Sense of Scale Was Big Challenge for ‘Pacific Rim Uprising’ VFX Team

The epic battles seen in the “Pacific Rim” movies wouldn’t be possible without the skilled artisans of the visual effects houses that create them.

The films deal with a future world in which large creatures called kaiju are created by aliens called Precursors and sent to invade the Earth through underwater portals, leading humanity to build giant robots called jaegers to fight them. While ILM established the look of the franchise in the 2013 original film, the sequel, Pacific Rim Uprising, was handled by smaller firms such as DNEG and HALON Entertainment.

Some members of the visual effects team were on hand July 21 at the 2018 San Diego Comic-Con International for a panel discussion about making the film.

“I think the sense of scale is one of our biggest problems on the movie that we needed to solve,” said Peter Chiang, co-founder of visual effect house DNEG and overall VFX supervisor. “We took artistic license in trying to portray weight creatively and accurately, but at the same time keep the sequences fast-moving and fast-paced and high impact.”

“Guys in rubber suit walking through cardboard buildings doesn’t cut it anymore,” Chiang said.

Another aspect for the new film was the design of new jaegers, such as Gypsy Avenger.

“A thing that I really loved about the first one is that all of the jaegers had very quintessential, interesting designs to all of them, and I feel like we got some of that in the new one,” said previs supervisor Ryan McCoy of HALON. “So it was fun kind of fun to see what the new weaponry was. It was a bit of a challenge to figure out how you would differentiate them.”

Brad Alexander, previs supervisor and a partner at HALON, said he was a big fan of the first film and wanted to carry over the sense of fun.

“I went to the theater and saw the first Pacific Rim in Imax 3D and I was just blown away,” Alexander said. “That’s part of the fun of doing these sci-fi movies is that all of the different worlds you get to create, all the different concept art and such, it’s just so fun to see that.”

McCoy said one of the bigger challenges was working out the climactic battle between the jaegers and a megakaiju formed by the combination of several of the alien creatures.

“It was imposing enough that they’re not going to win in a one-on-one fight,” McCoy said. “There’s no way that Gypsy can actually take on Megakaiju, and therefore they have to go up into space, into the troposphere, and shoot down as fast as they possibly can, breaking the sound barrier and smashing into it.”

“We had at the very beginning of the end battle sequence just megakaiju and Gypsy battling out on the cliffside of a mountain, but that was obviously not enough,” Alexander said. “We needed someone to go to space with a superpunch and a rocket-driven thing.”

Their favorite shot, all agreed, came in the final battle.

“Todd Patterson is one of our lead animators, and there’s this shot where basically Gypsy jumps off a building and comes down to face Megakaiju, and they just get into it, and basically it’s this super long shot,” Alexander said. “Todd worked on this shot for probably three straight weeks animating it.”

“I don’t think you decide from the outset which is going to be the tentpole shot, it just kind of ends up being the shot,” Chiang said. “You don’t plan it that way, it just ends up being a combination of everybody working together building it up to be that standout shot in the movie.”

“I really love being able to foster sort of a creative environment for the artists so they feel they really have their own creative say and are inspired,” McCoy said.

As for a potential third film, the guys were intrigued by hints of the humans invading the Precursor realm.

“They did night so well [in the first one,] and we did day, and now it’s good to go into the Precursor world and establish what that’s all about,” Chiang said. “Because that gives you free creative license to design anything you want.”

“I would love to see more of the actual kaiju homeworld,” McCoy agreed. “That would be really fun.”

Pacific Rim Uprising is available now on Blu-ray, DVD, 3D Blu-ray, 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray and digitally.

‘Blockers’ Tops at Redbox; ‘Acrimony,’ from Tyler Perry, Still Going Strong

Universal Pictures’ Blockers, a comedy about a trio of parents who try to stop their daughters from losing their virginity on prom night, debuted at No. 1 on both Redbox charts the week ended July 9.

The film, which earned just under $60 million in U.S. theaters, topped both Redbox’s kiosk rental chart, which tracks DVD and Blu-ray Disc rentals, and the Redbox On Demand chart, which tracks digital purchases and rentals.

The film stars Leslie Mann, Ike Barinholtz, and John Cena as the parents and Kathryn Newton, Geraldine Viswanathan, and Gideon Adlon as the daughters.

Still going strong on both charts: Tyler Perry’s Acrimony, from Lionsgate, which was No. 3 on the kiosk chart and No. 2 on the Redbox on Demand chart. A week earlier, the film debuted at No. 1 on the Redbox On Demand digital chart and No. 2 on the kiosk disc rental chart.

