History, Legacy & Showmanship

Fortune & Glory: Remembering “Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom” on its 30th Anniversary

May 23, 2014 - 5:49 pm   |   by
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“This picture is not called The Temple of Roses; it is called The Temple of Doom. The warning is clearly marked on the box.” — Steven Spielberg

The Digital Bits is pleased to present this retrospective commemorating the 30th anniversary of the release of Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, the follow-up to the incredibly popular Raiders of the Lost Ark.

The Bits celebrates the occasion with this retrospective column. It features some quotes from movie critics, some trivia on the film, an interview segment (featuring film historians Scott Higgins and Eric Lichtenfeld), a list of the movie’s premium-format (70mm) presentations, and a compilation of box-office data that places the movie’s performance in context. [Read on here…]




  • 1 = Number of weeks nation’s top-grossing movie
  • 2 = Rank among top-grossing movies of 1984 (calendar year)
  • 3 = Rank among top-grossing movies of 1984 (legacy)
  • 7 = Rank on all-time list of top-grossing movies at close of original run
  • 86 = Rank on current list of all-time top-grossing movies (domestic, adjusted for inflation)
  • 25 = Number of days movie took to gross $100 million
  • 28 = Number of months between theatrical release and home-video release
  • 35.3 = Percentage of second-week drop-off in box-office gross
  • 180 = Rank on current list of all-time top-grossing movies (domestic)
  • 243 = Number of 70mm prints shown in North America*
  • 266 = Rank on current list of all-time top-grossing movies (worldwide)
  • 1,687 = Number of theaters showing the movie during opening-weekend
  • $4.7 million = Opening-day box-office gross
  • $9.3 million = Highest single-day gross (May 27)*
  • $25.3 million = Opening weekend box-office gross (3-day, May 25-27)*
  • $28.2 million = Production cost
  • $33.9 million = Opening weekend box-office gross (4-day holiday, May 25-28)*
  • $42.3 million = Opening week box-office gross (6-day, May 23-28)*
  • $45.7 million = Opening week box-office gross (7-day, May 23-29)*
  • $64.3 million = Production cost (adjusted for inflation)
  • $102.0 million = International box-office rental (% of gross exhibitors paid to distributor)
  • $109.0 million = Domestic box-office rental
  • $153.2 million = International box-office gross
  • $179.9 million = Domestic box-office gross
  • $211.0 million = Worldwide box-office rental
  • $333.1 million = Worldwide box-office gross
  • $426.1 million = Domestic box-office gross (adjusted for inflation)
  • $760.1 million = Worldwide box-office gross (adjusted for inflation)

*Established new industry record

George Lucas and Steven Spielberg



“The monster hit factory of George Lucas and Steven Spielberg has finally produced a monster: an unpleasant, slapdash, chaotic and finally yawn-inducing follow-up to Raiders of the Lost Ark…and for the first time Lucas/Spielberg cross over the line between fantasy violence and real pain. They’ve also come up with a heroine who’s such a charmless bimbo that you have mixed feelings every time she’s in jeopardy.” — John Hartl, The Seattle Times

“This movie is one of the most relentlessly nonstop action pictures ever made, with a virtuoso series of climactic sequences that must last an hour and never stop for a second. It’s a roller-coaster ride, a visual extravaganza, a technical triumph, and a whole lot of fun.” — Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times

“Yech! I don’t care if this film makes $100 million. Since when does big box office equate with intelligence, quality, culture or even a smidgen of social conscience?” — Gary Franklin, KCBS-TV, Los Angeles

“If at all possible, see Doom in a movie house showing it in 70mm and Dolby Stereo. Why settle for half the effect?” — Rick Lyman, Philadelphia Inquirer

“This time the 1930s archaeologist/adventurer has a weaker story and wimpier heroine.” — Leonard Maltin, Entertainment Tonight

