One of the most underrated films of the year is director Timur Bekmambetov’s latest film adaptation of Major General Lew Wallace’s 1880 best-selling novel, Ben-Hur. Paramount Home Media announced this past week that it will be heading to the home entertainment arena as DVD and Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack editions on Dec. 13.
The ARR comes in at 116 days and domestic ticket sales totaled $25.4 million.
When you go up against director William Wyler’s 1959 Oscar-winner (12 of those little golden statues — Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor, etc. etc.) you are going to get judged by that classic … before the film even gets screened it already got bad press.
That was unfair. Bekmambetov’s adaptation, which is the third theatrical interpretation of the Wallace tome (the 1925 silent version with Ramon Novarro as Judah Ben-Hur, and, of course, the 1959 Charlton Heston presentation), is technically sound, well-produced and the acting, while perhaps not of the grandeur of Charlton Heston, Jack Hawkins, Stephen Boyd and Hugh Griffith, is not lacking ... Jack Huston (perhaps best known as Harrow in the Boardwalk Empire cable series) as Judah Ben-Hur and Toby Kebbell as Messala Severus do just fine in their respective roles.
If anything, the film is more reverent to the source material. Which is something of a They will gladly rent or buy DVD and Blu-ray editions of the film and view it — and enjoy it — in the privacy of their own homes, but going to the movies to see it, not so much. There is a certain cynicism on their part that is difficult to overcome.problem since Hollywood has done such an excellent job in turning that potential audience off to going to the movies these days.
As to the current “core” audience, Ben-Hur is not bloody enough, or loud enough, to satiate their needs. Which brings us full circle back to Ben-Hur being one of the most underrated films of the year … the box office belies that as it had three-strikes against it going in.
It is the remake of a timeless classic (squeals of “How could they do such a thing” could be heard before the film was even screened), the audience most likely to enjoy it is turned off by “Hollywood” these days and the audience most likely to buy tickets is not drawn to films based on narrative … they just want noise. Thank goodness for home video!
As to bonus goodies (all limited to the Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack), there are four featurettes — “Ben-Hur: The Legacy,” “The Epic Cast,” “A Tale for Our Times” and “The Chariot Race” — deleted and extended scenes and unspecified “Music Videos” … we assume that Andra Day’s “The Only Way Out” will be included in the mix.
Also getting a DVD release in December is director Andrew Neel’s Goat, the film adaption of Brad Land’s 2005 best-selling novel “Goat: A Memoir.”
The DVD will be ready on Dec. 20, which yields an ARR of 88 days … ticket sales from the film’s very limited theatrical run were $23,020.
Goat is the anti-Animal House. The fun-loving frat boys of Delta Tau Chi are nowhere to be found in Goat.
Based on a true story about fraternity hazing experiences, we are introduced to Brad (Ben Schnetzer), a 19 year-old freshman who pledges the same fraternity that his old brother, Brett (Nick Jonas) belongs to. That decision will put their relationship as “brothers” to the ultimate test when hell week begins!