In a 5.31 studio-by-studio assessment of summer releases, The Hollywood Reporter‘s Stephen Galloway quoted box-office analyst Jeff Bock about Paramount Pictures’ slate: “Paramount has a lot riding on Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows (6.3) and Star Trek Beyond (7.22). They would ideally like to pump infinite sequels out of these properties. And then there’s Timur Bekmambetov‘s Ben-Hur (8.19). God help them.”
I for one haven’t the slightest intention of even glancing at the Ninja Turtles trailer, much less sitting through it. And I can’t imagine how my life would be adversely affected if I missed the Star Trek flick. But Ben-Hur, at least, offers a certain grotesque fascination. Will it just blow chunks in every respect, given Bekmambetov’s slovenly tendencies as a director? Is there a chance of any aspect of the newbie being regarded as an improvement over William Wyler‘s 1959 version?
The April trailer led to speculation, for example, that the oar-slave sea battle sequence might represent an improvement, at least technically. We know the ’59 chariot race sequence can’t be topped, and I don’t even want to think about Bekmambetov’s “no water for him!” scene between Judah Ben-Hur, that pitiless Roman soldier and Yeshua of Nazareth.
While it’s hard to imagine anything about the Trek or Turtles films that will stir anything close to intrigue, Ben-Hur, at least, seems to offer the potential of something truly dreadful, and therefore might be the most interesting of the three.