Will ‘Pacific Rim’ be a made-in-Toronto blockbuster?

A block of Elizabeth Street behind Toronto City Hall was transformed into Tokyo for 'Pacific Rim.'. John R. Kennedy / Global News

TORONTO — If the new sci-fi action movie Pacific Rim blows away the competition in its opening weekend, it will be the first made-in-Toronto movie at the top of the box office since January.

Mama, which counted Pacific Rim director Guillermo del Toro as an executive producer, opened in January in the No. 1 spot with $28 million in the U.S. and Canada and went on to make $146 million worldwide.

Prior to Mama, a Toronto-shot movie hadn’t opened in first place since the February 2012 release of The Vow starring Channing Tatum and Rachel McAdams. It made $41 million in its opening weekend and eventually raked in an impressive $196 million.

Last year’s Total Recall, with a reported $125 million budget, earned only $26 million in its opening weekend to take the No. 2 spot. It eventually earned $198 million worldwide.

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Cosmopolis, which brought Robert Pattinson to Toronto in 2011, flopped with a total gross of only $6 million. The 2012 drama Take This Waltz with Michelle Williams and Seth Rogen, barely topped $1 million at the box office.

The 2010 action comedy Scott Pilgrim vs. the World managed a No. 5 ranking on its opening weekend with $11 million at the box office. It went on to earn a disappointing $48 million worldwide.

Pacific Rim was filmed in Toronto, almost entirely at Pinewood Toronto Studios at the Port Lands, over 103 days between November 2011 to April 2012 with the working title Still Seas. It was made for a reported $180 million.

The production was so large that it needed nine soundstages — including Pinewood’s  46,000-square-foot “mega stage” — to accommodate its more than 100 sets.

A handful of exterior locations were used, including the decommissioned Hearn Generating Station and a beach on Lake Ontario.

The filmmakers also transformed one block of Elizabeth Street behind Toronto City Hall into a Tokyo street.

Pacific Rim stars Charlie Hunnam, Charlie Day and Idris Elba as well as Canadian actors like Nova Scotia’s Diego Klattenhoff and New Brunswick native Robert Maillet and dozens of local extras.

Whether Pacific Rim is a blockbuster or not, Toronto’s next chances to boast of hosting a No. 1 hit come in August with the release of The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones and with the upcoming releases of the Carrie and Robocop reboots.


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