China (and Asia in general) is one of the biggest-growing entertainment markets, with countless Hollywood films looking to attract Chinese moviegoers either through special film edits (Iron Man 3) or very blatant Chinese product placement (Transformers: Age of Extinction).
Indeed, making a successful blockbuster means appealing to Eastern audiences, which is precisely why the Chinese entertainment company Dalian Wanda has acquired Legendary Pictures, the production company behind Jurassic World, Pacific Rim, Godzilla and much more, for the staggering price of $3.5 billion.
"Together, Wanda and Legendary will create a completely new international entertainment company," Legendary CEO Thomas Tull says of the merger (via Variety). "There is an ever growing demand for quality entertainment content worldwide, particularly in China, and we will combine our respective strengths to bring an even better entertainment experience to the world's audiences."
The deal means even more of a focus will be put on Chinese audiences in future films, with Legendary already working on a Chinese blockbuster titled The Great Wall. The deal also means a certain giant robot vs. giant monster movie may get a second chance at life.
When Pacific Rim released in the summer of 2013, it did moderately well domestically, bringing in around $100 million. The real money, however, came internationally: largely thanks to Asian markets, the film earned more than $300 million internationally for a total worldwide gross of $411 million.
Despite bringing in big money worldwide, Legendary's American film partners have seemed hesitant to move ahead on a sequel, despite director Guillermo del Toro's efforts. Late last year, the film seemed to have been shelved indefinitely, with many assuming it would never see the light of day.
The Wanda and Legendary merger brings with it new hope for Pacific Rim 2. Eastern audiences love giant robots (Japan, after all, did kind of invent the concept), as proven by Pacific Rim's international success. It would seem to be a no-brainer then that Legendary would want to move ahead with a sequel. Nothing is official yet, but a recent cryptic tweet from del Toro seems to imply that Pacific Rim does indeed have a future. We'll just have to wait to find out what it is.