Guillermo del Toro's Pacific Rim released in 2013 to limited stateside appeal. In fact it would have been considered an outright box office bomb, if not for the international market, particularly China, who snatched up enough tickets to send the film into solid profitability. The film depicted mankind on the edge of extinction. A race of Kaiju (giant monsters) rising from the depths of the Pacific Ocean can only be fought by dual piloted Jaegers (giant robots). Despite an abundance of cartoony elements, the film was largely lauded by critics and fans as being both stylish, and an earnestly good time.
While a sequel was later announced, it looked for some time as if it might never happen, as the production was hit with setback after setback. Some promising developments have emerged lately, however, namely the casting of John Boyega (Attack the Block, Star Wars: The Force Awakens) in a lead role as the son of Idris Elba's character from the first film. Steven S. DeKnight (Spartacus, Daredevil) is also be taking over directoral responsibilities from Guillermo del Toro, who is returning to the series as a producer. Recently, Derek Connolly (Jurassic World) was tapped to re-write del Toro's original script draft for the sequel.
Now Universal has released a statement that Pacific Rim 2 has a definitive theatrical release date of February 23, 2018. There are currently no other major studios films scheduled to open in theaters on that same day. However, Marvel Studios' Black Panther will hit theaters a week before Pacific Rim 2 does; in addition, 20th Century Fox has scheduled an as-yet untitled X-Men film (possibly Deadpool 2) to reach theaters a week after the Pacific Rim sequel arrives on the scene.
For fans of giant robots using elbow rockets to throttle giant monsters in the gut, this is great news. While there has been limited official news available about the plot or returning actors, del Toro has clarified that this does take place after the events of the original, and that it will be a very different kind of film. No word yet on John Boyega's Jaeger co-pilot, but del Toro seemed keen to cast Maisie Williams (Game of Thrones) in the film, so that might offer a hint at the direction they're looking. Then again, it's unclear at this point how much the film is being changed from del Toro's original draft and the working title of Pacific Rim: Maelstrom.
It will be interesting to see if the sequel will perform better in the States and abroad, now that it has a small legion of fans built in. One can only hope that for whatever changes there are to the formula in the sequel, DeKnight manages to maintain the sense of earnestness that set the original apart from its peers.
Pacific Rim 2 hits U.S. theaters on February 23rd, 2018.
Source: Universal Pictures/Legendary