×

Box Office: ‘War Dogs’ Leaves ‘Ben-Hur’ in the Dust With $1.3 Million on Thursday Night

The Warner Bros. comedy “War Dogs” has opened with $1.3 million on Thursday night, easily topping Paramount-MGM’s remake of “Ben-Hur,” which earned a muted $900,000 at 2,389 locations.

Focus Features’ animated “Kubo and the Two Strings” also launched quietly on Thursday night with $515,000 at 2,100 locations.

The trio of new entries are expected to trail Warner’s third weekend of “Suicide Squad” at the domestic box office with the supervillain tentpole leading the pack at around $22 million.

It’s a decent start for “War Dogs,” starring Miles Teller and Jonah Hill as a pair of unlikely arms dealers in a project. The film, which carries a $45 million budget, is expected to take in around $12 million to $14 million at 3,258 locations amid mixed reviews that earned it a 60% fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

R-rated “War Dogs,” helmed by “The Hangover” director Todd Phillips, is based on Guy Lawson’s book “Arms and the Dudes” about two young contractors obtaining a government contract to supply weapons for U.S. troops in Afghanistan. It’s aimed at the same demographic that supported Sony’s animated comedy “Sausage Party,” which has grossed a solid $47 million in its first six days.

The soft Thursday night numbers for “Ben-Hur” offer confirmation that the $100 million biblical epic will struggle to generate business this weekend. Paramount and MGM, which co-financed the film, had been hoping for a $20 million launch at 3,084 locations by appealing to faith-based customers, but other trackers have been forecasting a debut in the $10 million to $15 million range.

The remake, directed by Timur Bekmambetov, has been blistered by critics and carries a 29% score on Rotten Tomatoes. The 1959 version of the film was a box office smash and won 11 Oscars.

The reboot stars Jack Huston, Morgan Freeman, Toby Kebbell, Nazanin Boniadi, Haluk Bilginer, and Rodrigo Santoro. The producers include Mark Burnett and Roma Downey, who saw strong ratings from their 2013 mini-series “The Bible.”

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

“Ben-Hur” may wind up behind “War Dogs” and “Kubo and the Two Strings,” which is opening at 3,260 locations. Laika’s fantasy adventure, which cost $55 million to produce, is set in ancient Japan and centers on a boy’s quest to reassemble a magical suit of armor.

Reviewers have been strongly supportive of “Kubo” with a 95% fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

More Film

  • Chinese actor Xu Zheng holds his

    Golden Horse Organizers Set Clashing Date With China's Golden Rooster Awards

    The prestigious Golden Horse Awards announced Wednesday that it will hold its annual ceremony in Taiwan on the same day this year as China’s Communist-backed Golden Rooster Awards – which virtually assures that no major mainland Chinese talent will attend the event known as Asia’s Oscars on November 23. Hong Kong director Johnnie To will [...]

  • Berlin Film Festival Placeholder Berlinale

    Key Berlin Film Festival Venue Set to Close - or Is It?

    The announcement that German exhibitor CineStar would close its multiplex at Berlin’s famed Sony Center in Potsdamer Platz has thrown the cinema’s participation as a key venue for the Berlin Film Festival into doubt. Whether it actually shutters, however, remains to be seen. British-based Vue International is awaiting approval from German antitrust officials on its [...]

  • Stuber

    ‘Stuber’ Tops Studios’ TV Ad Spending

    In this week’s edition of the Variety Movie Commercial Tracker, powered by the always-on TV ad measurement and attribution company iSpot.tv, Twentieth Century Fox claims the top spot in spending with “Stuber.” Ads placed for the comedy had an estimated media value of $4.91 million through Sunday for 1,325 national ad airings on 42 networks. [...]

  • BTS - J-Hope, V, Jungkook, Jimin,

    BTS' 'Bring the Soul: The Movie' Gets Global Theatrical Release

    BTS will be back on the big screen this summer. The Korean pop group announced today that their latest feature film, “Bring the Soul: The Movie,” will have a global release on August 7. It arrives just six and a half months after the septet’s last film release, “Love Yourself in Seoul.” “Bring the Soul” [...]

  • Box Office: 'Yesterday' Movie Takes on

    Box Office: 'Annabelle Comes Home' and 'Yesterday' Take on 'Toy Story 4'

    The weekend box office has gone to the dolls. “Annabelle Comes Home,” a supernatural horror film about a possessed toy, is facing off against another band of plastic figurines: “Toy Story 4.” Disney-Pixar’s “Toy Story 4” is expected to dominate box office charts again over newcomers “Annabelle Comes Home” and “Yesterday,” a fantasy musical set [...]

  • 'The Current War' Trailer: Benedict Cumberbatch,

    Benedict Cumberbatch and Nicholas Hoult Feud in 'The Current War' Trailer (Watch)

    101 Studios has released an official new trailer for the Martin Scorcese-produced thriller, “The Current War,”  offering a glimpse into the dramatic 19th century battle over electricity that became known as the “war of the currents.” The film, which is a dramatization of real-life events, will follow the tumultuous journey of Thomas Edison, played by [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content