Ben-Hur news round-up: Is the film in box-office trouble?

Ben-Hur news round-up: Is the film in box-office trouble? August 1, 2016

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Another week, another round-up of Ben-Hur-themed news items.

The Hollywood Reporter says the film is on track to gross just $14-15 million in its first weekend in North American theatres. The paper notes that that is an “alarmingly” low opening for a film that reportedly cost “just under $100 million” to produce.

The film will have its world premiere in Mexico City on August 9.

Jack Huston — who plays Judah Ben-Hur and drives a chariot in the film — will drive the “pace car” at an upcoming NASCAR event on August 7.

Entertainment Weekly spoke to Huston about playing Judah Ben-Hur:

Taking on the epic role was equally as surreal. “I always found Charlton Heston, in the most wonderful way, a man’s man,” Huston added. “He’s a solid human being, whereas my interpretation was when you find Judah, he’s rather lost and he’s more of a child or boy whose station gives him the sort of freedom not to process or react to all of the atrocities which have happened to him. He’s sort of blissfully unaware of what it takes to keep the peace. But underneath that, he knows he has an opportunity to possibly do something …I think I wanted to see this progression of a man turning into a man, and seeing how circumstances and certain things that happen in our life changes us.”

DeWayne Hamby spoke to Nazanin Boniadi, who plays Judah’s love interest Esther:

There was clearly a point where she made a point to stay with Christ and made Judah make his choice. “I’m not going to compromise for you.”

I love that from the beginning when she finds the Carpenter, it’s a triangle. It’s not a love affair with Jesus, but he fulfills her spiritual needs and Judah fulfills the love and the physical emotions of love. And there comes a point where she really has to choose does she follow the spiritual faithful path and what defines her and fulfills her spiritually or the person who in the flesh is everything she needs and loves. Then she clearly makes that decision, the person that fulfills her faith.

Newsmax spoke to Huston and director Timur Bekmambetov:

Director Timur Bekmambetov, best known for directing “Wanted,” says the film’s iconic chariot race is hair-raising.

“There are no airbags. There are no brakes [on the chariots]. It’s like today’s NASCAR,” he says. “People enjoy the speed, the tension — and most of all, when someone will crash.”

Derry Journal spoke to executive producer Roma Downey:

It marks a big month for Roma, who’s due to get her own star on Hollywood Boulevard at the end of August.

“I saw the original in Derry with my family,” Roma told the ‘Journal’ this week. “My mother died when I was almost 11, and I remember her being there when we watched it, so I must have been very young.

“It was amazing, but it was a very long movie and I don’t know that we, as a contemporary film going audience, have the patience to watch a three hour movie anymore.

“I remember the original being so long that it had an intermission, so you got a break in between.”

Beliefnet spoke to Downey and her husband Mark Burnett:

“Jack Huston [who plays Judah] gives the most extraordinary portrayal of a man on a journey,” said Executive Producer Roma Downey. “Through the course of the film, we see him change physically and emotionally. Physically, we see him go from this handsome, charming, debonair prince, to a man broken and brought to his knees. Through the years he spends on the galley ship, we see his body tighten and his heart harden. He knows that the only thing that will allow him to survive is to harness his lust for revenge.”

Jack Huston also talked to Jimmy Kimmel about shooting the chariot race …

… and about growing up with his famous relatives (one of whom, his grandfather John Huston, directed and starred in The Bible: In the Beginning… fifty years ago):

Meanwhile, the producers released a subtitled version of the ‘Ceasefire’ music video:

And finally, the studio released a new TV spot via its Twitter account:

Check out earlier trailers and other videos here:

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