So, it came out recently that the tracking numbers for Pacific Rim were rather low. Seventy percent of the marketing budget is still to be spent (over the next two weeks), and Del Toro himself posted on his forum that the numbers were improving, but this still bums me out a bit. The fact that Grown Ups 2 (a movie I didn’t even know existed until a week ago) will probably beat it is just an extra kick in the nuts. I really wanted Pacific Rim to be one of those massive new-IP hits, though I knew that was arguably a bit of a long shot.
I know what the films’ main obstacles to success are. On the surface, it looks like Transformers, Battleship, Battle: Los Angeles. Of course, all of the Transformers films were big hits, despite being terrible, while Battleship tanked, and frankly I’m not sure how to square those things in my head. I can accept a concept as ridiculous as Battleship tanking, but what saved Transformers? Is Michael Bay really that good at creating crowd-pleasing movies? You could argue the Transformers flicks had star power, but not the first one – the first one made Megan Fox and Shia LeBeouf’s careers. And the movie was based on a toyline, a fact which is at least as goofy as Pacific Rim‘s concept. (A great toyline, true, but a toyline nonetheless.)
I do think they’ve mismanaged the marketing on Pacific Rim thus far. All the ads are emphasizing the action, which is precisely what makes it seem too much like the aforementioned films. I have a hunch there’s a love story between Charlie Hunnam’s and Rinko Kikuchi’s characters, and they should definitely have at least one ad focusing on that. And GDT always puts plenty of humor in his films, so a few funny – but preferably not lame-funny – bits for the ads would be a good idea too.
In the end, I’ll just have to put my faith in Guillermo Del Toro as a director – I’ve enjoyed everything he’s made, even the underrated Mimic, which I saw in the theater – and hope that, however successful the film is at the box office, it’s a fun, entertaining, well-made film.