Friday Analysis: Indy Edition
Indiana Jones 4 poster
By Philip Friedman     Published 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.
After an almost twenty year hiatus, Indiana Jones returned to the top spot this Friday with an estimated $30.9 million.  Including midnight showings and Thursday box office, Indy's box office is up to $56 million.  That's…well, a disappointing start, but I was overwhelmed by the hype.  I probably should have read my own words from three weeks ago concerning high expectations.  Don't let very optimistic predictions diminish the feat of a successful movie open (in that case though, Iron Man met high expectations).  However, it seemed like Crystal Skull had everything going for it and I was expecting a Thursday open of at least high-30s up to mid 40s.  Seeing $25 million with $4.5 million in midnights was depressingly weak.

The good news is that unlike many other big Thursday releases, Indiana saw a healthy increase of 23%.  Revenge of the Sith was down 33%, Matrix Reloaded was down 16% (this excludes $5 million in Wednesday night previews), and Attack of the Clones was down 19%.  This supports the theory that Indiana Jones' audience is older (along with young kids) and much less likely to rush out to see a movie during a weekday, let alone at midnight.  This second day increase puts Indy back into the running for one of the largest 5-day opens and Memorial Day is going to help out a lot.  If Indy can manage another 23% increase on Saturday ($38.3 million), drop just 10% on Sunday ($34.5 million), and another 20% drop on Monday ($27.6 million), it will gross around $104 million for the 3-day -- taking top honors for the largest 2008 weekend open -- and over $155 million for the 5-day. Nothing depressing about those numbers.  That wouldn't be much lower than the high end predictions, but that relies on strong holds through the rest of the holiday weekend. 

Comparisons for Saturday
Indiana Jones: I assumed +23%
[Big summer movies that opened on Thursday]
Revenge of the Sith: +22% (May 21, 2005)
The Matrix Reloaded: +10% (May 17, 2003)
Attack of the Clones: +28% (May, 18, 2002)
[Memorial Day Weekend Releases]
Pirates of the Caribbean: 3 -12% (May 26, 2007)
X-Men: The Last Stand: -29% (May 27, 2006)
Revenge of the Sith: +34% (May 28, 2005) second weekend
Shrek 2: +35% (May 29, 2004) second weekend

Comparisons for Sunday
Indiana Jones: I assumed -10%
Revenge of the Sith -16%
The Matrix Reloaded -24%
Attack of the Clones -22%
Memorial Day Weekend:
Pirates of the Caribbean 3 -9%
X-Men: The Last Stand -20%
Revenge of the Sith -10% (second weekend)
Shrek 2 -9% (second weekend)

Comparisons for Monday (Memorial Day Weekend releases only)
Indiana Jones: I assume -20%
Pirates of the Caribbean 3 -27% (May 26, 2007)
X-Men: The Last Stand -22% (May 27, 2006)
Revenge of the Sith -20% (May 28, 2005) second weekend
Shrek 2 -6% (May 29, 2004) second weekend

Yes, it's always nice to see a huge one-day open, but Memorial Day weekend will really aid Indy's box office.  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.

In second place, Prince Caspian took a nose dive dropping 66% to $6.6 million. If there was any chance the second Narnia could even come close to the performance of the first movie, those hopes are dead. Memorial day will be kind to all movies, but it won't be enough to propel Prince Caspian to $200 million. The movie should be on the threshold of $100 million by Monday night, and a total run gross around $150 million.

Iron Man continues to impress in third place with an estimated $5.4 million. I've really underestimated the longevity of this movie all month. It'll likely soar past $250 million by the end of the weekend.

Uwe Boll's movie Postal was apparently released in 13 theaters. We have a crack staff of reporters trying to verify that now. I'd really like to understand how his movies are financed. His erratic behavior such as fighting critics, spending tens of millions of dollars on horrible movies, and offering box office analysis through spam emails seems like an act. It wouldn't be that shocking to find out that Uwe Boll is really yet another Sacha Baron Cohen character.
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'Indiana Jones 4' Articles
  • 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 we’ve 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
  • 'Indiana Jones 4' Weekend Outlook
    May 21, 2008    Indy fans don’t seem as rabid as Star Wars fans, but a final gross north of $400 million isn’t out of the question. If Indiana Jones does do $170 - 200 million over the 5-days, a $350 million total should be easy. -- Lee Tistaert
  • 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