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Oh Hollywood

Pacific Rim Has Been Beaten By Grown Ups 2 At the U.S. Box Office. No. I Can’t. I Am Unable to Can.

We don’t often report on box office numbers here at The Mary Sue, but this bit of information is relevant to our interests and also so very, very Monday-ish.

This past weekend marked the opening of both Pacific Rim, much beloved by us (check out Zoe’s review here) ever since the first shiny metal trailer hit our eyeballs, and Grown Ups 2, which… no. Just no. Unfortunately for the entire world (I may be exaggerating), Pacific Rim pulled in only $38.3 million at the box office, putting it in third place behind Grown Ups 2 ($42.5 million) and Despicable Me 2 ($44.7 million), which has now been the U.S.’s top-grossing movie for two weeks in a row.

I understand Despicable Me 2 holding onto its number one spot; apparently it’s pretty darn good, and one should never underestimate the earning power of an animated kids movie during the summertime. But Grown Ups 2? Really? Critics hate it; its RottenTomatoes score is a whopping seven percent. Even the people who’ve seen it don’t like it as much as those who’ve seen Pacific Rim; the Adam Sandler sequel has a B CinemaScore to Pacific Rim‘s A-. Personally, I’d give it an A: I was sold on the film when a character quoted Han Solo in the first 15 minutes, and I never stopped loving it.

Pacific Rim‘s financial underperformance isn’t entirely unexpected, since we’ve been hearing rumbles that it wasn’t tracking too well with potential audiences, who apparently weren’t responding to its marketing. Audience tracking is notoriously unreliable, but it looks like this time there was something to it. (Personally, I didn’t see anything wrong with its marketing, but the commercials could’ve been two minutes of director Guillermo del Toro farting on a snare drum* and I’d still have been super-excited to see it, so I’m biased.)

Granted, $38.3 isn’t horrible, though given the film’s budget was between $180 and $220 million you can be darn sure everyone was really, really hoping for more. For those of you worrying this might spell bad news for the sequel del Toro has in mind, it’s not time to panic quite yet. According to Deadline:

While a major studio might be disappointed with Pacific Rim‘s domestic gross, [Legendary Pictures'] mega-financier [Thomas] Tull has the luxury of mining this marginal outcome into a franchise – especially depending on how foreign performs.

Overseas performance has been good, and word of mouth may well help the film in the coming weeks. To do my small part: If you haven’t seen Pacific Rim, go see Pacific Rim.

*Yes, that was an Airheads quote. Hey, Adam Sandler’s been in some awesome movies. Airheads is a flipping masterpiece. I will fight you on this.

(via: Deadline)

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  • Anonymous

    Presumably Grown Ups 2 was boosted by the people who watch Two and A Half Men.

  • James Gardiner

    Considering it’s ahead of Grown Ups 2 by about $50 million worldwide I can’t complain too much. It’s a bummer that good movies not doing great means other movies might not get made, especially other original genre movies, but at least there are hundreds of kids who saw the movie and it is now their “most favoritest thing ever”

  • Harrison Grey

    I did what I could for opening weekend, namely seeing it three times. This seriously makes me want to flee America to whichever country went to go see it the most.

  • Fisty

    I didn’t bother to see it since the trailers didn’t convince me it had any substance. I don’t care much about robots vs. monsters for over 2 hours.

  • Anonymous

    $38M was just the U.S. take, wasn’t it? Looked like about $90M worldwide. (

  • James Gardiner

    Yep. Plus it still has a couple countries to release in, which I’m pretty sure include China & Japan.

  • Harrison Grey

    I am one of those ‘kids’.

  • Renee I.

    I was out of town, I’ll go see it soon promise!

  • Anonymous

    OK, good. So at least the news isn’t as bad as it looked, though it’s still true that Americans have upside-down taste.

  • Anonymous

    Perhaps the audience wasn’t responding well to marketing because they didn’t see any? I still haven’t seen a trailer, whether that be at the theater or on the TV. Of course, I live in southwest Virginia, which is basically a death sentence for any movie that isn’t on the same level as Grown Ups 2.

  • Jayme

    Hey, I enjoyed the first Grown Ups. I will probably enjoy the second one. At home. Via Netflix or RedBox, whichever gets it first.

    I do want to see Pacific Rim, though. And Despicable Me 2. The obstacle to my enjoyment of these films comes in the form of a 4 year old and a 5 month old. Darn kids keeping me from theater-going.

    Since my husband was a turd and saw Pacific Rim without me on Thursday, I believe I am entitled to a Mommy’s Day Out. Right?

