Wednesday, February 24, 2016
Apocalypse Cancellation Uncancelled: Is 'Pacific Rim 2' Still Happening?
I have mentioned here before that I am quite the fan of Guillermo del Toro's monster movie spectacle Pacific Rim...
I saw it in theaters back when it hit, but it didn't click with me on that first viewing. I pretty much saw destruction and destruction, and just stuff. Cool visuals, though. Perhaps it was the mood I was in, because when I re-watched it on Blu-ray, I loved it. Every second of it, actually. Is it a good movie? Probably not. We can spend time picking apart the story and script, and how it works or doesn't work, but... What I love about Pacific Rim is that it embraces how fun and over-the-top the premise is, without wasting a second. It's an excellently-made movie as opposed to being a full-on great movie... But that's ok, because I love every second of it. It's a definitive action blockbuster, being fun as all heck! It's also a very pretty film to look at, too. The colors in particular, a nice spit in the face to modern movies that drown themselves in muted colors.
I also love the film's world-building. The film sets up a future where we build giant robots to fight kaiju, and the kaiju come from another world that we get quick glimpses of. To see more of this world would be great, and that's why I and a lot of others jumped for joy when Universal/Legendary Pictures slated Pacific Rim 2 for an April 2017 release, later pushing it back to August...
But then something happened last year.
The film was pulled from the slate, and it seemed certain that Universal was no longer interested in making it. This was most likely due to the fact that the film didn't necessarily go over too well at the box office, mostly thanks to a weak domestic total. Pacific Rim was actually an overseas hit, collecting over $100 million in China, and doing some serious business elsewhere. Domestically, Warner Bros. tripped up on the marketing. They managed to make such a fun movie look so boring and hollow from the trailers... Consequently, it grossed a rather meager $37 million on its opening weekend. Not quite ideal for a film that cost $190 million to make, and probably a good $100 million to market.
Legs weren't too bad, though that wasn't enough, the film barely passed the $100 million threshold stateside. Had it passed $150 million, perhaps its sequel would be a #1 priority.
Yesterday, it was announced that Guillermo del Toro is no longer set to direct the sequel. Taking over is TV veteran, Spartacus creator, and Daredevil show-runner Steven S. DeKnight. He has the potential to bring the series to exciting new places, but hopefully Mr. del Toro is still highly involved. He has left the film to pursue other projects, such as the remake of the 1966 classic Fantastic Voyage for Fox and James Cameron's Lightstorm Entertainment.
However, this all doesn't necessarily mean that the picture is still a go. Why do I think that is?
You can have a director for a movie locked, you can even have a cast in place, along with a script... But it can still get pulled. This happened to George Miller's Justice League back in 2008, and it recently happened with Disney's TRON 3 this past summer. It happens to many other movies too. Until cameras are rolling, I will get excited. I don't want the rug pulled out from under me again.
There is some hope. A Chinese conglomerate, Wanda Group, bought Legendary Pictures a few weeks back, for $3 billion no less! Pacific Rim did boffo business in China, and I can imagine them pushing for a sequel if Universal is on the fence about it. This kind of happened with Touchstone/DreamWorks SKG's Need for Speed. It did next to nothing here, but it was bigger in China, and as a result they want a sequel. EA, China Movie Channel, and other studios are making the sequel without Disney. I'm sure the mouse could care less, too. Could something similar happen to Pacific Rim?
Do you think Pacific Rim 2 will go forward? What do you think of the new director? Sound off below!