Discuss: Is ‘Grown Ups 2’ Tracking Better ‘Pacific Rim’ Why We Can’t Have Nice Things?

Discuss: Is 'Grown Ups 2' Tracking Better 'Pacific Rim' Why We Can't Have Nice Things?

The common rallying cry around the movies— which tends to get louder on weekends when box office takes a dip— is that audiences want more originality and less sequels. They want something new and fresh, instead of another reboot, remake, sequel or spinoff. They want a new dish instead of last year’s leftovers, but is that really the case? In 2013, the top 5 grossing movies of the year so far are a sequel (“Iron Man 3“), spinoff (“Oz The Great And Powerful“), sequel (“Fast & Furious 6“), sequel (“Star Trek Into Darkness“) and reboot (“Man Of Steel“). And the top 10 is rounded out by two more sequels (“G.I. Joe: Retaliation” and “The Hangover Part III“). And if early numbers and trends are anything to go by, one of the big original tentpoles of the summer could be in trouble.

According to Variety, as production company Legendary Studios exits Warner Bros. to find a new home, they wind up some egg on their face in the next couple of weeks. Tracking right now indicates that Guillermo Del Toro‘s massive monster movie “Pacific Rim” is trailing behind “Grown Ups 2” — yes, really. And folks are worried. Warner Bros., who ponied up a quarter of the $200 million dollars-plus budget, are throwing even more money at P&A in the hopes to stir more excitement. But what dose this mean the next time someone like Guillermo Del Toro wants to make an original property with big studio bucks?

No matter how you look at it, “Pacific Rim” was a gamble. A big sci-fi blockbuster pitting monsters against robots, it’s probably safe to say that even now this is being seen as a dude movie, with little interest to bring in female audiences. And not only is the movie trying to sell an original, exciting concept, it’s doing so without any lift from an A-list cast, with character actor/TV types like Idris Elba, Charlie Hunnam, Rinko Kikuchi and Charlie Day filling out the roles. The only thing “Pacific Rim” is being sold on is spectacle….but does that work when half the footage we’ve seen is hard-to-see, blurry fights at night in the rain? There’s only much cranking BRAAAAM in the trailers will do.

But on the flipside of this is “Grown Ups 2,” a sequel to a shitty, shitty movie that made a lot of money (over $270 million worldwide). Are we really seeing an instance where audiences are siding with a movie that’s going to be familiar even if it’s terrible, versus risking their dollars on something unexpected and untested? Are folks more comfortable letting Adam Sandler grunt his way through another movie than experiencing something potentially new? One could argue “Grown Ups” is a different kind of boys’ club movie, with a thin veneer of a family movie painted on and a PG-13 rating, it aims at a broader audience than the very niche, very geeky “Pacific Rim.”

If so, to an extent, this is why we can’t have nice things— the more ticket buyers choose the safe route, the less likely studios are to roll the dice on original concepts. And even as Guillermo Del Toro sets up his next movie, it’s telling that his gothic horror “Crimson Peak” is being stacked with a starry cast including Benedict Cumberbatch, Jessica Chastain and Mia Wasikowska. And even someone like Christopher Nolan had to prove himself first with an established franchise, before getting the resources to make “The Prestige,” “Inception” and the upcoming “Interstellar.”

But let’s not panic just yet— there has been more than one occasion where the trades like to report bad tracking weeks out, only for a movie recover by the time it hits the release date.  And that could certainly be true here. But what this does suggest at the very least, is that marketing an original movie concept with blockbuster expectations is an uphill battle all the way. But what do you think? Is “Pacific Rim” a risk that’s going to pay off?

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Comments

Luxor

Transformers versus Godzilla = fresh originality. Clearly.

Brad

I don't understand why some people is saying that "Pacific Rim" is not original or that some of the jokes in "Grown Ups 2" make you laugh in the trailer.
The truth right here is that even if this is not the first movie about monsters that has ever come out it has a completely original and risky approach for big budget studio film. I think the problem is that the studio is selling only the action in the film and like in "Man of Steel" just action is not enough anymore, however I know the approach is original because in some trailers it has been mentioned that the people inside the robots make some type of emotional connection between them and the robot becoming one, besides the fact that looks visually groundbreaking and it is a homage to old japanese monster movies (Isn't that enough?).
Now we all know that Adam Sandler hasnt come out with; lets not say a good movie..lets say reasonably decent movie in years, and dont get me wrong I like "Happy Gilmore", "The Wedding Singer" and even "50 First Dates" but I'm not going to watch another Adam Sandler movie unless he teams up with Paul Thomas Anderson again which I don't think it is going to happen; and besides that I'm not watching a movie where a bunch of rich people are acting like retarded kids (because most normal kids don't act like that) without an actual plot just throwing at people faces all the money they have.
I rather spend money watching Pacific Rim ten times at the theater than watch Grown Ups 2.
And I really think "Pacific Rim" will do good on the box office.