  • Adam R. Charpentier


  • regularjoe

    Transformers vs Godzilla? Ill pass, why spend $20+ when I can watch Atlantic Rim on TV for free?

  • Anonymous

    for me it’s not the loss so much as people are still spending so much money on Adam Sandler movies.

  • Stephanie Eversole Vandenburg

    I agree! I haven’t seen one ounce of marketing, save for what The Mary Sue has said on its behalf. I went to see “The Heat” this weekend, and the ticket girl asked me if I was there for Pacific Rim, and I thought, “Oh, is that out?”

  • Rebecca Pahle

    It’s showing on about the same number of screens, actually. Apparently the numbers were really good early in the weekend but they fell after all the midnight screenings and pre-sales were done. I saw a screening yesterday evening and it was only about 30% full. I was shocked. I know I’m not in NY or LA for the weekend, but WHERE WERE ALL THE PEOPLE?!

  • TKS

    Than you pretty much made the right call. The monster fights were awesome, I was laughing a lot. However, the actual character stories were pretty superficial and rote.

  • DarthRachel

    ugh well there goes my optimism. i’ll just have to go see it 5 more times! it’s a sacrifice i am willing to make.

  • Anonymous

    I’m going to go for an unconventional blame: Box office fatigue. There have been so many movies I’ve wanted to see this summer that I just can’t make all of them in the first week. First, I can’t afford it, second, I do actually have other things to do. It’s not that I don’t want to watch monsters fight robots, I do, really, but I also want to see Superman fly, monsters to go college, villains raise three little girls, and maybe an action cop movie featuring women. And I haven’t gotten to see ANY of those yet!

  • Katy

    Let’s just give the box office time and keep in mind that Grown Ups 2 is no That’s My Boy. The movie has a solid comedy cast that will appeal to a huge audience. Pacific Rim is getting lots of good hype from reviewers and the internet. I’m from Canada and the reviewer for CTVNews raved about it for most of his spot last night on the news. At one point he actually said “Years from now we will look at this movie and say ‘I can’t believe studios backed this, it’s so good.’”

  • Lourdes

    I know, I went to see the film Friday night and the room was about 40% full, for a premier that’s a first… I was disappointed in humans, yet again.

  • Bear TheDad

    Troll harder.

  • Sarah Brockman

    This. I can’t afford a $12-15 ticket more than once ever few weeks, so often I have to wait until there’s a matinee that I can make or until something hits the dollar theater. It kills me not to see certain things the day they come out, but my bills don’t really care about that.

  • Anonymous

    I can’t say I’m “glad” I’m not the only one, but at least it’s not a trend of one!

  • Calum Syers

    Since I have a passing interest in box office, and movie marketing, I’ll take a stab at speculating why it’s under performing.

    The marketing, for the most part, focused on the things which appealed to young children and geeks, and general audiences were left behind. Many of use were sold on Del Toro’s name, and the premise of monsters vs. robots. For the majority of audiences, why should they care?

    Unfortunately, while I wish this wasn’t true, the geek community doesn’t drive the biggest money at the cinema, but we are the most prominent across the internet, and our voices are the loudest at conventions and film festivals. This is what led Lionsgate to spend tens of millions of dollars on the theatrical rights to Kick-Ass, so convinced were they that it would be a theatrical hit. They also sunk another chunk of money into marketing. Of course, Kick-Ass would go on to be a huge hit on DVD, but by that point Lionsgate had not had the best of experiences, hence why Kick-Ass 2 is being distributed by Universal.

    That may be a little rambling, but its because of similar reasons that people were setting themselves up for a fall for Pacific Rim. It had a high midnight showing, high Fandango ticket pre-sales and a huge (deserved) buzz. In the end, all of that noise was being made by the people who were already going to see the movie regardless.

    Meanwhile, general audiences just weren’t interested, because the mere sight of robots and aliens, or Del Toro’s name, just wasn’t an incentive. Where were the humans in the marketing? Where are the people that audiences should care about?

    Go to Pacific Rim’s section on IMPawards. It isn’t until the 15th poster for the film that we actually saw our three main characters. By then, it was too little, too late. Again with the film’s trailers. Remember a few weeks ago when we got the trailer which was much slower and more contemplative? That trailer was great, but it was too little, too late, again. Had they begun the campaign with those characters, things may well have been different.

    Besides, even when the marketing campaign FINALLY decided to show some of the characters, they only focused on the main three. Despite the great character work done by Charlie Day, Burn Gorman, Ron Perlman and Clifton Collins Jr.

    Anyway, great movie. Glad I saw it opening weekend.

