), and the ocean adventure also beat out Ocean's 8 ($41.6 million opening weekend).

The Meg also made nearly $100 million overseas, bringing its worldwide total to $141.3 million. In the U.S., Goldstein notes, the movie played particularly well in Texas, in cities like San Antonio. He was at a loss to explain this, but the high temperature in San Antonio on opening day was 101 degrees, and a few hours in air-conditioning with a giant shark probably seemed like a pretty good option.