“Though it looks as if it had cost a fortune, Indiana Jones doesn’t go anywhere, possibly because it is composed entirely of a succession of climaxes. It could end at any point with nothing essential being lost. Watching it is like spending a day at an amusement park, which is probably what Mr. Spielberg and his associates intended. It moves tirelessly from one ride or attraction to the next, only occasionally taking a minute out for a hot dog, and then going right on to the next unspeakable experience.” — Vincent Canby, The New York Times

Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom has to be the greatest action movie ever filmed. No other movie ever has offered such a generous feast of breathtaking thrills, rough-and-tumble spills, colorful-and-funny frills and heart-grabbing chills. Yes, Spielberg and Lucas have done it again.” — Jack Garner, (Rochester) Democrat and Chronicle

“One of the greatest assets Spielberg and Lucas have had was their ability to go straight to the movie myths of their childhoods and, in reworking them, enrich a new generation of moviegoers. This time it feels as though they could never erase these movies from their memories, and now no one else will be able to either.” — Sheila Benson, Los Angeles Times

Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom has a lot of laughs, thrills, noise, detail, darkness and sheer entertainment packed into it. It’s a tribute to hokiness through and through. For being exactly what you’d expect, I give it four little men leaping out of their chairs (though two of them aren’t clapping, they’re gagging on monkey brains). — Peter Stack, San Francisco Chronicle

“There’s so much movie in this movie—that’s the basic reason that Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom is so appealing. Its main show, a five-minute chase sequence in mining cars between Indiana and Short Round and Willie in one car and the henchmen of the evil child-abuser Mola Ram in another. This beautifully directed and edited chase is even more exhilarating than one’s childhood memory of the roller-coaster sequence in This Is Cinerama (1952). And it’s almost as exciting as a real trip on Walt Disney World’s Space Mountain. Credit Spielberg and producer Lucas’ special effects team at Industrial Light & Magic for this entry on anyone’s list of filmdom’s greatest chases.” — Gene Siskel, Chicago Tribune



Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (Advance B)On May 16, 1984, in conjunction with the release of Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, Steven Spielberg and George Lucas placed their hand and foot prints in the cement courtyard of Mann’s Chinese Theater in Los Angeles.

During an era where six months was the average amount of time between theatrical release and home-video release, Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom had a theatrical-to-video “window” of 28 months by arriving on home-video formats in September 1986.

The first network television broadcast was on ABC on October 1, 1989. Its first letterboxed release (on LaserDisc) was in 1992. Its first DVD release was in 2003. Its first Blu-ray release was in 2012.

The THX Sound System “Broadway” snipe was introduced with Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom.

Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom is set one year prior to the events in Raiders of the Lost Ark.

Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom was screened on the eve of its release as part of the Seattle Film Festival.

The names of the film’s three principal characters were inspired by the names of the filmmakers’ pet dogs: Indiana (George Lucas), Willie (Steven Spielberg), Short Round (Willard Huyck & Gloria Katz).

The movie’s original titles were Indy II and Indiana Jones and the Temple of Death.

The miniature stop-motion-animation footage for the mine-car chase sequence was filmed using a consumer Nikon SLR 35mm camera.

The name of the bar in the opening Shanghai sequence was Club Obi-Wan, an inside joke and reference to one of the popular characters from Star Wars.

The opening of Indiana Jones in the United Kingdom was preceded by a Royal European premiere. The charity event was held on June 11, 1984, and attended by Prince Charles and Princess Diana. Attending on behalf of the movie were Steven Spielberg, George Lucas, Kate Capshaw and Ke Huy Quan.

As with Raiders, where he played the German Flying Wing pilot, producer Frank Marshall had a small role in the movie, this time appearing as a sailor riding a rickshaw during the Shanghai chase scene.

Members of the production crew, including Spielberg and Lucas, played missionaries during the airport scene. Also look for Dan Aykroyd in same scene.

Reaction to the violence and overall intensity featured in the movie (and in the Spielberg-produced Gremlins released two weeks later) prompted the formation of the PG-13 rating.

