It’s with a heavy heart that I report that Pacific Rim ended up coming in THIRD place this weekend behind both Despicable Me 2 ($44M) and Grown Ups 2 ($42M). $38M wouldn’t have been the worst tally, but comparatively it’s not great, and when you taken into account the movie’s reported $190M budget, it’s pretty bad.
I really don’t understand the logic behind letting Pacific Rim run wild with a budget like that. I loved the movie (see my review from earlier today), but that said, it’s not a smart business decision to allow it THAT much cash simply because the director and cast and concept are good. That may sound like a silly, anti-creative thing to say, but from a marketing perspective, it’s true. The unfortunate reason that we keep getting sequels and prequels and movies based off of toys is that people recognize the franchises. Pacific Rim may draw from old monster movies and anime, but that’s not enough of a built in fanbase to make it successful. I’m honestly surprised it made $38M this weekend with that competition and the marketing campaign it had.
Pacific Rim’s evil, stupider twin, Transformers, had a budget of $150M, which is still a lot, but the film was based on an an established series. Only when the first movie was a huge hit did the budget get bumped up to $200M for the sequel. The idea that Pacific Rim, a completely original film, warranted that kind of investment seems incredibly optimistic, and borderline naive.
I think the film is pure, unbridled fun, and I hope through great word of mouth and overseas sales it will be profitable and earn a sequel, but I think it was far too risky of a move to hand an untested franchise that much cash, even with a talented cast and crew.
But hey, at least we have this awesome poster art from Graham Erwin.