For many genre fans, Pacific Rim was the perfect blend of an alien invasion movie and a giant monster movie, wrapped up with a mix of Japanese anime for good measure. It was a movie about giant robots battling giant alien sea monsters, and who wouldn’t want to watch a movie like that on the biggest movie screen imaginable? Unfortunately, the answer to that question is, “Most of the American movie-going audience.” In spite of solid reviews and some positive buzz, Pacific Rim opened to a disappointing $37.2 million, against a $190 million production budget.
The box office news seemed to dash any hopes that director/co-writer Guillermo del Toro could deliver a sequel film. But as the film opened around the world, it seemed that audiences overseas where a lot more exciting about watching giant Jaegers punch giant Kaiju in the snout. The film is currently crawling towards a $245 million worldwide box office. Now Pacific Rim 2 might have a fighting chance after all, at least if the film performs well in China.
According to The Wrap, if Pacific Rim performs well in China, making at least $50 million, it could build good faith in other emerging foreign markets such as Japan and Brazil, possibly taking its global totals to more than $300 million worldwide. This has always been the plan for Warner Bros. and Legendary Pictures.
One of the highest grossing films in China is Michael Bay’s Transformers: Dark of the Moon. The Transformers film grossed $145 million in 2011, and if Pacific Rim could do a third of that business, it will be in good shape. One of the outside forces going against Pacific Rim in China is Universal’s Furious 6, which opened in China with a $24 million box office, adding to its $717 million worldwide box office take. China’s rampant problem with movie piracy could also prove an obstacle.
Considering the Chinese piloted Jaeger Crimson Typhoon and the climax of the film taking place in Hong Kong, Pacific Rim is tailor made for China, as well as other Asian countries such as South Korea and Taiwan, in which it already opened with a $17 million and $9 million box office, respectively.
It’s a long way from being officially confirmed that Pacific Rim will get a sequel if it performs well in China, but the odds are in its favor for reaching that end. Guillermo del Toro and co-screenwriter Travis Beacham are already working on the script for Pacific Rim 2, regardless of how well it does overseas. The Mexican director has big ideas about Pacific Rim 2, which involve even bigger Jaegers and Kaiju, as well as a melding of both mechanical and alien beasts. Del Toro would also hope to shoot the sequel film in native 3D, rather than up-converting it to 3D as was the case with Pacific Rim.
It will be interesting to see how well Pacific Rim does in the home-video market a few months down the line. Perhaps the Blu-ray/DVD numbers will push Pacific Rim closer toward the sequel fans are hoping for. Until then, if you want a Pacific Rim sequel go back and watch the film again while it’s still in theaters.