It has been a summer season filled with pretty tremendous box office bombs, but no movie has taken a hit quite like Ben-Hur. This is a remake that seemingly nobody wanted, and the box office tally thus far seems to dictate that was definitely the case. As of this writing, the movie has only made $54 million at the worldwide box office and that means that the studios behind the movie are going to take a massive financial hit.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, Ben-Hur is on track to lose somewhere in the neighborhood of $120 million. The report sites that sources close to the production and multiple box office analysts helped to determine that figure, which would make it the biggest box office bomb of the summer. MGM and Paramount co-financed the movie, with MGM having an 80 percent stake and Paramount taking on the other 20 percent, so both studios will also share in the massive loss.
Ben-Hur was taking on one of the most beloved and classic movies in the history of cinema, so it was facing an uphill battle from the very start. The studios spent $100 million to remake the movie, and that was before a very expensive marketing push. It didn't help anything that the movie was lamented by critics, as it currently sits at a mere 28 percent approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Even though the movie has yet to open in a few international markets, that revenue isn't very likely to help all that much. Estimates have Ben-Hur topping out at around $75 million, which would put it well below even making back its production budget.
MGM will be taking on the lion's share of the losses, as they have an 80 percent stake in the movie, but ultimately Paramount may be in worse shape overall. Paramount has faced a long string of disasters such as Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows and Star Trek Beyond from this summer alone. As it stands, Paramount is on track to lose more than $500 million over a two-year period. So yes, Paramount Pictures is going to lose less money than MGM, but they can ill afford to lose any more money, especially on something they were hoping to bring in big money.
Ben-Hur was far from the only major tentpole movie that took a dive at the box office this summer. Aside from the already mentioned Paramount disasters, Disney's The BFG, Warner Bros. The Legend of Tarzan and Fox's Independence Day: Resurgence all lost a truckload of money as well, but Ben-Hur will wind up at the top of the heap, or bottom depending on how you look at it. Hopefully Hollywood can try to learn a lesson or two from these flops, especially Paramount, sooner rather than later.