Tops slow weekend: Tomorrowland Box Office

Published: May 25, 2015

Tops slow weekend: Tomorrowland Box Office, The power of positive thinking could not save Brad Bird’s Tomorrowland. Walt Disney’s Walt Disney’s $190 million sci-fi adventure earned $32.159 million on its opening Fri-Sun weekend and a $41.74m 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 Carter, Prince of Persia, Jack 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 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 6, X-Men: Days of Future Past) and over/under 2.5x for the leggier ones (Bruce Almighty, Men in Black 3, Night at the Museum 2). So we’re looking at a final domestic gross of between $82m and $105m, with the absolute best case scenario being a Bruce Almighty-like 2.8x multiplier and $120m domestic total. 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.

The other big release this weekend was 20th Century Fox’s Fox’s Poltergeist. The remake of the classic 1982 Steven Spielberg Tobe Hopper-directed haunted house thriller was supposed to debut on February 13th of this year before getting bumped to July 24th and then bumped again to May 22nd. That’s not a knock against the picture, as Fox slotted the guy-centric Kingsman: The Secret Service against Fifty Shades of Grey and then moved Spy from this weekend to June 5th to get out of the way of Pitch Perfect 2. The $35 million-budgeted picture got a okay start with a $22.6 million Fri-Sun gross, with a a $26.5m Fri-Mon holiday haul.

The film got mixed-negative reviews (I have not seen it yet, so enjoy Aaron Neuwirth’s pan), but it’s that rare somewhat big-budget horror film. Of course it’s fitting that studios would spend this much on a remake as opposed to an original, but that’s why the “okay” Of course it’s fitting that studios would spend this much on a remake as opposed to an original, but that’s why the “okay” box office figures posted by It Follows made me a little cranky a couple months ago, so on that note I hope Guillermo Del Toro’s Crimson Peak does big business this October for Universal.

Tops slow weekend: Tomorrowland Box Office


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