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Pacific Rim, Legendary and Warner Bros.’ monsters vs. mechs tentpole directed by Guillermo del Toro, stomped into Hollywood on Tuesday night with a premiere screening at the Dolby Theatre.
The movie brought out del Toro collaborators such as director Alfonso Cuaron and Lost co-creator Carlton Cuse as well as Tom Cruise, who graciously allowed himself to be mobbed by fans in the Dolby’s lobby.
Cruise’s appearance, coupled with news breaking that Legendary was signing a term deal with Universal, fueled speculation among geeks that del Toro could once again try mounting his passion project, At the Mountains of Madness. (Cruise was in talks to star in the project before it was killed by Universal in 2011.)
Rim played extremely well in the theater, which was filled with not only Hollywood types but members of the general public, who were no doubt unaware of the hand-wringing going on among studio execs over the movie’s low tracking numbers and certain media reports discounting the movie’s box-office chances.
At the premiere’s afterparty, held in a nearby parking lot converted to look like a setting from the movie, del Toro told The Hollywood Reporter that he tries to focus on his job as a filmmaker and push any swirling speculation to the side.
“To me, the duties as a filmmaker, from Cronos [his first feature] to now, are the same,” he said. “Does it look bigger than its budget? Yes. Did I put all the production value on the screen? Yes. Does it have original visual ideas and a new way of looking at a mythology? Yes. Was I fiscally responsible? Yes. That’s it. After that, it’s inside baseball. And I don’t play inside baseball.”
On another side of the party, beyond glass cases filled with the movie’s armored costumes and hosts peddling Patron-infused ice cream sandwiches, star Charlie Hunnam mingled with new Warner Bros. CEO Kevin Tsujihara and newly named Warner Bros. Pictures president Greg Silverman.
Hunnam noted the movie goes against the grain in a summer filled with sequels, reboots and branded entertainment.
“In this landscape of filmmaking, I feel that to have something original is really refreshing,” he said. “It’s a lot harder to sell, and here you have to explain the whole breadth of this world. Word of mouth is the holy grail of advertising, and hopefully word of mouth will be really good and get people coming in.”
Rim is del Toro’s first movie since 2008’s Hellboy II: The Golden Army, but for not for lack of trying. The filmmaker was at one time set to direct The Hobbit, then Madness, but he wound up doing neither, for different reasons, which he called “the most fortuitous accidents in my life.”
His movies until now have ranged from low-budget to moderate, and Rim, on a technical and budgetary (between $175 million to $200 million) scale, marks a big jump for him.
“Logistically, prepping to do The Hobbit and prepping to do At the Mountains of Madness strangely enough were like cardio preparing for weightlifting,” he said. “I got in shape.”
Pacific Rim opens in theaters Friday.
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