The movie’s 70-millimeter print order (243) was the largest ever for a North American release. It was reported that the 70mm presentations, which represented 13% of the movie’s bookings, accounted for 30% of the box-office gross during the movie’s first week of release.

Awards won included Visual Effects (Academy Awards) and Special Visual Effects (BAFTA).



Temple of Doom newspaper adThe following is a list of the 70mm Six-Track Dolby Stereo premium-format presentations of Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom during the initial weeks of its first-run theatrical release in the United States and Canada. These were, arguably, the best theaters in which to experience the movie. Any move-over, sub-run and international bookings have not been included. As well, the second wave of THX certifications were made in conjunction with this release and are noted in parenthesis where applicable.

** shown on two screens

*** shown on three screens


There were no 70mm first-run engagements in Alabama.


There were no 70mm first-run engagements in Alaska.


  • Calgary – Famous Players PALACE
  • Edmonton – Famous Players PARAMOUNT
  • Edmonton – Famous Players WESTMALL 5


  • Phoenix – Mann CHRIS-TOWN 5 (THX)
  • Phoenix – Plitt CINE CAPRI
  • Tucson – American Multi-Cinema CAMPBELL PLAZA 3
  • Tucson – Mann BUENA VISTA TWIN


  • Little Rock – United Artists CINEMA 150


  • Burnaby – Famous Players LOUGHEED MALL 3
  • Vancouver – Famous Players STANLEY
  • Victoria – Famous Players CORONET


  • Berkeley – Cinerama BERKELEY
  • Clovis – Festival Enterprises REGENCY CINEMAS
  • Corte Madera – Marin CINEMA
  • Costa Mesa – Edwards SOUTH COAST PLAZA TRIPLEX
  • Fremont – Syufy CINEDOME 7 EAST**
  • Fresno – Festival Enterprises FESTIVAL CINEMAS
  • Hayward – Festival Enterprises FESTIVAL CINEMAS
  • La Mesa – Pacific CINEMA GROSSMONT
  • La Mirada – Pacific LA MIRADA 6
  • Laguna Hills – Edwards/Sanborn LAGUNA HILLS MALL TRIPLEX
  • Lakewood – Pacific LAKEWOOD CENTER
  • Long Beach – United Artists MOVIES 6
  • Los Angeles (Hollywood) – Mann CHINESE TRIPLEX*** (THX)
  • Los Angeles (Northridge) – Pacific NORTHRIDGE 6
  • Los Angeles (Sherman Oaks) – Mann LA REINA
  • Los Angeles (Westwood Village) – Mann NATIONAL (THX)
  • Los Angeles (Woodland Hills) – Pacific TOPANGA 1 & 2
  • Modesto – Festival Enterprises FESTIVAL CINEMAS**
  • Monrovia – Mann HUNTINGTON OAKS 6**
  • Montclair – Sterling Recreation Organization MONTCLAIR TRIPLEX
  • Newport Beach – Edwards NEWPORT 1 & 2
  • Orange – Syufy CINEDOME 6**
  • Palm Desert – Metropolitan TOWN CENTER 7
  • Palm Springs – Metropolitan CAMELOT TRIPLEX
  • Pleasant Hill – Syufy CENTURY 5
  • Riverside – Sanborn CANYON CREST 9**
  • Sacramento – Syufy CENTURY 6***
  • San Diego – Mann LOMA
  • San Diego – Pacific LA JOLLA VILLAGE 4
  • San Francisco – Blumenfeld REGENCY I
  • San Francisco – Blumenfeld REGENCY II
  • San Jose – Syufy CENTURY 22 A-B-C***
  • Santa Barbara – Metropolitan ARLINGTON
  • Stockton – Festival Enterprises REGENCY CINEMAS**
  • Temple City – Edwards TEMPLE 4
  • Thousand Oaks – United Artists MOVIES 5


  • Colorado Springs – Commonwealth CINEMA 70 TRIPLEX
  • Colorado Springs – Commonwealth MALL OF THE BLUFFS TWIN
  • Denver – Mann CENTURY 21 (THX)
  • Littleton – American Multi-Cinema SOUTHBRIDGE PLAZA 8


  • East Hartford – Redstone SHOWCASE CINEMAS
  • Orange – Redstone SHOWCASE CINEMAS
  • Stamford – Trans-Lux RIDGEWAY


There were no 70mm first-run engagements in Delaware.


