‘Pacific Rim’ Looking Grim With $25 Million-$35 Million Opening

'Grown Ups 2' looking at low $40 millions

After spending the past two weeks trying to turn the tide for “Pacific Rim,” Warner Bros. and Legendary Pictures now are bracing for what appears to be a gruesome inevitability for the $185 million-plus monster movie: A domestic opening ranging between $25 million and $35 million.

This weekend could be the second in a row in which an expensive non-sequel property bellyflops at the box office after “Lone Ranger” flamed out last weekend.

The impending doom has been pretty clear ever since “Pacific Rim” came on tracking early last month. And while there are certainly some last-minute hopeful signs for Warner and Legendary to cling to (i.e. strong reviews and unreliable tracking lately), there’s little chance that “Pacific Rim” will open well enough in the U.S. to counter its monster-sized budget and marketing costs.

FILM REVIEW: “Pacific Rim”

But before we delve into the negative, there are a few possible bright spots:

  • Positive reviews. As of Tuesday afternoon, the film has scored an 85% rating on RottenTomatoes, with a 98% rating among audiences who want to see the film. Exhibitor reactions to the film also have been better than expected.
  • Overseas. Warner launches “Pacific Rim” in 38 day-and-date territories, including the U.K., Mexico, Russia, South Korea, Italy and Australia.
  • Skewed tracking. “Pacific Rim” straddles the line of being a fanboy and family film, with heavy interest among boys, and tracking for younger auds is notoriously unreliable. Does that mean the film can double current projections? No.
  • Holiday frenzy. The buzz surrounding the Fourth of July weekend was still humming on Monday, when NRG — the most subscribed-to tracking service — released its most current weekend estimates. The company will revise those estimates Thursday.

All of those factors weigh in “Pacific Rim’s” favor, particularly the first, after Paramount managed to parlay strong early reviews for “World War Z” into a surprising $66 million domestic opening.

SEE MORE: Is ‘Pacific Rim’ Doomed to Be This Year’s ‘Battleship’?

But to be clear, an opening like that is not in the cards for “Pacific Rim” — not with competition from “Despicable Me 2” and “Grown Ups 2,” both of which also have strong family appeal. Observers predict that “Despicable Me 2” will win its second frame in the high-$40 millions, while “Grown Ups 2” is expected to gross in the low-$40 million range. Both “Grown Ups 2” and “Pacific Rim” are rated PG-13.

For “Pacific Rim,” which is a passion project for helmer Guillermo del Toro, the early July release date was likely modeled after “Transformers,” which opened with $70 million in 2007. That’s the kind of start Legendary expected to see when it greenlit the pricey ensemble project about an apocalyptic battle between aliens and robots created to fight them. But without a major star toplining the film, Warners — which came on board later to help finance 25% of the production cost — had to market the film based solely on the original concept. The studio only recently began highlighting the pic’s humor and lighter elements to help draw interest.

SEE MORE: How Legendary Is Trying to Turn Around Troubling Tracking for ‘Pacific Rim’

Tracking for the film outside the U.S. is strongest in Asia, with the area’s long history of creature features, but the pic is seeing only moderate interest in other parts of the world.

Some celebrities, including Kanye West, have taken to social media with positive reactions to the film. Videogame design icon Hideo Kojima also expressed his admiration in a tweet saying, “This film is not simply a film to be respected, but most importantly, it let us dream the future of entertainment movies.”

The film’s grim financial outlook notwithstanding, Kojima may have a point. If only the film’s budget could have been kept in check.

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  1. esteban says:

    So how much did Variety got paid by WB to take down Pacific Rim?

  2. thisFanBoyLovesPacificRim says:

    cinematography, color, texture, and overall set up of shots were beautifully done – you won’t see that level of quality in a crappy comedy sequel.

  3. borderline says:

    I Saw it and it was a mediocre action movie. Another example of Cgi over a good story with interesting dialogue and characters you actually care about. When the movie has to resort to shirtless moments with the young Hollywood toy boy (who I doubt anyone will let lead a big budget movie again) then you know it is pathetic. I was hoping they all died. If this movie is this generations Star Wars then we need to be exterminated.

    • pacRimWasAwesome says:

      Miniatures and full size 1 to 1 scale pilot chambers were created … But you only saw what you wanted. Wasn’t all cgi…

      I thought the movie was great .. full of action, drama , and sprinkled with just the right amount of humor.