  • Pink Apocalypse

    I think his point may have been….and I’m just guessing here…is that it’s important for actual kids to see and embrace this movie, to create a fresh new generation of fans, rather than rely on the older existing ones.

  • Melynda

    Hopefully Pacific Rim will be a slow burn and will be able to make another appearance in the top five of upcoming weekend’s box office. I really think (hope) that word-of-mouth will help it out. But for my part, I saw it twice this weekend (and might go again next weekend… I have a gift card to use).

    Also I really don’t think marketing did enough to differeniate it from Transformers. There were way too many comparisons to that crap-fest of a movie which I think was a lot of the problem. Well, that and those people who refuse to see it as anything other than a live-action Evangelion which it definitely is not.

  • Pink Apocalypse

    In fact, you are.

    On a related note, in our house, Netflix cheating would be grounds for couple counseling. Or at least a guilt-motivated back-rub.

  • Ham Boner

    This reply is kind of short and lacks details. Could you add a couple more paragraphs? Thanks!

  • Calum Syers

    Ooh, why you.

  • John W

    Be patient. I think Pacific Rim will have the last laugh.

  • Anonymous

    I’m seeing it on Friday. It just feels like a long time until Friday.

  • Anonymous

    I heard that from a friend. “Ever since Transformers, I’ve been done with giant robot movies.”

    All I could do was say “this is nothing like TF.”

  • Kris

    Well, now I feel bad. Hubby and I were planning on seeing it for Date Night on Saturday, but he was sleepy and my stomach was bugging me. We decided to put off seeing Pacific Rim until next weekend, since we figured the theater would undoubtedly be packed and we didn’t feel like dealing with a crowd.

  • Anonymous

    I have to be honest, I had a little box office fatigue.

    Actually, this movie broke some of my box office fatigue. Because I had been disappointed by Star Trek and Man of Steel, and this was the first movie that really, really blew me away this summer. After this I’m actually looking forward to the Wolverine movie.

  • Julianna Condor

    I think it’ll have legs — it’s the kind of movie that builds a little more slowly, I think, and keeps going. I wasn’t super gung ho about it to start (not really into robots) but man, I saw it and I didn’t stop smiling the whole time. I’ve been telling everyone I can about it, too. I would not be surprise if it continues to hold steady for a good while, and it’ll definitely out-earn the comedy internationally.

  • Ryan Colson

    Also relevant

  • AverageDrafter

    With a bit of domestic staying power and a lot of help from oversees, this can easily enter the 400 mill range. Keep the faith, and Legendary – Make the sequel.

    Look, we all wanted a home run for this film… for Del Toro, for a sequel, for an original property, maybe even Hellboy 3. However, this is far from a failure or even a major stumble. Its GDT’s largest opening yet, and Japan (and possibly China) will flock in mass to see this film.

    Keep the faith.

  • Anonymous

    What the hell is wrong with your country??!!!
    Sorry – I can accept that Pacific Rim did a bit slow first weekend, no big box office names and all, but how in the world do people still PAY to see a Sandler movie!!??? It defeats me!
    I will say this – Rim will do excellent globally in my opinion, it has really strong word of mouth. But where I live it doesn’t open until August so I just have to bite my finger nails and wait. (And believe me Sandler will be a minor blip)

    Next time Del Toro – just open first overseas ok?

  • Anonymous

    This. And make note that Pacific Rim doesn’t open in some countries until August even!

  • Anonymous

    Yaeh. And they have lots of screen time (not) and add to the narrative by being ogled and farted on by the male leads!

  • Lynda Bowen

    Here in the UK, we have a real live heatwave. And sunshine. Since it’s the first good weather we’ve had, people are making the most of it.

  • JJ

    And this is why we cannot have anything nice…

  • Jason Seas

    I am curious if there is a 3D wariness to seeing the movie. I saw it first showing sunday, IMAX 3D even though I didn’t want to. The theater could not have been 50% full. There were 10 showings all day, only 2 of them were 2D, middle of the afternoon.

  • Nat

    I would love to dish out the extra money to see this in Imax but I’m one of those people who can’t see 3D (not to mention I don’t enjoy 3D). My dad and I are waiting for this weekend or the following to see it but by the sounds of it crowds won’t be a worry.

    I’d also like to say I haven’t seen any marketing for this movie past my tumblr dash and the mary sue.

    Not to mention Box Office fatigue. I have a list of movies I wanted to see this year (IM3, MoS, The End, WWZ, RIPD, PR) and those will average $9 to see matinee. So far I’ve only been able to see WWZ — which was awesome.

