"Indiana Jones" hits $311 million worldwide

Mon May 26, 2008 2:56pm EDT
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LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - "Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull" chased down $311.1 million from moviegoers around the world, as nostalgic fans brought along their children to watch Harrison Ford's latest escapades, distributor Paramount Pictures said on Monday.

The tally included $151.1 million from the United States and Canada -- the second-highest U.S. Memorial Day holiday weekend opening in history -- and $160 million from No. 1 launches in 61 other countries, the studio said.

Foreign highlights included $24 million in Britain and $14 million in France. Sales in France were boosted by the hype surrounding its glitzy world premiere at the Cannes Film Festival on the French Riviera last Sunday.

Overall business was "driven by people in their 30s and 40s, and that audience was excited to see the movie and excited to bring their kids with them," said Rob Moore, Paramount's president of worldwide marketing, distribution and operations.

The worldwide tally set a record for both the Viacom Inc-owned studio and for the film's director, Steven Spielberg. For both, the old mark was held by "War of the Worlds," which opened to $202 million in a similar number of territories during the U.S. July 4 holiday weekend in 2005. Higher ticket prices and the slide of the U.S. dollar, which benefits exporters such as Hollywood studios, helped the new film's cause.

In North America, where Paramount said two-thirds of the audience was aged 25 and older, the $151.1 million tally was bested only by the $153 million debut of "Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End" among Memorial Day openings.

"Crystal Skull," which Paramount said cost $185 million to make, is the fourth movie in the lucrative "Indiana Jones" franchise, and the first to hit theaters in 19 years. Reviews were mixed, but evidently did not dissuade the franchise's aficionados.

Ford, 65, reprises his role as the eponymous archeologist. He is joined by Australian actress Cate Blanchett and Spielberg's hot new discovery, Shia LaBeouf. George Lucas, who created the franchise in 1981 with "Raiders of the Lost Ark," returned as executive producer.

(Reporting by Dean Goodman, editing by Eric Beech)

<p>Igor Jijikine, Harrison Ford and Cate Blanchett in a scene from "Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull". REUTERS/Paramount Pictures/Handout</p>