  4. Spiritdancer says:

    I think Hollywood wants this movie to fail because if it succeeds it will mean their forever sequel/franchise model is not working. And that will be a good thing. They seem to have lost all sense of the joy of movies. It seems like it’s all run by finance and marketing types. Where are the directors and the writers? The artist? Film is first art then business. This lesson they will learn when an upstart Mexican director wipes their summer all over the wall!

  5. Spiritdancer says:

    God you Hollywood people are so off base, have no clue! I just saw this movie with my family and it was awesome! I knew this movie was going to be a hit back 6 mos. ago when I saw the first trailer. What the heck is tracking and what the heck does it have to do with what I saw – NOTHING! Stop looking at numbers and get back into the heart and joy of film again!

  6. Txlady says:

    People will be sorry if they don’t see it! I was not disappointed but excited all the way through!!! I loved it loved it loved it!!!!!!!! Its not your same old movie.

  7. 21stCenturyguy says:

    To all the naysayers – Im 45. Ive been a Sci Fi fan all my life, I see all Sci Fi and Fantasy films at the Cinemas. Its been 30 years since Ive felt such excited anticipation before a movie has been released. And while watching Pacific Rim 30 years since i felt such excitement and emotional reaction during a movie. This movie is something different and many others feel the same way… I cant predict the Box Office outcome but my gut feeling is positive, at the very least this film will become a huge Genre Cult favorite. This film is far better than recent offerings such as Oblivion ($275 Million) and GI Joe retaliation (#375 Million) worldwide takings, and from all accounts much better anticipated and received. So we will see.

  8. An endorsement from Kanye West is not necessarily a good thing. As low as $25 million opening projections? Holy ****.

  9. vincent says:

    Let’s prove them wrong!!

  10. Marina says:

    What’s the bias against the movie? I wasn’t planning to see this nor Lone ranger but no I now I will. Just because I think media and critics are always biased and unfair to films that made the movie ticket price worth.

  11. cristo52 says:

    And the world can’t wait for “Saving Mr. Banks,” in December. Sounds like another turkey.

  12. Jud3n25 says:

    Also, the packed theater (all 500) gave a huge round of applause at the end

  13. Jud3n25 says:

    I went to an early screening for this movie yesterday in Plano, Tx at the Cinemark, and it was a very awesome action film. The fights were incredible and the character designs and cgi in the finished product were out standing. I thoroughly enjoyed this film. Also, if your expecting Citizen Kane from a movie about kaiju fighting robots, thin i don’t really know what to tell you. Also, the movie makes a determined and successful effort to utilize actual science, as strange as that sounds.

  14. King Joe says:

    The visual effects and CGI alone make this movie worth seeing. To hell with the critics.

  15. chicago76 says:

    Anybody else ever see mighty morphin power rangers. Same thing except better special effects.

  16. bumboclot says:

    How can a lousy pg13 Adam Sandler comedy beat something as cool as giant monsters? You get crappy PG comedy for endless hours on TV every day, but a giant monster movie like Godzilla or Cloverfield show up about once a decade. I’ll be going to Pacific Rim for sure!

  17. zombierocket says:

    It looks like a fancy Godzilla movie, that’s all.

  18. John Trapp says:

    I guess they don’t believe in marketing because this is the first time I’m hearing about this flick – just if they are wondering why it isn’t selling.

    • It’s funny when the fanboys champion something because the excuse “it has great special effects and action scenes” is the regular mantra. If the finished product has something that makes their panties wad up (oh, say like Star Wars, the 90s Godzilla remake or Battleship) then it changes to “special effects alone don’t make a movie”. Del Toro is a fanboy icon so he can do no wrong in their eyes. The problem is he may always be playing to just that audience. It’s commendable, but it also will yield to lower budgets in the future. Fanboys should go out and see the movie this weakened and enjoy the massive production because it’s unlikely they will see something with no brand recognition, no big star and so-so trailers (weak “rousing” speech, no stand out preview moment like ID4 White House explosion to get people talking) that doesn’t at least attempt to court a larger audience like this again.

      • Txlady says:

        Your right special effects alone don’t make a movie. This one had me emotionally vested all the way through, and it was what a movie should be…entertaining. Don’t miss it.

  19. asdlfkjsdf says:

    I only care to see Charlie Day

  20. Duffydog says:

    What i want in a summe rmovie is mindless action.

    I don’t want to have to think at all. A good summer movie should be an escape from the daily grind of life. It’s entertainment.
    Movies like Forest Gump are good to watch on a snowy night in Jan. And really did Jenny die from aids 10 years before there was aids?