  • Nick Gaston

    I felt Pacific Rim had room for improvement, in several areas…

    …but “More Adam Sandler” was *not* one of them.

  • Janelle S

    My husband has been so excited about this movie for months. I couldn’t muster a single shred of enthusiasm for it. I saw Evangelion and it wasn’t my thing. A live action version of it didn’t appeal to me in any way. My nerdery goes other ways, I suppose.

  • Anonymous

    AGREED. I told someone at work that I saw Pacific Rim this weekend, he asked what it was about, I gave a super summary about robots kicking the ish out of giant monsters and he said, “Oh, so it’s like Transformers?” And I was like *mental facepalm*

    No, world! This is not like Transformers! It’s like Gundam Wing meets Godzilla and it’s really, really cool and worth your money!!

  • Anonymous

    To be completely honest (and forgive my blasphemy!) I saw it trending on Twitter over the weekend and didn’t even know what it was. Whoops! I totally forgot it existed. Way to go marketing team!

  • Anonymous

    Yeah, if you’re thinking the robots were the problem with TF, you’re not paying attention.

  • Anonymous

    I wouldn’t have known anything about Pacific Rim’s plot if I didn’t frequent TMS.

    That said: …There was a Grown Ups Two?

  • demoncat_4

    sad but not surprised to see this not doing really big box office numbers one since its an original idea not a remake or reboot thing. and two fans seem to really like adam sandler in any thing more then a unique thing from del torro. wonder if this is going to hurt del torro chances to finaly get at the mountains of madness made now.

  • Joanna

    They’re not robots, they’re mechs! Gawd!

  • Foxfire

    You know where the marketing failed? People are still comparing it to ‘Live Action Evangelion’ or ‘Transformers Vs Godzilla’ and it’s neither.

    It’s an exceptionally fun movie about the end of the world and giant mech’s fighting to save us all.

    So much better than Transformers was or Evangelion could ever be.

  • Jay Dominic Sto Tomas

    I think the figures will increase significantly over the next week or so, especially when the overseas earnings come in. Opening day (July 11) where I am (Manila), the IMAX theater we went to was actually around 90-95% full. And it was during off-peak mall hours! We watched it in IMAX 3D and everyone (especially me!) were obviously enjoying themselves! I have high hopes for this movie! I really want GDT to make a sequel so bad…. :D

  • Jay Dominic Sto Tomas

    Based on the fan forums I’ve been to, you could even say some of the hard-core EVA fans probably went on strike because they totally wanted an EVA movie to get made instead of this one. But hey! To each his/her own right? The way I look at it, if Pacific Rim succeeds, this will pave the way for MORE live-action mecha anime movies (including EVA)… :)

  • Anonymous

    I’m really hoping for some of The Matrix effect to counter the endless “Transformers vs Godzilla” stuff. The Matrix grew from The Whatrix? to a kajillion dollar game-changer once word-of-mouth kicked in. The responses I’ve seen to Pacific Rim have been overwhelmingly positive. I just hope they’re reaching enough ears.

  • Sebastian Villegas

    Despicable Me 2 coming out on top was to be expected. The marketing for Pacific Rim has been terrible by only concentrating one element and not everything else to get the general public interested.

  • Dessa Brewington

    Am I the only one who though Pacific Rim was really bad? It’s lonely out here.

  • Laura Truxillo

    Y’know, I imagine this could be one of the few movies China allows in this year, even though there aren’t any Chinese characters with speaking parts, just because of the Crimson Tornado team and the fact that most of the action takes place in Hong Kong. That’s gotta be good for international market.

    Word of mouth is all we got at this point. Guess I’ll hafta go see it again.

  • Laura Truxillo

    I was actually reminded of Transformers during the movie, and also of the Matthew Broderick Godzilla flick.

    In that I remember thinking, “Oh WOW, this is so much BETTER! I didn’t know you could do that with this kind of movie!”

  • Laura Truxillo

    I know that feel, because many of those I do want to see.

    The reason I picked Pacific Rim as my primary is that the others may also be fun, but I want to see studios make MORE movies like Pacific Rim. It’s the same reason The Heat is on my to-see list next. I want to see more of those happening.

  • Dessa Brewington

    After seeing the movie, I still ask the question “where are the people I’m supposed to care about?” Because those cheesy cardboard cutouts didn’t do it for me.

  • coregeek

    Posted this on Facebook:

    If you dismissed Pacific Rim as another Transformers or Battleship, you are wrong. Pacific Rim is the most satisfying and bad ass big summer movie of 2013. Remember The Avengers? um yeah, it’s more satisfying than that (and I loved the hell out of The Avengers).

