‘Tomorrowland’ Exposes Hollywood’s Originality Problem

'Tomorrowland' Exposes Hollywood's Originality Problem
Courtesy of Disney

Tomorrowland’s” middling debut points to a nagging problem in Hollywood. As much as people claim they love fresh and unique movies, they’re more likely to shell out money for sequels and reboots.

Despite the combined star power of George Clooney and “The Incredibles” director Brad Bird, audiences weren’t sure what to make of this fantasy adventure. The film opened to $41.7 million, and with a production budget of $180 million, plus millions more in promotion and distribution expenses, “Tomorrowland” looks like a money loser for Disney.

“‘Tomorrowland’ is an original movie and that’s more of a challenge in this marketplace,” said Dave Hollis, Disney’s distribution chief. “We feel it’s incredibly important for us as a company and as an industry to keep telling original stories.”

Hollis is right that if Hollywood wants to replenish the franchise cupboard it will need to continue signing big checks in the hopes of discovering the next “Star Wars” or “Fast and the Furious.” The problem is that these gambles result in more “Jupiter Ascendings” than they do Indiana Joneses. Going forward, there may be more of an emphasis on cost-control.

“To create original movies and original concepts you really have to watch your budget limit,” said Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst at Rentrak. “The industry needs to examine and strategize how they create new franchises out of whole cloth.””

Even calling “Tomorrowland” an original movie points to the way that adjective has become neutered in today’s movie business. It’s not a remake or another installment in a long-running franchise, but its storyline and title references Disney theme parks, making it instantly recognizable to most of the population. Would Disney have greenlit the film, however bold Bird’s futuristic vision had been, had it not seen an opportunity to burnish its theme park brands?

Still, scanning the list of summer releases, “Tomorrowland” does stick out as one of the season’s riskiest films. The only other original gamble on the same scale is the Dwayne Johnson disaster film “San Andreas,” which opens next week. Most of the other major action-adventure films, such as “Avengers: Age of Ultron,” “Ant-Man,” “Mad Max: Fury Road” and “Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation,” are sequels or adaptations of popular comicbooks.

“Hollywood is relying more and more on the safety net of sequels,” said Jeff Bock, box office analyst with Exhibitor Relations. “You always run the risk of box office burnout when you keep pumping out sequels, but so far we’ve not seen that happen.”

Originality can still be a virtue in comedy, where “Trainwreck” and “Spy” have had promising and high-profile screenings, but even that genre has become sequelfied. “Vacation,” a reboot of the Griswold family’s getaway sagas, and “Ted 2” are among the more promising summer releases looking to deliver laughs and riches for the studios that back them.

The most audacious film to hit screens in the coming months also hails from Disney. “Inside Out,” an animated look at a preadolescent girl’s dueling emotions, has a narrative daring that is largely absent from big-budget releases. But it has the Pixar name behind it, and with it a Teflon brand that carries the universal appeal usually reserved for top-shelf film franchises.

Hollis wasn’t ready to label “Tomorrowland” a failure, noting that there is still time for moviegoers to discover the picture.

The problem is that competition this summer is brutal, with films like “Jurassic World” and “San Andreas” all on the horizon and a new tentpole picture debuting weekly. That means that films have to deliver an enormous percentage of their lifetime gross in their first weekend in theaters or risk becoming old news. Films used to stick around for months, but now they debut in so many thousands of theaters all at once that their theatrical run is often winding down by their fourth or fifth week of release. That prevents a film from growing organically and it limits an audience’s ability to discover a picture at a later date.

In the case of “Tomorrowland,” Disney may have erred in keeping too many of its secrets close to the vest. Aside from a magical pin, Clooney as a crusty inventor and a few sequences of spaceships hurtling through what appeared to be a cornfield, it wasn’t always clear what the movie was about.

Compounding matters, reviews for the film were lackluster and Clooney’s fans skewed older, missing out on the teenagers “Tomorrowland” needed to attract to succeed. Adults made up 61% of the opening crowd, something that Hollis admitted surprised him.

Some analysts cautioned against reading too much into the failure of one film. After all, original pictures like “Gravity,” “Interstellar,” and “Inception” have enjoyed commercial success.

“It still always comes down to powerful directors and powerful stars and what content they want to make,” said Phil Contrino, vice president and chief analyst at BoxOffice.com. “As long as they’re making studios money, I don’t see a problem with original movies getting made.”

