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