Notable Openings This Weekend: Ben-Hur, Kubo and the Two Strings, War Dogs
These are the final days of summer. Movies are packing up, getting ready to leave their beach homes. All the beer is gone. The last big blow out is over. All the summer hook-ups have transpired. We’re done here. As everything always goes back to Suicide Squad, it’s amazing to think how much money this movie would have made had it been good. Despite all the drop offs, it’s still going to finish #1 due to lack of competition. It also hasn’t escaped me that the favorite for “Biggest Flop of the Summer” is opening this weekend, so everybody relax. In fact, let’s just get to that right now!
If there’s anyone reading this who has a mild interest in Ben-Hur, but hasn’t seen the 1959 original, I implore you to just watch that. Please. Don’t encourage this behavior. For a quick recap, Ben-Hur has a three-way tie (Titanic, Lord of the Rings: Return of the King) for most Oscars won (11). It’s the quintessential classic Hollywood epic with an action sequence that still holds up. The Chariot Race. When I watch the chariot race in the trailer for this movie, it epitomizes everything wrong with film today. Loud. Bombastic. Obnoxious. CGI heavy. Look at the damn poster! You have the guy replacing Charlton Heston screaming at you in what looks like bad photo shop. Ugh. Go away. This is like Justin Bieber doing a cover of Johnny Cash’s “Ring of Fire.”
Okay, I’ve done the whole old man “get off my lawn” shtick. Let’s actually talk about how bad the movie is going to do. Ben-Hur scored higher on Rotten Tomatoes than I ever imagined – over 20%. I was surprised to find the production budget for this is only $100 Million, according to Box Office Mojo. Don’t get me wrong – this bad boy is still flopping. It just won’t lose as much as I thought it would. Yay. Even though the idea of a Ben-Hur remake sickens me, in a way it could be a good thing. Let this box office put an end to remakes. Then again, The Magnificent Seven will probably do well next month. We’ll be right back where we started. Sigh.
Also opening is the obligatory animated feature, Kubo and the Two Strings, which has gone completely under the radar. The cast is damn impressive. Matthew McConaughey. Charlize Theron. Rooney Mara. Ralph Fiennes. Not too shabby. The marketing has been garbage, but hopefully the strong reviews will attract some box office. With a production budget of $60 Million, via Box Office Mojo, it could be a little dicey. Add in the international market however, and this should do fine.
The one movie that has potential to surprise, and maybe even overtake Suicide Squad, is War Dogs. Trailers have been mixed. And while reviews aren’t glowing, it’s been much better than expected at over 55%. Jonah Hill and Miles Teller are a good pairing. Hill in particular has proven he can attract a box office. The director here is Todd Phillips, who’s the epitome of hit or miss. He’ll shine with Old School and The Hangover, then bumble it up with Due Date, The Hangover Part II and The Hangover Part III. Okay, maybe he’s mostly miss. This should do well enough, and maybe even threaten for #1, which would really embarrass Suicide Squad.
HOW WILL IT ALL BREAK DOWN…
Suicide Squad will eke out a #1 finish with another big drop, prompting more pointless articles about how DC is in trouble. War Dogs is the only new release of note. Sausage Party will hold over nicely. Ben-Hur’s chariot crashes into a wall and explodes on impact.
1. Suicide Squad – $22 Million
2. War Dogs – $20 Million
3. Sausage Party – $18.5 Million
4. Kubo and the Two Strings – $12.5 Million
5. Ben-Hur – $12 Million