Is Ben-Hur in box-office trouble?

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With tickets on sale and the release date only three weeks away, it is now possible to get a sense of how big an audience the new Ben-Hur might have. And the news at this point isn’t very encouraging, as The Hollywood Reporter says the big-budget Bible epic is currently on track to gross only $14-15 million in its first weekend.

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The Bible Tour looks back at the History Channel miniseries and ahead to this year’s Ben-Hur remake

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It has been three years since The Bible aired on the History Channel, and the franchise keeps on ticking. Two years ago, to promote the big-screen spin-off Son of God, the producers organized a concert tour that combined footage from the film with live music by Christian musicians — and that tour has become an annual tradition.

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The Bible and Son of God: just how different are they?

sonofgod-bluray-aIf you’re the sort of person who has wondered just how much overlap there was between The Bible and its big-screen spin-off Son of God, have I got the spreadsheet for you!

It’s still a work in progress, but for now, anyone who is interested can download it from this Dropbox link. The basic idea is this: in one column, I list the timecodes for every scene from the last five episodes of The Bible (with the episode number where the hour would be), and in another, I list the timecodes for every scene in Son of God.

The advantages of this format are twofold: First, you can compare the relative lengths of the two versions of any given scene; more often than not, the movie tightened things up a tad, but every now and then the movie padded things out by adding elements that were missing from the miniseries. And second, because the movie added some scenes, deleted some scenes, and rearranged some other scenes, you can select either column and list all the scenes from one version of the film in the order in which they appeared in that version.

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Moses and the Pharaoh have swords in new Exodus posters

The first posters for Exodus: Gods and Kings are here — and for a film that is supposedly going to be promoted as the next big battle epic from the director of Gladiator, it’s striking to see how sombre and lacking in action these first promotional images are.

They’re also strangely colourless. As you can see from the main poster to the right — which shows Christian Bale as Moses and Joel Edgerton as Ramses kind of glaring at each other while they touch their swords — the images are essentially black-and-white, except for gold-tinted highlights and just a hint of blue.

I also can’t recall ever seeing a Moses movie that made a pyramid as central to its imagery as this poster does. It gives the poster an Illuminati-esque feel, and I’m afraid the first thing it brings to mind is the fact that Exodus director Ridley Scott is attached to an HBO series which will play on the idea that the ancient Egyptian civilization was built in part with help from aliens.

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Box-office update: Edge of Tomorrow “wins” or “loses” the week depending on how you look at it, and more

Depending on how you look at it, Edge of Tomorrow either “won” or “lost” at the box office this past weekend.

That’s right, you can actually argue that Edge of Tomorrow “won”. Most reports have focused on the fact that the $28.8 million that the film opened to in North America last weekend fell well behind the $48 million that the low-budget romance The Fault in Our Stars opened to, and it even fell a bit behind the $34.3 million that Maleficent earned in its second week. But Edge of Tomorrow actually won the weekend overseas and thus worldwide.

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Box-office update: Angelina Jolie, X-Men set new records, while God’s Not Dead passes Son of God in N America

The big news this week is that Maleficent, Disney’s revisionist take on the Sleeping Beauty story, ruled the North American box office with $69.4 million.

That’s smaller than the openings for other recent Disney live-action fairy tales like Alice in Wonderland ($116.1 million) and Oz the Great and Powerful ($79.1 million), but bigger than the opening for Snow White and the Huntsman ($56.2 million), which was produced by Universal.

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