Yet “Tomorrowland” exposes the limitations of stars like Clooney, who still pop up on magazine covers and gossip columns, but can’t be relied on to open movies with their names alone.

Ten years ago, films like “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory,” “War of the Worlds,” and “Mr. and Mrs. Smith” competed in the height of summer, armed primarily with star turns by the likes of Johnny Depp, Tom Cruise, Brad Pitt, and Angelina Jolie. Some of those films, massive hits in their day, might have trouble getting made in the current environment regardless of the name above the title. That’s a problem because diminishing star power means that the number of people who can get risky projects greenlit has narrowed, and studio executives are not routinely known for taking the path of more resistance.

Fortune may favor the bold, but not in Hollywood.

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  1. I think it was. I think the failure of “TOMORROWLAND” was due to the audience’s inability to accept something fresh and original. Instead, everyone clings to remakes and movie franchises. And then, there is the person who cannot conceive the idea of George Clooney appearing in a Disney film.

    Did I enjoy “TOMORROWLAND”? Yes. In fact, it is one of my favorite movies of the year, so far. It is also probably the most original movie I have ever seen. And it revealed a lot about the lack of originality in today’s society . . . something that many people do not want to acknowledge.

  2. Reginald Verrier says:

    I don’t think the problem with Tomorrowland was originality, or the lack of it. That’s correlation, not causation if relevant at all. It was already a huge gamble, then they put a CRAPTON of money into it. Also George Clooney in a kids film, wtf? I figure he could still pull audiences into a movie like The Patriot or something, but a kids film? Good job mentioning the weird marketing, I think that was the real culprit here. I couldn’t figure out what the movie was about and didn’t really want to from my exposure.

    In the end, it seems more like the failure to secure an audience with a huge budget was what made the movie flop.

  3. C.R. says:

    Studios have gotten so rusty with producing original work that they’ve forgotten how to choose good projects.

  4. Frank Thomas says:

    First Jupiter Ascending, now Tomorrowland. I can understand a healthy scepticism towards original stories (provided there is a story worth telling in the first place) and would understand if Disney were to invest less in original stories.

    But I absolutely do not understand, why the failure of Tomorrowland made Disney pull the plug on Tron 3, originally scheduled to start shooting in late 2015?

    As the third film of an established franchise and considering the box office of the second, I find myself unable to think of a good reason why Tron 3 got the red light.

    Almost looks like a decision maker at Disney doesn’t like science fiction and used Tomorrowland as an excuse to cancel Tron 3.

  5. Cbrown90 says:

    I saw this movie and was bored right from the first minute. How do people get the idea that a movie about traveling from the past to save the Earth in the future is an original idea? This same theme has been done in one way or another a thousand times!

  6. Sam America says:

    Most of the audiences are brainwashed braindead iphoned video gamed computer morons! they didn’t
    grow up with only 5 or 6 channels before cable and getting cable was a big deal back then and they
    didn’t have to wait for VCRS to be available so you can tape shows and they didn’t watch classic old
    TV shows from the golden era of TV like Twilight Zone and Hitchcock and Rockford files and Sanford
    and Son etc…shows with originality and great actors! now all you have are boring no talent annoying
    liberals with pretty boy and girls with no acting talent and nothing but CGI to keep the movie goers
    interested in the movie since the plot and story and acting and directing SUCK! it’s that simple!

    • Matt says:

      Wow you are completely ridiculous. If you actually paid attention you would know that kids DON’T only care about what you said. Look at movies such as Frozen, Inside Out, How to Train Your Dragon 1 and 2. Those movies people love. You obviously think you’re better because you are from a different generation. People like you are what is wrong with the world today. Do yourself and the rest of the world of favor and get off your high horse and never comment on anything again because you have no idea what you are talking about.

  7. Smiley Penguin says:

    When I hear comments like “it was a marking failure” it is obvious how much arrogance and self-denial is prevalent in this industry. Basically what that comments says is, it’s OK to make bad movies because we know how to pull the wool over the audiences eyes, doesn’t matter if it’s an obvious dud like some many other recent examples. All involved clap their hands because no one dares to tell the truth. The movie is just bad, plain and simple. Starting with a non-enganging storyline and characters, and a mishmash incoherent concept, including miscasting, that tries hard to be original and falls flat on its nose.

