Box Office: 'Tomorrowland' Tops Slow Memorial Day Weekend With $32.2 million

Sun May 24, 2015 1:48pm EDT
 
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By Brent Lang

LOS ANGELES (Variety.com) - There weren't as many fireworks at the Memorial Day weekend box office this year as newcomer "Tomorrowland" disappointed with a $32.2 million debut.

The science-fiction adventure stars George Clooney and was directed by Brad Bird of "Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol" renown. The Disney release is expected to pull in a lackluster $40.7 million for the four-day period.

That's still good enough for a first place finish, with Universal's "Pitch Perfect 2" coming in a close second with an estimated $30.3 million three-day haul and a projected $37.9 million for the four days. The acappella comedy's domestic total stands at $125.4 million.

"Tomorrowland" had been expected to generate $40 million over the three-day period and $50 million over the four-day stretch. With a $180 million price tag, Disney faces an uphill climb to profitability. Not helping matters, overseas figures were an underwhelming $26.7 million.

Disney distribution chief Dave Hollis predicted that the film would pick up steam as schools let out, noting it is the only PG-rated release in the month of May.

"The trade off when you're taking a bit of a chance on a new piece of [intellectual property] is that... it takes audiences a little longer to find a film," he said, adding, "This one is going to find its audience."

"Tomorrowland" appears to have been dinted by middling reviews and an overly secretive marketing campaign that left too many plot details under wraps. The film's opening weekend crowd was 51% male, with adults making up 61% of ticket-buyers and families comprising 30% of customers. It received a mediocre B CinemaScore, indicating mixed word-of-mouth.

Hollis said consumers initially seemed to respond to marketing materials that teased the film's plot elements while keeping plot information close to the chest, but the studio would comb over exit data to see if the strategy backfired.   Continued...

 
(L-R) Cast members George Clooney, Raffey Cassidy, Britt Robertson and director Brad Bird pose at the City Of Arts and Sciences before the premiere of the movie "Tomorrowland" in Valencia, Spain, May 19, 2015. REUTERS/Heino Kalis