Weekend Wrap-Up

Ben-Hur a Disaster at the Box Office

By John Hamann

August 21, 2016

Crazy but hot. It evens out.

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Over the weekend, Ben-Hur could only manage $11.4 million, far too low for any spin to be put on this one. Reviews for the remake of one of the most treasured movies ever were simply awful, a complete reversal from the winner of 11 Oscars. Ben-Hur is 30% fresh at Rotten Tomatoes, with almost all critics complaining pretty hard about this one. Personally, the original didn’t seem long. So how does one cut one hour out of a three hour movie, and still tell the same story? You don’t. The Cinemascore was better at an A-, but that score is influenced the same way the Suicide Score was – people already in love with the idea give the score a thumbs up regardless of what they just saw. It was a bad idea to put Mark Burnett and Roma Downey in charge of remaking a treasured classic. MGM has been hot of late (Creed, Spectre), but this result is going to burn through any profits made there. Unless Ben-Hur is some sort of weird hit overseas, this one is going down in flames.

Sixth spot goes to Pete’s Dragon, last weekend’s $20 million plus opener. While Pete’s Dragon didn’t hold as well as Disney hoped, it still did okay considering the debut of Kubo and the Two Strings. Pete’s Dragon pulled in $11.3 million in its second weekend, but dropped a higher than expected 47%. This one cost a respectable $65 million to make, and has a gross after 10 days of $42.9 million. This Disney release is now going to have to work hard the rest of the way and then hope for a huge showing overseas.

Seventh is summer smash Bad Moms, which keeps its roll going this weekend. After earning $11.4 million in its third weekend, the STX release continued its strong run, earning another $8.1 million and dropping a not bad 29%. That brings the total for the $20 million film up to a mammoth $85.8 million on the domestic side, and it has pulled in another $15 million overseas.

Eighth is Universal’s Jason Bourne, which pulls in another $8 million this weekend. That’s a drop of 42% compared to last weekend, but the result overall remains underwhelming. Made for $120 million, Jason Bourne has a domestic gross to date of $140.9 million, and it has picked up $140 million overseas. It still needs another $100 million to earn a profit for the studio.


Ninth is The Secret Life of Pets, which is also impacted by the launch of Kubo and the Two Strings. Pets earned another $5.8 million but declined 36% compared to last weekend. After seven weekends of release, this Illumination Entertainment/Universal release has picked up $346.7 million domestic and over $250 million from overseas sales.

Finally in tenth is Florence Foster Jenkins, the Meryl Streep film that expanded to 1,528 venues last weekend, and the same amount this weekend. Paramount should have kept the expansion going, as this weekend, Florence Foster Jenkins earned only $4.3 million, a drop of 35%. Given the drop, I wonder if Paramount will go wider with this one. The film has now earned $14.4 million and has picked up another $8 million overseas.

Overall this weekend, the top 12 films earned $118.4 million. While lower than what we’ve seen over the last few weekends, it is ahead of last year, when Straight Outa Compton led the top 12 to $91.4 million. Next weekend we get the return of Jason Statham in The Mechanic: Resurrection; Hands of Stone, the boxing movie with Robert DeNiro; and Don’t Breathe, a critically acclaimed horror flick from Screen Gems.

Top Ten for Weekend of August 19-21, 2016
Estimated Gross (millions)
Weekly Change
Running Total (millions)
1 Suicide Squad Warner Bros. 20.7 -52% 262.3
2 Sausage Party Sony 15.3 -55% 65.3
3 War Dogs Warner Bros. 14.3 New 14.3
4 Kubo and the Two Strings Focus Features 12.6 New 12.6
5 Ben-Hur Paramount 11.4 New 11.4
6 Pete's Dragon Walt Disney 11.3 -47% 11.3
7 Bad Moms STX 8.1 -29% 85.8
8 Jason Bourne Universal 8.0 -42% 140.9
9 The Secret Life of Pets Universal 5.8 -36% 346.7
10 Florence Foster Jenkins Paramount 4.3 -35% 14.4
11 Star Trek Beyond Paramount 4.0 -42% 146.9
12 Hell or High Water Lionsgate 2.7 +327% 3.5

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