'Tomorrowland' expected to top Memorial Day Weekend at box office

Memorial Day Weekend at the #boxoffice: 'Tomorrowland' expected to make $50 million over 4-day holiday

Disney's "Tomorrowland" is likely going to launch at No. 1 during a slower Memorial Day weekend at the box office.

The futuristic fantasy is expected to bring $50 million over the four-day holiday, according to people familiar with pre-release audience surveys.

Holdovers "Pitch Perfect 2" and "Mad Max: Fury Road" are expected to significantly drop in their second weekend in release. Tracking suggests they will add about $40 million and $30 million, respectively, over the four-day period.

"Poltergeist," a new offering from Twentieth Century Fox and MGM, could open with between $20 million to $30 million. But Marvel's "Avengers: Age of Ultron" could potentially surpass the horror film and nab the No. 4 spot. Tracking suggests the superhero sequel could add around $25 million to its robust domestic haul of about $378.5 million. 

Overall, the domestic box office is looking at a less robust haul over the holiday weekend than in previous years.

To date, "Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End" -- like "Tomorrowland," another Disney film inspired by the company's theme parks -- holds the Memorial Day weekend record. It opened in 2007 with $139.8 million in the U.S. and Canada. Last year, Bryan Singer's "X-Men: Days of Future Past" debuted with $110.6 million domestically, making it fifth-biggest opening for the holiday weekend.

"Tomorrowland," which cost $170 million to make, will likely appeal to family audiences looking for PG-rated counterprogramming.

Directed by Brad Bird, the film follows teenager Casey (up-and-coming young actress Britt Robertson) as she embarks on a journey with former boy-genius Frank (George Clooney) to unearth secrets of a place known as Tomorrowland.

Reviews for the film have been mixed, with critics giving it a lukewarm 56% positive rating on Rotten Tomatoes. It begins rolling out in theaters Thursday evening and will also open in 65 international markets this weekend.

With a fervent fan base, "Pitch Perfect 2" is likely going to come in second. Female filmgoers flexed their box-office might last weekend, helping the Universal Pictures film surpass expectations with a $69.2 million opening.

In the sequel, which cost $29 million to make, Anna Kendrick, Rebel Wilson and Brittany Snow reprise their roles as members of the college a cappella group the Barden Bellas. Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave it an A-minus rating.

Warner Bros.' "Mad Max: Fury Road," which pulled in a solid $45.4 million last weekend, will likely have strong legs at the box office due to positive reviews and strong word of mouth.

The latest George Miller franchise film earned an impressive 98% fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes and a B-plus from viewers polled by CinemaScore. The film stars Tom Hardy, in the title role made famous by Mel Gibson, and Charlize Theron as a new character named Furiosa.

Though "Poltergeist" has not been well-recieved by critics (it earned a 31% positive rating on Rotten Tomatoes), horror films usually fare well at the box office.

The film, which cost $35 million to make, is a reboot of the 1982 favorite. Directed by Gil Kenan, new movie stars Sam Rockwell and Rosemarie DeWitt. Fox has a more modest projection of $20 million to $22 million for the debut.

Lower weekend totals won't necessarily put a dent in the industry. As of Sunday, the box office was up an estimated 5.8% year-to-date, according to research firm Rentrak.

The summer slate includes anticipated blockbusters such as "Jurassic World," "Terminator: Genisys," "Ant-Man" and "Fantastic Four," as well as female-driven flicks such as "Spy," "Magic Mike XXL" and "Paper Towns." 

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