"Tron: Legacy" may fall short at box office

LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) - Disney’s costly sci-fi movie “Tron: Legacy” could open significantly below expectations, if preliminary surveys conducted by Hollywood tracking firms are anything to go by.

The 3D film has been marketed heavily for months en route to its December 17 release. But at this point, tracking suggests “Tron: Legacy” could earn as little as $35 million during its first three days.

An opening well north of $50 million would seem necessary to put the $200 million picture on a path to profitability.

An executive at a rival studio said it would be wrong to sell “Tron: Legacy” short just yet. Tracking surveys are not always on the money, as Disney happily found out this past weekend. Its new cartoon “Tangled” earned $69 million during its first five days, up from forecasts of a $40 million start.

Elsewhere among the holiday-season releases, Sony’s December 10 opener “The Tourist,” starring Angelina Jolie and Johnny Depp, is also showing soft prerelease interest. A debut of just $20 million or so is possible, based on light must-see sentiment expressed so far by respondents to tracking surveys. The following weekend, Warner Bros.’ animated “Yogi Bear” is showing signs of an opening haul well north of $20 million.