Disney’s “Tomorrowland” is looking to notch a narrow box office victory with an opening of about $45 million during Memorial Day holiday weekend, according to early estimates.
The four-day frame could see as many as four other films top the $30 million mark, with the second weekend of “Pitch Perfect 2” likely leading the rest of the pack with about $38 million, followed by Fox-MGM’s launch of “Poltergeist” at as high as $35 million, the second weekend of Warner Bros.’ “Mad Max: Fury Road” at $33 million, and the fourth weekend of Disney-Marvel’s “Avengers: Age of Ultron” at $30 million.
“Tomorrowland,” which carries a $180 million pricetag, opened Friday at 3,972 U.S. locations with about $11 million, including $725,000 from Thursday night preview showings at 701 selected sites. The $45 million estimate is slightly below recent forecasts for the George Clooney-Britt Robertson sci-fi adventure, based partly on Walt Disney’s philosophy of innovation and one of the Disney theme park rides.
“Tomorrowland” is heading into the weekend with nearly 40% of weekend ticket sales on the Fandango online ticketing site.
Brad Bird, whose credits include “The Incredibles” and “Mission: Impossible — Ghost Protocol,” directed from a script he co-wrote with Damon Lindelof and Jeff Jensen. Reviews have been mixed, earning it a 50% score on Rotten Tomatoes.
“Pitch Perfect 2,” which stunned last weekend with a $69 million debut, could be cutting into some of the potential audience for “Tomorrowland.” The comedy sequel is holding on nicely to its audience with a projected 56% decline over the Friday-Sunday period, and should end the holiday with an impressive $125 million after 11 days.
A more bullish Friday estimate placed “Pitch Perfect 2” into the $40 million-plus range.
“Poltergeist,” a remake of Steven Spielberg’s 1982 haunted house film, was co-financed by MGM and Fox 2000 for $35 million — a figure it appears to be matching over the four days. Early estimates showed the scarefest edging out “Tomorrowland” on Friday at $11.5 million at 3,240 sites, including $1.4 million from Thursday night previews.
“Poltergeist” appears to have gained traction among customers as it’s likely to finish significantly above recent estimates that ranged from $20 million to $25 million. The bottom of the range now appears to be $28 million.
The sophomore session of Warner Bros.’ “Mad Max: Fury Road” appears to be performing in line or slightly better than recent estimates with a 43% decline over Friday-Sunday. The apocalyptic actioner should wind up the weekend with an 11-day U.S. total at around $98 million.
“Avengers: Age of Ultron” remains a powerful player, declining just 40% from the third weekend. It will easily top the $400 million milestone during the long weekend.
This Memorial Day weekend has shaped up as seemingly lightweight relative to last year when “X-Men: Days of Future Past” opened with $110.6 million. The prospect of five films finishing above $30 million will partly make up for that shortfall.
The 2014 Memorial Day Weekend box office hit $232.1 million for the four-day weekend — the fifth-highest of all time and well short of the record set in 2013, when “Fast & Furious 6” and “The Hangover Part III” drove the box office to $314.2 million over the four days.