“Tomorrowland” director Brad Bird is frustrated that his original idea for the film didn’t take off as he had anticipated, stating that Hollywood seems to be more focused on producing sequels than original films.
“I’m not against sequels,” the director said in an interview with Entertainment Weekly. “Many of my favorite movies are sequels. But I do worry when it’s taking up more than 50 percent of the big-budget bandwidth … Every studio should, like an allowance, allow themselves a certain number of franchise things, and then as an investment in the future, try these risky things that are unproven.”
The director has talked a lot about wanting to create original films, especially this year when franchises have been especially prominent. “The Hunger Games” and “James Bond” series of films are just two examples returning to great anticipation this fall, but Bird is frustrated that his original concept, “Tomorrowland,” didn’t get the same reaction.
“Of course it was frustrating. It was like accidentally giving a weapons cache to ISIS,” he joked. “For whatever reason, it didn’t hit the way we wanted it to hit. I didn’t want the studio to be rapped on the nose for doing something original, and then given extra big treats and an air-conditioned suite for repeating old ideas. That seemed to be kind of what happened this summer.”
“I hope Christopher Nolan comes up with another Inception, an original idea that rewards the risk-takers,” the director added.
Bird also compared movies to TV shows, saying that “movies are becoming more like television, and television is becoming more like movies.”
“In a lot of cinemas, they don’t even bother putting up the number anymore,” he said. “When ‘Harry Potter’ was coming out, they’d just put ‘Harry Potter’ on the cinema every two years … It’s like it’s this week’s episode of a long-running TV show.”
According to Bird, some of the audience was disappointed with “Tomorrowland” because they thought the entirety of the film would take place in Tomorrowland — however, the film was more about the journey to Tomorrowland.
Starring George Clooney, Kathryn Hahn, Judy Greer and Hugh Laurie, the film had a production budget of $190 million, but only made $93.3 million domestically, and $208.6 million worldwide. BoxOffice.com had predicted the film to make somewhere near a $143 million domestic cumulative.
But although “Tomorrowland” didn’t do as well as expected, Bird is still grateful to Disney for giving him the opportunity to make it, although it was considered a risky move for the studio.
“We got to tell a story. I’m grateful to the studio for supporting us. We’ll see where it goes from here,” he said. “I would hope that our film will pay back and reward Disney’s investment in the long run, and they will continue to make original films as well as the franchises that are a little more pre-sold.”