By Brent Lang
LOS ANGELES (Variety.com) - There weren't as many fireworks at the Memorial Day weekend box office this year as newcomer "Tomorrowland" disappointed with a $32.2 million debut.
The science-fiction adventure stars George Clooney and was directed by Brad Bird of "Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol" renown. The Disney release is expected to pull in a lackluster $40.7 million for the four-day period.
That's still good enough for a first place finish, with Universal's "Pitch Perfect 2" coming in a close second with an estimated $30.3 million three day haul and a projected $37.9 million for the four days. The a cappella comedy's domestic total stands at $125.4 million.
"Tomorrowland" had been expected to generate $40 million over the three day period and $50 million over the four day stretch. With a $180 million price tag, Disney faces an uphill climb to profitability. Not helping matters, overseas figures were an underwhelming $26.7 million.
"Tomorrowland" appears to have been dinted by middling reviews and an overly secretive marketing campaign that left too many plot details under wraps. The film's opening weekend crowd was 51% male, with adults making up 61% of ticket-buyers and families comprising 30% of customers.
The weekend's other new wide-release, "Poltergeist," pulled in $23 million from 3,240 locations for the three days and will make roughly $27.7 million for its first four days. The horror remake cost an economical $35 million to produce and was backed by Fox 2000 and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer.
Warner Bros.' "Mad Max: Fury Road" had a solid hold, adding $23.8 million in its second weekend and pushing its domestic total to $87.3 million. It will do approximately $30 million worth of business over the four-day weekend. Still, with a budget of $150 million plus production and marketing costs, the apocalyptic adventure has a lot of ground left to cover before it pushes into the black.
"Avengers: Age of Ultron" rounded out the top five, with the superhero sequel nabbing $20.9 million and driving its stateside haul to $404.1 million.
Among art house releases, Fox Searchlight's "Far From the Madding Crowd" expanded from 289 theaters to 865 locations, picking up $2.3 million in the process. The adaptation of Thomas Hardy's novel has earned $5.4 million.
The overall box office will likely be down sharply from last year's Memorial Day weekend, when "X-Men: Days of Future Past" opened to $90.8 million.