Today, Legendary Pictures CEO Thomas Tull is cancelling the apocalypse! If by the apocalypse, you mean the lack of progress on a sequel to last summer’s sci-fi flick Pacific Rim.
Although Guillermo del Toro’s action-packed spectacle had a budget of $190 million, it barely scraped by with a profit in worldwide grosses. In North America, it didn’t do much more than $100 million, leading many to think that a sequel was out of the question. However, with more than three quarters of its box office take coming from foreign markets – particularly those near the actual Pacific rim, like China and Japan – there is renewed hope. Pacific Rim is the rare blockbuster to make more money in China than North America.
So, why is Pacific Rim 2 a real possibility? A recent interview with Tull suggested that despite middling returns in the United States, there is still interest in a follow-up due to strong DVD sales, merchandising and those foreign grosses. He revealed that he will soon sit down with del Toro to figure out the potential for a sequel.
“[Pacific Rim], if you look it up, did I think more business than the first X-Men, did more than Batman Begins… did more than Superman Returns, The Fast and the Furious, Star Trek,” Tull says. “For a movie that was an original property that we made up, it’s done really well.”
Tull is actually correct that Pacific Rim made more money worldwide than all of those blockbusters, but the numbers are a bit misleading. Pacific Rim benefitted from IMAX and 3D surcharges, so it likely sold fewer tickets than many of those titles. Also, those films Tull listed had more appeal in the United States and did outgross Pacific Rim domestically by a large margin. Meanwhile, although all those films (with the exception of Superman Returns) garnered sequels, they were more profitable due to lower budgets.
Pacific Rim had its fans and its detractors, so there is a bit of a risk that a sequel may not be a money-maker unless the budget was scaled back. Del Toro is currently working on the horror drama Crimson Peak, due out in October 2015, so even if Pacific Rim 2 were to go into production, it would not be for a couple of years.