Harrison Ford in Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny

‘Indiana Jones’ may lose more money than ‘The Flash’ as ​​summer lags behind 2022

“Indiana Jones and the Dial of Fate” (Disney), with a reported production budget close to $300 million, opened to $130 million worldwide. That includes the studio’s generous estimate of $60 million for US/Canada (which includes a 10% drop on Sundays, but other distributors calculate a 20-25% drop for their own films).

This weekend marks the midpoint of the summer movie season, which began with the expectation that it could achieve a 20% increase over 2022. As of now, the season’s total gross is slightly lower than last year.

Add in marketing, including its premiere at the Cannes Film Festival, and the total investment for “Indiana” could amount to $450 million with no chance of profit. It could lose as much as “The Flash” (Warner Bros. Discovery), which cost more than $200 million and will see a worldwide gross of around $250 million.

Unless there is a massive turnaround for ‘Indiana’ (unlikely given its initial trajectory and with ‘Mission: Impossible’ due out July 12), it will fetch between $300 million and $350 million worldwide . With just over half given back to Disney for movie rentals, that’s less than $200 million compared to its whopping cost.

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Other summer releases have fallen short, but the total meltdown of ‘Indiana’ comes as a shock. The fifth film in the classic series that began in 1981 with “Raiders of the Lost Ark” has an extraordinary track record: the first four episodes were all excellent performers, ranking first to third in their respective years.

True, 2008’s “Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull” wasn’t a favorite among critics or fans, but even so it grossed $786 million worldwide (over $1 billion current dollars). Star Harrison Ford is now 80 (when he filmed the first ‘Indiana’, he was 38), but his energy and star power remain as a TV star with the Paramount + headline ‘1923’ and ‘Shrinking’ of Apple TV. Another blow to the “Raiders” franchise may have been one more reason Disney acquired Lucasfilm for $4 billion in 2012.

The length of the “Indiana Jones” franchise is unusual, but it’s not unique; witness another Steven Spielberg property with ‘Jurassic Park’ movies. However, there are some key differences. “Jurrasic Park” has produced six films in 30 years while “Indiana Jones” has seen five films in 40 years. (Then again, “Top Gun: Maverick” waited 40 years for its first sequel, with no ill effects.) “Jurassic Park” also altered its casting, swapping Sam Neill for Chris Pratt. Sure Ford AND Indiana Jones and his age proved to be an advertising hub.

“Indiana Jones” also addressed the Cannes faux pas: Not only did the film falter with critics, it also kicked off the global PR response more than a month before its release. Here too, it failed to follow in the footsteps of ‘Top Gun: Maverick’.

“Indiana” outperformed with older audiences, but not in sufficient numbers. A mediocre B+ Cinemascore (“Maverick” was A+, “The Flash” B) suggests weak word of mouth.

Interestingly, Disney has four movies in the Top 10 this week, five if you include #11, “The Boogeyman.” The studio deserves credit for making a huge commitment to the theatre. Together, these five titles (which also include “Elemental,” “The Little Mermaid,” and “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3”) likely significantly exceed $1.5 billion in production and marketing costs.

Disney had the confidence to do so because when these decisions were being made, brands were the mantra. Now, he has to find new brands or figure out how to create original titles.

For now, theaters go up and down on Disney more than on any other studio. Its lineup was one reason for the bullish summer forecast, and its performance — ‘Guardians’ decent but slightly below standard for early summer Marvel, ‘Mermaid’ good domestically if faltering overseas,’ Elemental” another big loss – contributed significantly to the shortage of the season. (Still arriving this month is “The Haunted Mansion” on July 28. Compared to “Indiana” it’s a steal with a reported production budget of $158 million.)

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“Ruby Gillman, Teenage Kraken”

Universal DreamWorks Animation’s title “Ruby Gillman, Teenage Kraken” also dropped this weekend, barely causing a ripple with a gross of $5.2 million against a reported cost of $70 million.

It’s hard to imagine this summer’s findings not impacting Disney and other studios. WBD has to contend with ‘The Flash’ and Universal has seen a real letdown in ‘Fast X’, another very expensive franchise that could be losing money. All of this came before the ongoing WGA strike and potential SAG strike, which could further slow down the pipeline.

According to Sunday’s estimates, the summer gross was approximately $1.83 billion. Last year through July 3, it was $1.846 billion. This weekend is expected to be one of the best of the summer, but it’s down 34% from last year’s $190 million. YTD, the box office is still 18% ahead of 2022.

There is hope for improvement with three major titles (plus ‘Mission’, ‘Oppenheimer’ and ‘Barbie’ the week after). Self-proclaimed theatrical saviors Christopher Nolan and Tom Cruise are still needed (with the hope that Greta Gerwig might join them).

