Why You Should Go See 'Pacific Rim'

This weekend, theaters will rumble with the sounds of more monsters and machines battling it out over the fate of the world as we know it. The themes of Warner Bros.’ Pacific Rimmight not be new but I’m here to say you should still get out to the theater and see the movie.
I haven’t seen Pacific Rim myself. I don’t know if it’s any good (although it earns a 72 out of 100 on Rotten Tomatoes). As a fan of director Guillermo Del Toro, I’m very excited to see his take on the whole Godzilla vs. mecha thing.
But that’s not why I’m advocating for the movie here. If you have any interest in the film, you should make the effort to see it in the theater for one simple reason: although the movie is inspired by Japanese kaiju, it’s an original story.
That’s a huge risk in today’s market where the highest-grossing films are almost always either sequels or based on previous material like old TV shows or books. Take a look at the top-grossing movies from 2012. Only one live-action film of the top 20 is based on original material: Ted. With a budget of $50 million, the comedy was not that huge of a risk for Universal.
Pacific Rim, on the other hand, cost $180 million. From a profit and loss point of view, that’s more than any studio really should spend on an original idea. It doesn’t make a lot of sense if you just look at the numbers.
But that’s what’s so great about the movie. My hope is that if the film does well enough, studios will look at the numbers and be more willing to take similar risks in the future. Iron Man 3 and Fast & Furious 6are all well and good, but how amazing is it to find something unexpected and delightful at the theater? It’s hard for that to happen with sequels and reboots and book adaptations.
Exhibitor Relations expects Pacific Rim will rank second at the box office with $42 million (behind, natch, a sequel, Despicable Me 2). But Exhibitor’s Jeff Bock says the film could do even better as it can be hard to track how many younger people will show up opening weekend. The movie currently accounts for 60% of the ticket sales on Fandango. If it does earn $42 million, that’s not a great opening. It would only be the 10th biggest opening of the year.
So maybe, in a show of support for original ideas, we can bump that number up enough for the film to have an unexpectedly good showing. Just enough for the studio bean counters to say yes to the next crazy idea when it comes around.
(Oh, and also get out there and support indie movies. They need it even more.)
Follow me on Twitter at DorothyatForbes.


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