Paramount Pictures' highly anticipated fourth installment of "Indiana Jones" brought in an estimated $151 million at the domestic box office this holiday weekend, extending the studio's winning streak that began earlier this month with the blockbuster "Iron Man," which has made almost $500 million world-wide since its May 2 opening, the Wall Street Journal reports.
The early summer hits for Viacom Inc.'s Paramount are expected to continue next month with "Kung Fu Panda," a DreamWorks Animation SKG film that Paramount will release. The trio of films buttress the studio's argument that it has rebounded under studio chief Brad Grey and is prepared for the widely expected departure later this year of "Indiana Jones" director Steven Spielberg.
However, the films also reflect a reality of today's major studios. These days, an abundance of outside financing for Hollywood movies means that studios often don't always fully own or control the films they distribute -- an arrangement that limits both their risk and the money they can make, even from a big hit. Marvel Studios, a unit of Marvel Entertainment Inc., for example, owns "Iron Man," and DreamWorks Animation owns "Kung Fu Panda," and those studios reap most of the profits. Paramount gets a fee for handling the distribution of the finished films -- about 8% of revenue in the case of "Kung Fu Panda."
And although Paramount and George Lucas's Lucasfilm Ltd. jointly own "Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull," it will perform much like the other two for the studio because of a deal that awards most of the profit for the $185 million movie, if there is any, to the talent, not the studio. Paramount receives a 12.5% distribution fee.
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