Why ‘Pacific Rim’ Is Going To Take Hollywood By Surprise

Yes, we know, we talk a lot about Pacific Rim around here. That’s because we’re excited for it, and we’re not alone. But according to Hollywood, nobody else is excited for it and Adam Sandler will easily beat the ass of a bunch of giant robots at the box office. Oh? Wanna bet?

To be fair, this isn’t just an ass pull on the part of some Hollywood executives hoping to keep farting out reboots, it’s based on audience awareness of the movie and box office pundits are assuming that it’s only going to make $30 million or so this weekend. That’s why all the trailers and TV spots: Warner Bros. trying to raise awareness of the general public as much as possible. Some argue Grown-Ups 2 is doing a better job of it.

That said, though, if we had to lay a bet, we’d say Pacific Rim handily clobbers Adam Sandler, and will make a run at #1 this weekend. Why? A few reasons.

The Reviews Are Great

Honestly, it’s easy to expect critics to dismiss a movie out of hand for having a giant monster in it. But instead, the word for Pacific Rim is surprisingly strong (with one exception), especially considering it’s a genre movie. While Hollywood loves to gloat that critics don’t mean anything, the reality is, movies with a broad appeal that also appeal to critics tend to do better than those that don’t. If you want an example, look no further than The Lone Ranger, which might actually be outgrossed by its inevitable porn parody The Long Ranger. Also, there’s another factor at work…

The Word Of Mouth Is Also Great

We’ve already done a brief story on what celebrities (and Rob Liefield) think of the movie courtesy of Twitter, and they haven’t stopped weighing in with a thumbs-up since, Patton Oswalt’s standing out in particular. And they’re far from alone on that; the general consensus is that it’s a great movie. That’s reflected in Fandango’s ticket data: Currently, 60% of all ticket presales are going towards Pacific Rim.

Warner Bros. Is Weighting Screenings Towards 3D

It’s always fun to check the screening times of movies: It tells you a lot about studio strategy. Currently, in my area, all the first screenings of Pacific Rim are in 3D, and 3D screenings are more widely available than 2D. Obviously, that’s to boost the numbers… so, you know, it’ll probably work.

And Finally, Box Office Predictions Tend To Get Genre Movies Wrong

It’s a pretty consistent pattern; box office prediction, never an exact science, tends to lowball when it comes to genre movies. Man Of Steel was widely predicted to make a solid $90 million or so: It grossed $113 million in its opening weekend instead. Iron Man 3 was totally going to make “over $125 million”… except instead it made $175 million.

And that’s just this summer. It’s a consistent pattern: Box office analysts insist nobody but useless nerds will go see a movie, and then people show up in droves. Yet, they refuse to acknowledge that maybe their model needs some tweaking.

Will Pacific Rim be number one? Maybe. Despicable Me 2 is a kids’ movie, and you never count out a kids’ movie, especially with decent reviews. But one way or the other, the giant robots are going to take Hollywood by surprise.