Pacific Rim Poised To Flop This Weekend, But Guillermo del Toro Isn't Worried
We say every year that we want fewer sequels and reboots, and more attempts by studios to make actual exciting, original films. But what happens when we get those original films? We let them flop. It doesn't happen every time, but it's becoming a disturbing trend this summer, with White House Down, After Earth and now Pacific Rim getting tarred as original flops.
Yes, Pacific Rim doesn't open until Friday, but according to Variety its outlook is grim. The $185 million monster movie (costing even more when you account for marketing) is looking to make somewhere between $25 and $35 million this weekend, right in line with The Lone Ranger's already famous flop (it had a 5-day weekend to bolster it, but if you look at what it made just over the three-day weekend, it's $29 million). To add insult to injury, Adam Sandler's Grown Ups 2 will easily beat it, estimated for a debut of around $40 million. And both of them will easily be bested by Fourth of July holdover Despicable Me 2, already a massive hit.
Does this stress you out, sci-fi fans? It probably should. When big-budget, original sci-fi like Pacific Rim fails it doesn't bode well for the future of the genre, even when smaller offerings like Looper and Source Code do manage to succeed. But even if you're worried… Guillermo del Toro isn't. The Pacific Rim director told The Los Angeles Times at the film's premiere that he wasn't worried about the bad tracking; he knew he had a movie that worked for the audiences who saw it:
“I’m not a guy that plays inside baseball. My responsibility as a director is to be fiscally responsible and deliver a movie under budget and under schedule. I think we have an amazing movie -- one I’ve seen connect with an audience like crazy. So it’s anyone’s guess what happens.”
Fair enough, Guillermo-- it's the producers' and studio's jobs to sweat the money, and if you gave the studio what they paid you to make, you can't really say you didn't do your job. But del Toro is also a director with a famous, boundless imagination, and he has pursued many projects over the years that are dark, edgy and expensive, and therefore hard to get made. He says he still hasn't given up on adapting H.P. Lovecraft's At The Mountains Of Madness, and he's planning to make the ghost story Crimson Peak next. It's hard to imagine that the financial doom of Pacific Rim won't hurt his ability to get financing for hose projects, or to be able to pitch big stuff to studios in the future. But hey, if Guillermo's not worried about his own career, why should we be? If you want to help, go see Pacific Rim this weekend. It could clearly use all the eyeballs it can get.
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