More of a problem is, for all its disappointment, “Indiana” accounted for nearly half of the weekend’s gross. “Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse” held up well at $11.5 million for second place, but it and “Elemental” ($11.3 million) were the only other films to gross more than $10 millions. “Spider-Verse” is expected to end with a $400 million domestic, possibly the best of the summer.

Like “Spider-Verse,” “Elemental” dropped slightly to 39 percent. The Pixar movie costs $89 million and will likely finish before ‘The Flash’. It’s No. 8 this weekend, down 67% and has yet to gross $100 million.

In fifth place is “No Hard Feelings” (Sony), which fell 50% in its second week. It’s another disappointment. Wes Anderson’s “Asteroid City” dropped to ninth place, a drop of 58%, but grossed a whopping $18.1 million. With foreign countries, it is close to 30 million dollars.

The per-theater average for “Asteroid,” now in 1,901 theaters, was $1,999. That compares to $1,708 for “Past Lives” (A24), which tripled its theater count to 906. The latter film still has a chance of $10 million, a decent result for a low-budget independent film of a rookie director and no stars.

2067588UP_EveryBody_Final_031323_R5_CLIP_07 Intersex activists Sean Saifa Wall, River Gallo and Alicia Roth Weigel of EVERY BODY, a Focus Features publication.  Credit: Courtesy of FOCUS FEATURES / © 2023 FOCUS FEATURES LLC
“Everyone” Courtesy of FOCUS FEATURES

The Film Forum in New York had a weekend that would have been great pre-Covid. Two outstanding showings came from Jean-Luc Godard’s reissue of “Contempt” (Rialto) with $15,000 and the Cinema Guild documentary “Umberto Eco: Library of the World” with $9,152. “Every Body” (Focus), a documentary about intersex, managed just $145,000 in 255 theaters.

Top 10

1. Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny (Sony) NEW – Cinemascore: B+; Metacritic: 57; Est. budget: $295 million

$60,000,000 in 4,600 theaters; PTA (average per theater): $13,043; Cumulative: $60,000,000

2. Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse (Sony) Week 5; Last weekend #1

$11,500,000 (-39%) in 3,405 (-380) theaters; PTA: $3,377; Cumulative: $339,872,000

3. Elemental (Disney) Week 3; Last weekend #2

$11,300,000 (-39%) in 3,650 (-385) theaters; PTA: $3,096; Cumulative: $88,779,000

4. No hard feelings (Sony) Week 2; Last weekend #4

$7,500,000 (-50%) in 3,208 theaters (no change); PTA: $2,338; Cumulative: $29,311,000

5. Transformers: Rise of the Beasts (Paramount) Week 4; Last weekend #5

$7,000,000 (-40%) in 2,852 (-671) theaters; PTA: $2,454; Cumulative: $136,110,000

6. Ruby Gillman, Teenage Kraken (Universal) NEW – Cinemascore: A; Metacritic: 49; Est. budget: 70 million dollars

$5,200,000 in 3,400 theaters; PTA: $1,529; Cumulative: $5,200,000

7. The Little Mermaid (Disney) Week 6; Last weekend #7

$5,150,000 (-40%) in 2,430 (-845) theaters; PTA: $2,119; Cumulative: $280,958,000

8. Lightning (WBD) Week 3; Last weekend #3

$5,000,000 (-67%) in 2,718 (-1,538) theaters; PTA: $1,840; Cumulative: $99,251,000

9. Asteroid City (Focus) Week 3; Last weekend #6

$3,800,000 (-58%) in 1,901 (+226) theaters; PTA: $1,999; Cumulative: $18,145,000

10. Guardians of the Galaxy (Disney) Week 9; Last weekend #

$1,800,000 (-%) in 1,165 (-845) theaters; PTA: $1,545; Cumulative: $354,876,000

Other specialized titles

Movies (limited, expansions of limited releases, as well as award-oriented) are listed by week out, starting with those open this week; after the first two weeks, only films with grossing over $5,000 are listed.

Everyone (Focus) NEW – Metacritic: 80; Festivals include: Tribeca 2023

$145,000 in theaters; PTA: $569

Umberto Eco: a library of the world (Cinema Guild) NEW – Festivals include: Rome 2022

$9,152 in 1 theater; PTA: $9,152

Contempt (Rialto) RE-EDITION

$15,000 in 1 theater; PTA: $15,000

The Last Knight (Roadside) Week 2 105

$11,275 in 31 (-74) theaters; PTA: $364; Cumulative: $114,647

See Paris again (Music box) Week 2

$6,364 in 3 (+1) theaters; PTA: $2,121; Cumulative: $20,444

Past lives (A24) Week 5

$1,548,000 in 906 (+610) halls; PTA: $1,708; Cumulative: $5,859,000

You hurt my feelings (A24) Week 6; also on PVOD 151

$45,280 in 68 (-83) theaters; Cumulative: $4,715,000

It’s not over (Sony Pictures Classics) Week 7; also on PVOD

$12,277 in 30 (-34) theaters; Cumulative: $664,749