'Ben Hur' Director Blames U.S. Box-Office Failure on Film's "Forgive Your Enemy" Message

Timur Bekmambetov - H 2015
Courtesy of Bazelevs

Timur Bekmambetov says that few people can "understand and accept" that message.

Timur Bekmambetov, the Russian director of the Hollywood movie Ben-Hur, one of the year's biggest flops, has blamed the movie's message of anti-vengeance for its failure at the U.S. box office.

"It is unusual for a Hollywood movie to have the message that you have to forgive your enemy," Bekmambetov said in an interview he gave to the Russian news agency RIA Novosti.

"As it turned out, these days, few people can understand and accept this message," he went on to say. "The idea of revenge is much more popular in this world. [The movie's] box-office performance was, to a large extent, linked to that."

Based on Lew Wallace's 1880 novel Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ, the movie, produced by MGM and Paramount on an estimated budget of $100 million, opened in the U.S. in mid-August and grossed just $26.4 million domestically.

In Russia, the movie was released by Central Partnership and grossed $4.6 million (284 million rubles). It is currently 41st on the list of the year's top-grossing movies, according to the local data base KinoPoisk.