Pacific Rim blowout in new Variety: "Making Of" excerpt, marketing challenges, more

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XiaNaphryz

LATIN, MATRIPEDICABUS, DO YOU SPEAK IT
Nov 5, 2005
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The latest issue of Variety has a number of articles covering Pacific Rim. Print issue went out on Tuesday I believe, and the articles are now online as well:



Inside ‘Pacific Rim’ with Guillermo del Toro - excerpted from “Pacific Rim: Man, Machines & Monsters — The Inner Workings of an Epic Film,” in bookstores June 18.

Article is pretty long, so here's a quick snippet:

That night he screens the footage again, more calmly this time, for a few lucky fans at a nearby hotel, taking questions from them after and hanging out with them as they munch on popcorn and hot dogs. This is the Guillermo del Toro they love: exuberant, generous, and warm. But they don’t realize that not so long before, del Toro had been in a suspended state. He needed a tonic, something to restore the pleasure of filmmaking and the wonder he’d felt as a boy watching movies in Guadalajara. He had needed a movie where he could feel creative freedom and a sense of support from partners who wanted to make the movie as badly as he did.

He found all that, and more, in “Pacific Rim.”


The director of a movie has been likened to the general of a small army. The comparison seems especially apt when the movie has huge sets, hundreds of extras, and several production tracks running simultaneously. But like a good general, an effective director is a leader, not just a commander. A director who handles people well can inspire cast and crew to perform miracles. A poor leader will find few willing to go beyond the call for the sake of the show.

Like the desperate band of misfits fighting from the Shatterdome to save the world, the “Pacific Rim” company found themselves stretching their resources, wrestling with complex technology, and pushing themselves beyond their limits. Guillermo del Toro led them through every challenge. Yet few realized that del Toro, having decided to change his approach to running the set, was in uncharted territory himself.

“I made a life decision that this movie needed to be huge in scope but run very, very tight on the production,” he says, “and the first person to change was me.” He had never shot a movie in less than 115 days; on “Pacific Rim” he would have just 103. The only way he could finish on time was to schedule a splinter unit so he could direct it early in the day, before main unit, and on his off days. For much of the schedule, he would work 17 or 18 hours a day, seven days a week.

Del Toro also decided to take a new approach to directing actors.
“If you watch ‘Pan’s Labyrinth’ or ‘The Devil’s Backbone,’ I had an obsession that was really, really all-consuming with making the actors move in an extremely mannered way that matched the camera moves,” he says. “In those movies I wanted it to be balletic, but I also wanted it to be almost like a ritual or a dance. But on ‘Pacific Rim’ I needed to allow the actors to breathe a lot more. I wanted to shoot a lot looser and even allow for improvisation, which I had never done.”

One thing did not change about del Toro’s approach: He demands total control. “Everything, 100% goes through me sooner or later,” he says. “I do not delegate anything. Some people like it, some people don’t, but it has to be done that way.”
Some of the stills and concept art from the previous article's image gallery:





[/quote]

‘Pacific Rim’s’ Legendary Marketing Challenge

Thomas Tull’s Legendary Pictures and Warner Bros. have dared to hope that auds will find Guillermo del Toro’s giant-monsters-vs.-giant-robots opus as compelling as “Star Wars,” and that they’ll flock to it again and again, be it in cinemas, theme parks, graphic novels, games or apps. Legendary, which developed the property and put up 75% of its nearly $200 million production budget, needs the film to be a monster hit, given its economics and the leverage it could afford Tull in negotiating a new studio deal, if, as expected, he ends his company’s longtime partnership with Warner Bros.

“Pacific Rim” also represents a coming-out proclamation of sorts for Legendary, which is growing into a more full-fledged independent that hatches and bankrolls more homegrown movies. With its recent acquisition of the savvy boutique marketing agency Five33, Legendary plans to implement and execute the marketing strategy for all or its upcoming tentpoles.


Jon Jashni, Legendary’s president and chief creative officer, says the company had always planned to evolve toward creating its own content, and self-financing more of its pictures. He insists the effort to develop “Pacific Rim” as an original tentpole wasn’t tied to the expiration of Legendary’s Warner deal at year’s end.

