This is heartbreaking. Early tracking suggests that Guillermo del Toro's long-awaited "robots vs. monsters" movie Pacific Rim is gaining less audience interest than Grown-Ups 2, which opens the same weekend. Legendary Pictures "risks losing a lot of money" on Pacific Rim, Variety warns.
According to a sobering Variety article:
Early tracking for the film is so far disappointing with audiences showing more interest in Sony Pictures’ sequel “Grown Ups 2,” which also opens that weekend. Some are comparing “Pacific Rim” to to Saban’s “Power Rangers” kids franchise or Japanese anime.
Part of the problem seems to be a marketing campaign that focused on revving up the hardcore fans, rather than reaching a broader audience for the $200 million-plus picture, as Variety explains in a separate piece:
Warner’s marketing strategy has been to rev up core fans first, then expand from there. Del Toro’s appearances at last year’s Comic-Con and this year’s Wondercon, and the action-oriented trailers, have stoked the fanboys.... the film’s marketing must overcome the perception that “Pacific Rim” is “Transformers vs. Godzilla.”
Indiewire says it's too soon to freak out about early tracking numbers — after all, the movie's marketing campaign is still just ramping up, and there have been plenty of films with bad early tracking that turned it around. But Indiewire's Kevin Jagernauth also makes the salient point that "this is why we can't have nice things," if an original concept suffers while a sequel to a shitty Adam Sandler movie prospers. "The more ticket buyers choose the safe route, the less likely studios are to roll the dice on original concepts."