  • Washington – Kogod-Burka CINEMA


  • North Miami Beach – Loews 167TH STREET TWIN
  • Orlando – Plitt PLAZA 1-2


  • Atlanta – Georgia Theatre Company LENOX SQUARE 6
  • Atlanta – COLUMBIA
  • Augusta – Georgia Theatre Company NATIONAL HILLS
  • North Atlanta – Storey 12 OAKS TWIN
  • Savannah – Litchfield TARA
  • Tucker – American Multi-Cinema NORTHLAKE FESTIVAL 8**


  • Honolulu – Consolidated CINERAMA


There were no 70mm first-run engagements in Idaho.


  • Belleville – Bloomer Amusement Company CINEMA
  • Calumet City – Plitt RIVER OAKS 1-2-3-4-5-6
  • Chicago – Plitt ESQUIRE
  • Chicago – Plitt NORTOWN 1-2-3
  • Chicago – Plitt STATE-LAKE
  • Evergreen Park – Marks & Rosenfield EVERGREEN 4
  • Hillside – Marks & Rosenfield HILLSIDE SQUARE 4
  • Lombard – General Cinema Corporation YORKTOWN CINEMA I-II-III (THX)
  • Mount Prospect – General Cinema Corporation RANDHURST CINEMA I & II
  • Norridge – Marks & Rosenfield NORRIDGE 4
  • Orland Park – Plitt ORLAND SQUARE 1-2-3-4
  • Peoria – Kerasotes BEVERLY
  • Schaumburg – Plitt WOODFIELD 1-2-3-4
  • Skokie – Marks & Rosenfield OLD ORCHARD 4
  • Springfield – Kerasotes TOWN & COUNTRY


  • Fort Wayne – Mallers-Spirou HOLIDAY I & II


  • Cedar Rapids – Dubinsky PLAZA
  • Des Moines – Dubinsky RIVER HILLS
  • Dubuque – Dubuque CINEMA CENTER


  • Overland Park – Dickinson GLENWOOD I & II
  • Wichita – Commonwealth TWIN LAKES
  • Wichita – Dickinson MALL


  • Erlanger – Redstone SHOWCASE CINEMAS
  • Lexington – Mid States SOUTHPARK 6
  • Louisville – Redstone SHOWCASE CINEMAS


  • Baton Rouge – General Cinema Corporation CORTANA MALL CINEMA I-II-III
  • Marrero – Gulf States BELLE PROMENADE 6
  • New Orleans – Mann ROBERT E. LEE


There were no 70mm first-run engagements in Maine.


  • Winnipeg – Famous Players METROPOLITAN


  • Baltimore – Durkee SENATOR
  • Woodlawn – General Cinema Corporation SECURITY MALL CINEMA I-II-III-IV


  • Boston – Sack CINEMA 57 TWIN
  • Brookline – Redstone CIRCLE CINEMAS
  • Dedham – Redstone SHOWCASE CINEMAS
  • Revere – Redstone SHOWCASE CINEMAS
  • Seekonk – Redstone SHOWCASE CINEMAS**
  • Worcester – Redstone SHOWCASE CINEMAS


  • Ann Arbor – United Artists FOX VILLAGE 4
  • Bloomfield Hills – Redstone SHOWCASE CINEMAS
  • Dearborn – United Artists THE MOVIES AT FAIRLANE
  • Flint – Butterfield FLINT
  • Harper Woods – Suburban Detroit EASTLAND TWIN
  • Lansing – United Artists SPARTAN TRIPLEX
  • Southfield – Suburban Detroit NORTHLAND TWIN
  • Sterling Heights – Redstone SHOWCASE CINEMAS


  • Bloomington – General Cinema Corporation SOUTHTOWN CINEMA I & II
  • Minneapolis – Plitt SKYWAY 5
  • Minnetonka – Plitt RIDGE SQUARE 1-2-3
  • Roseville – General Cinema Corporation HAR-MAR CINEMA XI (THX)
  • West St. Paul – Engler SIGNAL HILLS 4


There were no 70mm first-run engagements in Mississippi.


