The early signs are not promising for those associated with the recent Ben-Hur remake. The biblical epic flopped dramatically during its first week in cinemas. Variety reports that the domestic debut only managed to accumulate $11.2m out of the gate. Given the current trajectory, the remake will do well to end up with $30m before it is eventually put to a close.
Sources close to the production estimate a cost of over $100m to create Ben-Hur while tens of millions of were tacked on to market the movie. But Paramount is trying to remain optimistic. The loss could be closer to $60-70m after factoring international receipts. It's still a major loss, but helps to ease the pain a bit.
Far Cry From The 1959 Classic
The 1959 Charlton Heston edition of Ben-Hur was not the first of its type, but was a commercial and critical success. The film would go on to achieve stardom at the Academy Awards. The religious underlying narrative and tone resonated with viewers and the chariot race became an iconic scene in the history of cinema. Lead actor Jack Huston in the 2016 version is a relative unknown, as the cast was in all likelihood a secondary priority to the spectacle and special effects.
The Heston picture broke boundaries in cinematography, yet the story made the characters the heart of the film. Gimmicks were non-existent, as the audience became enchanted with the rise of a people's hero fighting the good fight. Not so with the latest rendition.
Paramount Struggling To Produce The Goods
This is yet again another example of a big budget production failing to resonate with the public. Reboots, remakes, sequels, prequels and spin-offs are all the rage in Hollywood. What's worse is that no screenplay, however relevant, is off limits. Paramount, the company responsible for 2016's Ben-Hur, can consider themselves fortunate that Star Trek Beyond was so well received because they have not enjoyed a good run this summer.
The misses have come with far more regularity than the hits. Following Zoolander 2, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows and Whiskey Tango Foxtrot, Paramount will be hoping for a big recovery from their biblical adventure before they come back to the drawing board.