    • TheMs. says:

      But I do think marketing was the problem. U.S audiences can indeed be force-fed the same concepts over and over, no matter the originality. We’re conditioned to expect it. Take Entourage, a movie I admittedly didn’t see but doubt was very original or good. Entourage was the film absolutely no one outside Wahlberg’s camp was pushing for, and yet the film and its stars seemed to dominate Twitter, TV ads and talk shows the week before it opened. Tomorrowland’s Super Bowl ad intrigued me; I wanted to learn more. But the big, explanatory marketing push never seemed to happen. By opening weekend, even I had lost track of (and interest in) the movie. Even without wanting to, I know more about Entourage’s “plot” than I know what a “Tomorrowland” is, other than a vague idea from the TV commercials that it’s about kid scientists, something about Walt Disney, and Clooney plays the “old curmudgeon” character. I’m not arguing for that force-fed marketing model, nor for not attempting new ideas. But today, anything that’s not a sequel or remake has to (1) have great marketing along with (2) actually be entertaining, in order to even have a chance. In Fury Road’s case, even that wasn’t enough in the U.S., it seems.

  8. BriteBlonde1 says:

    The marketing of the original films is just not working, since the same old people use the same old techniques and same old everything to do marketing. The marketing for Tomorrowland was just horrid.

  9. Tukaram says:

    This was not really a very original movie. It was just another preachy global warming piece. They beat us over the head with ‘the message’ for half the movie. It had a lot of potential but got drug down with trying to teach a lesson instead of entertain.

  10. Tom Nichol says:

    It’s a Disney marketing ploy badly disguised as a movie. Clooney? That was a deal killer for me as well.

    • Sam America says:

      more fairy tale liberal propaganda like Transgenders is the new big thing for liberals! it’s all FAKE!

  11. Todd says:

    Folks are sick of being “preached to” in what is purported to be entertainment.

    Todd.

  12. Rich Lehmann says:

    It was a marketing failure not a production failure. No one understood what the movie was about or why they should see it. They assumed if they mentioned it was Disney and showed Clooney people would care.

    • Urban B says:

      Dude. It was a lousy story. People really, REALLY wanted to love this movie, and it was a disaster. Word of mouth still matters a lot.

  13. Bob says:

    Tomorrowland’s problem is consistency, cohesiveness, and failure to avoid ridiculousness. It is a series of vignettes assembled without consideration for what came before or comes after. Given it is science fiction and imagination plays a large part, there is a “fail” in plot for almost every scene. When nothing in a movie I expected to like makes sense, it falls near the top of my Worst 10. A few critics have noted that the writers and director expected the audience to “assume” certain things to make the film work. That strikes me as a fatal flaw and the film shows it.

  14. Warren Fahy says:

    What about Avatar? It did 10 times the business of most franchise films. No franchise film or remake has ever come close. Maybe it’s the content and not the “originality” that is involved here.

  15. Dose says:

    Personally I didn’t watch it because Damon Lindelof was involved.

  16. Alexi says:

    It’s easy to understand: Huge budget plus A-List stars = crap movie. That’s true over and over again.

  17. maybe stop spending 180 million on a movie?

  18. lcfbill says:

    “it wasn’t always clear what the movie was about”
    I saw it and it still isn’t clear what the movie wanted to be about. If you are making a film about a wonderland created by our best minds, you would think that we would actually see characters whom one could believe represent our best minds. I am sorry, but Clooney’s character has a lot of gadgets but never seems smart enough to have built any of them. His girlfriend Casey, the hope for the future, manages to keep her actual knowledge or accomplishment well hidden. How can you make a film about the best of us, if you are afraid to show us that they are smart enough to build and create. Do brilliant characters turn off the audience? That aversion to making characters seem too smart may be part of the explanation for why we have given up thinking about the future (which is the admirable core observation which gave rise to the film). So, does Bird really believe in the elite when he is too scared to show them to us?

    • I think the movie was about how as a society we seem to have lost our capacity to imagine, and dream up new and different, technologies, inventions, etc. When is the last time something major was invented? Why don’t we have flying cars yet? Trackless trains flying through the air? just to name a few things. Instead of working on ways to help each other, we look for ways to destroy each other. We keep the poor down and elevate the rich, a portion of the population stuffs their faces with food to the point of obesity, while the other half goes hungry!

