It has been a rollercoaster ride for non-franchise films this summer so far. While movies like ‘World War Z’ and ‘The Great Gatsby’ were generally considered to be successes at the box office, ‘The Lone Ranger’ and ‘After Earth’ didn’t quite click with audiences. Over the weekend, a new contender entered the box office battle in the form of Guillermo Del Toro’s ‘Pacific Rim’ and though it was packing some big guns, the director’s homage to Asian cinema didn’t fare as well as everyone thought it would.
The giant monsters vs. robots film inspired by the likes of ‘Godzilla’, ‘Voltron’, and ‘Transformers’ drew in $38.3 million domestically, falling in at number three after ‘Grown Ups 2’ at $42.5 million and ‘Despicable Me 2’, which held the number one spot last week as well.
A number of things factored into this disappointment. First, comedies like the ones that hold the top two spots at the box office currently appeal to a wider audience. Families can go see these movies together. Even though the follow up to 2010’s ‘Grown Ups’ featuring Adam Sandler, Kevin James, Chris Rock, and David Spade was given a Rotten Tomatoes rating of 7%, not only did it already have a built-in fan base due to the original movie, it was also a fluffy family comedy flick that provided a lot of people a place to space out while they beat the summer heat. Plus, kids who are out of school but haven’t been shipped off to a summer camp need somewhere to go after all, so why not the movies?
Also, unlike the films that inspired Del Toro to create his latest feature, ‘Pacific Rim’ doesn’t have the name recognition that franchises like ‘Godzilla’ and ‘Transformers’ have. Back in 1998, Roland Emmerich co-wrote and directed a reimagining of ‘Godzilla’ where the rampaging reptile found himself in Manhattan and at odds with Ferris Bueller. That film, though not exactly fondly looked back on, took in $44 million in it’s debut. Then, when Michael Bay’s first robots in disguise film hit theaters in July 2007, it scored just under half of what Del Toro’s film did over the weekend. Since audiences had no prior relationship with the new film, they were probably less inclined to check it out.
Finally, these numbers don’t factor in the international take for ‘Pacific Rim’. This film is extremely international. Those markets, especially in Asia, love American action films, but now that the whole world is practically represented in Del Toro’s flick, that’s even more appeal right there.
Basically, while it didn’t perform as well as it should have in it’s opening weekend, the numbers for ‘Pacific Rim’ are sure to be on the rise. Plus, now that word of mouth is out that the film is awesome, I’d be willing to bet that it’s second weekend makes up for the lackluster debut. I mean, with the crazy graphics and effects featured in this movie on top of a fast-paced and exciting story, how can people not be talking about how awesome it is?
Let me give you a little taste of what I’m talking about. Below you can see the opening and closing titles from the movie. Sure, you could see bit and pieces of what the film has to offer in the trailers and such, but these are definitely worth a viewing as well:
Did you catch ‘Pacific Rim’ in theaters during it’s opening weekend? Are you surprised that it was unable to overcome ‘Despicable Me 2’ and ‘Grown Ups 2’? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.
‘Pacific Rim’ starring Charlie Hunnam, Idris Elba, Charlie Day, Ron Perlman, Rinko Kikuchi, Max Martini, Rob Kazinsky, Clifton Collins, Jr., and Diego Klattenhoff is currently in theaters.