Monday, June 6, 2016

Jaeger Bomb: Is 'Pacific Rim 2' Moving Forward?

Pacific Rim.

The 2013 robots-vs-kaiju epic is a film that probably isn't good, but it's a film I unabashedly love.

It may be two hours of Guillermo del Toro essentially playing with giant robot and monster toys, but it's colorful, it's fun, it's silly, and it knows it. The story itself is no great shakes, though I found the leads to be likable, the supporting cast to be enjoyable, and the human conflicts legitimate. When it came time to do battle with giant monsters... del Toro and crew pulled out all the stops with verve. The film isn't gritty like many Dark Knight/Christopher Nolan-wannabes of this decade, nor is it insulting like the Transformers sequels. It's shot so well, each action sequence is conceived with such energy and passion, and it's a love letter to many things: Kaiju films, anime, all kinds of things... It was also set in a well-thought out future, with lots of great world-building and details. Every monster had a name, every robot had a name, there were all these little things, the kinds of things I love in movies like this...

While met with mostly positive critical reception, the film struggled at the domestic box office because of its low opening - decent legs couldn't quite save it, though they did get the film past $100 million at the end of its run. Warner Bros.' marketing department made the film look like more of the same, when it really wasn't. Overseas, it fared much better, particularly in China, grossing a robust $111 million.

Shortly after Legendary Pictures joined Universal, Pacific Rim 2 got itself a release date - April 14, 2017. It got pushed back to August 4, 2017, and soon it was off the schedule for a number of reasons. Later on, we learned that there were internal rifts between Universal and Legendary, among other things. Guillermo del Toro himself stepped down from directing the picture, though a while later we learned that Daredevil season one showrunner and TV veteran Steven S. DeKnight would be at the helm, making this film his directorial debut.

I was skeptical though, because sometimes movies some of us really want could be cancelled just like that, when it seems like they are going to happen. Nothing is really definite until the cameras are actually rolling, and the thing is actually being filmed. TRON 3 was set to film last autumn, with the cast and script supposedly locked, but Disney torpedoed the film - which they were already on the fence about - after their live-action sci-fi flavored Tomorrowland bombed at the box office. George Miller's Justice League had the cast, the script, tons of things locked... It was going to begin filming many years ago, but then it was halted just like that.

The same could happen to Pacific Rim 2. On the bright side, it was a huge hit in China and that country could influence Universal and Legendary to push forward with part deux. This has happened before. Touchstone/DreamWorks SKG's Need for Speed didn't do a thing here in the states back in spring 2014, but it did pretty darn good in China. Disney has no interest in making a follow-up, China does, and they'll be doing one eventually - China Movie Channel, EA, and a few other studios are set to make the sequel, and film it in China.

Also, a Chinese conglomerate - Wanda Group - acquired the studio for $3 billion back in January, a headline-worthy move...

Legendary's Warcraft is set to tank here in the states, but its prospects are looking good in China. Too good, actually... They're reporting that the film could take in over $100 million on its opening weekend over there alone... Whoa... Its pre-sales tickets are the third-largest of all-time there, behind Furious 7 and Avengers: Age of Ultron. How much did those make in China? Oh, um... $390 million and $240 million respectively. Nothing special, ya know?

Warcraft, which is getting pretty negative reviews, cost $160 million to make. China alone could save it... Isn't that something? Other countries should be charitable to it, too... It might make Universal regret dumping it here in the states.

Anyways, Pacific Rim 2 has had that on its side...

Now, it was announced that John Boyega - Finn himself - is going to be the lead... Stacker Pentecost's son! Pentecost, portrayed by Idris Elba in the first film, was one of the breakout characters for many and was a certified badass. ("Tonight we are cancelling the apocalypse!") Boyega is perfect for the role...

If that wasn't enough, have a look at what Borys Kit of THR found out...

Event pictures, eh?

August 10, 2018, eh?

Mr. del Toro has this to say today...

I think it might have a chance at happening now... I'll remain cautiously optimistic for now.

As for those other dates... What could open on those days?

What say you? Do you think Pacific Rim 2 will indeed happen?

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