There has already been a lot of bad buzz around Pacific Rim‘s because the film isn’t expected to do blockbuster numbers for its opening weekend. Expectations have become ridiculous, but it’s easy to understand the panic in this situation.
Let us break it down. Pacific Rim cost somewhere around $200 Million dollars. Possibly more. And currently the film is looking to open around $40 Million. On the surface that’s not a bad number. And though we’re still in the summer season, competition is not that strong next week, so it’s possible the film could hold well. But holding well in a summer environment means dropping in the 30% range. Which means that the film would get somewhere above $100 Million, but probably not get to $150, and that’s being generous.
In the current era, action movies — in fact most movies — have to play immediately, they have to open. And then the question becomes marketing. Though with Legendary set to leave Warner Brothers, it’s possible that they may not have committed themselves as fully as they might, it’s hard to fault them here. There is a basic math to this sort of film. Monsters versus robots. And it that doesn’t appeal to you, then it never will.
The problem here is that they’ve basically written off two sections of the four quadrants. This movie is just never going to appeal to a majority of women. Of course with modern geekery, that may sound biased or whatever, but in the culture we live in, let’s be honest, this has a greater appeal to men. My barometer would be my mother. She might watch something like Iron Man because of Robert Downey Jr., but I would have to give her the hard sell to ever get her interested in a film like this, and even then she’d probably want to wait for Netflix, and even then it would have to be amazing for her to even respond.
But more than that, we’ve seen White House Down, The Lone Ranger under-perform, and we’re looking at this, R.I.P.D. and The Wolverine as a stretch of films marketed to the same demographic, and they may all have problems making over $100 Million. Will Hollywood learn anything from this? Of course not. But it does suggest that they may need a little diversity in their lives.
As for Grown Ups 2? Well, it’s going to make money. Let’s do this:
- Despicable Me 2 – $44.7 Million
- Grown Ups 2 – $39.5 Million
- Pacific Rim - $34.3 Million
- The Heat – $15 Million
- The Lone Ranger – $13.7 Million
There’s a lot of wiggle room for the new pictures. Critics actively hated the last film, and they seem to actively hate the new film, but that’s not going to stop audiences for a second. The question is if they’re in for more of the same non-narrative nonsense. Pac Rim could rise above expectations. But it probably won’t.
What are you going to watch this weekend?