    Further what idiot would actually listen to anything an actor has to say on politics. Who gives a crap. They do have a right to say what they want it’s a free country. It’s your choice to listen to it.

  21. Wallard says:

    When whiner, why not make your own movies then? No right wing competition for Hollywood? Wonder why? Probably the lack of any imagination, yet Faux News makes for great fantasy entertainment

  22. The dude says:

    The problem is that Hollywood is spending hundreds of millions of dollars to make the next big summer action blockbuster instead of trying to make cheaper movies with good story lines. Fact is most people don’t go to the movie theater every week so when you have all these bug budget movies out there lie superman, Lone Ranger, White House down, pacific rim, and others chances are many of them are going to flop.

  23. Most people I know are so into this movie that the reports that it is gonna flop seem very suspicious!

  24. cindy-in-tx says:

    There have got to be thousands of books out there that would make fine movies, but instead we get tried-and-true action/superhero movies made for pre-pubescent boys because studios are afraid no one will see something they’ve never heard of. But books have fans, and word of mouth and cheaper production could make these studios lots of money.

  25. cindy-in-tx says:

    The marketing for this movie is terrible. I had no idea what it was about, but it sure seemed like Transformers Redux. I wish they would do more movies like Forrest Gump. Remember in the ’90s when movies about adults looking back on their childhoods in the ’50s and ’60s was popular? I loved those movies! Or romantic comedies like You’ve Got Mail. And if they kept the movies at the theaters for longer periods of time, maybe people would decide to pay the ticket price instead of waiting a couple of months to catch the DVD.

  26. drforrester says:

    So fans are loving it and so are critics, but this one writer is prophesying doom? Seems to me like someone is hoping for it to fail.

    Personally, as a longtime fan of Godzilla and other kaiju films, this thing is right up my alley. I’ll be there opening night with my brother, and I’m expecting it to kick some major ass!

    • Mike says:

      I’m waiting for Mr. Stewart to tell us what role he plays in Grown Ups 2.

      • Let’s say Grown Ups 2 doesn’t do well. If it brings in less than $30 mill it is still no where near the disaster that a several hundred million dollar (marketing costs included) investment bringing in that number is.

      • drforrester says:

        Same here. I’m not some kind elite “tracking service”, but I think Grown-ups is gonna be the flop to look out for

  27. Butch Rudesill says:

    Maybe the prices are too high to see movies. Maybe the movies should stay out for a while (a year) like the “old days” to earn greater fortunes.
    Maybe the movies are too crappy.
    A lot of “maybes”.

  28. scarylarry says:

    This is written like it has an agemda. Pacific Rim looks great and is getting rave revies

  29. Evil Bob says:

    I think I’ll pass on seeing Robotjox 2: Electric Kaiju… For one, my IQ is above 85 and two, I’ve long since past puberty.

    • JC says:

      It’s exactly what my father said when i went to see Star Wars, back in the day. He had to eat his words when all of his contemporaries were raving about it. I’m not saying that this is the next Star Wars or that you would be socially excluded for not knowing the emerging cultural references from it, if any. But I don’t want to become my father, Not because of my age or his, but I think he was born old.

  30. Hector says:

    Special effects don’t make a movie. Look at Arsenic & Old Lace, or hundreds of movies written by literate People. This cartoon action junk is for pubescent juveniles.

  31. James says:

    I saw the previews and didn’t think much of pacific rim until I saw it last night as part of a sneak preview, set up by thisisinfamous.com in Miami.
    The movie is awesome!! It is a roller coaster ride of action. They hit you in the beginning, then they slow it down enough to get your heart rate back to normal, then they rev it up again, and once you think it’s over, they go for the KO for an amazing finale. I think this may prove many people wrong

  32. Dan says:

    I started watching Bollywood and foreign films because like the rest of America hollywood has gone to hell. Once a star goes political…. about anything, I never watch them again, case in point Jim Carey. No matter what new film or re-run movie, I’ll never watch him again.
    And on a side note…why are only white guys made to look like the bafoons in commercials now? Non whites living idyllic lives in suburbia while the white guy is the unshaven, unintelligent idiot.

    • cdgscg ahgs casfsa says:

      rite on playa – if u do an inventory of just tv commercials in which the white person (who is also frequently elderly) plays the buffoon, the ninny, the ignoramus and/or the moron, you will find that’s 80-90% of all commercials !