acherondagger

how is this original you dumb shit must not watch enough anime like the rest of us true nerds

Luke Skyrunner

Guillerwhatshisface should have said no to this film and done Hellboy 3 instead. :)

Some Guy

What part of Pacific Rim is "an original, exciting concept" Giant monsters versus giant robots? The only thing unique here is putting them together in the same film. Sorry, but after The Incredible Hulk, Cloverfield, Transformers and every other giant monster / giant robot movie in the past decade, I'm kinda sick of it…

Zinjo

I often wonder why ANYONE would pay full ticket price to see a dick and fart movie? I have passed on so many theater released comedies these days because the laughs rarely justify the expense when compared to viewing it at home or on Netfilx. Pacific Rim may become a flop or a new franchise (time will tell), but the reality is that seeing a spectacle film on home video will never do the "experience" of it justice. Unless you have an 80" flat screen with a ultra sound system in a home theater, you won't come close. I concluded this after seeing Titanic on the big screen for the 1st time on the disaster's 100th anniversary (thank you Jim Cameron) and it became potently clear that all the times I saw it at home did not compare.

I think Hollywood needs to develop a better system of vetting big budget projects to avoid future John Carters and the like. The studio system is an anemic, self contained cocoon of individuals, who are very jealous of their exclusive club. However when talent like Del Toro, Nolan, Blomkamp, they too often don't know whether to shit or go blind.

Lkona

Nice misogynist comment there, Kevin. Are you at all aware this is 2013?

And since when is ANYTHING that concerns Pacific Rim "original"? What a joke! I crave original, intelligent sci-fi but "Americans stealing monsters from huge Japanese genre that was initially spawned by the US atrocities in Hiroshima and Nagasaki in the first place versus better-looking Transformers" ain't it. The lack of emotional depth is embarrassingly obvious.

Denise

Perhaps this is something as simple as yet-another action/adventure flick versus a comedy, which come less often in the summer months.

We'll see how it turns out but the marketing of Pacific Rim has not been very exciting.

asd

Hi:) if u want to watch this movie u should go to my house.

Evan

Grown Ups is the most painful movie I've ever endured all the way to the end. I'd rather have teeth pulled with rusty pliers than watch the sequel to that abomination. Pacific Rim all the way!

julian

I love some good sci-fi and fantasy and think the world of Pan's Labyrinth (it might possibly be one of the best genre films in the 10 years), but unless your a 12 year old boy or are obsessed with Japanese giant robots, why on earth would the trailers for Pacific Rim excite you about this film?

I'll skip both films thank you very much.

kaiju

Just got back from a screening. Overlong, dull, no interesting characters… not the worst blockbuster I've seen this year, but I would have felt robbed if I had paid to see it.

Gary

Pacific Rim thankfully leans toward the far, far superior and aesthetically pleasing Japanese style of robot designs, not the godawful, utterly crap, hideous Western robot designs Bay used in Transformers.

Oh, and if we are talking about unoriginality and creative bankruptcy, let's not forget Steven Spielberg, who HIRED Bay after Bay said he hated Transformers. That is the action of a soulless, cynical, and creatively bankrupt producer/director.

NEIL

I love Science Fiction but I have no interest in this film. Maybe that's the problem; it's not anything to do with Grown Ups 2 (different audience), it's the impression that it's a "better, more artistic version of, Transformers" . The reality about this film is that its success rests mostly with fans of Tranformers movies and hoping THEY choose to embrace this "finer" version of THEIR film. It's like revisiting Transformers vs. Terminator Salvation,

Mason

I'm wondering if they do any tracking with foreign audiences because Pacific Rim looks like it could do huge internationally. It is about people from all over the world uniting to fight the alien invasion, and even the star, Idris Elba, isn't covering up his British accent. I always imagine the staunch American perspective in movies must push some foreign audiences away. There also seems to be a huge element of Asian locales and characters (that don't seem offensively shoehorned in like Iron Man 3). Remember people, China's population is more than 4 Americas (assuming this is on the limited list of US movies their government lets in this year).

