Box Office: ‘Tomorrowland’ Tops Slow Memorial Day Weekend With $32.2 Million

Courtesy of Disney

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.

“We wanted it to be something that was cool and edgy and mysterious,” he said.

The weekend’s other new wide release, “Poltergeist,” pulled in $23 million from 3,240 locations for the three days and will make roughly $27.7 million for its first four days. The horror remake cost an economical $35 million to produce and was backed by Fox 2000 and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer.

Warner Bros.’ “Mad Max: Fury Road” had a solid hold, adding $23.8 million in its second weekend and pushing its domestic total to $87.3 million. It will do approximately $30 million worth of business over the four-day weekend. Still, with a budget of $150 million, plus promotion and marketing costs, the apocalyptic adventure has a lot of ground left to cover before it pushes into the black.

“Avengers: Age of Ultron” rounded out the top five, with the superhero sequel nabbing $20.9 million and driving its stateside haul to $404.1 million.

Among art house releases, Fox Searchlight’s “Far From the Madding Crowd” expanded from 289 theaters to 865 locations, picking up $2.3 million in the process. The adaptation of Thomas Hardy’s novel has earned $5.4 million.

The overall box office will likely trail last year’s Memorial Day weekend, when “X-Men: Days of Future Past” opened to $90.8 million, by 19%. It also won’t even crack the top ten Memorial Day weekends of all time.

“All it takes is one big movie to power a Memorial Day weekend, and we didn’t have that,” said Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst at Rentrak.

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  1. CelluloidFan35mm says:

    What happened to the summer blockbuster?
    When I was growing up Memorial Day weekend was where the first of the big movies of the summer movie season came out and built up excitement for what was to come.
    I remember lines around the block of a theatre to see the latest offering. Even if a movie was a bust, you were legitimately pumped for it.
    Nowadays, you can’t even get pumped for the lineup for summer flicks and the lineup for summer flicks as of recently years has left me bummed out.
    Where’s the excitement? Where’s the anticipation?

  2. Ima Right says:

    People have finally got sick of the crap Hollyweird makes with all the progressive liberal garbage
    and CGI over done special effects and the nasty gross comedies that aren’t funny and the same
    old movies and remakes! i thought the 80’s were bad enough now those movies are classics!
    Super 8 and Appaloosa were the two best movies made in the last 10 years! even the movie
    with Pacino and DeNiro was only okay it had too much of the sex drug rap crap in it for me
    and the ending was so obvious and too much like HEAT which is a classic cop robber movie.
    Not even network TV can make a decent show anymore! their rating suck! NBC is the worst.
    you watch ME TV now and see those show and realize how great and funny they were and
    how talented the writers and actors and directors were back then! they suck now! 99% of them!

  3. IT 2 IT says:

    Franchise slum demoralization op meets theme park —-WASTE of TIME.

  4. tropicana says:

    What killed my interest in “Tomorrowland” is that there weren’t any gorgeous women wearing satin miniskirts or spaceship stewardess uniforms in the trailer. If I had seen one of those I would have gone instead of waiting for Redbox, despite the ugly production design and overdone CGI. I don’t know, maybe it isn’t politically correct to have women like that in sci-fi movies now (remember Jenny Agutter in “Logan’s Run” or those beautiful fembots in “Westworld”?), especially with Patricia Arquette and Jennifer Lawrence complaining about women not getting equal pay in movies.

    • Quasi-Nerd says:

      ScarJo in THE ISLAND was welcome relief…and I thought the moon shuttle flight attendants in 2001 were oddly sexy. And while not strictly “futuristic”, Raquel Welch made the voyage a lot more fantastic in FANTASTIC VOYAGE.

      • tropicana says:

        No argument there. The Island was practically a remake of Logan’s Run. I’ve been buying old issues of MAD magazine with the iPad MAD app for $1.99. One of them has the spoof of Fantastic Voyage. You might check out a 2002 movie “CQ” about a group of people making a retro sci-fi movie that features an attractive leading lady. I love those three fembots in the Bionic Woman 2-part episode “Fembots in Las Vegas”. Definitely check out the show “Ascension” available on iTunes featuring gorgeous Tricia Helfer in some retro outfits.

  5. carrie says:

    I seen a preview of the film at the theater last week and it looked boring, just a mess I will save my movie $$ for Melissa McCarthy’s ‘Spy’ which looks funny.

