Box Office: ‘Grown Ups 2’ Poised to Trounce Still-Softly Tracking ‘Pacific Rim’

“Pacific Rim” (WB)

'Despicable Me 2' looks to win weekend

Box office chatter this week has mostly revolved around “Pacific Rim,” and yet the pricey monster pic could land at No. 3 domestically this weekend, with holdover toon “Despicable Me 2” and “Grown Ups 2,” one of the most critically savaged films this year, pegged for the two top spots.

Strong advanced ticket sales, largely from fanboys choosing Imax screenings, are making the prospects for “Pacific Rim” look stronger in the last gasp before its Thursday night opening. But fanboy fever alone probably won’t be enough to help the Warner Bros.-Legendary Pictures film open higher than the previously-predicted $35 million.

“Pacific Rim,” which cost upward of $185 million to produce, faces tough competition from Universal’s “Despicable Me 2,” which should win its second frame with a gross in the high-$40 millions, followed by Sony’s “Grown Ups 2,” tracking in the low-$40 millions.

The good news is that domestic box office has been especially elastic of late, capable of accommodating multiple big grossers at once.

“Pacific Rim” has been plagued by soft domestic tracking for the last several weeks. But enthusiastic monster pic fans (many of whom complained about Variety‘s review and tracking stories) are propping up advance ticket sales, while the pic stands at 72% positive reviews on Rotten Tomatoes.

SEE MORE: Film Review: ‘Pacific Rim’

By midweek, advanced ticket sales for “Pacific Rim” outpaced those of “World War Z,” which wound up overperforming with a $66 million domestic opening four weeks ago. However, the key difference for “Pacific Rim” is that it has Imax (“World War Z” didn’t), which tends to inflate advanced sales. As it stands, observers aren’t expecting “Pac Rim” to outperform its current expectations by much.

But what “Pacific Rim” really needs is better-than-expected family turnout — a possibility considering families are especially difficult to track relating to box office potential. Also — and it’s a big also — the film needs to become a hit overseas: Warner launches the film day-and-date this weekend in 38 territories, including the U.K., Mexico, Russia, South Korea, Italy and Australia.

Warner has high hopes for “Pac Rim” in Russia and S. Korea, especially, as well as in helmer Guillermo del Toro’s native Mexico.

The pic’s international rollout this weekend represents roughly 45% of the international market, though key territories, including France, Japan and China are set to follow in the coming weeks. Those markets will be very important for “Pacific Rim,” especially the latter two, where monster movies, in general, tend to overperform. Pic’s July 31 launch date in China is fortunate as it’s so close to the domestic release. (China Film Group controls all release dates on the mainland.)

Meanwhile, “Grown Ups 2,” with a far more manageable price tag of $80 million, could overperform given its family appeal and popularity for the original, which scored a surprising $40 million-plus Stateside opening three years ago. The sequel returns stars Adam Sandler, Kevin James, Chris Rock and David Spade, as a group of reunited high-school friends now middle-aged. Pic co-stars Salma Hayek, Maya Rudolph and Maria Bello.

Though it’s not a review-driven type of pic, critics have been uniformly brutal, with 0% positive reviews among Rotten Tomatoes’ top critics.

SEE MORE: Film Review: ‘Grown Ups 2’

Neither newcomer is expected to overtake “Despicable Me 2,” however.

Last weekend, the boffo toon sequel scored the highest-ever five-day opening for an animated film. If the pic falls a reasonable 45%, it will gross around $45 million in three days. “Despicable Me 2” has shown midweek strength, which positions it well for the weekend. Pic’s cumed $175.3 million domestically through Wednesday.

Disney’s box office dud “The Lone Ranger” also enters its second frame, having grossed just $57 million Stateside in its first full week. The film could have a decent hold, given its promising ‘B+’ CinemaScore, though it’ll still only make small waves coming off last weekend’s $29 million three-day gross.

At the specialty box office, the Weinstein Co. bows Sundance prize winner “Fruitvale Station,” about a real-life shooting in the Bay Area in 2008, at seven Stateside engagements.

Bowing

Film (Distributor): Locations

  • Grown Ups 2 (Sony): 3,491
  • Pacific Rim (WB): 3,275
  • Bhaag Milkha Bhaag (Reliance Big Pictures): 140
  • Killing Season (Millennium): 15
  • Pawn Shop Chronicles (Anchor Bay): 15
  • Fruitvale Station (Weinstein): 7
  • Crystal Fairy (IFC): 2
  • Dealin’ With Idiots (IFC): 1

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  1. Philip says:

    Pacific Rim draws heavily from episode 12 “Both of You, Dance like you want to win!” from acclaimed Japanese series Evangelion. It’s amazing how the pronunciatin of Jaeger /Yeh-gehr/ is so close to EVA /Ay-vah/. Sorry “original content” you must try harder in the future. Just because the American audiences don’t know where you stole your ideas from, it doesn’t make them any more original…

    The other movie was surprisingly funny from the trailer. ANd I can’t stang Adam Sandler movies..