Snare

I'm not going to get involved in some argument about whether or not Pacific Rim is original, or whether or not it's going to have more substance than other big-budget fare, or anything like that.

But what I will say is this: regardless of your opinion on his movies, I think you'd be hard-pressed to find a filmmaker who puts as much love and affection into his work as Guillermo del Toro does. Every film he makes is personal to him on some level. It reflects something that helped form the man that he is, and is inspired by the things that pushed him into this crazy business to begin with. On that basis alone, I am excited to see this movie. And I would love to see it succeed because I would love to see more movies approached in that same respect. If a movie isn't original, then it isn't original. But if it's made by someone who legitimately gives a damn about what he's making, then that's at least a step in the right direction.

And if you are a Sandler fan, then I truly hope that Grown Ups 2 is everything you want and more. But in my opinion, he's the kind of creative force that the industry needs less of.

Maki P

Defend Pacific Rim is exhausting. How many times does one have to say: "It's a Homage to giant robots and monsters movies. It's supposed to be loud and spectacular. And being similar to other robot/monsters, that's the Whole Damn Point" before it gets into people heads?

Maki P

Pacific Rim is NOT a Dude Movie. It's a geek movie, female geeks will see it for the same reason male geeks will: Monsters vs Robots. It's the normal people that are the problem, not women

Jared Carlson

I think people should get out of this shitty cinematic runt,
Transformers 3 was completely the same as the previous two
(Lots of explodes, boobs, and pathetic storytelling). I've seen the trailers from both of the films above and (shocker!) I'll be seeing the one with the robots, And not the one where Adam gets pissed on by a deer who somehow got into his home.

Primarch

I've read that the "general audience" finds the premise of giant mechs hard to swallow. Yet these are the same idiots who watched garbage like Avatar, the Transformers series, Twilight, and shitty overrated superhero movies with steel boners and never once questioned their lack of plausibility and myriad plot holes. Oh well, enjoy your boring unfunny generic comedies.

ASFan

Pacific Rim looks like a fanboy film that doesn't have fanboy source material. And nor is there any touting of an original technical achievement that films like The Matrix and Avatar had. So this lack of buzz shouldn't be surprising.

LOL

"…blurry fights at night in the rain? " That's what ruined the South Korea sequence in WORLD WAR Z. After that I gave up on the movie and left.

Ahmed

"The only thing "Pacific Rim" is being sold on is spectacle….but does that work when half the footage we've seen is hard-to-see, blurry fights at night in the rain? There's only much cranking BRAAAAM in the trailers will do."

Hit the nail on the head. It looked like crap from day 1.

D

So basically: We can't have nice things because the alternative to Grown Ups 2… is Pacific Rim.

loudrockmusic

Currently, the HSX stock price for Pacific Rim is at 120.43 per share. That's up from $43 I paid for my shares . I'd say it will do OK.

Jen

Pacific Rim has no one to blame for its poor tracking. It's a monster vs. robots movie, if people aren't interested in that premise alone, then they at least need a big star to draw them in (a la Brad Pitt in WWZ). But no, instead you have actors that no one really knows. What else do you expect?

Glass

I think people need to realize the problem isn't a lack of original movies, it's a lack of GOOD movies. Do people really care that The Dark Knight isn't an 'original' film when it's that good? Pacific Rim doesn't look very good to me, but I like Guillermo and I'll see it before I see Grown Ups 2.

ASFan

I don't care for either one. Although I am curious what the actual tracking numbers are.

Alan B

"Ugh! I can't tell you how much that headline annoys me as it seems to suggest Pacific Rim is equal to "nice things" while Grown Ups 2 is not. Based on what I've seen a lobotomy might be "nicer" than either of them."
– Brad Brevet, Rope of Silicon

Yeah, and it's just The Playlist's commentators who don't respect the writing team, right?

P-DUB

And I'm sure you'd be complaining if Pacific Rim was a huge hit and they made a sequel…and another sequel…then in twenty years remade it. That's what they do.

It's easy to forget, but The Hangover was original material that broke through the mainstream. Hell, even Grown-Ups was an original screenplay. Adam Sandler may not be everyone's taste (he's certainly done an amazing job destroying most of my good will towards him) but average moviegoers still love him, especially 12-13 year old kids. And while the films may not be, in my opinion, anywhere as good as the films he started out making, I also realized that I enjoyed his brand of humor when I was 12 years old too. There's really nothing wrong with that at all. Sandler has made more original material that he's developed than a good number of major actors. Just because readers of The Playlist don't like the films, that doesn't mean he isn't doing it.

