Putting an ill-fated twist on the definition of insanity, somebody somewhere decided that it was a great idea to mount the fifth adaptation of a tale with a title that carries immense weight and pressure on its own, and the only people who should have been surprised that 2016’s Ben-Hur bombed are the ones who thought it was a good idea to make it in the first place.
The legendary Charlton Heston version won a groundbreaking 11 Academy Awards after releasing in 1959, as well as racking up a box office tally that’s equivalent to well over $1.5 billion when adjusted for inflation. In the most delicious twist of irony imaginable, though, the Hollywood classic earned significantly more than Wanted director Timur Bekmambetov’s version, which had the benefit of 57 years of rising ticket prices “working” in its favor.
Falling short of recouping its vast $100 million budget, Ben-Hur V5.0 ended up losing over $100 million for Paramount, underlining the sheer futility of the exercise. Telling the exact story that had already been regaled in 1907, 1925, 1959, and 2003 proved to be every bit as pointless as expected, but the power of the historical epic on streaming should never be underestimated.
Per FlixPatrol, iTunes subscribers have inexplicably found themselves drawn to watching Jack Huston race around in a chariot against unconvincing CGI backdrops, even though the film’s lasting reputation isn’t even that of a catastrophic box office calamity or widely-panned blockbuster, considering there’s probably no shortage of people out there completely unaware a new Ben-Hur was released a mere seven years ago.
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