  19. Dan Neville says:

    Wow, no mention of having a good story or characters in this article at all.

  20. OgreMHDW says:

    I have been hearing about tomorrowland being made into a movie since going to Disneyland when I was young and they had the World of Tomorrow ride. While I would love to call it an original movie, it is not. It is a 30 year old story idea developed into a plot that would not satisfy my youngest self interested in the world of tomorrow.

  21. elric301 says:

    “Even calling “Tomorrowland” an original movie points to the way that adjective has become neutered in today’s movie business. It’s not a remake or another installment in a long-running franchise, but its storyline and title references Disney theme parks, making it instantly recognizable to most of the population. Would Disney have greenlit the film, however bold Bird’s futuristic vision had been, had it not seen an opportunity to burnish its theme park brands?”

    Precisely. Also, this has actually been writer Damon Lindelof’s project. After previous directors didn’t work out, Brad Bird only came on just over a year or so ago. Since his previous movie was Bad Robot’s MISSION IMPOSSIBLE…well, follow the list of productions from them and J.J. Abrams and Lindelof and you can see why Bird thought this might be a good idea.

    It’s a movie with an interesting premise, let down by a very weak script that refuses to adequately explain things in the end. This confused audiences at the multiple shows I saw them come out of and did very poorly for positive word of mouth.

    Next time, get a scriptwriter who knows what they’re writing about. Not Damon “Jar Jar Binks” Lindelof.

  22. MM says:

    Perhaps the “original” stories just aren’t that good, as they come from the same people…

  23. Rick says:

    Hollywood doesn’t have an “originality” problem. Plenty of good scripts out there. The problem is the execs/studios greenlighting films by and large don’t know a thing about what makes a story good. Here’s a hint: WRITING. Interference, aka, “suggestions” from non writer studio execs, kills a lot of films as well. When Mel Brooks produced “The Elephant Man”, studio execs came to him with “suggestions” He told them he was being paid to make the movie as written in the script they bought, not to take their suggestions after the fact. Too bad nobody in the biz has the moxie to do that today. That’s another reason a lot of good writers have abandoned film for Television

    • Tyler L says:

      That is true but not entirely. It’s more so of getting foreign distribution and investments from abroad. Factors like marketability internationally and yes, things like the cost of dubbing over are factors looked at. It’s not as simple as: “hmm,let’s do an original today!”

  24. Reagan says:

    “San Andreas” is no more original then “The Poseidon Adventure”.

  25. Leroy Stone says:

    Here’s the real issue. The story that tells the movie or propels it. You can have unknown actors, actresses, minimal effects, working with a relatively small budget and become bigger than Avengers at the box office when done right. It’s always how well the story is put together. I liked Tomorrowland a lot. But perhaps where they slipped was trying too hard to make it a message movie. What is needed at this time are really good stories that are entertaining and cause you to want to go back and see it again. Few movies currently have that ability. Even The Avengers, as good as I may have been is mostly a see once film. Sometimes the over abundance of effects has the reverse impact on audiences. Word on the street is that the comic book based films are due to burn out soon. It’s too much of the same thing over and over and over again. At least Tomorrowland tried to be different.

  26. what says:

    Perhaps it did not resonate with liberals who love dystopian movies, or conservatives who did want a brighter tomorrow, but figured Clowney would just give them a global warming lecture before going off in his private jet.

    Miss the mark on all audiences.

  27. Desiree Martinez says:

    I like how Hollywood’s excuse is that people don’t want original content… lol. Maybe it’s that the audience doesn’t want “original” content that is just plain bad. How many times does the audience have to hear this excuse?? apparently every time a bad movie sinks. What’s their excuse for the most talked about horror film this year “It Follows?” … is this movie not considered “original?” lol

  28. David K says:

    I can’t believe your passing off that crud as original. It’s based on an amusement park ride. Has creativity in big studios sunk so low as to consider this tripe original?

  29. Bill Gray says:

    Once again, your reporting is idiocy. First of all, you only report on “domestic” box office gross figures, and forgetting to mention that theatres get usually about half of these numbers. But then there’s the international market. Plus all the “ancillary” markets and sales. Not to mention that a budget of supposedly $180 Million is ridiculously over-pumped to include the cost of nail polish to the steno pool. And just a few other “overhead” costs. If the movie budget was $180 M, it didn’t really cost $180M to make. And Variety and all the other media “reporters” show laziness and sloppiness in reporting what’s really goes on. Certainly they know about these things.

