“Tomorrowland” Tops Slow Holiday Box Office

26 May 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

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

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. The Brad Bird-directed film starring George Clooney cost a reported $180 million to produce and was expected to earn in the $50 million range over the holiday weekend. ‘‘Tomorrowland’’ 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. ‘‘Mad Max: Fury Road’’ and ‘‘Avengers: Age of Ultron’’ took third and fourth place, while Fox’s ‘‘Poltergeist’’ remake debuted in fifth place, with $26.5 million.

In front of a sold-out crowd at Petco Park, the band began with ‘‘Jumpin’ Jack Flash’’ before show opener Gary Clark Jr. joined in on ‘‘Bitch.’’ The tour next goes to Ohio. (AP) 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 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. Also new in theaters this weekend was a remake of the 1982 horror classic “Poltergeist,” which was released by 21st Century Fox FOX -0.93 % ’s Twentieth Century Fox and co-financed by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Inc.

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