It looks like that faith-based audience, which in the the past has brought profits to many Christian-focused titles over the years (or at least made them break even), did not come through for Paramount’s $100 million-budgeted retelling of “Ben-Hur.”
The swords-and-sandals epic that follows a Jewish prince’s journey for revenge (and in this rendition of the Lew Wallace novel, a much larger Jesus subplot), took in a measly $11.4 million, according to Variety.
For comparison, Paramount’s last religious-focused project, 2014’s “Noah,” opened with $43.7 million and went on to make $362.6 million worldwide.
Though “Ben-Hur” director Timur Bekmambetov (“Wanted,” “Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter”) delivered some above-average action sequences, its wasn’t enough as the movie’s 29% rating on Rotten Tomatoes kept audiences away.
With little competition, “Suicide Squad” was able to win the weekend box office for a third straight week. Its $20.7 million take gives the movie a domestic total of $262 million to date.
In second place was another holdover, the R-rated animated comedy “Sausage Party,” which took in $15.3 million (only a 55% drop in sales from their opening weekend last week).
In third was the Jonah Hill/Miles Teller-starring new release “War Dogs” with $14.3 million.
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