  6. pdxgmr says:

    I was pretty excited to take my 10yo to see Tomorrowland, but after reading the reviews and realizing Lindelof’s bullcrap was all over it, I took her to see Mad Max instead and she FRIGGIN LOVED IT! I’ll wait for the Bluray, especially since Bird said there’s going to be all sorts of stuff left out of the movie on it.

  7. zen4zoey says:

    Paramount should have released ‘Terminator Genisys’ this weekend. It’s clear that tentpole movies can succeed outside of summer scheduling. Though I’m not completely sold on the casting or concept, I would still see it for the sake of nostalgia. Maybe the July 4th weekend will help its box office.

  8. Doc Michaels says:

    The trailers were lousy but also indicative of how mediocre the movie was. Nobody wants to see Clooney on the soapbox except Clooney

  9. Mickey says:

    there is nothing iconic in the Tomorrowland marketing. It reminded me a little of a family friendly Interstellar. No big idea, concept, striking images, characters, etc. “Remember Tomorrow” isn’t a great tag-line, and it’s connection to the Disney theme parks is too tenuous. Also, Clooney has never been a family-friendly star. I doubt kids even know who he is.

    • Ima Right says:

      Clooney got his start on Roseanne!!! and his aunt was some famous singer or something and he
      had good looks and that explains why he ever got a shot! he’s a boring horrible actor! and his
      politics is like Sean Communist Penn and they are both HIPPOCRITES like all big rich liberals!
      and dumb as rocks! they both deserve to lose their money and have to work like the rest of us
      and pay the price for all the failed progressive policies of Obama and demoncrap socialist!
      I would not pay to see either of them in any movie ever! and never did! except for Penn in
      At Close Range he made with Christopher Walken for HBO and only because it’s so damn good.

  10. nerdrage says:

    Tomorrowland’s first trailer grabbed my interest. The second cooled that interest considerably, maybe by exposing the movie for what it is – silly and not particularly interesting.

  11. Yo says:

    The marketing seemed fine to me. I saw quite a few commercials for it. But I will go watch a Clooney movie after all the rude, and arrogant things he’s said over the years.

  12. Cath says:

    It’s this year’s Disney loss leader. They always need one when they have huge movies opening in a year. How can you be worried for the studio that already has made big bucks with Avengers and has Star Wars later in the year?

  13. Tim says:

    Yikes! I can’t believe Disney spent $190 million on Tomorrrowland! What a stupid move. Oh well, guess they didn’t learn from John Carter and Prince of Persia and The Lone Ranger.

  14. 10239 says:

    This weekend can’t seem to catch a break, huh? Lazy-itis ruined memorial day weekend.


    This has to be one of the worst Memorial Day Weekend box office reports in many, many years. Gosh, when was the last time we didn’t have at least one film do $100 million over the four day weekend? Americans clearly found other things to do besides go to the movies. It’s a good thing POLTERGEIST only cost $35 million. I saw it Friday night and there only 4 total people in the theater. I thought TOMORROWLAND was taking all the business, but looking at its dismal performance, I now realize everything is flopping at the box office right now. Wow, the summer of the box office duds is really on. And MAD MAX costing $150 million??? Outrageous! I had no idea. What are the chances of it making 3 times its cost in order to see a profit when it’s only at +80 million now domestically. NO WAY. Hollywood’s summer of box office busts is definitely spreading like a wildfire. Apparently there was only one PITCH PERFECT script sent into production for the summer of 2015 thus far.

  16. Gary says:

    Brad Bird can’t be faulted, the film looks great. The problem is a horrible script that was all over the place. An hour into the movie I was asking myself what the movie is actually about. Maybe Hollywood should stop paying millions of dollars to the same writers over and over.

  17. connorcochran says:

    My wife’s comment was that she would have loved it when she was 8 years old and not yet smart enough to spot all the glaringly nonsensical aspects of the plot and characterization.

  18. Small wonder TOMORROWLAND did not do well. It’s a terrible, terrible movie — and I speak as someone who loves Brad Bird’s previous work and was incredibly eager to see TOMORROWLAND based on the trailers and online preview. But the film itself was so bad I left the theater actively insulted, and told everyone I know not to bother.

    • me says:

      So your wife was too smart for the movie and you were insulted. It seems there is something else at play here, having nothing to do with the movie.

      I assume you both saw it in IMAX, in order to fit your giant egos through the door?

    • The Doof Warrior says:

      What was so “insulting” about this film? Do you so identify with the pessimists who are the antagonists in the movie, you came away with the impression the movie was saying _you_ are the problem?

  19. Jenn t says:

    Thought the Tomorrowland marketing campaign was pretty genius given what the movie is- a sci fi film for kids

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