“If we stay at Warners, this would still have been a part of our strategy,” Jashni says, noting that Legendary intends to fund potential franchise pics in the future, such as “Warcraft” and “Hot Wheels.”

For “Pacific Rim” to be the kind of phenomenon Legendary is banking on, the picture must draw on an audience beyond the core fanbase of Kaiju and Gundam aficionados. Jashni says “Pacific Rim” is aimed at “all quadrants.”

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. Sue Kroll, Warner’s president of worldwide marketing, told Variety, “We have the benefit of strong reaction from the core, but we are also enjoying an outstanding reaction to the materials from general consumers.”

Early marketing, says Jashni, focused on the high-concept hook. To use del Toro’s gleeful description: “Giant (bleeping) monsters vs. giant (bleeping) robots.”

Jashni, too, sees the film’s scale as an asset. “People want big summer entertainment,” he says. “We’ve got to indicate that.”

But the Legendary exec also readily acknowledges that using flash won’t work by itself.

“We’ve brought the tasty, but we’re also going to bring the nutrition,” he says.
That “nutrition” began to show up in the marketing campaign last week, with the unveiling of a featurette about “Drift Space,” which reveals one of the pic’s conceptual conceits.

Within the world of “Pacific Rim,” the pilots inside the robots must link their minds, sharing memories and thoughts. In this link, called the “Drift,” pilots have no secrets from each other; when lonely, troubled pilots Raleigh Beckett (Charlie Hunnam) and Mako Mori (Rinko Kikuchi) must team up, they experience what Jashni terms “the fastest speed-dating of all time.” If the bots and monsters hook the fanboys, this aspect of emotional intimacy figures to play to femmes.

The TV campaign will ramp up next week and will target kids, teens and families, with spots on NBA and NHL playoff games, “Good Morning America,” the “Today” show and network season finales.

Jashni maintains that the “fanboy psychographic” isn’t limited to men anymore, and that character helps sell a movie to all audience segments. “There’s an emotional aspect to this movie, and there’s a bombastic aspect,” he says. “Some women will respond to the emotion inherent in the movie, some will respond to the spectacle. Same is true for men and adults. ”

To reach all those viewers, though, the film’s marketing must overcome the perception that “Pacific Rim” is “Transformers vs. Godzilla.” (In fact, a Google search for that mashup, with the words “Pacific Rim” returns about 21,300 hits.)

“The comparison is only a problem if we fail at differentiating the film from the other properties,” says Kroll, who remains confident audiences will be satisfied with the picture’s big action sequences and the fact it “looks so new and fresh.”

And Warner’s marketers aren’t exactly bristling at the comparison with “Transformers.” They feel if they have to be pigeonholed with something, it might as well be a multibillion-dollar franchise.
‘Pacific Rim’ Visual Effects Get Operatic Twist

What words come to mind when you think of a summer tentpole? “Thrilling?” “Spectacular?” “Thunderous”? When director Guillermo del Toro talks about “Pacific Rim,” his favorite description is: “Operatic.”

“That was one of the first words I said to the entire team at ILM,” says del Toro. “I said, ‘This movie needs to be theatrical, operatic, romantic.’ We used a lot of words not usually associated with hightech blockbusters.”

To get that look on his giant-robots-vs.-giant-monsters epic, del Toro made an unusual request of his visual effects supervisor, cerebral Michigander John Knoll.

“We went for a very, very, very, very saturated color palette for the battle for Hong Kong,” del Toro says. “I kept asking John to tap into his inner Mexican and be able to saturate the greens and the purples and the pinks and the oranges.”

Del Toro also asked Knoll not to necessarily match the lighting from shot to shot.

“It’s pretty unorthodox to do that,” says del Toro, “but I think the results are really beautiful and very artistically free and powerful, not something you would associate a big sci-fi action movie.”


Del Toro wasn’t entirely kidding about Knoll getting in touch with his inner Mexican.

“I do think John can let his hair down,” says del Toro with a laugh.

Asked what he’s most excited about in the pic’s vfx, del Toro first mentions neither robots nor monsters but something subtler: water. Since the creatures emerge from the Pacific, much of the action is in the ocean or in Hong Kong’s Victoria Harbor.

