What can we learn from Tomorrowland?

On paper, Tomorrowland (stupidly called Tomorrowland: A World Beyond in the UK,) looked life a safe bet. It featured George Clooney, one of the most bankable stars on the planet, it’s directed by Brad Bird who directed the amazing film The Incredibles  as well as The Iron Giant and Ratatouille, it was based on one of Disney’s longest running and most popular rides, so why has it bombed so hard?

First, lets look at the numbers. Tomorrowland cost 180 million dollars to make, cost another 150 million to make and is predicted to lose 140 million dollars. That is an incredible amount of money, the biggest flop for Disney since The Lone Ranger and yet, no-one really seems that bothered about this. Hell, Disney’s stock hasn’t budged. Why?

Well, for a start it isn’t the first big flop of this year, The Wachowskis Jupiter Ascending also bombed along with Seventh Son. And whilst I have no doubt that Tomorrowland will make back its money one day I cant see Jupiter Ascending pulling off the same feat. (Seventh Son could become a cult classic. Seriously, it’s that bad.)

Also, pretty much every other big film that came out this year is owned by the House of Mouse, Star Wars, The Avengers, Ant Man, Inside Out and Cinderella are just a few. So Disney can very easily swallow one flop.

However, there are rumors that studios are starting to look again at the huge budget blockbusters, especially with the success of films like Spy showing that there is a market for non- massive budgets films. Whilst I hope that this will encourage studios to make more medium budget films I won’t be holding my breath.

But another massive issue is WHEN this film was released. I’ve said before (and will say again) that visiting the cinema is a really expensive undertaking and during the summer, (especially a summer when there are so many recognizable names out there) that people just don’t want to take a chance on something that they had no prior connection with and that there wasn’t much online buzz about.

Which brings me neatly to my next point, buzz both online and real world. There wasn’t any. The trailers gave nothing away which is fine if your Christopher Nolan but Brad Bird isn’t Christopher Nolan. (He has a sense of humor for one thing.) I love that the trailer didn’t give away the ending, but they did give away the main action scene (set inside a house full of cool inventive defensive measures ad was pretty much the only thing I remembered.) The fact that the film received mediocre word of mouth and online reviews didn’t help.

In a way though, i’m sad that Tomorrowland flopped. It’s so rare to see a (semi) new idea get given this much money that I wish it had done better, there was a good idea here but in the end it did for itself with a middling plot, very little action and a moral that would have been more subtle if it had been attached to a sledgehammer. Sleeper hits can and do still happen i the product is good. And this product in the heat of summer when the box office can forget about you in a nanosecond this just wasn’t good enough.

What do you guys think?

Just in case you wondered what I thought about it, here’s my review.

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