Magazine article Screen International

'Ben-Hur' Crashes in North America; 'Suicide Squad' Races On

Magazine article Screen International

'Ben-Hur' Crashes in North America; 'Suicide Squad' Races On

Article excerpt

MGM partnered with Paramount on Ben-Hur, which stars Jack Huston and Toby Kebbell under the direction of Timur Bekmambetov, and the film did not impress critics or audiences as it opened in sixth place.

Strong Christian elements in the story - famously brought to the screen in the 1959 version starring Charlton Heston - and the presence of MGM president of television Mark Burnett and his wife Roma Downey serving as producer and executive producer, respectively - suggested a faith-based play.

However the film failed to catch on with a wide audience - it rolled out in 3,084 theatres - and all eyes will be on the international box office, where Ben-Hur debuted at the weekend on a solid $10.7m from 23 markets and not surprisingly played best in Mexico and Brazil.

War Dogs arrived at number three via Warner Bros on $14.7m and Focus Features opened Laika Entertainment's animation Kubo And The Two Strings at number four on $12.6m.

Suicide Squad added a confirmed $20.9m to propel the running total to a handy $262.4m and keep Sausage Party and the three new arrivals at bay.

It should cross $300m by the end of its run in North America and stands at $575m worldwide.

When studio chiefs dipped into the DC vaults in a bid to mount a serious challenge to Marvel Studios, they knew the irreverent tone of David Ayer's R-rated film would mark the start of something different.

While box office has not been quite as spectacular as what executives would have wanted given the stated $175m negative cost and likely a similar amount in worldwide marketing spend, the film is breaking even and continues to deliver an encouraging performance that bodes well for the future.

Annapurna Pictures' R-rated Sausage Party held firm at number two in its second weekend after dropping 55% on $15.5m for $65.5m. At a reported $19m price-tag it has done well for the company and distributor Sony.

The Hangover director Todd Phillips helmed War Dogs starring Jonah Hill and Miles Teller and despite earning mostly decent reviews, the adaptation of a Rolling Stone article about two young Americans who try their hand at gun-running delivered a muted launch in 3,258 theatres.

Laika's Kubo And The Two Strings garnered excellent reviews although this was the lowest North American debut in Laika's four-film career thus far (the others being Coraline, ParaNorman and Boxtrolls. …

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