The Tomb Raider reboot, from Warner Bros., slipped to No. 2 on the disc rental chart and No. 3 on the digital chart.

Rounding out the top five on the disc rental chart were Lionsgate’s made-for-video sequel Escape Plan 2 at No. 4 and Universal Pictures’ Pacific Rim: Uprising at No. 5.

On the digital chart, Warner’s Game Night was No. 4 and Pacific Rim: Uprising finished the week at No. 5.


Top DVD and Blu-ray Disc Rentals, Redbox Kiosks, Week Ending July 9

  1. Blockers (new)
  2. Tomb Raider (2018)
  3. Tyler Perry’s Acrimony (new)
  4. Escape Plan 2 – Double Feature
  5. Pacific Rim: Uprising
  6. I Can Only Imagine
  7. Game Night
  8. Sherlock Gnomes
  9. Death Wish (2018)
  10. Beirut


Top Digital, Redbox On Demand, Week Ending July 9

  1. Blockers (new)
  2. Tyler Perry’s Acrimony
  3. Tomb Raider (2018)
  4. Game Night
  5. Pacific Rim: Uprising
  6. I Can Only Imagine
  7. Death Wish (2018)
  8. Sicario
  9. Red Sparrow
  10. The Greatest Showman


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‘Pacific Rim Uprising’ Continues Reign on Home Video Sales Charts

Universal Pictures’ Pacific Rim Uprising held onto the top spot on the national home video sales charts for a second consecutive week. The sci-fi action film about giant robots fighting giant monsters was No. 1 on both the NPD VideoScan First Alert sales chart, which tracks combined DVD and Blu-ray Disc unit sales, and the dedicated Blu-ray Disc sales chart the week ended June 30.

Debuting at No. 2 on the overall sales chart was Lionsgate’s Acrimony, selling 86% as many copies in its first week as Pacific Rim Uprising in its second. The latest film from director Tyler Perry earned $43.6 million at the domestic box office and was No. 4 on the Blu-ray chart.

No. 3 on both charts was another Lionsgate release, the faith-based I Can Only Imagine.

No. 4 overall and No. 2 on the Blu-ray chart was Disney’s Marvel superhero blockbuster Black Panther.

Rounding out the top five on both charts was Warner’s Tomb Raider reboot.

The only other newcomer in the top 10 was Lionsgate’s Escape Plan 2: Hades, a direct-to-video sequel to the 2013 Sylvester Stallone starrer Escape Plan. It was No. 9 overall and No. 11 on the Blu-ray chart after having been released on Friday, June 29 — not a traditional Tuesday release and thus having fewer days in the market to hit the charts.

Blu-ray disc accounted for 30% of Acrimony sales and 46% for Escape Plan 2.

On the Media Play News rental chart for the week ended July 1, Tomb Raider maintained the top spot, with Acrimony debuting at No. 2.

Pacific Rim Uprising slipped a spot to No. 3, while Escape Plan 2 debuted at No. 4. Fox’s Death Wish remake held onto the No. 5 spot.

Top 20 Sellers for Week Ended 06-30-18
Top 20 Rentals for Week Ended 07-01-18
Top 20 Selling Blu-ray Discs for Week Ended 06-30-18
Top 20 Blu-ray Market Share for Week Ended 06-30-18
Sales Report for Week Ended 06-30-18
Digital Sales Snapshot for Week Ended 07-02-18

Disc Sales Charts Led by an ‘Uprising’

Universal Pictures Home Entertainment’s Pacific Rim Uprising easily debuted at No. 1 on the NPD VideoScan First Alert sales chart, which tracks combined DVD and Blu-ray Disc unit sales, and the dedicated Blu-ray Disc sales chart the week ended June 23.

The sci-fi action sequel about giant robots fighting giant monsters to defend the Earth earned $59 million at the domestic box office, a little more than half as much as its predecessor.

No. 2 on both charts was Lionsgate’s I Can Only Imagine, the surprise faith-based hit that debuted in the top spot a week earlier.

Warner Bros. Home Entertainment’s Tomb Raider reboot slipped to No. 3 on both charts.

Another newcomer, Sony Pictures’ Paul, Apostle of Christ, debuted at No. 4 on the overall chart and No. 6 on the Blu-ray chart.

