This is potentially bad news for Pacific Rim, which had a budget of around $200 million and needs a big opening weekend in order to not be seen as a failure.
"Early tracking for [Pacific Rim] is so far disappointing with audiences showing more interest in Sony Pictures’ sequel Grown Ups 2, which also opens that weekend," says the report. "Some are comparing Pacific Rim to to Saban’s Power Rangers kids franchise or Japanese anime. As a result, expect a last-minute marketing blitz from distributor and 25% investor Warner Bros. to try to turn around those numbers."
And while Warner Bros. is heavily invested in the film and are distributing it, Legendary Pictures has abruptly ended their relationship with the studio going forward and is exploring opportunities at places like Lionsgate and Universal. That could potentially have an impact on just how much marketing and promotion Warners is interested in doing for the film going into the home stretch, since the property itself is owned by Legendary and the success of the film is seen as key to that studio's expansion and short-term success.
Grown Ups opened at $40 million in 2010 for a lifetime domestic gross of $162 million, and these big comedy franchises tend to have diminishing returns. The Hangover, for instance, made $277 million, where its second part made only $254 million and the third, released this year, took in a paltry $110 million. Assuming there's no huge surprise coming from Grown Ups 2, and assuming the tracking numbers are accurate, that could mean trouble for Pacific Rim domestically, although it's likely that a movie like that will do very well internationally and turning a profit likely won't be a problem.
Still, building a franchise in Hollywood is largely dependent on the perception that you were successful in the U.S., which is a challenge that Pacific Rim will have to rise to.
Not all of the news is bad, though; while Variety's tracking numbers might say more moviegoers are planning to see Grown Ups 2, Pacific Rim is tracking at 98% "want to see" on Rotten Tomatoes, as opposed to 95% for Grown Ups 2. The last Warner/Legendary partnership, Man of Steel, also had a 98% rating in that category before going on to break the record for the biggest-ever opening weekend in the month of June.