  2. M.E says:

    Variety writers. Do you have something against this movie? I’m sure Despicable me will perform strongly this weekend but how can you place grown ups above Pacific Rim? And I’m a grown up woman (pun intended) who would much rather watch Pacific Rim than Grown ups and the heat and take my little siblings with me. why you keep calling this a “fanboy”? Yeah I know a lot of geeks like this kind of stuff but a lot of us girls grew up watching Jurassic Park and Godzilla and we watched Asian cinema in College.
    Are you just trying to allienate women from enjoying this? Some of the reviews I’ve read are from women and they have had nothing but praise for the movie.

    I’ll see this Sunday night but please stop trying to scare the possible audience as though the movie producers and Guillermo ever did something bad to you.

  3. Johann Rudd says:

    Variety thinks we americans are stupid enough to watch that idiotic crap-fest known as Grown Ups 2.

    Everybody I know, family and all my friends in the military are going to watch Pacific Rim.

    Please do a service to yourself and your family (specially if you have boys) to go watch Pacific Rim this weekend. It´s a great action-adventure family movie. Your kids will learn from the movie´s teamwork themes which are always important.

    As a United States Marine Corps. ranking officer, I endorse Pacific Rim.

  4. Str8Shooter says:

    How sad of a commentary on the IQ level of average Americans that a POS like Grown Ups would do well, and no doubt this crapfest will also? Just goes to show how low-brow people really are in this country.

  5. Uber Critic says:

    This movie is everything that is wrong with Hollywood. They should be making a film out of Gundam or Robotech, instead, we get this mess Pacific Rim, which is a pasted together film, from various anime cartoons and early 60s live-action giant robot vs giant monster based Japanese TV shows. Del Toro is not a fan boy, he just claims to be, in order to get jobs–just look at Blade 2, which he directed, and that was terrible. So many directors are popping-up these days, pandering to genre fans by claiming “I’m one of you, I understand”…but it has become a gimmick, that everybody and their brother is adopting in Hollywood. Bond with the fans of genre based films, and you can sucker them with anything, seems to be the line of thinking here? Well, I won’t be suckered anymore! The Man of Steel sucked, Iron Man 2 and 3 sucked…as well, and I’m tired of the muck. Pacific Rim looks like trash. They won’t be getting my money!!!

    • Tuna says:

      “Del Toro is not a fan boy, he just claims to be, in order to get jobs”

      Del Toro has seen the entirety of Patlabor, and cited it as an influence for the movie. Say what you want about him, but he is a genuine mecha fan.

      As a huge mecha fan, I can vouch that the movie was awesome.

  6. …and of course such “events” as PACIFIC RIM (deliberately) overlook the number of tickets sold versus the cost of the ticket purchased. Fewer people may see the film domestically — and internationally — but the picture will still do “boffo” business.

    The actual success of a movie is binary, but you wouldn’t know it judging from the numbers.

  7. It actually makes me depressed that GUPS2 is projected to beat a movie from a top-tier director about ROBOTS FIGHTING MONSTERS! I know – it sounds dumb, but it is July, people, save your thinking for November when the leaves die (crap, did I just make a case for GUPS2?).
    In any event, would you rather see Charlie Day and Idris Elba fight monsters or Kevin James and Adam Sandler fight boredom?

    BTW, I saw Despicable Me 2 with the kids… it was great.

  8. Dee says:

    Going to see this film no matter what but I soooo hope it performs better than expected just so a lot of “trackers” and “analysts” have egg all over their face. You don’t get a 60% in presale JUST from monster pic fans.

  9. Kat says:

    If Grown Ups 2 does better at the box office than either of those I am forever giving up on people.

  10. RisHav says:

    ” But enthusiastic monster pic fans (many of whom complained about Variety‘s review and tracking stories) are propping up advance ticket sales, while the pic stands at 72% positive reviews on Rotten Tomatoes.” Cry me a river, Variety

  11. Mazinger Z says:

    You actually used to term “fanboys.”

    Fanboys of what? This isn’t an established franchise. Of Del Toro? Of daikaiju? Of mecha?

  12. Chris says:

    Pretty much. Panic setting in now that advanced ticket sales are outdoing what World War Z had done up to this point. And no, that isn’t just “monster pic fans”.

  13. David says:

    Not opening this picture day-and-date in China and Japan is an enormous mistake.

  14. pj says:

    Glad to hear nothing has changed despite some last minute fanboy trolling

  15. Ross says:

    “But enthusiastic monster pic fans (many of whom complained about Variety‘s review and tracking stories) are propping up advance ticket sales” … welp, there goes the fourth wall.

  16. The says:

    The Same Observers Who Predicted The Great Gatsby & WWZ To Flop Hard..And White House Down to Perform..The Positive Reception Of PR is Definitely Going to Help..

  17. Daw Johnson says:

    Why was $40 million for the original Grown Ups surprising? That was pretty much Sandler’s SOLO average in that era, and this also included some other recognizable faces…including Kevin James, who is a mild standalone draw.

    The fact that it didn’t open much higher than the usual Sandler pic, if anything, was disappointing.

    Its legs, looking past the big second week drop, represented the “positive” surprise.

    • Daw Johnson says:

      Actually, I stand corrected. While Sandler has plenty of films that did in that $40M ballpark, Chuck and Larry, which also featured Kevin James, only did $34M. So I guess this was a bit better than expected.

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