Pop quiz: Did you know that Real Steel grossed almost $300 million worldwide at the box office?
What's that? No, I'm not mistaken. I'm definitely talking about the 2011 Rock 'Em Sock 'Em Robots-meets- [Pacific Rim](movie:204401) boxing robots movie starring Hugh Jackman.
The movie was actually somewhat of a surprise, receiving an average review of "meh" at best for the plot and story, but lots of praise from audiences and critics for the visual effects and acting. The action sequences were equally well-received, helping it to turn a small little profit when no one expected it to.
Still, there's not really been any movement on a follow-up movie in [Real Steel 2](movie:258978), which is a little perplexing given Hollywood's entrenched "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" motto of greenlighting movies. But director Shawn Levy cleared up the confusion in a recent interview with Superhero Hype. As it turns out, it's not really the studios holding the sequel back - it's the script:
We have been quietly developing a sequel to ‘Real Steel’ for three and a half years. We’ve come up with some great scripts but Hugh and I would only make it if the plot feels fresh, but also the character journeys feel fresh, and we’ve found both but never at the same time. It’s ongoing. I know the clock is ticking. That movie, weirdly, for a movie that did very well globally–it did okay domestically–but the love for ‘Real Steel’ remains kind of unique as far as rabid fans who ask me all the time for another one. Hugh and I love that movie so if we can crack it, we’ll make it, but I have this sense that we better make that happen soon or frankly, the audience may not be there in the same way. So we shall see.
Not exactly confident words, but I give Levy major points for recognizing that he's probably lost his window of opportunity - a concept studio heads don't seem to ever grasp. Seriously, was anyone clamoring for [Ghostbusters 3](movie:32733)? Or how about the painful-looking [Dumb and Dumber To](movie:293924)? Anyone?
Didn't think so. Good for you, Levy.
Real Steel was quite similar to Pacific Rim in terms of how it performed at the box office - so-so domestically, but with a strong international performance to more than justify a sequel. The difference is, Guillermo del Toro had the story for [Pacific Rim 2](movie:775756) already percolating in his mind and ready to go by the time the first movie hit theaters. Apparently, Americans really hate giant robots but we'll give them another chance if it happens within a few years of the first. Still, while we seem willing to spend money on multiple movies with dudes running around in spandex and capes and armored costumes, we're reluctant to see too many movies with those aforementioned giant robots, and Levy is certainly aware the Pacific Rim sequel is already heading our way in less than three years.
The bottom line is, I wouldn't hold your breath, Real Steel fans. Sometimes, a the timing and story are just never right and a sequel doesn't come together in time.
But still, wouldn't THIS
be waaaaaay more awesome than THIS?
Sigh. I guess it's all up to you to sate the giant, robot-sized hole in our hearts, del Toro.