Love it or hate it, Timur Bekmambetov’s remake of Ben-Hur was one of the year’s biggest flops. And now one of the studios behind the film has revealed just how badly it hurt their profits.
Deadline reports that Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, which paid 80% of the film’s production costs (the remaining 20% was paid by Paramount, the studio that distributed the film), told its investors this week that the box-office failure of Ben-Hur led to a $47.8 million write-down for the fiscal quarter between July and September:
“Our third quarter results were negativity impacted by a significant impairment charge resulting from the substantial underperformance of Ben-Hur,” MGM CEO Gary Barber told analysts during the quarterly earnings call today.
Just to recap: Ben-Hur cost an estimated $100 million to produce and a fair bit more to promote, and it ended up grossing only $26.4 million in North America, plus another $67.7 million overseas (for a global total of $94.1 million).
The film is not quite done theatrically — it comes out in Japan on January 13 — and there’s still the home-video release. But it’s likely to remain a money-loser.