Box Office: ‘Ben-Hur’ Left in the Dust by ‘Suicide Squad,’ ‘War Dogs’ with $4 Million Friday

Paramount Pictures and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures

After pulling in about $4 million on Friday, “Ben-Hur” is looking at a dismal opening weekend at the box office in the range of $11 million at 3,084 locations.

The film, from Paramount and MGM, is eyeing a fourth or fifth place finish this weekend despite a big budget of about $100 million.

Warner Bros. is staying on top as “Suicide Squad” will most likely keep the throne with a third weekend in the $20 million range at 3,924 locations. The same studio’s “War Dogs” is looking at about $15 million at 3,258 locations after pulling in $5.5 million on Friday.

Sony and Annapurna’s second weekend of “Sausage Party” is eyeing a second weekend in the $15 million range at 3,103 locations after a $5 million Friday.

The tight box office race is only squeezed tighter by Focus’ launch of the animated adventure “Kubo and the Two Strongs” from Laika, which looks to open to about $12 million at 3,260 locations. Its Friday numbers were nearly identical to “Ben-Hur.”

“Suicide Squad” is declining by about 53% and will wind up the weekend with about $260 million at the domestic box office. Earlier in the week the supervillain tentpole crossed the $500 million mark in worldwide box office.

“War Dogs,” stars Miles Teller and Jonah Hill and had a $45 million budget. The film had been forecast to take in around $12 million to $14 million at 3,258 locations amid mixed reviews with a 59% rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

Paramount and MGM, which co-financed “Ben-Hur,” had been hoping for a $20 million launch by appealing to faith-based customers, but other trackers were accurate in forecasting a debut in the $10 million to $15 million range.

“Ben-Hur” has a 31% score on Rotten Tomatoes. The film is directed by Timur Bekmambetov and stars Jack Huston, Morgan Freeman, Toby Kebbell, Nazanin Boniadi, Haluk Bilginer and Rodrigo Santoro. The film is produced by Mark Burnett and Roma Downey.

Paramount has seen a rough year with “Zoolander 2” and “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows” both faltering and “Star Trek Beyond” under-performing. The studio’s parent Viacom has been distracted by a battle for control between CEO Philippe Dauman and majority stakeholder Sumner Redstone. The fight appeared to conclude Thursday night with a preliminary legal settlement that ousted Dauman.

Paramount is opening “Ben-Hur” in 19 international markets this weekend, including Brazil and Mexico, representing 30% of the film’s ultimate international footprint.

“Kubo and the Two Strings,” which has a $55 million budget, is set in ancient Japan and centered on a boy’s quest to reassemble a magical suit of armor. Critics have been strongly supportive of “Kubo” with a 96% fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

Warner Bros. also announced that its horror film “Lights Out” toped $100 million at the worldwide box office. The film is directed by David F. Sandberg and stars Teresa Palmer, Gabriel Bateman, Billy Burke and Maria Bello.