Conservatives hoping that Michael Bay’s latest craptacular boomfest would turn into a huge pop-culture phenomenon that would sound the death knell for Hillary Clinton’s White House campaign came away disappointed on Monday. The Benghazi action flick 13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi pulled in an estimated $19.7 million over the four-day MLK weekend, debuting in 4th place.
Another new release, the Kevin Hart-Ice Cube buddy comedy Ride Along 2, took the top spot, bringing in $41.6 million to overtake Star Wars: The Force Awakens as the nation’s #1 movie. Coming in second was the Oscar-nominated The Revenant, which took in $39 million in the weekend after it was gifted with 12 Academy Award nods. After holding first place for four weeks, Star Wars finally handed over the crown to another. However, the all-time domestic blockbuster champ still pulled in an excellent $32.6 million over the four-day period.
13 Hours, meanwhile, suffered from lackluster reviews and Republicans going out of their way to politicize the film. While the movie itself did not even mention Clinton, who was Secretary of State when the Benghazi attack occurred, and instead focused solely on the CIA contractors/mercenaries who were involved that night, GOPers wanted to make this film all about Hillary. So much so that Republican Presidential frontrunner Donald Trump provided a free viewing during a campaign rally last week.
Now, if the GOP could have held tight for a short while, perhaps the film could have had an opening weekend similar to other January war-based, ‘patriotic’ films that appealed to ‘Murica. Both Lone Survivor and American Sniper debuted with huge numbers the previous two years. (Sniper went nuts, taking in over $100 million during its first weekend.) Sure, those films were well-received by critics — Sniper was nominated for multiple Oscars — but this film had a similar feel to those two.
Anyway, it is still possible that there are enough Constitutional conservatives and drunk uncles out there who could help give this film legs and turn it into an eventual hit. But, as it stands now, Paramount will be lucky to break even on this film, as it cost about $50 million to make. (Pro-America war films usually do shitty overseas.)