Timur Berkmambetov’s $100 million remake of Ben-Hur chariots into theaters next weekend and it represents a massive and expensive risk from Paramount Pictures. The Biblical epic has actually been produced numerous times, though most famously in 1959 in the Oscar-winning Charlton Heston extravaganza.
This time around, Jack Huston is the title character with Morgan Freeman, Toby Kebbell, Nazanin Bonialdi, and Rodrigo Santoro (as Jesus) among the supporting cast. The director is best known for 2008’s hit Wanted and 2012’s Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter.
Early reports have signaled a bumpy road ahead for this with projections in the mid-teens. For starters, people who are in their mid-teens and even older aren’t overly familiar with the source material. More mature audiences who hold the 1959 pic in high regard may not be clamoring for an action fueled remake. It begs the question: who will turn out for this?
Paramount is likely hoping Christian moviegoers will show up. That could be its best hope at hitting $20 million or over. Yet I’m skeptical. The stories indicating a weak teens opening will probably turn out to be accurate in my judgment and that means a costly flop for the studio. The similarly themed Gods of Egypt bombed with just $14.1 million earlier this year. I’ll say manages to slightly outdo that, but not by much.
Ben-Hur opening weekend prediction: $16.3 million
For my War Dogs prediction, click here:
For my Kubo and the Two Strings prediction, click here: