Disney’s ‘Tomorrowland’ Disappoints With ‘John Carter’-Like $32M Weekend

Tomorrowland Movie

From Forbes.com

The power of positive thinking could not save Brad Bird’s Tomorrowland.  $190 million sci-fi adventure earned $32.159 million on its opening Fri-Sun weekend and an estimated $41m over the long holiday. Long-story short, that’s not a great number, just a bit above the $25m-$30m debuts of mega-budget whiffs like John CarterPrince of PersiaJack the Giant Slayer, and Battleship. The film stars Britt Robertson, George Clooney, Raffey Cassidy, and Hugh Laurie in a story about a young girl who stumbles upon a secret alternate world which resembles the would-be futuristic utopias dreamed about back in the 1950′s and 1960′s. The film is the biggest wholly original live-action entry in the summer season.

The somewhat cryptic marketing campaign has struggled to sell the film to kids and parents based mostly on George Clooney’s star power and the promise of unrevealed treasures to be revealed. More importantly, the film was hit by surprisingly negative reviews, with few raves and even the mixed-positive reviews (like mine) bending over backwards to praise the intent if not the execution, while all-but-admitting that the so-called mystery box wasn’t hiding anything beyond merely unspoiled story beats.

The Mouse House did something interesting a couple weeks ago, whereby they invited a select group of “Mommy Bloggers” to the world premiere in Anaheim’s Disneyland park and had them participate in the junket interview process. I don’t pretend to be an expert in said blogging sub-genre, but the end result is that the film got some comparatively in-depth coverage in outlets that reach audiences beyond the film nerds and general talk show/magazine crowd. I will be curious to what extent that affects the demographics this weekend. I am pointing this out because it is an interesting new gimmick and I like to point out when studios try something a little different.

Reviews, and the cryptic marketing campaign that basically amounted to “ Trust us, what we aren’t showing you will totally be worth it,” were the primary culprit. The reviews revealed that what was behind the curtain wasn’t as wonderful as promised. The one bit of good news is that the film’s 4.26x four-day weekend multiplier was among the higher such multipliers for a Memorial Day weekend blockbuster, in line with Bruce Almighty but behind the 4.5x multiplier for Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian ($15.6m/$70m) in 2009. The film also opened with $26.1m overseas giving it a $58.859m worldwide total as of today.

The weekend-to-domestic final multipliers for recent Fri-Mon Memorial Day weekend openers is grim. We’re talking around 2.0x for the frontloaded films (Fast & Furious 6X-Men: Days of Future Past) and over/under 2.5x for the leggier ones (Bruce AlmightyMen in Black 3Night at the Museum 2). So if Tomorrowland ends up with $41 million by Monday, we’re looking at a final domestic gross of between $82m and $105m. Barring some strong legs and/or overseas might, neither of which I am ruling out, this isn’t promising for the ambitious original in a sea of sequels and reboots.

Author: Ray

I am a lifelong fan of everything Disney. My first trip to a a Disney park was to Disneyland as a child in 1970, but didn't make to Walt Disney World until I went with my wife and first child in 1990. A year doesn't go by with out at least one trip to either Disneyland or Walt Disney World. My wife and I are Disney Vacation Club members and also Charter Members of D23.

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