“The water dynamics in this movie are technically beautiful, but also artistically incredibly expressive,” he says. “We agreed on making the water become almost another character. We would time the water very precisely. I’d say ‘Get out of the wave (on this frame).’ ”

Sometimes the helmer would use classic art, such as Hokusai’s engraving the Great Wave as a common point of reference. “I would say ‘Give me a Hokusai wave,’ ” says del Toro. “I think (the vfx team) did a tremendous job; we use the waves and weather in the movie very operatically.”

Del Toro decided after principal photography was complete to let “Pacific Rim” go 3D, then insisted that Industrial Light & Magic render the visual effects in stereo, eschewing post-conversion of the all-CG shots.

He asked Knoll to go “the full Ann Arbor” and be a strict disciplinarian as he oversaw the 3D visual effects shots. Del Toro was worried that exaggerated 3D would have the unintended side effect of making objects in the frame look small (the technical term is “hyperstereo”).


That would be disastrous for a picture determined to establish the huge scale of the monsters and robots. After all, its tagline is “Go big or go extinct.” It’s a credo the production team took to heart.

“John is pretty adept at keeping the 3D expressive but keeping the optics of it realistic,” explains del Toro, “That’s exactly why I thought it was imperative that he and ILM were in charge of creating the 3D aspects of the shots, because that’s what I wanted.”
Image background from the above article quoted for super large size:

The Business of ‘Pacific Rim’:

Brand reps in Hollywood are quick to point out that it’s tough to put together major merchandising programs around a film that’s not a sequel or based on a popular property. Retailers want proof that products will sell before stocking them on shelves. Yet some risks have paid off: Sales of foul-mouthed talking bears took off for Universal and MRC’s “Ted”; and action figures and games sold well for “Real Steel,” both overseen by Striker Entertainment’s Russell Binder. Now he’s helped Legendary line up potentially lucrative licensing deals tied to Guillermo del Toro’s “Pacific Rim” that are as impressive as its onscreen giants.
Some of the examples from the article gallery:




 

neorej

ERMYGERD!
Jun 15, 2006
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#6
Sadly, this will probably bomb hard.
They need to push this harder and better. People I know are looking forward to Man of Steel untill I tell them there's a badass movie with giant monsters fighting giant robots using shipswords coming out in july.

There, that's your pitch to the current "dudebro"-generation. That's all they need. Giant Monsters vs Giant Robots. Instant box-office hit.
 
Apr 2, 2013
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#14
I'm hoping word-of-mouth can carry this. It faces a lot of competition. Comes out 1 week after Lone Ranger & Despicable Me 2. Releases same day as Grown Ups 2. A week before RIPD and Red 2. And two weeks before The Wolverine.
 
Jul 8, 2007
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#25
I'm hoping there is enough 'nutritional' plot in this film to chew on. The spectacle and allegory were there in Pan's but the story was a bit thin. I'm really rooting for this movie either way.
 
Aug 11, 2006
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#29
Incredible enough, I am of the opinion that in order to replicate "the Star Wars effect" you need a director with an enthusiastic vision that he actually enjoys executing, coupled with a lot of heart and emotion poured in the screen rather than big budget FX per se. And lo and behold, this seems to be the case! Much props to Del Toro, even if regular Hollywood fare tends to bore me, I really admire what he is doing here: a blockbuster movie done right. Good job!
 
#33
Why do people think this? It'll do massive overseas imo.
We havent had many monster movies in the past years. Plus the movie has not big name attached to it (see Transformers). It's something comepletely new. Similar to a new gaming franchise. They need some good marketing. And well, the movie shouldnt be bad either (which i dont believe it will). But yeah, it takes some good effort to spread the word. But I think I read somewhere that the movie was trending on Twitter everytime a trailer came up. Maybe thats a good sign.
 
Jul 16, 2009
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#34
As a fan of del Toro, I really, really hope this doesn't bomb. His intentions for a spectacle on this magnitude seem right, but I'm not sure if the general audience will flock to it.

That marketing push better be good.
 
Jul 8, 2007
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#35
We havent had many monster movies in the past years. Plus the movie has not big name attached to it (see Transformers). It's something comepletely new. Similar to a new gaming franchise. They need some good marketing. And well, the movie shouldnt be bad either (which i dont believe it will). But yeah, it takes some good effort to spread the word. But I think I read somewhere that the movie was trending on Twitter everytime a trailer came up. Maybe thats a good sign.
Yeah and I suppose Cloverfield was JJ Abrams undermarketed/mystery. Also it was released in January.
 
