Despite bad reviews, Warner Bros./DC Comics’ Suicide Squad has done remarkably well in the summer box office, and it was expected to win the top spot for 4th week in a row, but by Sunday, the super-villain movie got bumped down to the #2 spot. However, the big surprise for the weekend wasn’t that the horror movie Don’t Breathe did well, but that it did so well making more than double the initial expectation of $26.1 million on 3,051 screens reports MSN. Suicide Squad came in second, making $12.1 million.
— Access Hollywood (@accesshollywood) August 28, 2016
Produced by Sam Raimi, Don’t Breathe stars Jane Levy, Dylan Minnette, Daniel Zovatto and Stephen Lang and was produced for under $10 million. On the other end of the spectrum, the Ben-Hur remake came in tenth place making just over $4.5 million barely making a dent into its $100 million budget. According to WND, Ben-Hur “is set to go down as one of the renowned flops of hoary Hollywood anecdote. Its probable losses look to be careering towards the $75m mark.” Ben-Hur isn’t alone of course, but the movie is expected to lose more money this summer’s Ghostbusters and Independence Day: Resurgence.
— The Atlantic (@TheAtlantic) August 27, 2016
“In a way the flopping of Ben-Hur confirms what we think we know about Hollywood at the moment,” said Peter Kramer, a film expert teaching at the University of East Anglia, “which is that it is only doing well at franchises and sequels.”
Kramer says the Ben-Hur is just another example of “big screen sandal sagas” not doing well. Even with better computer generated graphics to help these epic films seem that much more epic hasn’t helped. Other recent similar movies that flopped include 2010’s Prince of Persia, 2014’s Exodus: Gods and Kings and this year’s earlier Gods of Egypt.
This week’s movie numbers are as follows:
- Don’t Breathe $26,115,000
- Suicide Squad $12,110,000
- Kubo And The Two Strings $7,909,000
- Sausage Party $7,665,000
- Mechanic: Resurrection $7,500,000
- Pete’s Dragon $7,282,000
- War Dogs $7,255,000
- Bad Moms $5,760,000
- Jason Bourne $5,229,490
- Ben-Hur $4,530,000
Another surprise comes from a report from The Wrap which says that North American ticket sales are up 2.84 percent this summer over last year which comes to just over $4 billion. However, this summer’s season is short one weekend from last year says Patrick Corcoran, vice president of communication at the National Association of Theatre Owners.
“In reality, summer 2016 is on par with 2015, despite being a week shorter,” says Corcoran. Still, that’s pretty good since many have wrong assumed that this summer’s box officer performance was way down. Why? Corcoran says that is because of the bad performances of a few high-profile titles. “The press likes to declare winners and losers, but the health of the industry is not dependent on a few titles.”
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Then there are big titles that might barely break even if they are lucky, like the Ghostbusters reboot and Star Trek Beyond.
“A movie that takes in $250 million and doesn’t recoup its costs to a studio is no less valuable to movie theaters than a movie that makes $250 million and is profitable for the studio,” said Corcoran. “The ticket sales spend the same.”
The sequels are also starting to wear thin on audiences. Of the 14 summer sequels that were produced this year, only three of them have made more money than the originals. Those include Finding Dory, Captain America: Civil War and The Purge: Election Year.
“There have always been flops throughout film history and none of them have ever affected the industry as a whole,” says Kramer. “A few of them have contributed to bringing down a studio, as with Fox and Cleopatra in 1963, and with United Artists and Heaven’s Gate in the late 70s, but individual flops rarely make a difference.”
[Image via Screen Gems]