Last weekend, Warner Bros.' Suicide Squad managed to win the top slot at the box office for a second time in a row with $43.5 million, despite a massive second-weekend drop of 67.4%. This Friday, it goes up against three wildly different movies, the epic remake Ben-Hur, the animated adventure Kubo and the Two Strings and the true story adaptation War Dogs. Regardless of who actually comes out on top, it's shaping up to be a rather close run, but we think Ben-Hur will win this round with $19.6 million, proof that the summer season is indeed coming to a close.
Suicide Squad's $133.6 million made it the fourth-highest opening of the year. The debut falls below Marvel's Captain America: Civil War ($179.1 million), Warner Bros./DC's Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice ($166 million) and Disney Pixar's Finding Dory ($135 million). Disney Pixar's Finding Dory is still the highest-grossing domestic release this year so far, with $473.8 million, and the R-rated Deadpool lands in the fifth highest debut spot with $132.4 million. According to Box Office Mojo, Suicide Squad's domestic total is at $222.6 million, from a $175 million budget.
As of now, there aren't enough reviews to warrant a TomatoMeter score for War Dogs or Ben-Hur, but Kubo and the Two Strings is already a huge hit with critics, with a 96% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. However, positive reviews haven't lead to big box office success in the past with Laika films. Coraline has an impressive 90% score on RT, but it only opened with $16.8 million and finished with $75.2 million. ParaNorman (87%, $14 million, $56 million) and The Boxtrolls (75%, $17.2 million, $50.8 million) had similar results, and we think this new animated movie will open in fifth place with $16.1 million, behind Suicide Squad in second place with $18.1 million and War Dogs in third with 17.4 million and Sausage Party in fourth with $16.9 million.
Ben-Hur is the epic story of Judah Ben-Hur (Jack Huston), a prince falsely accused of treason by his adopted brother Messala (Toby Kebbell), an officer in the Roman army. Stripped of his title, separated from his family and the woman he loves (Nazanin Boniadi), Judah is forced into slavery. After years at sea, Judah returns to his homeland to seek revenge, but finds redemption. Based on Lew Wallace's timeless novel, Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ, the remake also stars Morgan Freeman and Rodrigo Santoro.
War Dogs follows two friends in their early 20s (Jonah Hill and Miles Teller) living in Miami Beach during the Iraq War who exploit a little-known government initiative that allows small businesses to bid on U.S. Military contracts. Starting small, they begin raking in big money and are living the high life. But the pair gets in over their heads when they land a 300 million dollar deal to arm the Afghan Military-a deal that puts them in business with some very shady people, not the least of which turns out to be the U.S. Government. The film also stars Ana de Armas (Knock Knock) and four-time Oscar nominee Bradley Cooper (American Sniper, American Hustle, Silver Linings Playbook).
Kubo and the Two Strings is an epic action-adventure set in a fantastical Japan from acclaimed animation studio LAIKA. Clever, kindhearted Kubo (voiced by Art Parkinson of Game of Thrones) ekes out a humble living, telling stories to the people of his seaside town including Hosato (George Takei), Akihiro (Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa), and Kameyo (Academy Award nominee Brenda Vaccaro). But his relatively quiet existence is shattered when he accidentally summons a spirit from his past which storms down from the heavens to enforce an age-old vendetta. Now on the run, Kubo joins forces with Monkey (Academy Award winner Charlize Theron) and Beetle (Academy Award winner Matthew McConaughey), and sets out on a thrilling quest to save his family and solve the mystery of his fallen father, the greatest samurai warrior the world has ever known. With the help of his shamisen - a magical musical instrument - Kubo must battle gods and monsters, including the vengeful Moon King (Academy Award nominee Ralph Fiennes) and the evil twin Sisters (Academy Award nominee Rooney Mara), to unlock the secret of his legacy, reunite his family, and fulfill his heroic destiny.
The top 10 is rounded out by Pete's Dragon ($12.6 million), Jason Bourne ($8.2 million), Bad Moms ($7.6 million), The Secret Life of Pets ($4.8 million) and Star Trek Beyond ($3.4 million). Also debuting in limited release is Independent's Kingsglaive: Final Fantasy: XV, Distrib Films' Down By Love and The Student and Mr. Henri, Magnolia's Lo and Behold, Reveries of the Connected World, Music Box Films' Mia Madre, A24's Morris From America, Cohen Media Group's The People Vs. Fritz Bauer and Strand's Spa Night. We don't know for sure if any of these films will be expanding in the weeks and months to come.
Looking ahead to next weekend, three more movies will bring the summer movie season to a close. Sony's thriller Don't Breathe will open in wide release, alongside Lionsgate's action sequel Mechanic: Resurrection and The Weinstein Company's boxing biopic Hands of Stone. Also opening in limited release is Roadside Attractions' Southside With You, Seven Clubs' thriller Black Songbird, IFC's dramatic thriller Complete Unknown, Independent's horror film Daylight's End, Sony Pictures Classics' comedy The Hollars, Magnolia's action-comedy In Order of Disappearance, FilmBuff's Level Up and Five & Two Pictures' drama Remember the Gold. Be sure to check back on Sunday, for the box office estimates, and again on Tuesday for next week's predictions. Until then, take a look at our projected top 10 for the weekend of August 19.