Box Office: ‘Grown Ups 2′ Poised to Trounce Still-Softly Tracking ‘Pacific Rim’
Box office chatter this week has mostly revolved around “Pacific Rim,” and yet the pricey monster pic could land at No. 3 domestically this weekend, with holdover toon “Despicable Me 2” and “Grown Ups 2,” one of the most critically savaged films this year, pegged for the two top spots.
Strong advanced ticket sales, largely from fanboys choosing Imax screenings, are making the prospects for “Pacific Rim” look stronger in the last gasp before its Thursday night opening. But fanboy fever alone probably won’t be enough to help the Warner Bros.-Legendary Pictures film open higher than the previously-predicted $35 million.
“Pacific Rim,” which cost upward of $185 million to produce, faces tough competition from Universal’s “Despicable Me 2,” which should win its second frame with a gross in the high-$40 millions, followed by Sony’s “Grown Ups 2,” tracking in the low-$40 millions.
The good news is that domestic box office has been especially elastic of late, capable of accommodating multiple big grossers at once.
“Pacific Rim” has been plagued by soft domestic tracking for the last several weeks. But enthusiastic monster pic fans (many of whom complained about Variety‘s review and tracking stories) are propping up advance ticket sales, while the pic stands at 72% positive reviews on Rotten Tomatoes.
By midweek, advanced ticket sales for “Pacific Rim” outpaced those of “World War Z,” which wound up overperforming with a $66 million domestic opening four weeks ago. However, the key difference for “Pacific Rim” is that it has Imax (“World War Z” didn’t), which tends to inflate advanced sales. As it stands, observers aren’t expecting “Pac Rim” to outperform its current expectations by much.
But what “Pacific Rim” really needs is better-than-expected family turnout — a possibility considering families are especially difficult to track relating to box office potential. Also — and it’s a big also — the film needs to become a hit overseas: Warner launches the film day-and-date this weekend in 38 territories, including the U.K., Mexico, Russia, South Korea, Italy and Australia.
Warner has high hopes for “Pac Rim” in Russia and S. Korea, especially, as well as in helmer Guillermo del Toro’s native Mexico.