For Paramount and MGM’s “Ben-Hur” reboot, prophecies of its bad box office performance came true as the big-budget biblical feature opened to only an estimated $11.4 million this weekend.
Warner Bros.’ comic-book movie “Suicide Squad” earned the top spot during its third weekend in theaters with an estimated $20.7 million as Sony’s R-rated animated holdover “Sausage Party” came in at No. 2 with $15.3 million.
Meanwhile, Warner Bros. bromantic dramedy “War Dogs” made $14.3 million to come in at No. 3, ahead of the weekend’s two other new wide releases.
Laika and Focus Features’ animated movie “Kubo and the Two Strings” made an estimated $12.6 million during its debut weekend.
Meanwhile, the pricey remake “Ben-Hur” barely made it into the top five as estimates have it edging out Disney holdover “Pete’s Dragon,” which made $11.3 million. But the final ranking will crystallize once actual grosses roll in on Monday.
Earlier this week, all three new wide releases were expected to earn very similar three-day grosses of around $12 million. But “War Dogs” exceeded initial expectations as “Ben-Hur” fell behind.
What sets the biblical epic apart from the pack is that it was made for a whole lot more money than the other two other newbies.
Opening figures for “Ben-Hur,” whose production budget was at least $100 million, put it in line to become one of the biggest box office bombs of the summer. Paramount had previously set its opening closer to $20 million from 3,084 locations — perhaps wishful thinking.
Made for about $55 million, the film is getting great reviews, with a Rotten Tomatoes score of 96 percent, plus an A CinemaScore. The Japan-set “Kubo” is also poised to make strong grosses abroad. Plus, animated features have a long history of holding more consistent interest weekend-over-weekend than live-action movies.
The Top Five:
1. “Suicide Squad” (Warner Bros.) — $20.7 million in Week 3 ($262.3 million total)
2. “Sausage Party” (Sony) — $15.3 million in Week 2 ($65.3 million total)
3. “War Dogs” (Warner Bros.) — $14.3 million in Week 1 ($14.3 million total)
4. “Kubo and the Two Strings” (Focus) — $12.6 million in Week 1 ($12.6 million total)
5. “Ben-Hur” (Paramount) — $11.4 million in Week 1 ($11.4 million total)