‘Pacific Rim’ is Highest Grossing Live-Action Original Movie of the Year… So Far

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Rinko Kikuchi and Idris Elba in Pacific Rim Pacific Rim is Highest Grossing Live Action Original Movie of the Year... So Far

At the moment it’s not looking altogether likely that Guillermo Del Toro’s mecha-vs-monsters movie Pacific Rim is going to get a sequel – in fact, it might be argued that it doesn’t really need one. Nonetheless, it’s worth trying to ascertain whether or not Pacific Rim could be considered a financial success, since this could have implications for whether or not future new IPs receive a green light.

First of all, let’s take a look at the broader picture. Pacific Rim currently occupies a pretty respectably tenth place in the list of highest-grossing movies of 2013 worldwide. The top four movies – Iron Man 3, Despicable Me 2, Fast and Furious 6 and Monsters University, respectively – are all sequels or prequels while the fifth, Man of Steel, is a reboot. The highest-ranking film based on a new IP is The Croods, coming in at sixth place, followed by novel adaptation World War Z in seventh place, Wizard of Oz prequel Oz the Great and Powerful in eighth place and another sequel, Star Trek Into Darkness, in ninth place.

It can sometimes be a little wearying to see theaters flooded with sequels, reboots and remakes, but if this list tells us anything it’s that these kinds of movies do tend to make a lot of money. When audiences are familiar with the property and the characters, their likelihood of going to see another movie within a particular franchise increases. This certainly isn’t universally true – the two highest-grossing movies are Avatar and Titanic, neither of which were sequels or reboots, and there have been plenty of sequels that did badly at the box office – but it does give studios a little pause for thought when it comes to greenlighting a movie like Pacific Rim.

Kaiju skeleton in Pacific Rim Pacific Rim is Highest Grossing Live Action Original Movie of the Year... So Far

Del Toro’s film has a lot of international appeal, thanks to the inclusion of Jaeger operators from all over the globe and cast members like Japanese actor Rinko Kikuchi and Brits like Idris Elba and Robert Kazinsky. The largest chunk of the box office take came from China, where the current gross is nearly $112 million, but that’s followed closely by its domestic gross of over $101 million. The total take is over $407 million worldwide, a respectable profit considering Pacific Rim‘s $190 million budget and certainly enough to justify a sequel if Legendary Pictures and Del Toro decide to go ahead with one.

As CBM has observed, this makes Pacific Rim the highest-grossing live-action movie based on a new IP of 2013 so far. That might be a little too long a title to fit on a trophy, but it’s nonetheless a decent accomplishment considering that the movie had some worthy competition. Other movies that were beaten out for this title include Joseph Kosinski’s sci-fi Oblivion, which starred Tom Cruise and Morgan Freeman, stage magician mystery Now You See Me, twin action flicks Olympus Has Fallen and White House Down, and Neill Blomkamp’s recent release Elysium.

With all that in mind, it’s pretty safe to call Pacific Rim a success for Del Toro. We already quizzed Screen Rant readers on the subject of whether they want to see more of the Kaiju and Jaegers in a Pacific Rim sequel, but now it’s time for a more fundamental question: when you go to the theater, are you more likely to pick an interesting new IP or a sequel within a franchise that you already like?

[poll id="639"]


Pacific Rim is out on DVD and Blu-ray from October 15th, 2013.

Source: Box Office Mojo (via CBM)

Follow H. Shaw-Williams on Twitter @HSW3K
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  1. Ron Perlman made the movie!

    • Wish he wouldn’t have been killed in it.

      • he wasnt

        • Ah, he was eaten. Do you know something the rest of us don’t?

          • Mid-credits scene dude. Dont leave the theater so fast next time.

            • I heard there was a credit scene so I waited but it took kinda long. I was about to leave to be honest. I’m not a big fan of mid and for sure end-credit scenes, why not just put them at the end of the movie? O.o

              • Cause it’s a REWARD to those who see credits. Seeing the credits of a great movie is like watching the bows at the end of a theater performance of Lion King or Cirque Du Soleil. Granted they’re longer and include the director’s dog walker on the third day of the month after they were shooting, but still it’s the bow taken by those people. Watching the credits for Ferris Bueller, for instance, wasn’t that big of a payoff. More like “Hey, get out!”. Still watching Rooney experience the bus was cool. But for Avengers, some Kevin Smith movies, and yes, Pacific Rim, it pays off for you. I didn’t know that Farrelly’s Hall Pass had one, but turns out it did have quite a funny one.

                So remember this next time, those people trudged in the mud, got doused with water, and generally experienced long days/nights of work to bring you some awesome entertainment. 7 more minutes of waiting for the door to not be blocked by scores of people will not kill you and may give you more of the story.

                • Well said.

                  And nowadays there are web sites dedicated to telling you if there is anything after/during the credits, so that makes it even easier.

                • Till this day; if it’s a good movie or game I let the credits roll after the first experience. First thing I do when I buy a physical copy of an album I’m opening the booklet and reading the credits and acknowledgements. A lot of work goes into making this stuff happen. Not enough recognition.

