‘War Dogs,’ ‘Kubo’ and ‘Ben-Hur’ to Fall Behind Holdovers
In the past, August has been a breeding ground for breakout comedies. Last weekend’s Sausage Party was a prime example, even though it was a special circumstance combining adult comedy with animation. This weekend, biographical comedy War Dogs attempts to lead the pack. Whether or not we have a late summer hit on our hands is highly unlikely though.
Based on Guy Lawson’s Arms and the Dudes, War Dogs follows Efraim Diveroli (Jonah Hill) and David Packouz (Miles Teller) who obtain a government contract to arms for U.S. troops in the Middle East. The most shocking aspect of the entire situation is that they’re in their 20s. War Dogs is directed by Todd Phillips, who brought us the The Hangover trilogy and Due Date. So, it’s easy to speculate that War Dogs will be another hit for Phillips. Contrary to belief, there hasn’t been much buzz surrounding the film. A 59% on Rotten Tomatoes shouldn’t do too much damage as Phillips’ other films score in the same area. Some of the problems come from debuting too late in the summer season whereas each of The Hangover films opened in May or June. Engagements begin Thursday night at 7 p.m. before expanding Friday into over 3,200 theaters. War Dogs could be Phillips’ weakest debut since School for Scoundrels in 2006, pulling in about $9 million by Sunday.
The 2016 animation slate has been very interesting as Finding Dory, The Secret Life of Pets and Zootopia all broke out over the course of the year. Laika’s Kubo and the Two Strings isn’t looking or expected to be a later summer animated blockbuster, nor does it need to be to win. From the same studio as Coraline, ParaNorman and The Boxtrolls, Kubo caters more towards a niche audience that appreciates the art of clay animation.
Kubo happens in Ancient Japan where a young boy must locate a magical suit of armor and battle evil spirits who threaten him and his home. The film features the voice talents of Charlize Theron, Art Parkinson, Ralph Fiennes, Rooney Mara, George Takei and Matthew McConaughey. So far, the Kubo has been receiving extremely positively reviews with a 94% score on Rotten Tomatoes. Scott Menzel calls the film “a love letter to storytelling and an homage to the films of Hayao Miyazaki.”
Kubo opens Thursday night at 6 p.m. in 2D and 3D engagements, before expanding Friday into over 3,200 theaters like War Dogs. There’s a strong chance it could perform on par with Coraline ($16.8 million), ParaNorman ($14.1 million) and The Boxtrolls ($17.3 million). So don’t rule out a $17 million weekend.
Last up this week is Paramount’s remake of Ben-Hur. Starring Jack Huston and Toby Kebbell, this remake retells the story of Judah Ben-Hur (Huston), who goes on a journey from friendship to slavery and a faith-based revelation. The 1959 film starring Charlton Heston won 11 Academy Awards. When it comes to remakes, there’s less critical praise. The film does stand at 29% on Rotten Tomatoes. It’s on par with Ridley Scott’s panned Exodus: Gods and Kings, which revisited The Ten Commandments. Scott Menzel deemed the Ben-Hur remake “a forgettable yet entertaining retelling of a classic tale.”
Ben-Hur opens Thursday night at 7 p.m. before expanding Friday into just over 3,000 theaters. It may difficult for the remake to crack the Top 5, landing around $8 million by Sunday.
Box Office Projections
1. Suicide Squad (Warner Bros.) – $22.1 million (1)
2. Sausage Party (Sony) – $19.4 million (2)
3. Kubo and the Two Strings (Focus Features) – $17.5 million (NR)
4. Pete’s Dragon (Buena Vista) – $10.9 million (3)
5. War Dogs (Universal.) – $9.5 million (NR)