Disney’s much-hyped Tomorrowland surprised insiders by failing to make an impact on the US box office. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Disney can expect to lose as much as $140 million owing to its poor performance.
Costing a whopping $190 million (plus a further $150 million to market) to produce, the current global tally stands at $170 million with a few territories left to release in. Director Brad Bird is a well-respected filmmaker, having stolen our hearts with The Iron Giant he earned Disney buckets of cash with the Incredibles. Brad Bird then transitioned into live-action movies and delivered the biggest Mission Impossible so far with Ghost Protocol.
Box office analysts have cited the possible cause as Tomorrowland’s confused marketing campaign, the trailers just couldn’t decide who the movie was being aimed at. Even the presence of George Clooney couldn’t convince the masses of its event movie pedigree. Regardless of what the majority of critics have said, Tomorrowland is a relentlessly fun movie that has everything including the kitchen sink. Not all of its ambitious ideas fully work, but that doesn’t get in the way of the overall enjoyment.
No studio wants to lose money on a big project like Tomorrowland, but then no other studio owns Marvel and Star Wars so ultimately Disney won’t break a sweat over taking a $100 million-plus hit. The knock-on effect could see a drastic change in attitudes on original tentpole projects, Disney might not be so keen to spend this much on fresh ideas going forward.
Disney doesn't often miss the mark at the box office, but when they do they do it in epic fail fashion. Back in 2012 John Carter bombed its way to a $200 million loss, then the following year The Longer Ranger lost close to the same amount.