            • Honestly, although the movie was enjoyable, it wasn’t worth sticking around any longer…

              I suppose he was either pooped out or thrown up, then, or perhaps he cut his way out.

              • I heard the Sons of Anarchy showed up and got him free

            • Just found on youtube. Definitely would not have been worth sitting through the credits, but glad he is alive, although a sequel is unlikely, so doesn’t really matter.

              I agree with ColdSc about the extra scenes stuck in the credits. Generally speaking, lame.

  2. Where’s my G***D***N SEQUEL?!?!

    • +1 for that my friend.

    • +1 hahaha

    • Ok you win it. Hands down. :)

  3. This was my favorite movie of the summer, and I am thrilled at the prospect of it getting a sequel. And c’mon, I say always give an original a chance, if it looks OK. Look at “Inception”. Look at “Avatar”, as was mentioned. The problem with some franchises is that they get rammed into the ground till there is no life in them (except the “fast and Furious”, which have surprised me since 5). I say give an original IP the opportunity, and God, try to make at least two sequels that don’t suck.

  4. The movie was alright, but at its core, it was giant robots vs. monsters, good for popcorn, not extensive discussion.

    • Thought the same, thought that’s probably what Del Toro set out to do. I though the action scenes were awesome but the story and relationships in the film kinda boring. As much as I like stories, ideas, themes and all in my movies, I kinda wished this had more action.

      • though*

    • I agree, and while I went into it expecting that and wasn’t very disappointed, what I did find disappointing is that it wasn’t a bit smarter than it was in not resorting to action cliches. It was pretty much cliche-ridden, from (minor spoilers ahead) “rivals turn friends at the end in order to save the day” (it was totally Top Gun in robots like that) to “the scientist nobody believed was right all along”, to “oh no, the mechanics failed and I have to do it manually” (and a few more, but I’ve made my point) , I was constantly rolling my eyes.

      Good popcorn flick, but not much else to get me engaged in the movie. Besides the big robots, Charlie Day’s character (and to a lesser extent his partner) was the only other entertaining aspect of the film to me. Too bad, since I had higher expectations because of Guillermo being at the helm.

  5. Am I the only one that wants to see a whole movie about the first 10 mins of the film? Like a semi prequel all about the beginning of the Jaeger vs Monster war. I saw the movie a second time just to see that opening sequence. It could focus more on Idris Elba’s character, It probably would never happen but I would definitely be there!

    • that’d be pretty sick. theres a lot of material to work with there.

    • I think there’s already a comic book prequel chronicling those first 10 minutes’ events, though not starring Elba’s character

    • I would rather see a whole movie about Kaiju Groupie and Hannibal Chau’s adventures in the Hong Kong underworld. Those scenes were my favorite parts of the movie.

  6. Of all the blockbusters I saw this year Pacific Rim for me just bled creativity and that epic fight in the middle of the movie is the best sequence I’ve seen in years – well choreographed and intelligent. While there were a lot of loose ends this film had heart and I would very much like to see a sequel. For me, I found this film far more enjoyable than the strange Iron Man 3 while not as accomplished as Star Trek Into Darkness and Man of Steel. I was surprised at Screen Rants lack of enthusiasm (see Podcast) for this movie simply because my response was so darn strong. I think this was because I really had no idea what to expect going in, supporting the argument that a non-franchise original can be refreshing.

  7. The movie bombed in Japan and Australia
    So no sequel

    • But it ROCKED China, making more money than in the US for the very first time (as far as I recall)…So there WILL be a sequel, because in five years from now, blocbusters will mainly be made for the Chinese market. They only let a limited number of non-political foreign blockbusters into their market, so the number of big-budget blockbusters Hollywood produces will EXACTLY be identical with that number. Like it or not: the Chinese market will decide the fate of Hollywood blockbusters for the next 100 years. The rest will be mid-range, moderate-budget movies that will break even on Blu-Ray…

  8. This article only mentions gross numbers, not what the producers are actually receiving. From what I gather, Hollywood is still struggling to get their receipts from China and the marketing expenses are not included in the 190 mil budget. I think when all things are said and done, the film doesn’t really make enough profit to justify a sequel.

  9. Huh? “Pacific Rim” is NOT the highest grossing live-action original movie of the year… World War Z is! It’s neither a reboot, sequel, prequel or reboot, and it’s live-action. So it qualifies, doesn’t it?

    • Its loosely based off a book so its not 100% original movie property.

  10. Pacific Rim had a $190 million budget and a marketing cost above that
    which typically for this type of film averages between 150 and 200 million.

    With theaters averaging a 50% take of the box office over the life of the run
    Pacific Rim, taking the low estimate of 150 million marketing cost, would need to
    gross $530 million to break even and as it stands today it is not a profitable movie.

    • i.e. no sequel


      • Yes, Jeff. And the subtext of my post.
        Films that lose money don’t get sequels.

    • BS. Marketing on Pacific Rim was not that much. In fact, there was no real marketing internationaly only the trailer and few posters. No Tv spots, bus stops posters etc… So no, it didn’t cost 200 millions of advertising.

