Disney could lose up to $140 million on the Brad Bird-directed George Clooney dystopian fantasy dud Tomorrowland.
According to the Hollywood Reporter, in addition to spending $180 million to produce Tomorrowland, Disney shelled out an astonishing $150 million to market the film.
Despite leading the U.S. box office during its extended Memorial Day weekend opening, the climate change fantasy only brought in $41.7 million across 3,972 theaters, less than the $50 million projected over the slow holiday weekend.
The film also failed to catch on in China, the world’s second largest market, and debuted to just $13.8 million, earlier this month.
After its disastrous release, Disney’s distribution chief Dave Hollis told the industry news outlet Variety the film would benefit from being the only family release until Pixar’s Inside Out hits theaters June 19.
“It’s going to take more time for word-of-mouth to build,” he told the site.
Two weeks later, things haven’t improved.
After making only $170 million at the global box office (as of June 11) and receiving generally negative reviews, it appears word-of-mouth can’t save the film.
Sources tell THR it is now expected to lose between $120 million and $140 million, which would make Tomorrowland Disney’s biggest flop since Johnny Depp’s 2013 film The Lone Ranger, which lost somewhere between $160 million and $190 million.
Director Brad Bird (The Incredibles, Ratatouille, and Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol) had built a reputation for creating hits.
“When a guy like that comes to you with an original idea, and Clooney is part of the package, you’ll take the swing,” an anonymous Disney rival executive told THR.
As Breitbart’s John Nolte noted, “every director eventually stumbles.”
While insiders might hold Clooney in high regard, some of Tomorrowland’s critics have blamed both the A-list actor’s political positions and the film’s preachy liberal themes for sinking the ship.
“Clooney seems to have been cast as much for his liberal credentials as for his star power, and it’s a choice that can’t help but leave a somewhat smug aftertaste,” Variety film critic Justin Chang wrote in his review.
Chang finished: “Even when delivered with the best intentions, a lecture is a wretched substitute for wonder.”