  30. stellar says:

    Blaming this flop on the basis of it being “an original idea” is the very reason Hollywood makes flops!! They don’t even know why movies work or don’t work and then use asinine reasons as the cause for when movies succeed or fail. Had this movie been a huge success like Pirates of the Caribbean (an original movie also based on a theme park), people in Hollywood would be screaming “make more original theme park based movies!” But movies aren’t simply carried by excess movie budgets, special effects, movie stars, or what’s “hot today” genre conventions. Theses things can enhance a movie, but only solid storytelling, and appealing characters make for “great movies”. It doesn’t matter if movie has preset audience of a comic book, video game, novel or toys, cause there are plenty of movies such as these that also fail…no one in Hollywood or from the public was clamoring to make Mad Max, Star Wars, or Matrix movies (all original ideas), and they all turned out to be huge successes! The premise of this movie very clearly rips off WIZARD OF OZ and the video game BIOSHOCK and is a tired retread of young adult movies with stale and boring characters who run around while cool stuff explodes…the story was stale and so were the characters..this movie tries to spoon feed in excess all the things that should simply enhance the movie, not carry it! And don’t get me wrong, there are exceptions to this such as Avatar, where the special effects reign supreme, but the general rule of thumb should always be storytelling if one wants to play it safe and make a profit. And while some could make the claim that Mad Max (an original premise with an original vision/style throughout the entire franchise), had a preset audience that boosted sales, but I find this to be a very odd and inconsequential statement The first movie didn’t come out until 1979 with Mad Max Beyond the Thunderdome being made in 1985 AND THAT WAS 30 years ago! For people in Hollywood not to see this, but then state that Tommorrowland failed simply because it was an “original concept,” makes no logical sense whatsoever. This movie was simply bad, preset audience or not.

    • sd says:

      “AND THAT WAS 30 years ago” Doesn’t matter, Mad Max has been a part of pop culture for a long time. It’s branded content, that makes it exponentially easier to sell than original content. That is the problem, not the films themselves but the ability to get a wide audience to buy into the idea of seeing a film. A big part of that puzzle is solved by making sequels and reboots and heavily branded content. The unfortunate truth is the quality of the film is far less important than the ability to raise awareness across a broad spectrum of potential audience.

    • Lefty Backstrap says:

      You write “Blaming this flop on the basis of it being “an original idea” is the very reason Hollywood makes flops!!”. The problem with that, in this particular case, is that it isn’t “Hollywood” stating the blame, it’s the media who write about “Hollywood”. And by the way, “Avatar” was a Visual Effects (VFX) animated movie that was the same story as the animated “Pocahontas” with the names and places changed. Presumably to protect the innocent… or guilty as it may be.

  31. Keith says:

    IMO, the failure here is a result of going too big too soon. $180 million is a budget for a known entity with an established audience base, a MISSION IMPOSSIBLE or SPIDER-MAN. IRON MAN has been building an audience since 1963 as a comic – the first movie was made for $140 million. That’s $40 million less than TOMORROWLAND, a film with no established audience.

    The article mentions FAST AND THE FURIOUS as an example of a successful big-budget franchise, but that franchise was given years to build an audience before producers began spending big budgets – the first movie in the series was made for $38 million!

    I mean, come on. I agree that Hollywood has sequel-itis and badly needs to develop original stories, but spending nearly $200 million for production alone on an unproven concept is simply unreasonable, in my opinion.

    • stellar says:

      I just meant that good storytelling should trump all other factors but that some movies with bad stories (such as Avatar) can still sometimes do well despite this and be an exception to this rule….and in this case it was good special effects…and yeah you are right that this is a media publication stating Hollywood’s originality problem, but don’t think for a second that articles like these don’t affect studio executives after they read them cause they do.

  32. longbowhunter says:

    I had planned on going to see TOMORROWLAND….and then I heard it was basically an Objectivist love letter with a Disney spin,wrapped up in another crappy half-baked script by Damon Lindelof…and I immediately decided to wait for Netflix…maybe….or possibly cable.

