Saturday, May 25, 2024

Movies: “Ben Hur” Remake Universally Panned, Set to Be Summer’s Biggest Flop with Possible $100 Mil Loss


The reviews are in and they are not good. The remake of “Ben Hur,” opening Friday, should be the biggest flop of the summer, if not the year. The movie is registering a poor 32% on Rotten Tomatoes among critics and bloggers. The number keeps dropping, too.

The big question will be why did Paramount greenlight a remake of the classic 1959 film with director Timur Bekmambetov?

read about Leonardo DiCaprio’s charitable foundation here

Trade reviews are terrible, and the onslaught of negatives on Rotten Tomatoes and Meta critic are is on its way.

The budget is listed officially at $100 million, but $150 million seems like a more reasonable number for what’s been spent. The only thing going for it is a lack of overpaid stars.

And that may be the problem. While Jack Huston and Toby Kebbell are fine actors, they’re not big names. “Ben Hur,” if it had to be done at all, needed a “Gladiator” like Russell Crowe to drive the chariot around the box office.

But why remake this at all? Why remake most of the remakes? Let them alone on Turner or AMC. New ideas are what’s needed. Hollywood just keeps going back and back to a well no one’s interested in.

I digress. “Ben Hur” may do well overseas, where no one will be the wiser. But in the U.S., unless people are desperate for air conditioning, it sounds like trouble is coming.


Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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