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

25 May 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

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

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Disney’s fantasy adventure “Tomorrowland” topped the slow Memorial Day weekend box office with an estimated $41.7 million debut from its first four days in theaters. Disney’s sci fi-adventure film Tomorrowland opened to an estimated three-day total of $32.2 million, and estimates have it on track to bring in about $41 million through tomorrow. The Brad Bird-directed family film starring George Clooney cost a reported $180 million to produce and was expected to earn somewhere in the $50 million range over the holiday weekend, which is down significantly from last year, according to Rentrak estimates Monday. “Tomorrowland” just narrowly beat out last weekend’s champion, Universal’s “Pitch Perfect 2,” which brought in an estimated $38.5 million over the four-day weekend. That’s 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 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. 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.

Like “The Lone Ranger” and “John Carter,” more-expensive attempts by Disney to jumpstart franchises, “Tomorrowland” struggled to draw audiences. 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.” The executive said he hoped “Tomorrowland” will perform better with families in the coming weeks, as there isn’t a new PG-rated movie until Disney’s own “Inside Out,” from Pixar Animation Studios, on June 19. 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.

Hollis, pointing to the film’s high-stakes opening in China on Tuesday. “Tomorrowland” barely beat “Pitch Perfect 2,” which grossed $37.9 million over four days. The hit a capella sequel from Comcast Corp.’s Universal Pictures has now collected a strong $125.4 million domestically and $187.1 million worldwide. Also new in theaters this weekend was a remake of the 1982 horror classic “Poltergeist,” which was released by 21st Century Fox Inc.’s Twentieth Century Fox and co-financed by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Inc.

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