  • Chesterfield – Wehrenberg CLARKSON 6
  • Creve Coeur – Wehrenberg CREVE COEUR
  • Independence – Mid-America BLUE RIDGE EAST 5
  • Kansas City – Commonwealth BANNISTER SQUARE MALL 5
  • Springfield – Dickinson CENTURY 21


There were no 70mm first-run engagements in Montana.


  • Omaha – American Multi-Cinema WESTROADS 6
  • Omaha – Douglas CINEMA CENTER
  • Omaha – Douglas Q CINEMA 6


  • Las Vegas – Syufy CINEDOME 6
  • Reno – Syufy CENTURY 6


There were no 70mm first-run engagements in New Brunswick.


There were no 70mm first-run engagements in New Hampshire.


  • Edison – General Cinema Corporation MENLO PARK CINEMA I & II
  • Paramus – RKO Century ROUTE 4 TENPLEX
  • Pennsauken – SamEric ERIC 5 PENNSAUKEN
  • Sayreville – Redstone AMBOY MULTIPLEX CINEMAS
  • Secaucus – Loews MEADOW SIX
  • Wayne – Loews WAYNE SIX
  • West Orange – General Cinema Corporation ESSEX GREEN CINEMA I-II-III (THX)


  • Albuquerque – Commonwealth CINEMA EAST TWIN
  • Albuquerque – General Cinema Corporation LOUISIANA BLVD. CINEMA I-II-III


  • Cheektowaga – American Multi-Cinema HOLIDAY 6
  • Levittown – Loews NASSAU SIX
  • New York (Bronx) – Redstone WHITESTONE MULTIPLEX CINEMAS
  • New York (Manhattan) – Loews 34TH STREET SHOWPLACE
  • New York (Manhattan) – Loews ASTOR PLAZA
  • New York (Manhattan) – Loews ORPHEUM
  • Pittsford – Loews PITTSFORD TRIPLEX
  • Schenectady – CinemaNational MOHAWK MALL 3
  • Valley Stream – Redstone SUNRISE MULTIPLEX CINEMAS
  • West Webster – Loews WEBSTER 8


There were no 70mm first-run engagements in Newfoundland.


  • Charlotte – Plitt PARK TERRACE 1-2-3
  • Raleigh – Plitt CARDINAL 1-2


There were no 70mm first-run engagements in North Dakota.


  • Halifax – Famous Players SCOTIA SQUARE


  • Beavercreek – Mid States BEAVER VALLEY 6
  • Columbus – Mid States CONTINENT 7
  • Dayton – Chakeres DAYTON MALL 8
  • Springdale – Redstone SHOWCASE CINEMAS
  • Summerside – Redstone SHOWCASE CINEMAS EASTGATE
  • Trotwood – Mid States SALEM MALL 4
  • Whitehall – Chakeres CINEMA EAST


  • Tulsa – United Artists BOMAN TWIN


  • Hamilton – Famous Players TIVOLI
  • London – Famous Players PARK
  • Newmarket – Famous Players GLENWAY 5
  • Ottawa – Famous Players ELGIN
  • Richmond Hill – Famous Players TOWN & COUNTRYE
  • Toronto – Famous Players CEDARBRAE 6
  • Toronto – Famous Players CUMBERLAND 4 “LA RESERVE”
  • Toronto – Famous Players RUNNYMEDE 1 & 2
  • Toronto – Famous Players UNIVERSITY


  • Beaverton – Luxury Theatres WESTGATE TRIPLEX
  • Eugene – Moyer WEST 11TH TRIPLEX
  • Portland – Moyer ROSE MOYER 6


  • Monroeville – Redstone SHOWCASE CINEMAS EAST
  • Philadelphia – SamEric SAMERIC 3***
  • Robinson – Redstone SHOWCASE CINEMAS WEST


There were no 70mm first-run engagements in Prince Edward Island.


