There have recently been some reported shake-ups behind closed doors, concerning the developing slates of projects by Legendary Pictures and Universal Pictures. For example, Legendary and director Jordan Vogt-Roberts' origins movie/reboot Kong: Skull Island has moved from Universal and found a new home at Warner Bros., in order to clear the way for an eventual King Kong/Godzilla crossover. Meanwhile, word has it Universal has placed Guillermo del Toro's sci-fi/action sequel Pacific Rim 2 on ice for the time being.
The Pacific Rim sequel has never been a no-brainer for Universal/Legendary from a financial standpoint - seeing as del Toro's $190 million (not counting marketing costs) Jaegers vs. Kaiju movie grossed only $101 million of its $411 million total in the U.S. - so the claim that it's been placed on "indefinite hold" wasn't too hard to swallow, either. Since then, del Toro has confirmed that the film has been delayed... but that doesn't mean it's dead in the water, just yet.
EW caught up with del Toro - who, for those interested, is now on Twitter - following the report that Pacific Rim 2 (rumored to be titled Pacific Rim 2: Maelstrom) has now been delayed. The filmmaker acknowledged that the sequel has "moved further" from the November 2015 production start that was originally planned - and, in turn, its August 2017 release date, presumably - but also said that he and his co-screenwriter Zak Penn (The Incredible Hulk) are still actively crafting/mapping out the project:
“We are still turning in a screenplay and a budget in three weeks. As far as I’m concerned, it’s not gone. We’re still on it.”
The delay appears to be substantial, though, as del Toro also told EW "I may do another movie in the middle," before he makes the Pacific Rim sequel. Interestingly enough, back in Summer 2014, del Toro said that he was planning to make a low-budget, black and white project of his own design, before the cameras started rolling on the second Pacific Rim installment. Reading between the lines, it sounds like if del Toro does shift his attention to another movie before Pacific Rim 2, it would probably be a smaller undertaking (like his mystery indie film) - as opposed to, one of his long-rumored, big-budget ventures (sorry, those still waiting for Hellboy III).
Fans of del Toro know too well that the filmmaker always has something on the back burner nowadays, after years of his various passion projects - be they his At the Mountains of Madness adaptation or his Pinocchio stop-motion project - having come close to starting production, only to falter in the eleventh hour (usually due to financing-related issues). He's also become accustomed to not waiting around for his finished scripts to get the green-light for production either (see del Toro stepping down from Justice League Dark), so it might not be long before news of another del Toro film being in development - and likely to arrive before Pacific Rim 2 does - emerges in the foreseeable future, for that same reason.
The sandbox that Guillermo del Toro created with Pacific Rim is a fun one (its flaws aside), and there is an audience that wants to play in that universe again, by way of a sequel that brings back the first film's protagonists, Raleigh Becket (Charlie Hunnam) and Mako Mori (Rinko Kikuchi). Problem is, Pacific Rim - like many of del Toro creations - is an IP with the frustrating combination of being expensive and having not quite enough mainstream appeal to guarantee its continuation. The quasi-cult appeal of del Toro's filmography in general is part of why his bigger projects have a bad habit of not moving forward.
More importantly, from a storytelling perspective, there is a fair argument to be made that del Toro would be fine leaving Pacific Rim as an enjoyable one-off and focusing his efforts on another original property altogether - an argument that we've even made in the past (see below). That's something else to consider, while we wait to learn of Pacific Rim 2's ultimate fate.
Guillermo del Toro's next film, Crimson Peak, opens in U.S. theaters on October 16th, 2015. Pacific Rim 2 remains scheduled to reach theaters on August 4th, 2017, but we'll let you know when/if that changes.