Pacific Rim was an unexpected bubble hit, not performing fantastically in the US but garnering a good response in the international market. With its fun plot and a whole lotta heart, Pacific Rim earned a fierce fanbase who were delighted when Legendary Pictures announced the sequel and an animated series to boot.
However, recent delays and budget concerns have cast Pacific Rim 2's future into doubt. Though creator Guillermo Del Toro is still enthusiastic about making the film, even he has admitted it may be some time before we see those awesome robots punch alien monsters again.
Rocky Road To Production
Pacific Rim 2 (tentatively titled Maelstrom) was always a bit of a gamble for Legendary Pictures. With a concept inspired by countless mecha animes, and a plot that appeals to the millennial generation, Pacific Rim incorporated social commentary with an action heavy story. Personally, I frikkin love it, but then I am definitely in the intended audience, comprised of somewhat geeky 20-somethings who grew up on a steady diet of anime and scifi movies. Plus, Idris Elba absolutely kills it as Stacker Pentecost, which is delightful to see.
Unfortunately, not everyone agrees that Pacific Rim is possibly one of the most fun films of all time. But this isn't the reason for the delay (and possible cancellation) of the sequel, which at first was given an April 2017 release date. So why is the production riddled with stumbling blocks? Well, there's a few reasons.
Firstly, the budget caused a lot of concerns at Legendary HQ. All those CGI action sequences don't come cheap, with Pacific Rim costing the studio an incredible $190 million, almost half what the movie earned ($411 million). At first, that wasn't enough to doom the film, though there have been multiple reports that the budget has been slashed for Pacific Rim 2. Which is difficult, considering Del Toro wants to delve even further into the CGI-created world of the Kaiju...
"There was this portal that ripped a hole into the fabric of our universe, what were the tools [the Kaiju] were using? And we came up with a really, really interesting idea. The two movies stand on their own, although hopefully bringing the same joyful giant spectacle. But the tenor of the two movies will be quite different."
As far as the script is concerned there's no problems: Del Toro has already turned one in to Legendary along with his budget estimations.
"We are still turning in a screenplay and a budget in three weeks. As far as I’m concerned, it’s not gone. We’re still on it."
This news came in light of Legendary postponing the Pacific Rim 2: Maelstrom release date from April 2017 to August the same year. However, 2 weeks after Del Toro made this statement, Legendary revealed that Pacific Rim 2 has been put on hold, possibly indefinitely...
"Legendary’s ‘Pacific Rim 2,’ originally scheduled for release on August 4, 2017, will be re-dated at a later time. The filmmakers, Legendary and Universal Pictures are committed to having ‘Pacific Rim 2,’ be the vanguard, fully-immersive experience that the franchise deserves. To this end, the decision was made to delay the production and release of ‘Pacific Rim’ so that the creative team can continue in its efforts to exceed the amazing experience of the first film."
So just why has Pacific Rim 2 been delayed again? Well, it seems Del Toro's busy schedule might be causing problems.
Taking Time To Get It Right
Guillermo Del Toro is one busy director right now: he's got several movies in the pipeline, what with Hellboy 3 being bounced around studios and other projects to produce. Crimson Peak obviously also delayed work on Pacific Rim 2, but with the film now released, surely the monster-bashing sequel is next on Del Toro's to do list?
Alas, it is not. Del Toro recently revealed that he's got an independent movie planned before work begins on Pacific Rim 2.
"It’s certainly not my next movie. With the push, I feel compelled to do something small and weird, because I need a breather and a little bit more madness in my life."
Unfortunately, Del Toro is keeping quiet on the details of this "small and weird" movie, but he does promise it's going to be a lot stranger than anything he's done recently. Presumably, it will have more in common with Pan's Labyrinth than Pacific Rim, taking the audience deep into the realm of the surreal.
But that doesn't mean that Del Toro has completely given up on Pacific Rim 2. He reiterated that the screenplay has been delivered to Legendary, so it seems that right now the studio and director will have to work around the budget and Del Toro's schedule. Which isn't hugely hopeful for a release date anytime soon.
For now we can just rewatch the first film, and hope for the animated series to get made - currently courting anime directors, the cartoon might actually be further along the production schedule than Pacific Rim 2 itself. Though if Pacific Rim 2 does happen, there's one actress who Del Toro is teasing casting...
The "if" in that sentence is worrying, but the idea of Maisie Williams in a Jaeger? Hell yes.
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