As I write, the weekend still has another couple of nights left in it, at least on the west coast, and the numbers are murkier than usual — complicated not only by the long holiday weekend and one-day early opening of “Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull” but also by recent ticket price increases in some theaters. (The culprit, as Nikki Finke and many others have discussed, appears to be — wait for it — the ethanol clusterfrak. Yes, it’s not just causing food riots, but forcing you to spend another buck for the privilege of enduring a poorly projected flick with talkative teens and sticky floors.) Nevertheless, it’s safe to say that the fourth adventure of swashbuckling Professor Indiana Jones is making enough to keep the money people whistling a happy little John Williams tune for some time.
In any case, Finke, Variety and the Hollywood Reporter‘s Carl DiOrio are reporting an estimated five-day take in the neighborhood of $151 million, with the current tally being somewhere around 126 million smackers. Box Office Mojo, however, reminds us however that, strictly speaking the weekend gross (minus Thursday) is so far a mere $101 million. Sticklers.
For those of you keeping track, this is not quite big enough for a true record breaker. Over a similar five-day weekend run the low expectations/high interest megasuccess of “Star Wars: Episode III — Revenge of the Sith” managed more than $20 million above the “Indiana Jones” estimate — at lower ticket prices (though back before the housing market began its free-fall). But, as I mentioned in the pre-weekend post, that film was perhaps more of a “must see” cultural event. In any event, the international numbers look pretty outstanding as well, with $143 million earned (and how does the week dollar play into this?). In any event, at this point it looks as Harrison has the option of going into his golden years as the world’s most macho archeologist, if he desires. Way to act like a baby boomer.
In other news….there is no others, really. The second place runner-up at the box was last weekend’s below-expectations winner, “The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian” grabbed on to the no. 2 spot and managed to make up some of its ground by being — yes — big in Japan…and Mexico and Russia and….. Meanwhile, “Iron Man” has turned out to be made of strong stuff indeed. It’s holding on nicely weeks into its run with about $20 million this week, adding to its cumulative take of over $252 million so far. Not bad for a second-tier superhero adaptation starring an acclaimed character actor nevertheless more famous for his personal problems than for his film roles, and directed by a guy, Jon Favreau, who in his acting days was once famously almost cast as a character named Fat Ass.
Meanwhile, those looking for a kid’s movie (which some folks actually like) where there won’t be too many noisey kids to be annoyed by are directed toward “Speed Racer,” which once again had its hindquarters handed to it by the advertising slogan/movie “What Happens in Vegas,” which made $9 million compared to the $120 million anime-adaptation’s very sad $4 million. On the other end of the budget telescope, the low-key, small-scale indie drama “The Visitor” continues to surprise by building steam and hanging out in the top 10 with increasing Oscar buzz for its sixty-something star, Richard Jenkins, and netting $4.4 million so far (perhaps already either matching or a multiple of its budget). The critically beloved, spunky-sexy-stylish (well, that’s what I’m hearing) first film from Norway’s Joachim Trier, “Reprise,” is also looking strong with an average of $6,648 on fourteen screens so far.
As for Uwe Boll’s “Postal” (discussed probably in way too much depth in my prior post)…well, it’s no success du scandal so far, it appears, not even making B.O.Mojo’s top twenty-five. And people thought “Snakes on a Plane” was a let down.
But there was somewhat encouraging news for John Cusack’s poorly reviewed (but not by us) “War, Inc.,” which did a very healthy $36,500 on two screens on either coast. (As it happened, I was actually at one of those theaters, West L.A.’s tony, intimate, Landmark multiplex, last night where it’s likely half the audience knew John personally, over the weekend. Since it was my own money, I saw this instead. Still, I didn’t hear anything horrible about Mr. Cusack’s film while I was there.)