Guillermo del Toro's "Pacific Rim" is dominating with 60 percent of weekend movie presales, online ticket broker Fandango reported Thursday.
That's welcome news for Warner Bros., which is hoping its mega-budget giant robots-vs.-monsters epic can beat expectations at the box office. It opens Friday nationwide, with late shows Thursday.
Earlier projections had the $180-million 3D spectacular opening to a dismal $30 million. But some analysts believe that the movie's core demographics -- young boys and del Toro's rabid followers -- are tricky to track and that the film will see a surge. It could also get a boost from word of mouth once fans see it. It has a 76 percent positive rating on Rotten Tomatoes.
Earlier this summer, rival studio Paramount saw Brad Pitt's "World War Z" defy tracking and projections with an at-the-wire rush that lifted it to a $66 million debut, and "Pacific Rim" is outselling that movie at a comparable point, Fandango said.
Warner Bros.' "The Great Gatsby" also surpassed projections with a late rush and opened at $50 million.
Presales change rapidly and aren't necessarily an accurate gauge of box-office muscle, however. Sales for Sony's "Grown Ups 2" were at 21 percent, and Universal's current box-office champ "Despicable Me 2" was at 12 percent very early Thursday -- and both of those are expected to top $40 million this weekend.