'Indiana Jones 4' Weekend Outlook
Indiana Jones 4 poster
By Lee Tistaert     Published May 21, 2008
Indy fans donít seem as rabid as Star Wars fans, but a final gross north of $400 million isnít out of the question. If Indiana Jones does do $170 - 200 million over the 5-days, a $350 million total should be easy.
Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull was shrouded in secrecy, and the ad campaign was put off for a surprisingly long time, which made some Indy fans a little concerned. In February, there was an article in Vanity Fair in which Lucas even admitted that the critics werenít going to like the movie. At this moment, the film stands at a rather strong 78% rating at Rotten Tomatoes. And the film also enjoyed a good run at the Cannes Film Festival in the last week. And even if the movie ends up disappointing some people for whatever reasons, the buzz and word of mouth on The Phantom Menace was ultimately mixed and the movie still had great box office longevity.

I think the Indiana Jones series is comparable to the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise by the time Dead Manís Chest ($135.6 million 3-day) came out. I donít see Indiana Jones matching that 3-day weekend figure, but Indy 4 should still get well over $100 million between Friday and Sunday (it opens on Thursday and has midnights on Wednesday night), and it could reach upwards of $170 - 200 million by Memorial Day Monday night.

The first Pirates reached a fan base that included every age group and grossed $305.4 million domestically, and its play life on DVD was incredible. Indiana Jones could very well have appeal as wide if not wider because its appeal stretches across generational gaps. Kids can see Indy 4 just like teens and adults and seniors can (and adults who were in their 40ís and 50ís when they saw The Last Crusade are now seniors). Indiana Jones is accessible to everyone. Pirates of the Caribbean 2 grossed $423.4 million domestically, only $10 million short of The Phantom Menace, which grossed $431.1 million. Indy fans donít seem as rabid as Star Wars fans, but a final gross north of $400 million isnít out of the question. If Indiana Jones does do $170 - 200 million over the 5-days, a $350 million total should be easy.

When the new trailer for Indiana Jones premiered in front of Iron Man, crowds went nuts, which was a great sign considering the previous lack of ads. It confirms that you canít underestimate the power of the series Ė the nostalgia runs deep for a lot of people. At first the crowd reactions reminded me of Matrix Reloaded (which grossed $281.5 million domestically) trailer reactions, but Indiana Jones is much friendlier to all age groups in comparison (The Matrix was rated R and Indiana Jones is PG-13), which will broaden its box office potential. $375 - 425 million should be a reasonable sum. The Indiana Jones series is coming back 19 years after the legendary last installment debuted, just like The Phantom Menace came out 16 years after Return of the Jedi.

The three daily comparisons for the 4-day weekend that seem most suitable are Revenge of the Sith, Attack of the Clones, and The Matrix Reloaded. With at least 4,000 theaters on the way for Indy, Sith's 4-day figure translated would be $175.3 million, and $120 million from Friday to Sunday. I'm one step short of that in my forecast with a $110 million 3-day and $135 over 4-days. It could end up being Pirates of the Caribbean 2's 3-day figure in a 4-day time span.

Revenge of the Sith (3,661 theaters)
Wednesday Midnights: $16.9 mil. (2,900 theaters: $5,828 per-screen)
- Wednesday Midnights included in Thurs gross
Thursday: $50.0 mil. ($13,661 per-screen)
Friday: $33.5 mil. ($9,159)
Saturday: $40.7 ($11,115)
Sunday: $34.2 ($9,345)
4-Day: $158.4 ($43,280)

The Matrix Reloaded (3,603 theaters)
Wednesday Midnights: $4.5 mil.
- Wednesday Midnights included in Thurs gross
Thursday: $42.5 ($11,798 per-screen)
Friday: $31.3 ($8,696)
Saturday: $34.4 ($9,545)
Sunday: $26.1 ($7,231)
4-Day: $134.3 ($37,270)

Attack of the Clones (3,161 theaters)
Wednesday Midnights: $6.2
- Wednesday Midnights included in Thurs gross)
Thursday: $30.1 ($9,535 per-screen)
Friday: $24.4 ($7,721)
Saturday: $31.3 ($9,887)
Sunday: $24.4 ($7,709)
4-Day: $110.2 ($34,852)
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'Indiana Jones 4' Articles
  • Friday Analysis: Indy Edition
    May 24, 2008    It won't match Revenge of the Sith or Spider-Man 3 single-day or weekend records, but it will manage a great 5-day total with $300 million and beyond still in its grasp. -- Philip Friedman
  • Scott's Indiana Jones 4 review B
    May 23, 2008    It really fills up the screen. People seem to be dissing it for being out of step with the traditional Indy mythos, but I disagree. It fits in nicely, playing different notes on the same well-worn grand piano. -- Scott Sycamore
  • Craig's Indiana Jones 4 review C+
    May 23, 2008    Spielberg tries to turn it all into the summer blockbuster weíve been waiting for but it mostly just feels unbelievable and ridiculously comical because the characters seem to shrug off these near-death experiences. -- Craig Younkin
  • Summer Preview: May Openings
    May 1, 2008    Here's my initial take on the major US release slated for May 2008. As the summer progresses, I'll add and refine my analysis. -- Philip Friedman