“Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny” (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 the U.S./Canada.

This weekend marks the midway point of the summer movie season, which began with expectations that it might achieve a 20 percent uptick against 2022. As of now, the season’s total gross sits slightly below last year.

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

Unless there’s a massive turnaround for “Indiana” (unlikely, given its initial trajectory and with “Mission: Impossible” opening July 12), it will get to between $300 million and $350 million worldwide. With somewhat more than half returned to Disney in film rental, that’s under $200 million versus its huge cost.

Other summer releases have fallen short, but the total collapse of “Indiana” comes as something of a shock. The fifth film in the classic series that began in 1981 with “Raiders of the Lost Ark” has extraordinary precedents: The first four installments were all excellent performers, ranking as the first to third best of their respective years.

True, the 2008 “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 in current dollars). Star Harrison Ford is now 80 (when he shot the first “Indiana,” he was 38), but his energy and star power remains as a TV star with Paramount+ title “1923” and Apple TV’s “Shrinking.” Another shot at the franchise might have been one more reason that Disney acquired Lucasfilm for $4 billion in 2012.

The durability of the “Indiana Jones” franchise is unusual, but it’s not unique; witness another Steven Spielberg property with the “Jurassic Park” films. However, there are a few key differences. “Jurrasic Park” produced six films in 30 years while “Indiana Jones” saw five films in 40 years. (Then again, “Top Gun: Maverick” waited 40 years for its first sequel, to no ill effect.) “Jurassic Park” also adjusted its casting, swapping Sam Neill for Chris Pratt. Of course, Ford is Indiana Jones and his age proved to be a publicity centerpiece.

“Indiana Jones” also faced the Cannes misstep: Not only did the film falter with critics, but it also began the global PR response more than a month before its release. Here as well, it failed to follow in the footsteps of “Top Gun: Maverick.”

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

It is noteworthy that Disney has four films in the Top 10 this week — five if you include #11, “The Boogeyman.” The studio deserves credit for making a huge commitment to theatrical. Combined, these five titles (which also include “Elemental,” “The Little Mermaid,” and “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3”) likely come to significantly over $1.5 billion in production and marketing costs.

Disney had the confidence to do that because when these decisions were made, brands were the mantra. Now, it either needs to find new brands or figure out how to create original titles.

For now, theaters rise and fall on Disney more than with any other studio. Its lineup was one reason for the bullish summer predictions, and its performance — “Guardians” decent but slightly below the standard for early-summer Marvel, “Mermaid” good domestically though faltering overseas, “Elemental” another big loss — contributed significantly to the season’s shortfall. (Still to come this month is “The Haunted Mansion” July 28. Compared to “Indiana” it’s a bargain with a $158 million reported production budget.)

“Ruby Gillman, Teenage Kraken”

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

It’s hard to imagine this summer’s results not having repercussions at Disney and other studios. WBD must contend with “The Flash” and Universal saw a real disappointment in “Fast X” — another very expensive franchise that might lose money. All of this happened before the ongoing WGA strike and the potential SAG strike, which could slow the pipeline even more.

Through Sunday’s estimates, the summer take has been around $1.83 billion. Last year through July 3, it was $1.846 billion. This weekend should be one of the summer’s best of the summer, but it’s down 34 percent from last year’s $190 million. Year to date, the box office is still 18 percent ahead of 2022.

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

More of a problem is, for all of its disappointment, “Indiana” represented nearly half of the weekend’s gross. “Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse” held well at $11.5 million for #2, but it and “Elemental” ($11.3 million) were the only other films to gross more than $10 million. “Spider-Verse” should end up with a $400 million domestic, possibly the summer’s best.

Like “Spider-Verse,” “Elemental” dropped gently at 39 percent. The Pixar film is at $89 million and will likely end up ahead of “The Flash.” It’s #8 this weekend, down 67 percent and has not yet grossed $100 million.

At #5 is “No Hard Feelings” (Sony), which dropped 50 percent in its second week. It’s another disappointment. Wes Anderson’s “Asteroid City” dropped to #9, a 58 percent drop, but it grossed a healthy $18.1 million. With foreign, it’s close to $30 million.

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 shot at $10 million, a decent result for a lower-budget indie film from a first-time director and no stars.

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

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

The Top 10

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

$60,000,000 in 4,600 theaters; PTA (per theater average): $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 (no change) theaters; 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

$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. The Flash (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 #8

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

Other specialized titles

Films (limited, expansions of limited, as well as awards-oriented releases) are listed by week in release, starting with those opened this week; after the first two weeks, only films with grosses over $5,000 are listed.

Every Body (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) REISSUE

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

The Last Rider (Roadside) Week 2

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

Revoir Paris (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) theaters; PTA: $1,708; Cumulative: $5,859,000

You Hurt My Feelings (A24) Week 6; also on PVOD

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

It Ain’t Over (Sony Pictures Classics) Week 7; also on PVOD

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

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