‘Tomorrowland’ is a little overwritten and a little too on the nose

26 May 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

‘Tomorrowland’ takes top spot at box office on slow weekend.

Filmmaker Brad Bird has revealed he turned down a job directing the latest installment of “Star Wars” so he could create “Tomorrowland: A World Beyond”. Disney’s expensive fantasy adventure essentially had Memorial Day weekend to itself, and still only pulled in a modest $41.7 million in its first four days in theaters according to Rentrak estimates on Monday. She let the question hang in the air a moment, then answered, deadpan, “Like, four.” That may well be, but a decade after she first arrived in Los Angeles from her native South Carolina to pursue acting, the 25-year-old Robertson is having the kind of career-redefining moment that can’t be denied. The 57-year-old director said he made the ‘difficult’ decision to pass on a chance to direct an installment of the science fiction franchise, reported Independent. “But when I was asked to direct Episode Seven, I was working on my own idea – ‘Tomorrowland'; we had a script we liked, George Clooney and Hugh Laurie had committed to it, and I didn’t know whether, if we lost that momentum, we’d ever recapture it,” Bird said. Disney put their full weight behind the Brad Bird-directed film with an ambitious George Clooney-led promotional campaign. “It’s not ever ideal to be below your estimate before the weekend starts, but it feels like it’s too early to judge the run,” said Disney’s Distribution EVP Dave Hollis.

In Disney’s new sci-fi adventure epic “Tomorrowland,” Robertson — previously best known for her roles on the TV series “Life Unexpected” and “Under the Dome” — stars opposite George Clooney as a spunky teenager who travels to a mysterious futuristic world. That is the lowest since 2001—particularly bad when considering that average ticket prices have risen 44% over that time, according to the National Association of Theatre Owners. The film, which opened in first place at the box office with a projected $40.7 million in the U.S. and Canada for the four-day holiday weekend, follows on the heels of April’s Nicholas Sparks adaptation “The Longest Ride,” in which Robertson played an aspiring New York gallerist who falls in love with a bull rider (Scott Eastwood). The key reason for the empty multiplexes was the weak performance of “Tomorrowland,” the weekend’s sole new big-budget movie and a rare misfire for Walt Disney Co. Still, the disarmingly frank and plain-speaking Robertson, who looks young enough to still play teenagers (“I get on flights and people are like, ‘Are you old enough to sit in the exit row?'”), is doing her best not to get caught up in the talk of impending stardom. “I don’t put a lot of stock in those things,” she said. “Scott Eastwood is always telling me I have to look at my career from a business point of view, and it just cracks me up.

Hollis noted that “Tomorrowland” will be one of the only PG-rated family films in theaters until Disney and Pixar’s “Inside Out” opens on June 19, which could be promising for its longevity — especially considering that many schools have yet to close for the summer. “We are optimistic that originality and the vision that Brad Bird put on the screen is something that people will find and evangelize and hopefully get other folks to show up,” said Hollis. “When audiences are spending their hard earned cash on a blockbuster or tent-pole movie, they kind of want to know what they’re getting going in, for better or worse,” he said. The prior year, “Fast & Furious 6” opened to $97.4 million. “Tomorrowland” featured a rare attempt by the company to spend big money—$180 million in this case—on a movie that didn’t feature characters or a fictional world already well known to audiences.

Some of the best advice I was ever given was: ‘Don’t believe your own hype.'” In “Tomorrowland,” Robertson plays Casey Newton, a restless teenager with a deep love of science who meets a cantankerous inventor (Clooney) and is recruited to go to Tomorrowland, a glittering techno-utopia in an alternate dimension where humankind’s most brilliant minds push the bounds of what’s possible. Like “The Lone Ranger” and “John Carter,” more-expensive attempts by Disney to jump-start franchises, “Tomorrowland” has had difficulty drawing audiences.

The studio expected an opening in the low $20 million range. “I think for our filmmakers, who had set out not to just remake a classic but to introduce a new generation of fans to the genre, it was very successful,” said Fox’s domestic distribution chief Chris Aronson. The studio behind “Tomorrowland,” Walt Disney Pictures, has struggled to launch new film franchises, though it has had recent success with live-action adaptations of animated classics like “Maleficent,” based on “Sleeping Beauty,” and “Cinderella.” Particularly disappointing to the company was that the PG-rated movie, directed by Brad Bird of “The Incredibles” and “Mission: Impossible—Ghost Protocol” fame and starring George Clooney, wasn’t a big draw with families. Only 30% of audiences Saturday were families, according to exit polls. “I do think an original [story] plays a part in parents waiting to hear from other parents,” said Disney’s executive vice president of distribution, Dave Hollis. “We also played on the mystery” in the marketing and “weren’t as explicit about what it is.” Despite the disappointing holiday weekend, Hollywood has high hopes for the rest of the summer, pinned on much-anticipated “tent-pole” movies including “Jurassic World,” “Terminator: Genisys,” “Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation” and the “Despicable Me” spinoff “Minions”—all jumping off from existing fan favorites. Universal and Focus are owned by NBC Universal, a unit of Comcast Corp.; Sony, Columbia, Sony Screen Gems and Sony Pictures Classics are units of Sony Corp.; Paramount is owned by Viacom Inc.; Disney, Pixar and Marvel are owned by The Walt Disney Co.; Miramax is owned by Filmyard Holdings LLC; 20th Century Fox and Fox Searchlight are owned by 21st Century Fox; Warner Bros. and New Line are units of Time Warner Inc.; MGM is owned by a group of former creditors including Highland Capital, Anchorage Advisors and Carl Icahn; Lionsgate is owned by Lions Gate Entertainment Corp.; IFC is owned by AMC Networks Inc.; Rogue is owned by Relativity Media LLC. International audiences were even less willing than Americans to take a risk on an a movie with an unfamiliar premise. “Tomorrowland” opened to a weak $26.7 million in 65 foreign markets.

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