Indiana Jones and the raiders of the lost box office

He may not be getting any younger and that bullwhip might not crack with the snap it once had. But Indiana Jones's enduring ability to strike box-office gold has eased some of the pain of a disastrous early summer for Hollywood's studios.

The fourth instalment in the series, Indiana Jones And The Kingdom Of The Crystal Skull, has chalked up the biggest opening receipts of the year, generating worldwide sales of more than $300m (£151m), making it one of the most lucrative launches in film history.

Despite mixed reviews that saw star Harrison Ford dubbed "the fogey in a fedora", distributor Paramount reported takings of more than $151m in the US alone – the second-best figures ever for a film released over the crucial Memorial Day bank holiday weekend.

The film, set during the Cold War, sees the well-travelled archaeologist journey to the depths of the Amazon after becoming embroiled in a Soviet plot to uncover the secret behind a collection of Mayan artefacts.

Despite a series of improbable plot twists and action scenes that stretch the credulity of audiences to its limit, America has taken Jones to its heart. Many members of the sell-out crowds across the country were wearing leather jackets and battered hats, in tribute to Harrison Ford's battle-scarred action hero.

The film's commercial success was also boosted by hype surrounding last Sunday's glitzy world premiere at Cannes, which saw Ford walking the red carpet with co-star Cate Blan-chett and director Stephen Spielberg's new "discovery" Shia LaBeouf, who plays Jones's son Mutt Williams.

That was enough to put it straight to the top of the charts in Europe with receipts of £12.5m in Britain and £7.1m in France. In the US, producers said audiences were boosted by nostalgic fans of the franchise, which began with Raiders Of The Lost Ark in 1981, bringing their children along.

"Business was driven by people in their 30s and 40s and that audience was excited to see the movie with their families," said Rob Moore of Paramount. Two- thirds of the North American audience was 25 or over.

The opening has come at a crucial time for Hollywood. Box-office takings are down almost 4 per cent on last year, while attendances have dropped by 6.7 per cent.

Studios are facing a summer of industrial discontent, on top of the 100-day writers' strike that crippled the awards season following a row over payments for clips and films screened online. More than 120,000 members of the Screen Actor's Guild are threatening to bring Hollywood to a standstill from 30 June in a similar row. The union would halt film and television production and may stop actors promoting their films.

Paramount and George Lucas, the creator of Indiana Jones, face political difficulties in one of the lucrative markets they still hope to crack. The Communist Party of St Petersburg in Russia has made waves in Hollywood after complaining that Crystal Skull's portrayal of Soviet villains is insulting and historically inaccurate.

"We are outraged with this film, which has nothing to do with reality," said a spokesman, calling the movie a "vile lampoon" and Ford and Blanchett "puppets of imperialism".

Arts and Entertainment

Film Leonardo DiCaprio hunts Tom Hardy

Arts and Entertainment
And now for something completely different: the ‘Sin City’ episode of ‘Casualty’
TV
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Turkey-Kurdish conflict: Obama's deal with Ankara is a betrayal of Syrian Kurds and may not even weaken Isis

    US betrayal of old ally brings limited reward

    Since the accord, the Turks have only waged war on Kurds while no US bomber has used Incirlik airbase, says Patrick Cockburn
    VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but doubts linger over security

    'A gift from Egypt to the rest of the world'

    VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but is it really needed?
    Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

    Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

    Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, applauds a man who clearly has more important things on his mind
    The male menopause and intimations of mortality

    Aches, pains and an inkling of mortality

    So the male menopause is real, they say, but what would the Victorians, 'old' at 30, think of that, asks DJ Taylor
    Man Booker Prize 2015: Anna Smaill - How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?

    'How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?'

    Man Booker Prize nominee Anna Smaill on the rise of Kiwi lit
    Bettany Hughes interview: The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems

    Bettany Hughes interview

    The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems
    Art of the state: Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China

    Art of the state

    Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China
    Mildreds and Vanilla Black have given vegetarian food a makeover in new cookbooks

    Vegetarian food gets a makeover

    Long-time vegetarian Holly Williams tries to recreate some of the inventive recipes in Mildreds and Vanilla Black's new cookbooks
    The haunting of Shirley Jackson: Was the gothic author's life really as bleak as her fiction?

    The haunting of Shirley Jackson

    Was the gothic author's life really as bleak as her fiction?
    Bill Granger recipes: Heading off on holiday? Try out our chef's seaside-inspired dishes...

    Bill Granger's seaside-inspired recipes

    These dishes are so easy to make, our chef is almost embarrassed to call them recipes
    Ashes 2015: Tourists are limp, leaderless and distinctly UnAustralian

    Tourists are limp, leaderless and distinctly UnAustralian

    A woefully out-of-form Michael Clarke embodies his team's fragile Ashes campaign, says Michael Calvin
    Blairites be warned, this could be the moment Labour turns into Syriza

    Andrew Grice: Inside Westminster

    Blairites be warned, this could be the moment Labour turns into Syriza
    HMS Victory: The mystery of Britain's worst naval disaster is finally solved - 271 years later

    The mystery of Britain's worst naval disaster is finally solved - 271 years later

    Exclusive: David Keys reveals the research that finally explains why HMS Victory went down with the loss of 1,100 lives
    Survivors of the Nagasaki atomic bomb attack: Japan must not abandon its post-war pacifism

    'I saw people so injured you couldn't tell if they were dead or alive'

    Nagasaki survivors on why Japan must not abandon its post-war pacifism
    Jon Stewart: The voice of Democrats who felt Obama had failed to deliver on his 'Yes We Can' slogan, and the voter he tried hardest to keep onside

    The voter Obama tried hardest to keep onside

    Outgoing The Daily Show host, Jon Stewart, became the voice of Democrats who felt the President had failed to deliver on his ‘Yes We Can’ slogan. Tim Walker charts the ups and downs of their 10-year relationship on screen