'Ben-Hur' Could Be Racing Toward Box-Office Disaster

If early tracking numbers are any indication, that chariot race may be the least of "Ben-Hur's" worries.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, the big-budget adaptation from MGM and Paramount Pictures is on a course to open with just $14 million to $15 million over the Aug. 19-21 weekend. That's a pretty grim domestic debut for a film with an estimated $100 million production budget.

The website notes, however, the studios have three weeks to go all in with their promotional push, which would include courting religious audiences.

Directed by Timur Bekmambetov, the film has been characterized as a reimagining and new interpretation of Lew Wallace's 1880 novel "Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ," which has been adapted three times before (most famously in the 1959 epic starring Charlton Heston). This version stars Jack Huston in the title role as a young nobleman who becomes a Roman slave after a betrayal by his adoptive brother (played by Toby Kebbell). Years later he seeks revenge in a grand chariot race while being changed by a series of encounters with Jesus of Nazareth.

"Ben-Hur" also stars Morgan Freeman, Nazanin Boniadi and Rodrigo Santoro.

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