Walt Disney Studios’ Black Panther landed at No. 5 on the overall chart and No. 4 on the Blu-ray chart in its sixth week on store shelves. The Marvel Comics superhero blockbuster is still playing in a handful of theaters as it inches toward the $700 million mark at the domestic box office (it currently sits at $699.77 million).

The No. 5 Blu-ray was 20th Century Fox’s The Greatest Showman.

The theatrical release of Universal’s Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom helped push all four previous “Jurassic Park” films back into the overall top 20 — with the 1993 original at No. 14, 1997’s The Lost World: Jurassic Park at No. 20, 2001’s Jurassic Park III at No. 15, and 2015’s Jurassic World at No. 6. A four-film collection landed at No. 11.

Blu-ray Disc accounted for 71% of first-week unit sales of Pacific Rim Uprising; 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray disc contributed 17% to its total.

On the Media Play News rental chart for the week ended June 24, Tomb Raider moved up to No. 1 after a week-long holdback at Redbox rental kiosks (an embargo that should be absent from future Warner titles thanks to a new distribution agreement). Pacific Rim Uprising debuted at No. 2.

Rounding out the top five rentals were I Can Only Imagine at No. 3, Paramount’s Sherlock Gnomes at No. 4 and Fox’s Death Wish remake at No. 5.

Top 20 Sellers for Week Ended 06-23-18
Top 20 Rentals for Week Ended 06-24-18
Top 20 Selling Blu-ray Discs for Week Ended 06-23-18
Top 20 Blu-ray Market Share for Week Ended 06-23-18
Sales Report for Week Ended 06-23-18
Digital Sales Snapshot for Week Ended 06-25-18

‘Pacific Rim Uprising’ Arrives in Homes in June

Universal Pictures Home Entertainment in June will send to homes the action sequel Pacific Rim Uprising, which earned just under $58 million in U.S. theaters.

The film will become available on digital and through the Movies Anywhere app on June 5, and on Blu-ray Disc, DVD, 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray, 3D Blu-ray, and On Demand on June 19. The 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Disc combo pack includes copies of the film on both 4K Ultra HD and regular Blu-ray, as well as a digital copy.

Pacific Rim Uprising is set 10 years after the events of the first film, which earned a domestic gross of nearly $102 million. In the sequel, the Kaiju return with a new deadly threat that reignites the conflict between these otherworldly monsters of mass destruction and the Jaegers, the human-piloted super-machines that were built to vanquish them.

Pacific Rim Uprising features a next-generation battleground complete with upgraded Jaegers and new Kaiju.

The film stars John Boyega (Star Wars: The Force Awakens) as the rebellious Jake Pentecost, a once-promising Jaeger pilot whose legendary father gave his life to secure humanity’s victory against the Kaiju. The cast also includes Scott Eastwood, Cailee Spaeny, Charlie Day, Rinko Kikuchi and Burn Gorman.

The disc releases include more than 40 minutes of bonus content, including the following:

  • Deleted scenes with commentary by director Steven S. DeKnight
  • Feature commentary with DeKnight
  • “Hall of Heroes” – Boyega takes viewers on a tour of the weaponry and enhancements of the latest generation of Jaegers featured in the film.
  • “Bridge to Uprising” – The cast and crew discuss how the world of Pacific Rim has changed in the 10 years since the events of the original film.
  • “The Underworld of Uprising” – Humanity won the Kaiju War, but every war has casualties. Boyega and DeKnight give viewers a tour of the coastal “Relief Zones.”
  • “Becoming Cadets” – Viewers learn the grueling physical and mental preparation required of the young actors who portrayed the Pan Pacific Defense Corp cadets.
  • “Unexpected Villain” – Viewers discover the secret reason that turned one of the most beloved heroes of the original film into a villain obsessed with humanity’s destruction.
  • “Next Level Jaegers” – The cast and crew discuss the technological advances of the Jaeger program in the years since the events of the original film.
  • “I Am Scrapper” – Actress Cailee Spaeny shares the backstory of Scrapper, Amara’s incredible self-built Jaeger and its many unique abilities.
  • “Going Mega” – Filmmakers take viewers through the technical and creative challenges of creating the most deadly threat the Pan Pacific Defense Corp has ever faced: the Mega Kaiju!
  • “Secrets of Shao” – Actress Tian Jing shares her insights on the enigmatic tech tycoon Liwen Shao, the woman behind Shao Industries.
  • “Mako Returns” – Actress Rinko Kikuchi and director DeKnight explain the significance of Mako Mori’s return and her importance to the events of Pacific Rim Uprising.