Pacific Rim is a lot better than the box office results of the weekend would have you believe. Articles keep popping up about how fanboys had no impact and Twitter buzz meant nothing because at the end of the weekend, the vile Grownups 2 and Despicable Me 2 beat the wholly original, delightfully engaging Pacific Rim. Is it really much of a surprise, though? Audiences have been conditioned over the past two generations to only like what’s familiar to them. They’d rather spend money on something they know they’re going to get (McDonald’s) than take a chance on something new.
The word on the street I was hearing was that to the target demographic it looked like Transformers vs. Godzilla. Without a brand name hook or a major star to draw audiences in, they opted for a sure bet over taking a risk. Is it any wonder Hollywood movies are taking a major dive in quality?
Given that Pacific Rim is a tentpole movie that will make most of its money overseas, it is one of the better films of its kind. The reviews for Pacific Rim ranged from great to terrible – it was sort of all over the map. To my mind how much you love it will depend on how much you love the movie experience. Pacific Rim is a movie experience – it reminded me of seeing Star Wars when I was 11. It was unpredictable, funny, sweet, thrilling – and I never wanted it to end. Yet it managed just a 65 on Metacritic. Even still, Grown-ups 2 only managed a 20. It will go down as one of the worst reviewed films of the year – but do you think that stopped audiences for going in one more time for the thing they’re most familiar with? The formula has been mastered, my friends.
Meanwhile, Fruitvale Station is doing HUGE business in limited release – it reminds me of the early Zero Dark Thirty numbers and I have a feeling it’s going to do upwards of $100 mil when all is said and done.
Also worth noting, Melissa McCarthy has now brought three films to $100 million – Bridesmaids, Identity Thief and now, The Heat. She can open movies – and is one of the few stars, male or female now, who can.