No one is quite sure if "Pacific Rim" is a hit or a flop in the United States, which just goes to show how confusing this whole business can be. It was number three on opening weekend, but it "only" opened at $38.3 million, which is not too great for a movie that cost somewhere between $180 million and $190 million to make.
On the other hand, "Pacific Rim" ranked number one internationally this past weekend, which is huge considering the global box office is now more important than ever. As the BBC reports, "potential overseas ticket sales nowadays determine whether or not a studio executive gives the go-ahead to a movie," and that means movies are often tweaked to make them appeal to international audiences -- or to appease somewhat censorious government bodies.
According to The Wrap, Paramount advised "World War Z" producers to omit a reference to China as the possible source of the zombie outbreak, thanks to "the fast-rising prominence of the Chinese market, state censorship, and the quotas for U.S. releases." While the Brad Pitt blockbuster has yet to open there (if at all), it makes sense that the studio would want to optimize its chances.
"Pacific Rim," on the other hand, fits perfectly into this idea of appealing to an international marketplace without even trying. The enemies here are the Kaiju, who attack indiscriminately, and fighting them requires international alliances. The pilots we're introduced to are from around the world; if anything, the message of "Pacific Rim" is hopeful that humanity can and will work together against a common enemy.
Although "Pacific Rim" looks like a risky investment from the outside, it stands to reason that it will continue making money overseas. After all, plenty of other movies with a much less humanistic message break even thanks to international markets.
"Pacific Rim" is still rolling out around the world.