And all of this seems like a silly argument to have, especially in the midst of summer releases. There is always several bombs a year, including material that is adapted or remade or sequelized. It's not as if every comic book adaptation is an amazing success story (Green Lantern, Superman Returns, Daredevil, Ghost Rider, etc..)

I think there is opportunity to get original stuff made, even large scale. There needs to be filmmakers willing to actually CREATE these screenplays, and hopefully they're actually good. But the $200 million dollar budgets are the problem. Having that price tag doesn't allow for there to be a niche audience that may expand and catch on. District 9's can still be made and still be successful with the right filmmakers, big actors willing to take pay cuts, and marketing teams that aren't afraid to push that kind of material on mainstream audiences. You never know how they'll react. Who could have guessed that random things like Black Swan become massive hits?

It's the middle of the summer. By mid-fall we're going to be bombarded with all the "important" films this year and it will erase all our memories of the shitty blockbusters that disappointed us during the summer.

LA2000

It's sort of sad that you refer to a movie that comes off like a manipulative and cynical recycling of elements from tentpoles past as something fresh and new. Because it speaks to just how low we have set the bar when it comes to the idea of "original." I don't believe anyone is confusing "Pacific Rim" with "Inception."

But then again, starve people long enough, and even a meal served out of a rat infested dumpster looks like fine dining.

Kitcon

The problem w/ Pacific Rim is it looks like a mash up of several other films: Transformers, Real Steel, Godzilla. It's really hard to make a strong argument about how original it is. I will see it but many others I've spoken to had no interest after seeing the trailers.

5678

Also, has anyone seen Mimic? It sucks. Has anyone championing GDM seen any of his films other than Hellboy and Pan's? Probably not, Kevin included

RAY GEHG

The trailer for Grown Ups 2 is funnier than the trailer for Pacific Rim is thrilling/interesting. So, there you go

Rebecca

maybe people just don't want to see pacific rim. tickets are so expensive these days, people are going to must sees/ not maybes

Zach

The reason why sequels and reboots are the top grossing films this year is because…those are the ONLY movies that are made widely available to the public. It's easy for them to dominate when majority of original movies are only in select theaters or have a short run as opposed to the sequels and reboots. Why not check to see which were the top grossing films of last year when sequels and reboots weren't practically the only thing for the audiences to choose?

Rob

To compare these two movies is a bad comparison. Firstly, "Pacific Rim" is original only in its title, not concept. Conceptually, it's the same as "Godzilla vs. Mecha-Godzilla" with a bigger budget. It doesn't look good. It looks like more of this culture of recycling. Adam Sandler, however, has always made money. Even "Jack & Jill" made fucking money.

Minus "Man of Steel", I have seen all the big summer blockbusters. The only one I found satisfying was "This Is The End." It was highly original, very funny, and still making money. Audiences are still demanding originality, the options we are being given just aren't great.

Marko

So wait. You guys make fun of the fanboy/ComicCon type crowd and the movies they like all the time, and now that there's a movie aimed directly at that demographic that isn't tracking well, you start complaining?

BradZuhl

I think the fault with your reasoning is that Pacific Rim is not tracking well because it's an original concept. I think it's not tracking well because it looks dumber than a bag of hammers, and just maybe people have finally gotten tired of big, dumb spectacle movies.
Also, I hardly think Cumberbatch, Chastain and Wasikowska qualify as a "starry" cast. I don't think anyone's rushing out to see a movie because any of them are in it.

RatBasterd

This article is all whining. Face it. The marketing SUCKED!

geezuss

Yes, let's all shed a tear if the $200 million art movie about giant CGI robots fighting giant CGI monsters doesn't find a place in the audience's heart.

wes

both movies look terrible. enough said.

Chris

Aren't the audiences different though? Not saying that there wouldn't be some overlap, but something like Grown Ups 2 strikes me as being more for the family than Pacific Rim. Plus, just because a film tracks well doesn't mean it's going to be a hit. Pacific Rim was always a gamble and I think all parties involved knew that. I plan on seeing it just because I like watching giant things fuck shit up. I personally think del Toro gets jocked waaaaaaaay too much. Seems like a nice man though.