#36
Yeah and I suppose Cloverfield was JJ Abrams undermarketed/mystery. Also it was released in January.
Yeah, that film deserved way more marketing. In previews he kept talking how much he loved monster movies etc. And in the end Cloverfield came and go. I think the financial outcome was still okay but they could have gone for a better result. I mean, I really loved Cloverfield. But it seems like Abrams just let it die after releasing it :(
 

SteveMeister

Hang out with Steve.
Jun 7, 2004
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#40
Having read the book John Carter and the Gods of Hollywood, it seems to me that they're going about the marketing in exactly the right way. Get the influencers excited first -- that's bloggers, sites like Ain't It Cool News and fanboys. Ramp up social media -- twitter, Facebook, stuff like the build a Jaeger website. Increase press coverage, like the article in the OP. Then make a big push at the end of the campaign for the mainstream audience. Yeah, the marketing seems very savvy and right on track.

It's NOTHING like John Carter's completely inept marketing campaign.
 

jett

D-Member
Jun 6, 2004
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#41
Marketing for this movie has been abysmal. There's very little hype or interest among the general moviegoing audience or even among geeks to be honest. I really don't understand Legendary's strategy.
 

SteveMeister

Hang out with Steve.
Jun 7, 2004
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#43
Marketing for this movie has been abysmal. There's very little hype or interest among the general moviegoing audience. I really don't understand Legendary's strategy.
You want to don't target mainstream audiences too early especially for a movie like this. The timing of the mainstream push as described in the article sounds about right.
 
Nov 21, 2005
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#44
Having read the book John Carter and the Gods of Hollywood, it seems to me that they're going about the marketing in exactly the right way. Get the influencers excited first -- that's bloggers, sites like Ain't It Cool News and fanboys. Ramp up social media -- twitter, Facebook, stuff like the build a Jaeger website. Increase press coverage, like the article in the OP. Then make a big push at the end of the campaign for the mainstream audience. Yeah, the marketing seems very savvy and right on track.

It's NOTHING like John Carter's completely inept marketing campaign.
wait... what book is this?

EDIT: NVM, found it! http://www.amazon.com/John-Carter-G...tmm_kin_title_0?ie=UTF8&qid=1369915087&sr=8-1

OMG buying now!
 
Jun 13, 2008
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#47
Sadly, this will probably bomb hard.
I was thinking this at first but I've been noticing some buzz for it lately and I think it's because of the WonderCon trailer. When I bring it up to people now they actually know what I'm talking about and think it looks pretty awesome. Getting that trailer in front of more people would definitely help. I was surprised to not see it in front of Iron Man 3 for example but putting it in front of Man of Steel will definitely do it some favors.

When I heard the concept for it I thought it would never see the light of day (like so many of GDT's projects) so I'm just glad we're getting it at all and that they're actually trying to throw some weight behind it.
 
Aug 11, 2006
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#48
Sadly, this will probably bomb hard.
I love how everyone assumes that the film will fail because it does not belong to an already stablished / sucessful franchise, without realizing that every single popular movie franchise started out being an unknown underdog.

I am betting on a huge sucess:

- Non - crowded, non overexploited market (see also: superhero movies VS giant robot movies). People is ready for something fresh and anew.

- Guillermo del Toro is a popular director, with some solid commercial sucesses on his back

- Spectacular fights that everyone can cheer on taking the central stage, unlike previous monster movies more focused into sheer stupidity (see: Monstruous or King Kong)

- Insanely market-able concept, with different monsters, robots and pilots for you to pick your favourite one. It is a mass market concept (giant thingies fighting, omg) but one that you can personalize at that

- Some measure of emotional attachment to the characters, deeper, more intimate themes running under the big all out spectacle, ensuring a non-swallow experience (at least this is what I am hoping myself, based on the premise of "conneting two minds instantaneously")

- Probably iconic, bitching soundtrack, since Ramin Djawadi is involved (Game of Thrones, Iron Man)

Seriously, this will not be a Green Lantern type of fiasco, I am quite sure of that.
 
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