Warner Bros. Totally Screwed Up The Marketing For 'Pacific Rim'

Business Insider

View gallery

.
pacific rim

Warner Bros. Pictures

Despite "Pacific Rim" being more than just a robot vs. monster movie, the film failed to earn $40 million opening weekend.

Warner Bros.' latest blockbuster hopeful "Pacific Rim" didn't perform as well as expected opening weekend.

The Guillermo del Toro monster versus robot epic came in third at the box office earning a paltry $38.3 million.

To put that number into perspective, it earned less than Warner Bros.' poorly-reviewed third installment of "The Hangover" ($41.6 million) and "The Great Gatsby" ($51 million).

That's not so great for a film reported to have a budget in the range of $185-$190 million.

So why didn't the robot movie pick up steam?

The problem with "Pacific Rim" wasn't that audiences didn't embrace it. In fact, audiences loved it, giving it an "A-" CinemaScore — in line with the rating of "Man of Steel."

Analysts initially expected the film to earn as low as $25 million, before bumping the number up to $40 million opening weekend.

CEO of Starlight Runner Entertainment Jeff Gomez tells Business Insider that in Hollywood's eyes del Toro's monster epic was always going to be a tough sell because it wasn't based on anything.

However, he doesn't agree with that. Instead, he sees the problem with "Pacific Rim" as something much simpler: the film's marketing strategy.

Most of the knowledge audiences had about the film after numerous trailers and Cinema-Con footage was that it was about monsters and robots going head to head in a rock 'em sock 'em fashion.

However, the film was about so much more than that, detailing a laborious on-going war affecting the planet for years.

Kerry Hayes / Warner Bros.

Actress Rinko Kikuchi in "Pacific Rim."

"Warner Bros. should have marketed 'Pacific Rim' as if the narrative in the movie had been going on for years and years," says Gomez. " Market this film as if it was an established property, as if it has been going on, and as if it has been popular and has already connected with the audience."

Gomez says Warner Bros. and Legendary missed the opportunity of familiarizing people with a large story world and the characters inside it to generate more buzz around the figures and plot.

"Even when characters are put front and center — there were tiny aspects of the campaign that featured Idris Elba —  they came across as or very broad or smashing each other in the face with sticks," says Gomez. "That's too bad because of all the films that have come out this spring and summer, there is a warmth to the characters in 'Pacific Rim' and a heroism you don't even see in 'Man of Steel' and "Iron Man 3.'"

"These guys genuinely care about human beings and will do anything to protect them," he adds. "They sacrifice their lives to protect large numbers of people and they're not flippant or callous about it ... t hat's wonderful compared to the relative coldness and grimness on tragedy that some of the other big movies have been concentrating on."

View gallery

.
Pacific Rim Graphic Novel

Legendary Pictures / Warner Bros.

The prequel graphic novel to "Pacific Rim" that debuted in June.

One thing many probably didn't know was that a month prior to the release of "Pacific Rim," Warner Bros. and Legendary attempted doing just this.

They released a  prequel graphic novel entitled " Pacific Rim: Tales From Year Zero ."

The story was centered around the first monster attack on Earth focusing on backstories of some of the major characters in the film. 

While this may have been helpful to gain attention for the flick, Gomez points out Warner Bros. missed the mark on expanding upon this more.

"A comic book only reaches tens of thousands of people," says Gomez.  "I have no doubt that a more unorthodox, a more Vanguard approach to the marketing of the film would have generated a broader interest and bigger initial numbers."



More From Business Insider

Rates

View Comments (185)