With Solid Chinese Opening, 'Pacific Rim' Sequel Now More Likely

It's still probably too soon to say a sequel to Guillermo del Toro's Pacific Rim is a sure thing, but the chances for another film grew this week as the film opened big in China. For any big-budget movie, international box-office is increasingly important, and global returns can make or break a film that doesn't explode at the US box office.

And so with a $9m Wednesday opening in China, the film has an international take that tops $150m, pushing it towards the magic number that could equal a green light for the sequel.

Deadline reports that "momentum is building" for a sequel with the good Chinese opening. The film still has to hit Spain, Brazil, and Japan next week.

It's important to remember that good international numbers don't mean the film is necessarily going to be profitable on its own. (The studio takes a much smaller percentage of international box office than it does domestic, and anecdotal talk says even less money taken in China comes back to the studio than usual.) But it does mean that there is significant interest in the movie. That translates to ancillary revenue: disc and video sales and licensing, and in the case of a film like Pacific Rim, merchandising.

It will be interesting to see how the sequel is handled, if it happens. Legendary owns most of Pacific Rim, and the company just signed a deal to partner with Universal. That moves Legendary away from Warner Bros., which helped finance Pacific Rim, and released the film. That puts three companies in the mix for the sequel.