‘Tomorrowland’ Fail Could Cost Disney $140 Million

Tomorrowland could wind up being a $140 million loser for Disney studios, its worst flop since it had to pony up $190 million in losses for western epic The Lone Ranger in 2013. Disney found itself also drowning in red ink from 2012’s John Carter, the Mars opus based on Edgar Rice Burroughs’ famous novels.

Starring George Clooney, Hugh Laurie, Britt Robertson, and Raffey Cassidy and directed by Brad Bird, the big-budget scifi/fantasy film, which has its origins in a Disney theme park ride, experienced a dismal box office opening and mixed reviews over Memorial Day weekend 2015. Tomorrowland, which was supposed to be a so-called summer tentpole success for Disney, took in about $43 million over the holiday, which was far short of projections. Total earnings to date hover around $76 million in the U.S. and about $94 million overseas.

On Rotten Tomatoes, the Disney feature currently has a 50 percent approval rating from critics and a slightly better 57 percent from the audience as of this writing.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, there is little chance that as of today, Tomorrowland audience receipts could cover its $180 million in production costs plus a $150 million advertising campaign.

“Sources say the film will lose $120 million to $140 million by the time it finishes its global rollout, becoming Disney’s first major financial misfire since The Lone Ranger prompted a $190 mil­lion write-down two summers ago…It might not gross much more than $200 million, far from enough to cover Disney’s costs… China, ravenous for American event movies, has been a particularly harsh blow. Tomorrowland bowed to $13.8 million there in early June, getting trounced by the $38.3 million opening of the Japanese animated title Stand by Me Doraemon.”

The apparent Tomorrowland flop explains why risk-averse studio execs prefer sequels and prequels, according to at least one Hollywood analyst.

Despite the fact that Tomorrowland appears to be a bomb, no one will have to hold a bake sale for Disney, however, given that it is cashing in bigtime on Avengers: Age of Ultron and similarly expects to rake in major dollars for Inside Out, Ant-Man, and Star Wars.

“…Tomorrowland could essentially go down in the history books as an exorbitantly costly boondoggle… From a prognosticator’s perspective, the commercial failure of Tomorrowland is still rather shocking,” Cinema Blend explained, given the combination of Clooney and Bird. “However, despite having all the right ingredients, the general consensus is that Tomorrowland rendered itself confusing not only in its narrative pacing but in its own brand identification, something that left potential moviegoers rather unimpressed.”

If you haven’t seen it yet, do you have any plans to head to the theater to see Tomorrowland in the coming weeks?

[Photo by Atsushi Tomur/Getty Images Entertainment]