  • Laval – United LAVAL 4
  • Montreal – United IMPERIAL
  • Quebec City – United CANADIEN


  • Warwick – Redstone SHOWCASE CINEMAS**


There were no 70mm first-run engagements in Saskatchewan.


  • Greenville – Martin ASTRO TWIN


There were no 70mm first-run engagements in South Dakota.


  • Antioch – Martin BELLE FORGE 6
  • Goodletsville – Martin RIVERGATE 6
  • Knoxville – Simpson CAPRI 4
  • Nashville – Martin BELLE MEADE


  • Addison – United Artists PRESTONWOOD CREEK 5** (THX)
  • Amarillo – United Artists CINEMA 6 (THX)
  • Arlington – Loews LINCOLN SQUARE 6
  • Austin – Mann FOX TRIPLEX
  • Beaumont – United Artists PHELAN 6 (THX)
  • Carrollton – General Cinema Corporation FURNEAUX CREEK CINEMA VII
  • Dallas – General Cinema Corporation CARUTH PLAZA CINEMA I & II
  • Dallas – United Artists SKILLMAN 6 (THX)
  • Dallas – United Artists SOUTH 8 (THX)
  • Dallas – United Artists WALNUT HILL 6 (THX)
  • Fort Worth – United Artists HULEN 6 (THX)
  • Highland Park – Beirsdorf & Brooks VILLAGE 3
  • Houston – American Multi-Cinema WESTCHASE 5
  • Houston – Loews SOUTHPOINT 5
  • Houston – Plitt CINEMA 5
  • Houston – Plitt WEST OAKS 7
  • Hurst – United Artists CINEMA 6 (THX)
  • Mesquite – United Artists TOWN EAST 6 (THX)
  • San Antonio – Santikos GALAXY 10
  • San Antonio – Santikos NORTHWEST 10
  • White Settlement – United Artists LAS VEGAS TRAIL 8 (THX)


  • Salt Lake City – Mann VILLA
  • Salt Lake City – Plitt CENTRE
  • South Ogden – Plitt WILSHIRE 1-2-3


There were no 70mm first-run engagements in Vermont.


  • Baileys Crossroads – Kogod-Burka CINEMA 7
  • Fairfax – United Artists THE MOVIES AT FAIR OAKS
  • McLean – Neighborhood TYSONS CORNER 4
  • Richmond – Litchfield MIDLOTHIAN 6
  • Richmond – Neighborhood RIDGE 4
  • Springfield – General Cinema Corporation SPRINGFIELD MALL CINEMA VI (THX)


  • Bellevue – Sterling Recreation Organization JOHN DANZ
  • Seattle – Sterling Recreation Organization NORTHGATE
  • Seattle – Sterling Recreation Organization UPTOWN
  • Spokane – Sterling Recreation Organization STATE
  • Spokane Valley – Luxury Theatres EAST SPRAGUE 6
  • Tacoma – Sterling Recreation Organization TACOMA MALL TWIN
  • Tukwila – Sterling Recreation Organization SOUTHCENTER
  • Union Gap – Yakima MERCY 6


There were no 70mm first-run engagements in West Virginia.


  • Brookfield – Marcus BROOKFIELD SQUARE 2
  • Fox Point – Capitol BROWN PORT
  • Greenfield – Capitol SPRING MALL 3
  • Madison – Marcus EASTGATE 4
  • Milwaukee – Capitol LOOMIS ROAD 4
  • Milwaukee – Marcus NORTHTOWN 4


There were no 70mm first-run engagements in Wyoming.

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