The PACIFIC RIM saga is one of Hollywood’s most intriguing recent stories. Typically, a successful blockbuster is followed by a quickly-commissioned sequel. This wasn’t the case with the PACIFIC RIM franchise, which suffered from countless setbacks and near-cancellations before a second movie got off the ground. Yet here we are, just weeks away from the release of the sequel, PACIFIC RIM UPRISING.
While nothing would stop creator Guillermo del Toro from making the impossible happen, the journey to the release of UPRISING hasn’t been smooth. Let’s take a look back at the sequel’s long and confusing road to the screen.
Is International Success Enough?
PACIFIC RIM had quite an interesting run when it was released back in 2013. The film made an impact, grossing an impressive $411 million worldwide and receiving acclaim from critics. By all rights, it should have been considered a resounding success. This was all overshadowed, however, by underperformance at the domestic box office.
Despite significant global takings, PACIFIC RIM barely crossed the $100 million line in the US. That called the franchise’s future into question – especially because PACIFIC RIM was so expensive to make in the first place.
But it was impossible to overlook the the film’s international success, especially in China, where it grossed $114 million, That made it the sixth highest-grossing American film of all time in that country. While this certainly worked in PACIFIC RIM‘s favor, it wasn’t a guaranteed saving grace. In fact, Paramount’s TERMINATOR GENISYS suffered a similar fate in 2015, which resulted in the studio scrapping all plans and completely rebooting the franchise.
Despite the odds, a PACIFIC RIM sequel was indeed commissioned.
The Production Issues
While PACIFIC RIM 2 was seemingly good to go, the production encountered more problems. In the early stages, filming and release dates were both continually pushed back. Originally set for release on April 7, 2017, it was pushed back to August of the same year, raising more questions about the film’s future. The Hollywood Reporter then revealed that rising tension between Universal and Legendary Pictures had resulted in PACIFIC RIM 2 being put on indefinite hold. This new setback had many fearing that the film was canceled altogether.
However, things took an interesting turn in 2016, when Legendary was acquired by Chinese conglomerate, Wanda Group. This led to speculation that a sequel could happen after all, due to the first film’s immense success in China. And it wasn’t long before the project was resurrected with a new title of Pacific Rim Uprising.
The Man Who Never Gave Up
It’s impossible to look back at PACIFIC RIM UPRISING‘s crazy journey without mentioning the resolve of Guillermo del Toro. Despite all of the setbacks and stumbling blocks, del Toro never wavered in his desire to see this sequel. Even when it was put on indefinite hold, the director submitted a new draft of the script and budget to the studios, determined to get it made. His hard work paid off when the project was indeed revived.
Although Steven S. DeKnight took over as director, del Toro, who went off to make THE SHAPE OF WATER while production was delayed as Legendary was sold to Wanda, remained on as producer. Finally, he could make the sequel he had been campaigning for.
Del Toro was praised for his artistic vision in PACIFIC RIM and, while a sequel always seemed like a long shot, it’s clear that he also had a vision for the future of the franchise. And through hard work, determination and a lot of faith, that vision has finally been realized. Despite seeming like it was never going to happen, PACIFIC RIM UPRISING is on the horizon. And that is a testament to Guillermo del Toro.
PACIFIC RIM UPRISING hits theatres on March, 22 2018.