Tomorrowland: Disney Adventure Film is Commercially Disappointing

Starring George Clooney, Tomorrowland, the Disney adventure film directed by Brad Bird, debuted to a disappointing $41.7 million across 3,972 theaters, much less than the $50 million it was projected to make over the four-day weekend.

Tomrrowland’s debut ranks 22nd on the all-time list of Memorial Day bows.   In contrast, last year, “X-Men: Days of Future Past” debuted to a massive $110.6 million, the sixth biggest Memorial Day opening in history.

Even if it had hit those initial estimates, Tomorrowland faced an uphill climb if it hoped to make back its $180 million production budget plus tens of millions more spent hawking and distributing the fantasy film.

Internationally, the film performed even worse. It made $26.7 million through Sunday, from 56 percent of the international marketplace.  There are still several major territories left to open such as China and Japan.

According to Variety, Tomorrowland may become a write-down for the studio.

Dave Hollis, Disney’s distribution chief, argued the film would benefit from being the only family release until Pixar’s Inside Out debuts next month. With school getting out, he maintains audiences could still find the picture. “It’s going to take more time for word-of-mouth to build,” he said.

In the absence of a Memorial Day juggernaut, Universal’s Pitch Perfect 2 continued to draw crowds, picking up an estimated $38.5 million over the four-day period. The a cappella comedy has earned $126 million in its first two weeks in the theaters.

“Mad Max: Fury Road” also showed some staying power, dropping 45% in its sophmore weekend. It nabbed third place and $32.1 million over the four-day holiday. The Warner release has earned $95.5 million domestically and has picked up $124.3 million internationally through Sunday — respectable results, but there is still ground left to cover before the studio recoups the $150 million it spent making the picture.

Poltergeist, a remake of the 1982 horror classic from Fox and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer that brought in a solid $26.5 million across 3,240 screens. The haunted house film carries an economical $35 million price tag.  A PG-13 rating helped Poltergeist attract a younger crowd that might be unfamiliar with the hazards of placing a housing development on a cemetery. The opening weekend audience was 22% teen, 55% female, 44% Caucasian, 21% African-American, and 21% Hispanic.

“We thought it was an effective sort of counter-programming to what was in the marketplace,” said Chris Aronson, Fox’s domestic distribution chief. “It had been awhile since there was a horror picture.”

Avengers: Age of Ultron crossed the $400 million mark domestically, after bringing in $27.8 million over the holiday weekend. Globally, the superhero adventure has made more than $1.1 billion.