In a tragic twist of irony, the last movie released in the summer season has emerged as the biggest flop of the year so far. The remake of Ben-Hur from director Timur Bekmambetov cost $100 million (before marketing) to make and has currently recouped just $54 million worldwide.
By the time Ben-Hur finishes its theatrical run it might hit $80 million, which means the MGM/Paramount movie is looking at a loss in the $120 million area. Summer 2016 has been a difficult time for some big studio movies with sequels taking the brunt of the damage. While there is no formula to creating a “sure thing” in the movie industry, you know something has gone wrong when Steven Spielberg’s adaptation of the BFG flops big time. On a side note, Spielberg’s BFG might have its problems (there’s a whole heap of nothing happening for ages), but it is filled with more warmth, magic, and creativity than any glossy animated flick about pets or zoo inhabitants. We HAVE to stop taking Spielberg for granted.
The BFG was the first time Spielberg directed a film for Disney, with a production budget of $140 million, the $170 million its made worldwide will equal at least a $90 million loss for the House of Mouse. As we’re on the subject of Disney, they might have scored big hits with Captain America Civil War and Zootopia, but their Alice Through The Looking Glass was DOA.
The sequel to Tim Burton’s $1 billion-grossing Alice in Wonderland washed up with a confused marketing campaign and its star Johnny Depp in the press for all the wrong (alleged) reasons. Perhaps more importantly, the movie itself was a shoddy mess and audiences weren’t interested. Costing at least $170 million to produce, Alice 2 didn’t even gross $300 million worldwide and will end up with a loss of $60 million. I doubt anybody will lose any sleep over a multi-billion dollar corporation losing a few bucks, and the profits from Finding Dory, Civil War, and Zootopia more than make up the shortfall.