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Were you looking forward to more Jaegers punching more Kaiju in Guillermo del Toro’s announced Pacific Rim 2? Well, we have bad news. The sequel, which was aiming for a 2017 release date, now appears to have been "halted indefinitely" as two studios go to war behind the scenes.
The discouraging nugget of information was all but buried in a longer THR piece about the feud (perhaps that term is too harsh) going on between Legendary and Universal, with the former bringing more business to rival studio Warner Bros. Legendary and Universal do still have a partnership, sharing production costs on projects ranging from Jurassic World and Steve Jobs. Warner, meanwhile, is partnering with Legendary on Kong: Skull Island. These are constant negotiations. But when it came to Pacific Rim 2, Legendary has decided to pump the brakes, with the trade actually going so far as to wonder "if it [will get] made at all."
We first reported that Pacific Rim 2 was being delayed a few days ago, but the situation didn’t seem so dire as it does with today’s trade report. Not that Pacific Rim 2 was a guarantee. The original film came with a hefty price tag of $190 million, and while the film eventually went on to earn $411 million internationally, it didn’t connect with U.S. audiences the way that the studios had hoped. In fact, Pacific Rim was basically bailed out by Chinese audiences, who backed Guillermo del Toro’s vision and helped make the sci-fi thriller a success.
But Guillermo del Toro knew that he had to change things up for the sequel, and he has been saying for some time now that his plans for Pacific Rim 2 were always going to be a departure from the first movie. Still, you can’t make a movie like Pacific Rim 2 on a strict budget. The concept alone – that of giant freaking robots fighting with massive undersea creatures from a different dimension – requires countless, expensive digital effects. While the cast doesn’t command a huge salary (or didn’t in the first movie), the post-production work can cost a fortune.
Guillermo del Toro keeps running into problems with his sequels. He has been teasing Hellboy 3 for some time, and that trilogy-concluder may now join Pacific Rim 2 in the discard pile of projects that will never see the light of day. In order for Pacific Rim 2 to stay on track and hit its August 4, 2017 release date (if that’s even still possible), Legendary and Warner Bros. would have to settle on a production budget that benefits the filmmaker, and both studios. Having Kong: Skull Island be a massive hit would certainly help prove that there’s a big audience out there for this type of spectacle. Unfortunately for Pacific Rim 2, if it has to wait to see how Skull Island does, it likely will be too late.