The Pacific Rim sequel has not been cancelled, but it may be awhile
Guillermo del Toro’s Pacific Rim was something of a controversial movie. Not the film itself – it was about a bunch of mechs fighting monsters, which is pretty straightforward – but it pushed the definition of what a successful film should be and left a potential sequel in a weird spot.
The movie cost $190 million to make, but it only earned $101.8 million domestically. It went on make $309.2 million overseas for a total of $411 million. That was enough for Universal to reluctantly accept a sequel as part of a deal with Legendary, and even issue a release date of August 4, 2017. It recently pulled that date though, leading many to believe the project has been cancelled.
In an interview with EW, del Toro discussed the prospects of the film. He confirmed that it has not been cancelled, but it may be awhile before he gets to work on it.
“We are still turning in a screenplay and a budget in three weeks,” writer-director del Toro said. “As far as I’m concerned, it’s not gone. We’re still on it.”
“It moved further,” he said. “I may do another movie in the middle.”
That’s not a great sign, but it isn’t a terrible one either.
Universal is coming off of a record setting year thanks to Jurassic World, Furious 7, and Minions to name a few, which could be good or bad for Pacific Rim: Maelstrom. On the one hand, Universal is doing well, so it can take a bit of a risk on a sequel for a film with proven international appeal – and Hollywood loves the overseas market these days, so developing films for an international audience is good business. Part of the reason Legendary is pushing for a sequel is that it is heavily invested in China and other international markets.
On the other hand, the studio just proved that it already has several proven franchises, so it may not want to take a chance on an expensive film with an apathetic domestic audience. The studio may eventually agree to the film, but want to slash the budget so significantly that del Toro just can’t make the follow-up he wants. Making a film about robots fighting kaiju and destroying cities can’t really be done on the cheap.
Universal may also be waiting to see how its upcoming del Toro’s horror film Crimson Peak, which is due out on October 16, does.
Things are also complicated by conflicts between Legendary Pictures and Universal.
The original Pacific Rim was distributed by Warner Bros., but Legendary took the sequel to Universal in a deal that the studio isn’t thrilled with.
According to THR, Legendary’s deal with Universal essentially forced the studio to distribute Blackhat and Seventh Son, both of which were major bombs. Universal also decided to pass on Legendary’s King Kong prequel, Skull Island. WB was happy to take over, and is now planning a crossover with Godzilla in the future, but it could show Universal isn’t interested in monster movies.
Despite all that, and despite Universal’s current position where it can be more selective with what it wants to distribute, del Toro remains optimistic.
“I can tell you this, if I was a billionaire, I would definitely do Hellboy 3, Pacific Rim 2, and At the Mountains of Madness.” He laughs. “And I would quickly become a millionaire.”