Monday Box Office Report – BEN-HUR flops, SUICIDE SQUAD still tops

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SUICIDE SQUAD

For a third week in a row, Suicide Squad sits atop the US box office chart. Pulling in $20.7 million, the latest WB DC Comics movie now has a domestic total of $262.28 million. Internationally, it also did good business to the tune of $38 million this weekend past, now bringing its global total to a very impressive $572 million.

If it feels like I gave Suicide Squad a bit of a rushed rundown there, that’s because I did. Any other week, the fact this movie is still on top of the heap, despite divisive reviews all over the place as well as a huge second week drop that seemed to indicate that it was about to get crushed in the rankings, would make it headline worthy. But this week there’s another story happening in the US box office, and its a disastrous one.

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Director Timur Bekmambetov’s Ben-Hur was always going to face an uphill battle – it’s a remake of William Wyler’s 11-time Oscar winning epic, one of the most beloved and awarded movies of all time (yes, technically, it’s just adapting the same original novel as Wyler’s movie, but potato potahto). I don’t think anybody, including the filmmakers and cast, ever expected this movie to attain the heights of its predecessors. Hell, Paramount and MGM sort of even prepared for this struggle by keeping the film’s budget down to $100 million, a relatively modest figure in today’s mega blockbuster landscape. But even with all of that, I don’t think anybody expected what happened this weekend.

Much like one of the unfortunate chariot drivers in this story’s famous climactic scene, Ben-Hur has crashed hard in a messy pinwheeling disaster. The film squeaked into fifth place with its US box office debut, only managing to pull in a paltry $11.35 million. That is a horrendous debut by any reckoning. And with the film drawing middling to completely trashed reviews, the chances of it having the legs to turn around its misfortunes on the domestic charts are pretty slim. If Ben-Hur doesn’t get one hell of a response when it releases internationally, this new film may also join its predecessor in the history books, but this time for all the wrong reasons. Ben-Hur is currently primed go down as one of the biggest flops of the year, but there are some hyperbolic pundits predicting it will even be one of the biggest flops of all time.

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The two other new movies that beat Ben-Hur over the finish line (or is that starting line seeing as these are debuts? I’m confused!) for a respective third and fourth place is R-rated comedy War Dogs and phenomenal stop-motion animation Kubo and the Two Strings. War Dogs has been getting OK reviews, but I have already said more than just a thing or two about how incredible Kubo is. Not that quality of movie seems to have anything to do with these box office rankings, as the two opened relatively close together despite the critical disparity with War Dogs claiming $14.3 million while Kubo and the Two Strings managed to collect $12.6 million.

Those are pretty middling opening figures – in fact, they could even be declared as bad. Luckily though, their lack of largesse is offset by the fact that neither film has a relatively massive price tag to overcome. War Dogs cost $40 million, while LAIKA had to fork out $60 million on Kubo’s budget (alas, it seems LAIKA is never going to get a box office smash hit, despite the masterful work they do).

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Meanwhile, Seth Rogen’s R-rated animated comedy Sausage Party continues to be a surprise successful. With the $15.32 million it made this weekend past, it’s now sitting on a domestic total of $65 million after two weeks, proving that America has a thing for dirty viennas.

Here’s what is happening on the rest of the US charts.

  • 01. Suicide Squad – $20.71 million (LW: 1)
  • 02. Sausage Party – $15.32 million (LW: 2)
  • 03. War Dogs – $14.3 million (NE)
  • 04. Kubo and the Two Strings – $12.6 million (NE)
  • 05. Ben-Hur – $11.35 million (NE)
  • 06. Pete’s Dragon – $11.33 million (LW: 3)
  • 07. Bad Moms – $8.06 million (LW: 5)
  • 08Jason Bourne – $7.98 million (LW:  4)
  • 09. The Secret Life of Pets – $5.77 million (LW: 6)
  • 10. Florence Foster Jenkins – $4.3 million (LW: 8)

And it would appear that Star Trek Beyond wants to boldly go where none of its predecessors have gone before: off the US top 10 chart in just five weeks. The third of the new Star Trek movies has been enjoying a fantastic return to form critically, but for some reason audiences just aren’t turning up like they used to. It’s currently sitting on a $146 million domestic total and $231 million globally. For a movie that cost a reported $185 million to make, that is nowhere near good enough when you factor in the usually doubled-up marketing cost.

The movie still has to open in some international regions, but none of them are really big enough to turn things around here. Paramount doesn’t seemed overtly perturbed though, as they are still moving ahead with plans for Star Trek 4, which will feature the return of Chris Hemsworth as George Kirk, somehow back from the dead.

(LW = Last Week, NE = New Entry)

Last Updated: August 22, 2016

Kervyn Cloete

A man of many passions - but very little sleep - I've been geeking out over movies, video games, comics, books, anime, TV series and lemon meringues as far back as I can remember. So show up for the geeky insight, stay for the delicious pastries.

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