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It’s certainly been a rough few months for remakes and Paramount’s Ben-Hur is the latest victim of audiences perceived boredom with them. With a certain JC featuring heavily in the promos, Paramount were no doubt counting on the values market (conservative Christians, basically) to give the remake of the 1959 Oscar-laden classic some kind of foothold at the box office but have clearly failed to ignite much interest from anyone with a paltry $11 million opening take. It even failed to make the top 5 on its debut and its dreadful aggregate review scores mean it’s unlikely Paramount are going to see even a third of the $100 million production costs back during its theatre release.

It seems that a legacy brand isn’t quite the tidy profit maker it used to be in Hollywood these days, but let’s not forget that Jon Favreau’s The Jungle Book is one this year’s biggest hits so studios aren’t likely to be giving up on them anytime soon. However, Sony must be starting to sweat over next month’s Magnificent Seven do-over, as they could certainly do without another rehash stalling in the wake of Ghostbusters’ mediocre revenues.

Suicide Squad retains its top spot despite suffering another huge drop off in week-on-week takings. DC Studios and Warners will take some small comfort in a respectable domestic gross after all the backlash against the film but on its current trajectory, it’s unlikely to make a significant profit, if any, on the huge investment they put into the project.

Out of the two other new releases in the top 5, War Dogs and Kubo & the Two Strings, Focus’ Kubo will be feeling better about long term takings with stellar reviews for the latest effort from celebrated animation house, LAIKA, but it’s still a slight opening compared to other animation heavyweights this year. Warners are probably unconcerned with War Dogs’ middling opening take and reviews as it seems like the kind of film that tends to do better on the small screen than big.

Rounding off the top 5 is Disney’s remake of Pete’s Dragon which audiences seem to be having as much trouble seeing as grown-ups do with the titular dragon in the actual film. All joking aside, this remake of a nearly forgotten and slightly odd kid’s film from the late 70’s (during Disney’s dark ages) always had an uphill struggle to truly engage with audiences but it still must be a disappointment to have a minor flop on their hands in what has otherwise a supernova year for the House of Mouse.

Next Week…

We see Sony’s original horror, Don’t Breathe, vying for audience’s attention as teens start looking for a scare fix leading up to Halloween. The early reception for it is certainly decent and Sony will be hoping for a number one spot as the summer blockbuster season coming to an end reduces competition. Though a horror film’s box office performance is often difficult to predict, a solid $30-40 million opening is probably on the cards for it.

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