  33. AZ says:

    edge of tommorow
    pacific rim

    why didnt either of them do well enough or at all during their run? Actual good reasons please, so spare me the unlikeable lead actor, derivative cgi mess BS as worse films have done better commercially despite that.
    better yet if you all claim that people only go to see movies with great story-telling then explain why is it often the case crappy or unoriginal movies do tend to draw a large crowd? Seriously, good movies=hits? bad movies=flops? You can’t all be so naive that it’s as black&white as that.

  34. inceptus-overatus says:

    While bad marketing is always the go-to-excuse for when terrible movies flop still doesn’t change the hard to deny fact that nearly everyone DO lean towards sequels, remakes, reboots in large numbers WORLDWIDE for many years, regardless of quality as if that ever mattered.
    You only need to glimpse at any global b.o. list from the last few years to reach that conclusion.
    and soon someone will inevitably bring up the dark knight trilogy’s director’s dreamscape/paprika knock-off as their only counter-point.

    • stellar says:

      Uh yeah it is, that’s why tv is experiencing “a golden age period” in storytelling presently and is competitively over riding movies in quality.

  35. Walt Disney says:

    There is no “originality problem”. Audiences saw a preview that is based on a section of the Disneyland theme park and thought “how unoriginal can you get??” and decided to stay away. Basing a movie on a theme park attraction is no different than basing it on a comic book.

    The real problem is that there isn’t an original idea going on in any studio execs head – they get paid a lot of money to come up with ideas that an 8 year old could: “superman and batman in the same movie? Wow we are so brilliant!”

    • Lloyd Waldo says:

      You almost have it. It’s a bit deeper than that as a problem. It’s not that execs get paid to sit and think up these ideas- it’s that these ideas are generated by a flawed, but heavily used method of consumer research.

      Essentially, focus groups and consumer surveys, particularly when it comes to idea-stage entertainment properties, are highly susceptible to estimation bias. This means that market researchers working for the studios may ask something like: “which is cooler? Batman and Superman in separate movies? Or Batman and Superman together?” The answer will be that together is “cooler.” Then the marketing and advertising will be similarly skewed towards the audience that finds these ideas cool, with the expectation that they will be the audience that buys tickets.

      There are a few problems with this. First, an initial reaction to something being cool does not give much information about what the consumer will actually feel when they are presented with the product. Second, the consumer is usually not able to express his or her hypothetical reactions to negative stimulus, or to being denied something without that thing being mentioned. For example, you can’t study how someone would feel about a character *not* appearing in a movie, without mentioning that character, and eliciting the reaction that comes with it. So you end up with only one side of an equation: people react positively to certain characters. This, if you’ll notice, is also why studio films rely more and more on charismatic and funny villains, and why villains appear more often in sequels than they used to.

      This effect is well described in the now famous “Pepsi Challenge” marketing campaign. In blind taste tests, people do prefer the taste of Pepsi over Coke by a significant margin. And yet despite this, and despite the marketing campaign, Coke still sold and still does sell better than Pepsi. Why? Do people buy something they like less? No, on the contrary, people buy things they like more, but their appreciation of the product stretches across its entire use period. It’s one thing to taste a soda in a store. It’s another to buy a pack, take it home, drink it in the course of a week, and then wish to buy another. Whether or not that soda tastes “better” in the store doesn’t have an ultimate bearing on whether you will buy it again. The buying process is predicated on many more factors than an initial taste reaction.

  36. Jon Jacquez says:

    Is this meant to be a joke, or am I seriously supposed to believe that a movie about cis white hetero males having a destiny experience is considered “original”?

  37. Matt says:

    I am taking my kids to see Tomorrowland, but everyone gets this problem wrong. Original FAMILY films struggle, and no one seems to get the obvious reason why.

    The issue is that movies cost a fortune these days. If I am going to spend $50 (or more) to take my family to a movie, it’s going to be something I believe we will enjoy. You don’t gamble that kind of money on a movie your young kids might hate. You will either wind up leaving the movie or will have a horrible experience. What film studios need to start doing is consider ways to decrease the price of new, original family movies to reduce the financial risk for me as a parent. Simultaneous release to digital might work. Even if I had to pay $20 to watch it at home for a single viewing, it is going to be cheaper than going to the theater. If the kids don’t like it, they can go outside or play Xbox. If I don’t like it, I’m out of $20 instead of $50.

