Things aren’t looking too hot for the Ben-Hur remake. Even the religious undertones of the picture weren’t enough to push the movie to over $100 million worldwide, and in fact, will have a hard time passing even $75 million worldwide, as THR reports.
Given the fact that the flick had a production budget of $100 million, and that marketing usually adds about double to the total costs, it’s speculated that the film will ultimately lose Paramount and MGM $120 million when all said and done. Needless to say, this isn’t a figure that either studio would like to see.
It’s not all terrible news, however. According to the outlet, Paramount only covered around 20 percent of the budget, and as a result, is only predicted to lose around $13 million. Granted, that’s a lot of money, but in terms of Hollywood cash, this is an acceptable loss.
So does that mean MGM will be getting hit the most? Yes, but believe it or not, the $100+ million loss isn’t necessarily the worst thing in the world right now. Don’t get me wrong, this isn’t good news, but the studio has enough going for it to offset the cost.
THR points to Me Before You, the romantic drama that was released earlier this year. The flick starred Game of Thrones’ Emilia Clarke and The Hunger Games’ Sam Claflin, and with a budget of only $20 million, it managed to rake in a hefty $200 million worldwide, which ain’t half bad. The movie exceeded all expectations for MGM, and while its profits don’t fully cover the money lost by Ben-Hur, it certainly helps.
MGM also has their trump card in the form of the upcoming Magnificent Seven, a movie that, by all accounts, should do gangbusters at the box office upon its release.
Chairmain-CEO Gary Barber made the following comment to THR regarding Ben-Hur’s underperformance:
"Although Ben-Hur's theatrical performance was substantially below our expectations, MGM remains in a very strong position. We still expect to achieve considerable adjusted EBITDA and operating cash flow in 2016, which underscores the continued strength of our film slate, our growing television content business and our extensive library that consistently provides a significant annual adjusted EBITDA and cash flow."
Should Magnificent Seven perform as expected, I imagine Ben-Hur will be nothing bug a blip on MGM’s radar. Let’s just hope that the reviews stay strong for the movie. While the trailers have been, dare I say “magnificent,” reception from the Toronto International Film Festival haven’t been the best. They’re not terrible, but not great either.
Either way, it’ll be interesting to see how this all plays out. Given the unexpected success of Me Before You, even if Magnificent Seven only performs well enough to cover its own expenses, the loss from Ben-Hur will likely still fall under the category of "acceptable."
Magnificent Seven hits theaters on September 23, 2016.
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