    Too bad you let the trolls on the internet dictate to you what deserves your hard earned money. All of us who have seen it and experienced the incredible heartfelt mastery of cinema that del Toro displays in every frame of this film will be able to enjoy it in remembrance. Because that’s all we’ll get if the BO doesn’t pick up.

    The rest of you can just save your money for the 2.5 hour kids toy commercial Transformers 4 that will be out eventually and cheer together when it makes a billion + dollars and Hollywood stops making any big movies not based on an already established franchise, book or TeeVee show.

  • Andrew Orillion

    I think the marketing had the opposite problem. They focused too much on appealing to the movie geeks when the should have taken a much broader approach. They should have focused on the big fun and family friendly nature of Pacific Rim they way they did with Independence Day.

  • Mina

    Yeah I….maybe saw ONE teaser trailer a year ago? I can’t remember a single trailer or commercial that I’ve seen in the last year save what TMS has posted here. My parents had never heard of it before I went to see it. There really doesn’t seem to have been much marketing, especially considering that it was such a high budget film.

  • Mina

    Today I was eating lunch with some coworkers. They asked what I did this weekend, and I told them I saw Pacific Rim with some friends. No reaction. I don’t think any of them had heard of it. That is point number one of this story: There seemed to be very little marketing of this movie, and it’s kind of weird. Now for point two. After I said that, they started talking about movies that were out that they had seen/wanted to see. One said she wanted to see Grown Ups 2, which led to them all talking about how they really liked Grown Ups and they’d heard Grown Ups 2 wasn’t very good but it couldn’t be that bad because Grown Ups was so funny, etc. etc. I just kind of sat quietly thinking, “You all are lovely people and all, but…..I really don’t have any common interests with you, do I?”

  • Ashe

    I enjoyed it, but it had its flaws, for sure. I wish it hadn’t had such a corny, predictable ending.

  • Raiden

    What does this say about American society?

  • MeatyStakes

    As of July 14, the foreign market counts 58,7% of the movie’s world wide gross revenue (53 million) for a total of 90 million. Grown ups, on the other hand, has 3.9% on the foreign market, for a total of 43 million worldwide.

    I think that’s a good sign for the weeks to come.

  • Alyson L

    A lot of people I have talked to in the past few weeks didn’t even know about Pacific Rim..

    Heck, my husband (who loves monster v robot films) didn’t even want to see it (its been done before, blah blah blah) until he saw del Toro on some interviews and realized he actual went with a logical approach to the robots.

    I loved it, he loved it… I wanna see it again because it was so much fun to watch.

  • Alyson L

    I hate the overkill of trailers… I loved the marketing for this one because it feels like they are letting the movie sell itself. Hey just think, this may be one of the only big movies we will ever see where we don’t see the entire thing in trailers.

  • Anonymous

    Sometimes weak marketing destroys a good film’s potential success: John Carter, anyone?

  • Anonymous

    That’s what happens when trailers make the movie look like a dumbed down version of Transformers. They were a lot of fail. It’s John Carter Redux.

  • Anonymous

    That’s usually true. In this case, I just wish I had seen ONE.

  • Anonymous

    It’s very strange. Perhaps it’s the Fight Club of movies. You don’t talk about it, you just know about it?

  • brandon

    Are you the only one that thought Grown-Ups 2 was hilarious? Please entertain us on why if so…

  • Dessa Brewington

    Didn’t see it. Didn’t even hear about it until people pointed out that it was outselling Pacific Rim. Not a huge Sandler fan though, so I’ll take errbody’s word for it when they tell me it’s bad.

  • Anonymous

    b-but it’s NOT an Evangelion remake ;_;

  • Anonymous

    Looks like the rest of the world have to pick it uo. I know most of my friends (I’m in South East Asia) have watched and LOVED it because it brings back the heydays of our childhood. I hope everyone in Japan watches it!!

  • Janelle S

    So I am given to understand. And yet, I still have no interest in seeing giant robots vs. alien monsters.

  • Anonymous

    understandable. just wanted to point out that if the reason you didn’t want to watch Pacific Rim is because you weren’t into Evangelion, well it’s not like Evangelion. It’s basically a culmination of every giant robo/mecha stories since its conception built into one giant production of awesome (imho)

    I’m also wondering if the rejection of this movie in the US is due to cultural xenophobia, because – heck – we are loving it to the max here in South East Asia.

  • Anonymous

    my friend and I were saying how this movie basically a litmus test to separate the jocks from the nerd/dorks/geeks. The nerds/dorks/geeks love it, the jocks simply HATE it.