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CinemaCon: 'Pacific Rim' Director Guillermo del Toro Responds to Michael Bay's 'Rip-Off' Slam

Pacific Rim Hunnam Kikuchi 2 - H 2013
Warner Bros. Pictures
Pacific Rim

UPDATED: "The fights don't occur in well-lit, supercool, car commercial-looking environments," del Toro says in response to Bay's knock on other robot movies.

LAS VEGAS -- Call it the battle of the 'bots.

According to Guillermo del Toro, his upcoming giant robot movie Pacific Rim couldn't be more different from Michael Bay's Transformers franchise. But during Bay's presentation at CinemaCon earlier this week plugging Pain & Gain and 2014's Transformers 4, Bay told theater owners that there have been quite a few "rip-off' robot movies and that audiences know better.

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Bay didn't specifically name any titles, but he likely was referring to Universal's ill-fated Battleship and DreamWorks' Real Steel, both of which didn't work at the box office. However, many attending the session wondered whether Bay also was calling out Pacific Rim, which del Toro promoted during his CinemaCon presentation a day later (insiders close to Bay say they highly doubt it).

When told of Bay's comments by The Hollywood Reporter, del Toro responded that his movie is totally different than Transformers.

"We are far, far, far away from that in a very willing fashion," del Toro says. "For good or bad, this is my movie. This is my universe and my creation, and I do not create through comparison."

There is an operatic quality to Pacific Rim in terms of size and scope, del Toro says. In the film, the robots are as tall as 25-story buildings — much larger than the Autobots of Bay's franchise -- and they take on invading alien monsters.

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"The fights don't occur in well-lit, supercool, car commercial-looking environments," del Toro says. "They occur in the middle of a raging sea storm or in a savage snowstorm. They happen in a universe that is incredibly saturated."

The director also points out that robots have been a mainstay of science fiction for decades. "And to some degree, the source of all artificial life is Frankenstein," he says.

On a lighter note, del Toro says his robots could crush every "robot in the history of mankind in a toe-to-toe showdown."

Warner Bros. and Legendary Pictures open Pacific Rim in theaters July 12.

UPDATE: Bay responded on Friday to THR's story, posting on his blog: "I was talking about another movie, at another studio that will remain nameless, while I spoke at CinemaCon in Vegas this Monday."

Email: Pamela.Mcclintock@thr.com

Twitter: @PamelaDayM