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Google Inc (GOOG) – “Pacific Rim”: Why Legendary’s Monstrous Bet Should Pay Off

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Pacific Rim is the next Battleship? A recent headline at film and TV trade publication Variety predicted almost precisely that. Trouble is, traditional film tracking isn’t as reliable as it used to be.

Look at World War Z. Most prognosticators predicted disaster for the disaster film starring Brad Pitt. Instead, at $271 million in worldwide grosses just two weeks into its theater run, Viacom, Inc. (NASDAQ:VIAB)‘s Paramount Studios has a sequel-worthy hit on its hands. Can Pacific Rim defy expectations similarly?

“Jaegers” take on aliens in Pacific Rim. Source: Warner Bros. and Legendary Pictures.

Google Inc (GOOG)

For answers let’s turn to Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG), which says search data does a better job of predicting box office performance. If true, then the Internet’s appetite for all things Pacific Rim could offer clues about what to expect at the movies next weekend. Here’s a closer look at Guillermo Del Toro’s monsters vs. giant robots mashup as seen through the lens of Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG)‘s Trends tool:

Source: Google.

A couple of things should stand out in reading this chart. First, Despicable Me 2 is every bit the winner I thought it would be. Second, enthusiasm for Pacific Rim tends to come in waves. That the tide is rising again — the weekend before the film’s July 12 debut — is a good sign for co-financiers Legendary Pictures and Warner Bros.

Meanwhile, what about Variety‘s take? What does Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) data say about the run-up to and through Battleship‘s May 2012 release? Have a look:

Source: Google.

See the difference? After a brief bump in search interest in early April, Battleship fell off of fans’ radar. The prior graphic suggests Del Toro’s fans won’t allow Pacific Rim to suffer the same fate.

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