      • I said low end 150 million and that
        is the low end for all such films.
        The Pacific Rim lost money.

        • I’ve seen estimates for Pacific Rim’s marketing range from $40 million to $175 million. I think that only the studios themselves have an accurate idea of what kind of profit (or lack thereof) was made, and they’re rarely keen on sharing.

          For what it’s worth, I didn’t see all too much marketing here in the UK and it didn’t get a Leicester Square premiere. If they pushed the movie heavily in a lot of different countries I can imagine the marketing costs being high, though.

          • Yes, the figures are held close to the vest.
            The numbers do add up fast apparently from
            the local merchandising supporting distributors.

            Now 40 million for such a film is not realistic.
            I could believe 175 million which is in line
            with other tentpole releases this year.

  11. No it doesn’t need a sequel/prequel.
    Not everything needs to be a ‘franchise’.

  12. Wait until Bluray/DVD/rentals factor in. That will determine sequel viability. They Need a big name or two for a sequel.

    • It astounds me that Idris hasn’t broken into superstar status yet.

  13. This is pleasing yet surprising. The movie certainly deserves better numbers than it put up. It’s disappointing but not surprising given the state of things that the world hands Michael Bay a billion dollars for garbage while a well crafted, beautiful piece of art like a Del Toro film has a hard time making money. Not to mention Marvel (ie. something as disappointing in quality as Iron Man 3 making so much while again this film struggles to make money.) Just goes to show that the masses don’t care about quality as much as being brainwashed by branding.

    Pacific Rim was definitely the most fun I had at the movies this summer. Just nonstop awesome spectacles on screen…fun is the best word I can use to describe it. It’s one of the few movies where you leave the theater smiling because it’s just that much fun.

    Can’t wait for the blu-ray!

  14. I’m hoping the success of pacific rim will atleast put the live action robotech on the fast track instead of a slow simmer where it has been since 2007 when Warner bros first announced the movie.

  15. It was a good IMAX theater experience but I don’t think it was much beyond that. And it’s definitely not my favorite original movie so far this year.

  16. Pacific Rim is a fantastic film.

    It has it’s faults but it pushes all my geek buttons and there in lies the rub.

    The concept is a hard sell to Mr & Mrs Joe Public. Even in geekdom there are those who it does nothing for so they gave it a miss.

    It’s core focus is pretty narrow, glad that it was made, thought it was brilliant.

    Live action sequel, not so much…. should do an animated series, lets face it, as awesome as live action Mecha is it’s home is still the small screen till the CG cost drop.

    Until then it’s too expensive with too small a target audience and there for box office for any more live action Mecha IP do get the light so I wouldn’t hold your breath for any Gundam/RoboTech/Macross etc. any time soon.

    I would say it’s only Del Toro’s respect with in the industry that got Pacific Rim the green light.

    Del Toro, give Gainax a call and get it done.

    Titanic was made in a different era of movie going public and D’Caprio star had just risen so that got the ladies in draggin’ there partners with them, word of mouth and good reviews did the rest.

    Avatar was due to the effects, the 3D, the heavily publicised long gestation period and Cameron’s investment in the tech. Plus loaded with star power with the next big thing at the time (Worthington) about to break out.

    Elba and Pullman were the only cast members with any significant “Wattage”

  17. Its a success. Its a flop. Its a success. Its a flop. Its a success.

  18. Great movie. I’m surprized it didn’t make more money. They should not make a sequel and spoil this masterpiece

  19. So now we’re creating entire new categories to justify this “okay” movie (of course just my opinion)?

    But what was the highest grossing original live action comedy drama period piece on top of a cloud in the sky. That’s the real winner in my books.

  20. Any updates on the “At the Mountains of Madness” adaptation? cant believe studios are not okaying that movie :[

  21. Still hopes he can make At the Mountains of Madness.

  22. Pacific Rim is best movie I saw this year. I would say it’s best action movie since Dark Knight Rises for me. It’s just executed so perfectly (Yeah, few mistakes were made in lore but whatever. Just read the comic to understand.).
    Only other movies I expect to be able to surpass it are “This is the End” (still not even in cinemas in my f*ckin’ country) and second Hobbit (I loved the first one, but I feel this one is going to suck).

  23. I loved Pacific Rim, but then I’m a mecha fan. As far as new IP vs franchises go, it doesn’t matter as long as I think it’s going to be interesting.

  24. Apparently a lot of stupid Chinese like Pacific Rimjob. Americans didn’t fall for the crap.

    • Heads up, man. Your racist is showing…

      • …from under the bridge.

        • Trolls and their scandalous loin clothes LOL

  25. 3.5/5

  26. LOVED PACIFIC RIM!!!! Now bring on GODZILLA! Hope to see both put into a new treat by del toro :) .

  27. No you didn’t Sir, you all fell for the crap of Grown Ups 2.

  28. Besides, you are not considering that at the time WB and legendary Pictures were not in the best terms. That and the lack of publicity damaged the film.

  29. At least this guy took his chances on a new story. I still hope they can make another one with a darker tone.