This summer's mecha vs. monsters action adventure Pacific Rim is out in Blu-ray and DVD today, in the wake of its modest $407 million worldwide box office gross, and many fans of the movie are very interested in getting an answer to the question of whether it will be the beginning of a new franchise, or will remain a one-hit wonder of destroyed buildings and giant monsters.
Without knowing exact details of Pacific Rim's marketing budget, it's difficult to ascertain whether the movie made much money or simply broke even, though the fact that Legendary Pictures has yet to greenlight a sequel suggests that it didn't draw in huge profits for the production company.
Nonetheless, when IGN asked director Guillermo Del Toro about Pacific Rim's box office performance in a recent interview, he said that he was proud of what the film achieved, considering it was one of the few summer blockbusters that wasn't based on an existing IP:
"I'm very happy. Out of the top 10 titles of the summer, we were perhaps the one that was not dependent on a star name or a pre-established property, and I think that’s really, really good. The passion with people that saw the movie and raved about it was great.
"What was troubling was that we didn't achieve -- and the tracking was clear -- we were not being exposed beyond the core. The core was reacting to the movie, but people on the street were not hearing about it in the right way. I cannot decipher that because that’s exactly what the numbers indicated. It’s sort of a head-scratcher, but when we opened we were in very low awareness, which means we were not being rejected or accepted. That was not the issue. The issue was we were not on the radar."
This certainly seems to reflect what we've heard from readers when the subject of promotion for Pacific Rim has come up in the past. Fans of kaiju movies, science fiction and Del Toro's previous work were aware of Pacific Rim from quite early on, but the excitement didn't seem to reach casual moviegoers nearly as well.
Screenwriter Travis Beacham has already penned a graphic novel prequel to Pacific Rim titled "Tales from Year Zero," but Del Toro says that he and Beacham aren't quite done with the universe yet.
"We are writing the sequel. Travis Beacham and I are writing, so that is active. The decision to green light or not, that’s definitely above my pay rate.
"To me, what was beautiful and flattering was how people saw the movie not once or twice but three, four times or more. People that love it, love it with great passion. So I would love to continue telling stories about that world."
Earlier this year we argued that the story of Pacific Rim was self-contained enough that it didn't necessarily need a sequel, but that's not to say that a sequel wouldn't be entirely unwelcome. There's a significant difference between a studio ordering another movie for the sake of squeezing more money from the franchise and the original filmmakers pushing for a sequel because they have more story to tell. To put it another way, we're good at acting cool about a potential Pacific Rim sequel when it hasn't been written yet, but now that there's a script in progress it's hard to resist the lure.
The concept certainly isn't lacking potential for further stories, as another Pacific Rim movie could either go back and explore the earlier years of the war against the Kaiju, or alternatively could show the humans going on the offensive and taking a trip through the rift to see more of what's on the other side. Charlie Day has previously mentioned that Del Toro wanted to make his character, Newt, a villain in the sequel, which could be an interesting way to progress Newt's fanboy obsession with the Kaiju.
Of course, all this will only be possible if a Pacific Rim sequel gets greenlit, and even then Legendary Pictures would need to find a way to generate interest in the franchise outside of its core of sci-fi and action movie fans. Tell us where you think the marketing went wrong the first time around - or if Pacific Rim's problems lay elsewhere - in the comments.
Pacific Rim is now available on DVD/Blu-ray.
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