    Another idea would be giving free tickets for original movies when you see a sequel. For instance, give a free Tomorrowland ticket if you buy 4 or more Avengers 2 tickets. Something like that.

    The fact is, Avengers 2, Jurassic World, Ant Man, and Star Wars all have my attention. Tomorrowland does as well because Disney did a good job hooking us with a preview of Tomorrowland we before Avengers 2. Still, I am sure some other original movie is going to be ignored by my family, and it is purely a matter of economics. Not is disdain for all things new.

  38. Pedro Anderson says:

    An enormous problem with the movie relates to the statistic quoted in this article–61% of the opening crowd is ADULT, and I promise you this percentage soon became disgusted in the way that I did. I felt duped, as soon as the movie began.

    The relatively dishonest trailer, which portrays the film as a serious venture into the future, stands in stark opposition to what “Tomorrowland” is–a kids’ flick which gets louder and louder and sinks–for adults–in its cartoonish tone. The trailer scene–already famous–wherein the heroine touches the pin and sees into the breathtaking future–appeals GREATLY to adults. We imagine the movie to be a palatable tale of a young woman’s discovery of a fascinating world, and we most willingly click our seat belts in eager preparation for the ride–then it dismally sinks into robots with claws and robots woth ray guns and so on.

    What a supreme disappointment. I’m just surprised it hasn’t caught on with kids–the intellectual and emotional levels are perfect for that age group…maybe in time the word’ll get around and the proper demographic will emerge.

    • Eric Tan says:

      Exactly. The movie I saw was NOT the movie promised by the trailers.
      When a movie doesn’t work, it is evident during the editing process. Why didn’t anyone say anything?

  39. Georgia Mom says:

    If you are graduate of film school or a member of the actor’s guild you can probably find plenty of fault with this movie. If you have kids 9-14 and are looking for a fun, action, fantasy movie, then go see it. I took 3 kids to see it and we all had a good time.

  40. jani says:

    but maybe ppl don’t want to speculate on a land of tomorrow… or see a movie about tomorrow?

  41. Necco Wafers are Dusty says:

    But it’s NOT an “original movie” or even an “original idea”! It’s yet another of Disney’s “let’s make a movie out of one of our rides” ideas. We’ve seen that more than a few times now. Sometimes it works (Pirates) and most of the time it fails miserably (Haunted Mansion, Country Bears).

    Please, don’t blame this on the movie being “too original” because everyone could smell the formula on this one a mile away.

    • Lefty Backstrap says:

      “Tomorrowland” was NOT a ride at Disneyland, it was an area of the amusement park. Admittedly I have not yet seen the movie, but what does it have to do with the Disney theme park area apart from the name that is the Disney tie-in? Can anyone who has seen it actually describe how it is derived from Tomorrowland in either L.A. or Orlando?

      • Jacques Strappe says:

        I’ve been to Disneyland’s and Disney World’s Tomorrow Land section of their respective parks and I’ve seen the movie, “Tomorrowland.” Other than sharing a name, these two Disney entities have absolutely nothing in common whatsoever. My entire family loved the film btw but that seems to be unpopular sentiment on this thread. The author’s conceit is mostly spot on about the struggle of original films (not sequels or reboots or based on existing popular fiction). This is especially true as the studios market films to global audiences who apparently mostly respond to American films derived from Marvel or DC comic books and Hasbro toys. International markets now account for the largest share of box office for the majority of American made theatrical releases which might partially explain the reliance on big scale sequels.

      • Lefty Backstrap says:

        Thank you Mr. Strappe for clarifying that. As I thought there is no tie-in except for the name recognition. It goes to show a lot of the ignorance in our world of people jumping to conclusions without having facts.
        As to the issue of originality in movies being an issue, that is quite possible due to risk-adverse movie goers. It also should address all of those commenters who decry how Hollywood is blaming the the “originality” issue. Again to clarify this, it is not the Hollywood studios or filmmakers who have brought up this issue. It is a critic – writer for the press covering the industry that has made this point. But people either don’t read, don’t comprehend or just see and hear what they want to and then come to non-relevant conclusions.

  42. Cmon! says:

    the concept itself is great, the execution was terrible. I love fantasy and made it a point to watch this film. Towards the end I just wanted it to stop.

    I’m a little alarmed by this article. People love incredible stories, original or not. Tomorrow Land just wasn’t a good movie. It has NOTHING to do w/ it being original.

    we live in a day and age where word of mouth can make or break a weekend.

    Studio executives should be concerned with story telling, and making sure what they are creating is actually good, and stop blaming lack of viewership on “marketing” or “original content”

    the best marketing is a good movie.

  43. Maria says:

    It had nothing to do with being an “original” movie. It was bad marketing and reviews. In the age of social media, that stuff is more important than ever. Going to the theater is expensive and the film has to be worth it. I saw it because it was based on Walt’s ideas and George Clooney doesn’t generally make bad movies. However, I agreed with the reviews.

    “Jupiter Ascending” had horrible reviews, and did you see the honest trailer on YouTube? Good thing I didn’t pay the IMAX ticket plus the soda and popcorn.

  44. milo says:

    I don’t buy this at all. The movie had bad reviews, period. Before the reviews came in I was really excited to see this, Bird is a great director and it looks like a great idea. But I probably won’t see it in the theatre with reviews like that.

    The article says audiences aren’t willing to see original movies. I’d say the correct theory is that audiences are only willing to see original movies if they are good, but remakes or sequels can squeak by even when they are bad. If you really want to make the argument that audiences don’t want original movies, use a good original movie for an example, like Edge of Tomorrow (but in that case, audiences don’t want to see Cruise any more unless it’s a Mission Impossible sequel).

    And climate change? I hadn’t even heard that mentioned until the comments on this article. Is that really what the movie is about or are certain partisans using that as an excuse to try and scare people away from the movie?

  45. Larry says:

    Despite what that complete flake, Bill Nye, says, the Earth is not experiencing anthropomorphic Global Warming (or even the chintzier phrase “Climate Change”). Clooney is always on his high horse about something; and, just as often, he is dead wrong. Had it been Tomorrowland with Britt Robertson, it would probably have gotten me in the door. Adding Clooney and his latest looney left diatribe will keep me away from this film entirely. It is an originality problem; it’s just we’ve heard all this garbage before. We didn’t buy it then; and,we don’t buy it now.

  46. Opening weekend success or failure speaks to the strength of a film’s marketing, PERIOD. No one goes to see a Brad Bird movie even though he has shown himself to be an excellent storyteller and no one goes to see a “George Clooney” movie just because of him, but Tomorrowland has been a Disneyland/world fixture for 50 years and had more than enough name recognition (like Pirates of the Caribbean) that all it required was a CLEAR STORY TOLD through its trailers and marketing efforts over the last six months. That story WAS NOT CLEARLY told EVER and as a result, audiences resisted (myself included) going to see it this weekend. (plus don’t discount great weather in the northeast as THE major factor in the weakest Memorial Day weekend in 14 years)

    • Ray says:

      This guy nails it. The problem is not the movie and originality in story telling. The problem is marketing. I’ve seen 4 different trailers for Tomorrowland and I have zero idea what it’s about. All I know is that it has Clooney and it has something to do with Disney and possibly loosely based off it’s Tomorrowland in Magic Kingdom.

      Tell me again why I want to see it?

      Author also mentions Jupiter Ascending. It’s the exact same thing. All I knew about it is that it was a Wachowski brother’s film with Milla Kunis and it has something to do with a planet. Then I watched it and well.. google “Honest Trailers Jupiter Ascending” and you’ll see why.

      • kenjimoto says:

        It was hard to market because it’s a weakly constructed story that was poorly executed, with conflicting tonal impulses that reveal its own confusion. The PR campaign reflected that.

  47. Dave says:

    It’s not that it was original… It just wasn’t very good.

  48. chase says:

    Or maybe, people just don’t like George Clooney.

    Tomorrowland had no appeal for me, there was nothing in the marketing of this movie that made me excited.

  49. Bill B. says:

    This is a really sad, though true, article. I just don’t get it either. I rarely ever see sequels or remakes as they are rarely as good as the original or they are just more of the same, which is what I guess attracts people to them. Much like many network TV series, the public seems to like the same thing over and over again. Count me out. All of the best films last year were originals and not comic book movies, though Guardians of the Galaxy was the one exception to that.

  50. Hank Quinlain says:

    The premise of this article is flawed. Original?….this is a movie based on a theme park ride that blatently serves as a 2-hour Disneyland ad. Hardly an originality problem.

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