Los Angeles — The future doesn't look so bright for Tomorrowland.
Disney's expensive fantasy adventure essentially had Memorial Day weekend to itself, and still only pulled in a modest $41.7m in its first four days in theatres according to Rentrak estimates on Monday.
It's a disappointing debut for a film that cost a reported $180m to produce. 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.
Going into the weekend, tracking put the film in the $40 to $50m range. And yet, he said, this is the gamble that studios must take when trying to introduce an original film to the marketplace.
Hollis noted that Tomorrowland will be one of the only PG-rated family films in theatres until Disney and Pixar's Inside Out opens on 19 June, which could be promising for its longevity — especially considering that many schools have yet to close.
"We are optimistic that originality and the vision that Brad Bird put on the screen is something that people will find and evangelise and hopefully get other folks to show up," said Hollis.
Rentrak's Senior Media Analyst Paul Dergarabedian said that the mystery behind Tomorrowland's plot might have hurt the film.
"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.
Last weekend's well-received holdovers Pitch Perfect 2 and Mad Max: Fury Road helped prop up the holiday weekend totals. Both films experienced modest drops and earned $38.5m and $32.1m respectively.
Avengers: Age of Ultron placed fourth with $27.8m.
Meanwhile, Fox's Poltergeist remake debuted in fifth place, with an estimated $26.5m.
Director Gil Kenan's update of Tobe Hooper's 1982 horror classic cost $35m to produce. The studio expected an opening in the low $20m 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.Audiences for the PG-13 rated film were 59% under the age of 25.
All hope is certainly not lost for a banner 2015 at the box office, with more surefire blockbusters like Jurassic World and Mission: Impossible-Rogue Nation yet to open.
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