Guillermo del Toro's "Pacific Rim" failed to do monster business at the North American box office as it was beat by "Despicable Me 2" and Adam Sandler's ensemble comedy "Grown Ups 2" in a major disappointment for Thomas Tull's Legendary Pictures.
"Pacifc Rim" grossed $38.3 million, a problematic number considering the movie's production budget of at least $190 million. Legendary footed most of the bill, with distribution and marketing partner Warner Bros. putting up a minority stake. Opening in 38 markets overseas, the 3D tentpole took in $53 million for a worldwide total of $91 million. While strong in Asia, Russia and Mexico, "Pacific Rim"was soft elsewhere.
Universal's box office hit "Despicable 2"stayed at No. 1 in its second weekend, grossing $44.8 million for a domestic total of $229.2 million. The 3D animated tentpole also came in No. 1 internationally, grossing $55.7 million from 50 markets for a worldwide total of $472.4 million. It has earned $243.2 million at the foreign box office and will eclipse the entire run of "Despicable Me" this week ($293 million).
"Despicable Me 2."
ANALYSIS: What 'Pacific Rim's' fate means for Legendary and Warner Bros.
Sony's "Grown Ups 2" opened to a stellar $42.5 million domestically in a needed win for Sandler, who has had a string of box office disappointments.
Despite being ravaged by critics, "Grown Ups 2" received a B- CinemaScore, same as the 2010 original. The sequel, costing a relatively modest $80 million to produce, reteams Sandler with Kevin James, Chris Rock, David Spade, Salma Hayek, Maya Rudolph and Maria Bello.
Fox's Sandra Bullock and Melissa McCarthy comedy "The Heat"placed No. 4 in its third outing, jumping the $100 million mark and ending the weekend with a North American cume of $112.4 million.
Coming in No. 5 was Gore Verbinski's troubled "The Lone Ranger," which tumbled a steep 61 percent to $11.1 million in its second weekend for a tepid domestic cume of $77.1 million. Overseas, the big-budget tentpole took in a meek $12.7 million from 33 territories for an international total of $48 million and worldwide cume of $119.1 million. "Lone Ranger" has a number of major markets in which yet to open.
Marking del Toro's first big-budget tentpole, "Pacific Rim" pits giant robots against alien monsters and stars Charlie Hunnam, Idris Elba, Rinko Kikuchi and Charlie Day.
Defying soft prerelease tracking, "Pacific Rim" got off to a better-than-expected start Thursday night and Friday, but once fanboy traffic started tapering off late Friday, the movie took a dip. Mirroring strong reviews, "Pacific Rim" received an A- CinemaScore.
IMAX theaters -- the favored venue for fanboys -- ponied up a robust $7.3 million. In another sign that fanboys turned out in force, more than 50 percent of the overall gross came from 3D screens, a record for the summer.
Younger moviegoers made up the biggest percentage of the audience for"Pacific Rim," with 47 percent of those buying tickets under the age of 25 and 67 percent under the age of 35.
Overseas, "Pacific Rim" launched to strong numbers in Asia, Russia and Mexico -- del Toro's home country -- though it fared dismally in Australia on Thursday, coming in No. 4 behind the the opening day of "The Heat," "Despicable Me 2" and "Monsters University" (the two animated films are benefiting from school holidays). It also was soft in the U.K.
Final weekend numbers have yet to be released, but "Pacific Rim" is expected to end the weekend with worldwide grosses just north of $90 million.
VIDEO: 'Pacific Rim's' Guillermo del Toro on box-office pressure, planning a sequel
So far internationally, the tentpole is outpacing a slew of films that went on to gross between $300 million and $400 million overseas, including"Rise of the Planet of the Apes," "Clash of the Titans" and "Prometheus." It's also pacing on par with "World War Z," which has earned more than $200 million to date at the foreign box office.
Making headlines at the specialty box office in North America was The Weinstein Co.'s critically acclaimed "Fruitvale Station," about the the shooting of a young African-American man by BART police in Oakland. The film -- opening just as George Zimmermanwas acquitted of shooting Trayvon Martin-- grossed $377,285 from seven theaters for a location average of $53,898, the third best of the year so far.
"Fruitvale" starMichael B. Jordan and first-time feature Ryan Coogler have been vocal in comparing the two shootings, and the issues they raise.
Fox Searchlight's "The Way, Way Back" performed nicely as it expanded into a total of 79 theaters, grossing $1.1 million for a location average of $14,051 and cume of $1.8 million.
First published July 14 2013, 9:23 AM