Indiana Jones And The Big Exceptions From An Older Hero

Indiana Jones
Indiana Jones

Today I'm reporting from the Arclight Hollywood, which even at 6:30 am this morning was bustling with Indiana Jones fans (or should I say fanatics).

"Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull," from Viacom'sParamount Pictures, opened this morning at 12:01 am, selling out the first showings. This weekend it'll be in 4,206 theaters in North America and 61 territories overseas (pretty much everywhere but Japan).

Even the 7 am Thursday show here at the Cinerama Dome was filled with more than 600 people. Needless to say, the movie is expected to be enormous. Its 5-day Memorial day weekend take has been projected at anywhere from $140 million to 175 million, and it could beat records set by "Spiderman's" opening weekend or the most recent "Pirates of the Caribbean's" Memorial Day take.

Simply put, Indy is expected to appeal to pretty much everyone except little kids. It's what they call a "four quadrant" movie here in Hollywood, the elusive film that will attract young and old, male and female.

Teenagers (the film's rated PG 13) will want to see Shia LeBoeuf the star of last summer's "Transformers" blockbuster, as Indy's young sidekick. And older audiences will have fond memories of Harrison Ford in the last Indy film, which was 19 years ago. Based on buzz, it seems like Indy should attract his old fans while building a new younger base.

Now to the number crunching: The first three Indiana Jones films grossed over $1.2 billion (according to Box Office Mojo, not adjusted for inflation). According to Portfolio Magazine,which has a look at Indy's numbers this latest "Indiana Jones" would have to bring in 527 million dollars worldwide to beat "Raiders of the Lost Ark's" adjusted for inflation box office take.

I was surprised to see that Raiders opened on just 1,000 screens and brought in just $8.3 million its first weekend at the box office. Quite a testament to the film's positive word of mouth that it expanded so dramatically.

For sure, this movie could be huge for Paramount Pictures. Earlier this week I interviewed Vicaom CEO Philippe Dauman who said they were very excited about the reception of the film so far. The media giant's filmed entertainment division showed a 28 percent increase in revenue last year over the previous year, boosted in part by "Transformers." This year the studio is looking good: so far it has number two marketshare after 20th Century Fox, and "Iron Man," which it's distributing from Marvel , is holding up well at the box office.

There is, as always, a potential downside to all this hype. When a movie's been called the most highly anticipated movie ever, people are always bound to be disappointed. Reviews have been pretty good, but maybe nothing can recreate the thrill of the movie in the 80s.

Still you've got to be curious to see 60 something Ford pull off the stunts!

Questions? Comments?