Why Has Tomorrowland Not Done Well?
By Andy Herndon
This weekend the box office numbers for Tomorrowland are in and and needless to say they were a disappointment for Disney. It’s hard to say that the movie bombed. The Brad Bird film pulled in 32 million this weekend, but it only narrowly beat out last weeks number one movie Pitch Perfect 2. Critically, the movie has left something to be desired as well. Though I enjoyed the movie (see my review), Tomorrowland is currently sitting at 50% on Rotten Tomatoes.
Now I know it’s hard to feel bad for big Hollywood studios. Especially when we are talking in terms of millions of dollars. Plus, with international totals, DVD/Blu Ray and digital download sales, this movie and it’s cast will do fine. But the movie has been a disappointment for Disney.
So why didn’t this move kill it at the box office?
The bottom line… Marketing!
Though myself and many of you are avid Disney fans, let’s face it, the rest of the world is somewhat passive Disney fans. I was watching AMC Movie News yesterday, as they talked about the Tomorrowland box office numbers, one of the panel members actually thought Tomorrowland was a ride at Disneyland and not a land. This dude lives in LA! The Disney snob in me was horrified yet this is understandable. People are into different things and not everyone knows Disneyland inside and out and understands the nuances that the word Tomorrowland carries. It’s like my friends who are really into hockey. I know nothing about hockey and as I watch it with them they are in disbelief when I ask them what quarter is currently being played. (Hockey is played in three periods, at least I think it is.)
Disney did not market this film well. Many people believed this was an adult themed film, when in reality this PG rated Sci-Fi adventure was really more a family movie. This is why I believe the critics have been tearing it up. They went into this movie looking for a profound deep narrative and plot but came out feeling preached at and confused. Who can blame them?
Disney assumed that the general public knew what Tomorrowland was and what it meant. When you talk to the average movie goer on the street they’ll tell you it’s probably just an attempt to capitalize on Disneyland’s vast attractions much like the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise. Yet it is important to remember that Walt Disney thought of Disneyland as a story telling park. A place with a narrative. The movie Tomorrowland, I believe does a superb job of telling the story and inspiration behind Tomorrowland the place. The marketers of this film did not communicate that to the general public.
About the Author
Andy Herndon is the Co-Founder and current host of The D-Cast and theDcast.com, a weekly podcast & blog talking all things movies in the Disney universe, including Star Wars (LucasFilm), Marvel & Pixar and even some Disneyland stuff just for fun. Andy is Southern Californian turned Las Vegan turned Oregonian. He lives in Southern Oregon with his bride and 3 kids who are all growing up to be movie buffs and Disney fanatics. Andy is fan of culture, cinema, creativity & coffee! Contact Andy on the various social media outlets @andyherndon. He would love to connect!