After a 15 year hiatus, Indiana Jones makes his triumphant return to the big screen. Can this new adventure retain the box office success of its predecessors?
It is finally here, the final adventure of Indiana Jones. After over 40 years playing one of the greatest screen heroes of all time, Harrison Ford is hanging up the whip after one last ride in Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny.
In development since just before Indy’s last adventure hit screens, Kingdom of the Crystal Skull in 2008, Harrison Ford, George Lucas, Steven Spielberg and Kathleen Kennedy all agreed that although they enjoyed that film, it didn’t feel like a true conclusion for the character, so they set their sights on creating one final adventure for the famed archeologist. By 2016, Disney, which had acquired the rights to the franchise and announced a new film was in active development. After a cavalcade of writers came and went, pushing the release date back further and further, Spielberg would eventually drop out of directing saying he wanted to hand the franchise off to a filmmaker with a fresh perspective. Enter Ford v Ferrari director James Mangold who took over in mid 2020.
So now, after years of anticipation, the film is finally here and it looks like not everyone is happy with the final result. Reactions out of Cannes, where the film premiered, were a bit lukewarm with the film receiving a paltry 5-minute standing ovation, quite embarrassing indeed! But the facts are the reviews haven’t been as stellar as you would have liked with critics saying that despite the thrill of seeing Harrison Ford don the fedora again, the film feels like a series of action pieces with little plot to connect them. Our own Chris Bumbray was very disappointed in the film, giving it just a 5/10 saying that had this been a regular summer movie it would have been fine, but because it is Indiana Jones it needed to be better.
The real concern for this film is its budget, this one cost a reported $295 million before marketing costs. A little aside, dear studios, I appreciate throwing money at a film, but seriously, reign it in! There is almost no way this movie will be able to hit profitability, especially when you consider it is currently tracking to open at just $65 million. That number sounds like a lot, but when you consider Kingdom of the Crystal Skull cleared $100 million in its debut, that number is quite soft. To take it even further, for the past two weeks we have been piling on The Flash for its horrendous opening, well, if the $65 million opening for Dial of Destiny sticks, that is only $10 million more than Flash opened with and Dial of Destiny carries a budget that is over $70 million more. Reviews aren’t a factor as The Flash sits at 64% fresh on Rotten Tomatoes while Dial of Destiny currently holds a 66%. Nostalgia may get butts in seats, but that didn’t seem to help Flash much with Michael Keaton once again donning the cape and cowl. The one thing that will help Indiana Jones here is that it has a bit of a padded opening, as the Independence Day holiday falls on Tuesday this year and will help the film pull in more money as people don’t feel rushed to go out to see the film as a lot of people have Monday and Tuesday off from work. Word of mouth will have to be strong for this one though, just look at this slate of films that Indiana Jones has to fight in the coming weeks: Mission: Impossible: Dead Reckoning Part 1, Oppenheimer and Barbie.
Studios seemed to have gotten out of the way of Indiana Jones as the only other wide new release of the week is the animated Ruby Gillman: Teenage Kraken which is looking to open in the high single digits, and again with a budget at around $70 million, I just don’t see this one as a profitable endeavor for Universal/ Dreamworks. Im sure the studio was doing a bit of a jig when Pixar’s Elemental came out and underperformed, but then word of mouth spread and the film actually started pulling in decent numbers and should continue this weekend with a probable second place finish, combine that with the massive success of Spider-Man: Across The Spider-Verse and you have a marketplace that didn’t really need a new animated film. Why the studio didn’t move this film to a different date is beyond me. When Puss in Boots; The Last Wish hit theaters in December, it had an over four month runway until the next animated film hit theaters. A February or March release for Ruby Gillman could have brought in the families who were looking for fresh content in between Puss in Boots and Super Mario Bros.
The remainder of the box office will be your holdovers with No Hard Feelings cracking the top five as word of mouth spreads that this R rated comedy is actually pretty funny! I saw it earlier this week and it felt like a throwback to old school R rated comedies that have genuine laugh out loud moments (someone should give Natalie Morales and Scott MacArthur their own movie or TV show, because for me, they had some of the funniest moments together in the movie) while also giving you that little tug at the heart strings. It was nice to see Jennifer Lawrence play to her natural comedic talent as well, a definite juxtaposition to her previous film Causeway which was extremely heavy as it dealt with post traumatic stress disorder.
Do you have plans to hit the theaters this July 4th weekend/ week? If so, let us know what you plan on seeing, and don’t forget to check back on Saturday when we have a brief update on where the box office numbers are heading.
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Originally published at https://www.joblo.com/box-office-predictions-indiana-jones-returns-to-the-big-screen/