Guillermo del Toro’s Pacific Rim has had great response from viewers. On Rotten Tomatoes, 87 percent of people said they liked the movie. Additionally, 71 percent of Rotten Tomatoes’ critics gave it a positive review.
In a general review of the movie, they said, “It may sport more style than substance, but Pacific Rim is a solid modern creature feature bolstered by fantastical imagery and an irresistible sense of fun.”
Yet even with the apparent viewer satisfaction with this movie, it is still being considered a failure. In the box office this weekend, Despicable Me 2 made top earning for its second week, bringing in $44.8 million. Grown Ups 2 brought $42.5 million. Coming in third, Pacific Rim brought in a disappointing $38.3 million. Analysts had been projecting $40 million, but Pacific Rim didn’t even make that. Overseas, Pacific Rim did better, with $53 million.
The action-packed flick is a human versus alien tale with a twist. Giant creatures, called Kaiju, are invading Earth from a portal at the bottom of the sea. In an effort to fend off the aliens, people created equally gigantic robots, called Jaegers, that are controlled by pilots.
Earth’s future is in the hands of two misfit pilots, and it seems the odds are against them. The stakes are high and the action scenes are epic. Guillermo del Toro’s latest creative venture seems to be a recipe for a summer blockbuster, but it didn’t make it. What happened?
While $38.3 million isn’t a terrible amount, the real issue is that Del Toro spent a whopping $190 million to make Pacific Rim. Take into account the additional funds Warner Bros. put into marketing, and the movie needs to do a lot better to offset the budget. When the investment is that high, the demand for a movie to do well is a lot higher in order for it to be deemed a success.
The overwhelming positive reviews and critiques represent a particular group of people who were highly interested in the movie from the get-go. Those superfans, Dan Fellman, president of distribution for Warner Bros., “loved it, and they came out early and saw it in IMAX and on 3D.” As reported by The Wrap, early shows on Thursday brought in $3.6 million.
For the crowd who is interested in the robots and aliens, going to see Pacific Rim was a no-brainer. Unfortunately, the movie didn’t have the same appeal for the average, mainstream moviegoer.
Claire Suddath addressed the movie’s failure on Bloomberg Businessweek, suggesting moviegoers may be getting tired of apocalypse movies. She noted the summer has already featured, Iron Man 3, Man of Steel and World War Z, and “that’s an awful lot of earth-saving to sit through.”