A movie about giant robots fighting giant monsters sounds awesome on paper, but the highest of high concepts wasn’t enough to turn Guillermo del Toro’s Pacific Rim into the broad, crowd-pleasing global success story that many people were expecting it to be.
In fact, the $150 million blockbuster would have bombed hard at the box office were it not for a strong showing in China, which accounted for $111 million of the total $411 million theatrical haul. Thanks largely to Pacific Rim‘s performance in the country, which was helped by production company Legendary Pictures being purchased by Chinese Wanda Group, a sequel was announced in early 2016.
However, del Toro would only remain on board as a producer, with Steven S. DeKnight taking over behind the camera. In a recent interview with The Wrap, the two-time Academy Award winner revealed what he was planning for his second Pacific Rim, and it sounds like a unique spin on the robots vs. monsters formula.
“The villain was this tech guy that had invented basically sort of the internet 2.0. And then they realized that all his patents came to him one morning. And so little by little, they started putting together this and they said, ‘Oh, he got them from the Precursors.’ The guys that control the Kaiju. And then we found out that the Precursors are us thousands of years in the future. They’re trying to terraform, trying to re-harvest the earth to survive. Wow. And that we were in exo-bio-suits that looked alien, but they were not. We were inside. And it was a really interesting paradox.”
Despite the best efforts of John Boyega in the lead, DeKnight’s Pacific Rim: Uprising disappointed commercially, seemingly putting paid to the live-action franchise, which was even planned to potentially tie into the MonsterVerse. Del Toro works on a lot of things that never end up getting made, so he probably hasn’t lost any sleep over missing out on more kaiju carnage.