  33. BillyBob says:

    The last 10 minutes of Man of Steel was the straw that broke my back. I’m done with any movie that is nothing more than CGI effects. I’m bored silly by them. I watch the previews and that is all I ever see. It seems the movie industry is incapable of producing anything I’m interested in.

    • tazzman says:

      Pac Rim used a lot of miniatures. Not all CG.

    • Nick says:

      “movies with nothing more than CGI effects”… you mean like everything Pixar has done, for example? There’s nothing wrong with CGI if it is well done and is just not financially feasible to be accomplished with practical effects. Also, many newer movies use models and CGI together, and yet people ASSUME it is all CGI, so take the criticism down a notch. They stopped using puppets and men in rubber suits for a reason…

  34. Eowyn says:

    Another CGI-effects-laden monster-attacking-Earth apocalyptic movie. Just like all the zillions of other CGI-effects-laden monster-attacking-Earth apocalyptic movies. Y-A-W-N.

    I won’t even watch this piece of turd on DVD, much less pay $ to drive to a movie theater to see it.

    Oh, to the Guillermo del Toro fan-boys out there: I’m so glad he dropped out of directing the great (and devout Catholic) JRR Tolkien’s The Hobbit. Del Toro’s “Pan’s Labyrinth” was satanic and utterly repulsive.

    • John says:

      I’m not in the God Squad. Maybe that is why I saw nothing satanic about Pan’s Labyrinth. There was evil in it but aside from the big toad and that eye monster thing the most evil thing was the Spanish officer. The faun was a character of folklore. I would have thought a blameless and innocent child refusing to sacrifice her half brother and then being reborn into a glorious life along with the evil commandante getting his would have appealed to religious folks? Great movie. I’m going to watch it again tonight.

    • Nick says:

      “Satanic”, huh? Just curious what current movies you do enjoy…

  35. Machismo says:

    The idea that Huge sized Man controlled Robots can take down the Aliens, But a small Nuke cannot is comical. Looks like a good action film if that does not bother you.

    • KL-man says:

      Nukes can defeat the Kaiju, but they’re very messy and have the little ol’ problem of radiation falloff. The Jaegers were developed to create a less damaging countermeasure. That’s mentioned in the press releases and I believe the prequel.

    • Nick says:

      A nuke wouldn’t be able to stop Superman either, what’s your point?

  36. Mike says:

    If all you want is entertaining effects porn, the movie will not disappoint. However, I do question the need for synchronized homo-piloting. That’s just gay.

  37. JD2 says:

    B.S. I think Pacific Rim will do at least 50 million weekend. It looks decent enough and the competition is not as fierce as they make it. I think Grown Ups 2 is the one that will disappoint. Again Pacific Rim is getting decent reviews and you can see the production value on screen. Don’t judge the flop that was the Lone Ranger and the Obama as superhero flop White House Down on Pacific Rim. There is always a demand for mindless sci-fi films without an overt political left message(like say of Elysium), the leftist message is milder in Pacific Rim.

    Yes, they’ve spent too much to make this film. But it’s being released in July, there isn’t anything like it in screen right now I think it could do 60 million. I mean don’t judge it on supposed competition of Grown Ups 2 or Despicable me 2. The films competition is movies like The Lone Ranger.

  38. xsnake says:

    “3D” sucked when it came out (with all the hoopla) in the 50s…….expect it still sucks.

  39. Ratt says:

    Ahhh, Hollywood losing money making crappy films, remakes, sequels, GLBT documentaries, Johnny has two mommies and we hate white straight male films and, and, and Supporting Socialist Liberal Democrat policies. Who would have thought that ?

  40. Nick says:

    I could care less that there isn’t a so-called big name star in this movie. Del Toro is a great director. I loved Pan’s Labyrinth — when I first saw the Pacific Rim trailer last year I thought it looked great, reminded me of Robotech style mecha. I cannot wait to see the film, and I think once more people do see it, the positive reviews will give it strong legs for the summer.

  41. Tom Atmore says:

    With Variety I get the feeling that their negative review was directly influenced by their wanting this movie to bomb, because it would make for such a nice story of “See? We told you!”

  42. Gregg says:

    When Hollywood starts making movies to be entertaining, and stops trying to promote some global view, enhance the position of the administration or re-engineer our culture through their product, people might go back to the movies. For now, who wants to spend fifty bucks for a date so some movie studio can tell a person how to think?

  43. Terry says:

    Hollywood has always made trash. Supergirl, Superman with Richard Prior, Ishtar etc. You fools just think that HW can simply creat a season of winners with no problem. LOL!

