Weekend Forecast: ‘War Dogs,’ ‘Kubo and the Two Strings’ & ‘Ben-Hur’

The doldrums of the second half of August are upon us, and this weekend three new wide releases will attempt to flourish at a time when seldom have in recent history. Director Todd Phillips and Warner Bros. will debut War Dogs, Focus Features will bring the latest from award winning stop-motion production company Laika to the big screen, Kubo and the Two Strings; while Paramount / MGM will release a big budget remake of the historical epic Ben-Hur.

The first two weekends in August have seen 14 openers with over $40 million at the box office, but the rest of the month? None. The high water mark for weekends three through five was Inglourious Basterds way back in 2009 with $38 million. However, just as Suicide Squad showed a couple weekends ago, records are meant to be broken and these three new wide releases will hope to do just that.

War Dogs


– Director/writer/producer Todd Phillips is a legendary name in the comedic industry with numerous very profitable films including the wildly successful Hangover trilogy.

– Jonah Hill has proven his worth in the comedic genre as well and should be an additional selling point to attract viewers. Though Miles Teller is not a big draw in his own right his resume has exploded in recent years with enough blockbusters and critical successes to make him an asset to the film’s appeal.

— The film is based on the true story of two US arms suppliers, who have Wikipedia pages that read like a Todd Phillips script already, so the film seems to be a perfect fit for his brand of ridiculous comedy.

– Reviews have been mostly positive so far with a fresh rating of over 60% on Rotten Tomatoes.


– The male demographic is a very keenly contested one in general right now at the box office, with Ben-Hur tapping into it along with holdovers Sausage Party and Suicide Squad which should both have $10+ million pulls this weekend.

Kubo and the Two Strings


– The film is from the acclaimed production company Laika who are the most successful stop motion animation company ever with a long string of hits including CoralineParanorman and The Boxtrolls.

– Laika films have been very consistent at the box office with the three aforementioned films opening in the $14-$17 million range. Kubo looks set to slot into that same vicinity which will be a win for all involved given its positive reviews (93% fresh so far on Rotten Tomatoes) which will undoubtedly lead to a strong run over the next few weeks.


– After a long summer of family-targeted releases the demographic might just be saturated, especially with Pete’s Dragon under-performing expectations despite the red hot Disney pushing it.

– Its social media numbers are lagging behind Laika’s last film The Boxtrolls which had more than double the tweets on Twitter the same distance from release and almost double the likes on Facebook.



– Charlton Heston’s remake of the same name way back in 1959 is one of the most beloved movies of all time, winning 11 Academy Awards and at the time securing the second highest box office total ever.

– Its religious story-line has the potential to reach a very broad audience-base, including many who might otherwise not be interested in the typical summer offerings. As such its social media numbers are not as relevant as traditional blockbuster offerings.

– In recent years faith based films have done exceptionally well at the box office and film makers have continually stoked the fire with quality offerings that have been well received. Examples such as Heaven Is For RealSong Of God and Miracles From Heaven come to mind.

– The novel it is based on by Lew Wallace is one of the most recognizable and popular American novels ever written, and in many regards the merchandizing around the Heston film and novel was a trend-setter for the modern blockbuster in terms of marketing and product tie-ins.


– While social media numbers might not be as important here as traditional big budget action films thanks to its religious themes and marketing, the fact that it is still under 200,000 likes and that Twitter has yet to see much of a movement despite its release being upon us is a red flag nonetheless.

– The filmmakers have openly stated that the film will be a re-imagining of the source material, including the exclusion of many plot points (the film is almost 2 hours shorter than the Heston version) a fact which might turn away fans of the 1959 film.

– With a budget that is reportedly around $100 million and the aforementioned fact that the third weekend in August marks the beginning of the downward spiral of the box office, the film is going to have a hard time recouping its investment. That is a storyline that will undoubtedly give it a lot of negative press which could snowball and affect its long term draw as well.

Top 10 Forecast

BoxOffice Pro forecasts this weekend’s top ten films will generate $120.6 million. That would mark an 41% increase from last year’s $85.4 million when Straight Outta Compton continued to dominate during its second weekend to retain its lead at the box office.

Check out our complete weekend forecast below.

Title Distributor Weekend Domestic Total through
Sunday, August 21
Suicide Squad Warner Bros. $20,000,000 $262,350,000
War Dogs Warner Bros. $16,000,000 $16,000,000
Sausage Party Sony / Columbia $15,500,000 $66,500,000
Kubo and the Two Strings Focus $15,000,000 $15,000,000
Pete’s Dragon Buena Vista $13,980,000 $46,660,000
Ben-Hur Paramount / MGM $13,000,000 $13,000,000
Jason Bourne Universal $8,310,000 $141,330,000
Bad Moms STX Entertainment $7,950,000 $85,440,000
The Secret Life of Pets Universal $6,350,000 $347,610,000
Star Trek Beyond Paramount $4,480,000 $147,510,000