Laurence

Wow, you people are no fucking fun. I don't know where you've been seeing Pacific Rim trailers, but they look spectacular on a cinema screen. It's a $200 million original tent pole, do you really expect to get that much depth from the promotional material? Can we stop for a minute and trust that Guillermo del Toro is a terrific director and place some faith in his abilities rather than bullshit, knee-jerk reactions based on studio-cut trailers? Good lord. I wish the static culture of the internet wasn't to tear down everything sight-unseen. It's so exhausting.

It may not be conceptually original, but not much is.

Genga31

I'm not with the demographic that will contribute to the comfortable laziness that is grown ups 2 (or any adam sandler pile of crap for the matter). I'll be one of the people to go and see pacific rim! I love all the elements involved (del toro, kaiju, robots, & sci-fi)! And it baffles me to no end that people make ignorant and dismissive comments about it before even giving pacific rim a chance. It is NOT and transformers movie! Let's see: shia lebeouf? Open, exposed gears and piston designed robots fighting in a confusing, cacaphony of visual confusion? Megan fox? Michael Bay? Where in pacific rim do we see the connection?? And let's get this straight! Transformers is from Japan! And we all know giant robots and monster battles are best when they're from Japan! Del toro has made his love for the genre clear! This is his love letter to that genre!! He's not taking pre-existing characters and destroying it with completely terrible western redesigns and watering them down! He's paying his homage to it! And that's what pacific rim is. As a fan of godzilla and mech, i'm excited like a little kid to see this!

max

Like the others, I don't really see this as a problem of original movie vs. known quantity. Pacific Rim isn't an original idea and is tailor made for toys/merchandizing. It's probably not tracking well because most people don't care about 2 hour VFX reels.

cuntpunter

Yeah, Pacific Rim might not be based on a specific existing property, but nothing on display so far has suggested true originality. A mash-up of genre tropes presented together with a no-name cast and so far underwhelming action scenes. Why would it be generating excitement? Everything is shot in the dark, hard to see and clunky. Robots fighting monsters is not exactly the sort of fresh thinking we need to revitalize summer blockbusters.

Pamela

I like Guillermo del Toro but Pacific Rim looks like something that Michael Bay would direct or Jerry Bruckeimer would produce, although I should give it the benefit of the doubt, the trailer for Sector 9 wasn't impressive either but the movie was

tomincmh

It's freakin giant robots fighting giant monsters with Del Toro's creative genius behind it. It looks like a perfect summer action movie. Sandler's brand of comedy is way past it's expiration date. It's pathetic that anyone would pony up 10-12 bucks a ticket to see his latest heaping pile and not give something like Pacific Rim a chance.

James

Is Pacific Rim really worth championing as original cinema? Its a hyper commercial monster film (Godzilla with robots) with tons of city destruction and a sure to be forced love stroy between the leads. It's as mainstream as Man of Steel and Star Trek. What part of PR is"niche" Kevin?

a

Typical example of d bag, pretentious internet writers being out of touch with real life. If people enjoy adam sandler movies, fine – the whole point of movies is to go enjoy yourself for a couple hours.

Luke

I want to like Pacific Rim because I enjoy Del Toro, but the trailers and images haven't impressed me so far. Without his name attached it would be indistinguishable from the mindless spectacle of the Transformers films. On the other hand, Grown Ups 2 looks like a festering pile of shit, which it undoubtedly will be. At least Pacific Rim MIGHT be good.

John

Not to defend Grown Ups 2, which looks atrocious and I intend to never, ever see, but what's so original about Pacific Rim? It looks like Transformers with monsters. Don't create a false dichotomy in which Pacific Rim represents what is a 'nice thing' about cinema and that I'm to blame for its poor tracking- I didn't ask for this overbudgeted, lame-looking spectacle. Just because I'm not choosing to buy a ticket for Pacific Rim does not mean I'm to blame for Grown Ups 2's success.

Jose

I'm genuinely surprised. Whenever a trailer for Grown Up 2 pops up, the audience usually groans. Personally, I didn't even know that it was even tracking any interest, let alone more than Pacific Rim.

bohmer

Pacific Rim will do well internationally, which is what remain the main goal of the studios. There's gonna be as much people waiting for PR in, say, Japan then people waiting for GU2 in, say, the midwest of america. Comedy cost less and take in less because it's limited to US audiences. I know what I will see.

Frank

Pacific Rim looks to be about as stupid and terrible as Grown Ups 2? No, it isn't directly based on any toy or comic or videogame, but it might as well be. There's no originality on display here.

Travis

I'll be blunt. I am not an Adam Sandler fan. I can't even sit through most of his movies. But at present, Grown Ups 2 looks better than Pacifc Rim.

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