  44. Ricardo Queso says:

    I don’t know. I figure a lot more people with middle-america values will pay to see a movie where the Left Coast is destroyed than they’ll pay for a movie knowing that a large chunk of their ticket price goes into the pocket of “actors” like Depp or Foxx that spend their free time disrespecting this country in their public comments.

  45. Jakartaman says:

    Maybe folks have started to not feed these self engrandizing elitist fools.
    Hope hollywood goes belly up!

  46. Chupacabra says:

    All I know is when I saw the trailers for all the Summer flicks, the ones I wanted to see were Star Trek, Man of Steel, WWZ (only because I read the book), This is the End (best movie I’ve seen in the list), and Elysium. Lone Ranger looked as bad as Pirates of the Caribbean II and III (first one was awesome). This one looks made to the tastes of mid-teen boys and virgin 30+ year old fan-boys. I’d think some “smart” studio execs would see the early Summer as a time for some counter-programming against the silly Michael Bay-Jerry Brukenheim circle of shiite.

  47. musimann says:

    Is America finally figuring out that the Jews used Hollywood to brainwash the population and destroy its culture? Probably not.

  48. I can’t feel sorry for these a-holes.
    Stand-up comics and lecturers and the like can keep an audience spellbound for two hours with nothing more than the sound of their voice. If Hollywood can’t entertain an audience with $200 million dollars to work with then the problem lies in the fact that they have nothing to say.

  49. Kenmandu says:

    These films are flops because they are loud and obnoxious with no stories or emotional core. Super robots have been around since they were created in Japan in the 1970’s (“Shogun Warriors” by Go Na-Gi). The Lone Ranger was about a noble dude and his Indian friend, not a crack-smoking faux Indian with non-stop one-liners. BTW–the summer is over already with tons more gar-bage in the pipeline like Sandler’s latest hate letter to his fans and RIPD, a concept that should have died a real death in the first pitch meeting.

  50. work to much to afford the time says:

    It’s quite simple, I honestly don’t see why it’s not more apparent to most out there. I would love to go see several of the movies out there. I have several reasons I don’t.
    1) I am not allowed to protect myself and my family while in a movie theater. Hence, I won’t go into one.
    2) With the costs to go to a movie for a family of three easily exceeding $50, it’s much cheaper to just go to the park or bike riding, and wait for the movies to come out on DVD.
    3) With the “REAL” unemployment/underemployment numbers being so insanely high, a tremendous amount of people who used to go to the movies have since quit simply because they can’t afford it.
    4) Many people who are actually working still simply don’t have time to go. My wife and I rarely have time together where we are both off work at the same time. When we do have time together, it’s much more important for us to spend that together working on other projects rather than blowing pretty much a whole day’s work to go watch something that I can just as easily watch in a couple months at home, where I can pause it at will, go have a beer and a cigarette without missing anything, etc.
    5) I also like to vote/protest with my dollars, and I am willing to bet there is a ton of people out there that feel the same as I do. I have enjoyed every single “Will Smith” movie I have ever seen, but when I saw him jump into the political fray, I was severely disappointed and decided not to ever spend any more money on any more of his movies. He’s just one example. Clint Eastwood? Now his movies I’ll buy, but I still won’t go see them in the movie theater, it’s simply too expensive.

    We have not gone to the movies in years, and have no plans to do so again ever.

    • Kenmandu says:

      Protect us, fool, stay home and watch Fox News all day, like you do anyway — I’m sure. But don’t miss “Triumph of the Will’ when it plays your multi-plex and bring the little Fox fans too.

      • Rusty says:

        It’s amazing what gets politicized in this day and age … a movie about giant robots battling giant monsters? Really? But okay, I’ll bite. Funny how Leftists try to equate fascism with conservatism (re: “Triumph of the Will” for those of you from a union-controlled public school system), but think about it. Fascism (like Communism) is all about individuals subordinating themselves to an All Powerful State. And the Fascist Nazis had a charismatic leader (Hitler) to make the sales pitch. Now what sounds more like Fascism? Throngs of Obamatons swooning over their Dear Leader as he pushes bigger and bigger government to take over more and more of our lives, or a bunch of Tea Party folks who just want the government to quit taking their money and to leave them the hell alone?

      • Earl Flynn says:

        Wow. Just wow. Two small sentences packed with at least two ad hominems, several huge assumptions, and a whole bunch of hate. Could be a world record here, folks. LOL!

      • Matt says:

        That is a truly offensive, hateful, bigoted response.

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