A movie about giant monsters going toe-to-toe with giant robots seems like it would be an easy sell for most audiences, especially since Guillermo del Toro’s big summer action sci-fi Pacific Rim managed to keep things PG-13 by only getting truly brutal and graphic with the destruction of its alien creatures and skyscraper-sized mechanical warriors. However, every film release has an element of risk to it, and this is especially true of those that aren’t spawned from already-establisheds brands.
Pacific Rim did not get off to the strongest start, despite it’s well-placed release date, and was beaten out at the box office by the Adam Sandler comedy sequel Grown-Ups 2 and animated family adventure Despicable Me 2. There’s strength in numbers at the end of a movie’s title, it seems, but even though Pacific Rim has continued to perform somewhat sluggishly at the domestic box office, reports suggest that there might still be hope for it overseas.
The Wrap reports that eyes are on China and other Asian countries in particular, since Pacific Rim is mostly set in China and features a Jaeger piloted by a set of Chinese triplets. It is also based on a subset of monster movies that is specific to Japan, and the lead female protagonist is played by Japanese actress Rinko Kikuchi.
Pacific Rim has so far made $140 million overseas, but Boxoffice.com editor-in-chief Phil Contrino says that if it can make $50 million in China and also do well in Japan and Brazil, the total foreign gross could hit $300 million – enough for studio executives to at least discuss a sequel, though not guarantee one.
Given the franchise-driven nature of the film industry, particularly in the case of big-budget studio movies like Pacific Rim, there’s a knee-jerk reflex to always raise the question of whether or not each new title is going to get a sequel. After all, it’s almost inevitable that if a movie makes big money at the box office, the studio will then continue to cash in on the property until it runs out of steam or profitability.
That’s not to say, of course, that every attempt to turn a movie property into a franchise is a cynical cash-grab. There are a lot of great sequels out there, many of which even manage to improve upon the quality and success of the previous installment. Del Toro has already expressed an interest in coming back to do a Pacific Rim sequel, and so have screenwriter Travis Beacham and cast members Charlie Day and Burn Gorman. There’s every reason to believe that a Pacific Rim sequel could be great – but would it really be such a tragedy if we didn’t get one?
Obviously, if you disliked or even hated Pacific Rim (and plenty did; it had its flaws and no movie has ever managed to please everyone), then the answer to that question is going to be a resounding ‘No.‘ However, if you did enjoy the film and are currently eager to hear about a sequel, it might be worth giving the matter a little more consideration.
One of the refreshing things about Pacific Rim was that, amidst a release schedule proliferated with reboots and remakes and sequels, it was a brand new story that built its own universe and populated it with new characters. Yes, the film drew on many of the traditions of classic kaiju movies, and there were characters who filled recognizably archetypal roles, but it nonetheless displayed a great deal of originality, spun an interesting tale, and had its own unique visual style.
More importantly, Pacific Rim does not end on a cliffhanger; the story is wrapped up neatly and without any urgency to find out what happens next – perhaps because Beacham and del Toro knew that they could not count on Pacific Rim 2 getting a green light.
$190 million is a dizzying amount of money to sink into designing and building a universe that will only ever be seen in one movie, and if Pacific Rim doesn’t manage to break into the box office numbers that would justify a sequel, then it may sadly end up being considered a failure. Speaking as someone who thoroughly enjoyed the film, though, I’d honestly rather see the profit from Pacific Rim give Warner Bros. or Legendary Pictures the confidence to invest in another original script, instead of just trying to add another franchise to the pile.
Do you think that Pacific Rim should become a long-running movie series, or do you think that it works well as a one-shot?
Pacific Rim is in theaters now.
Source: The Wrap