2016 has played host to quite a few box office disappointments so far, ranging all the way from big-time franchise sequels like Independence Day: Resurgence to the Ridley Scott-produced sci-fi thriller Morgan. Thankfully, it appears that director Antoine Fuqua’s star-studded remake of classic 1960 western The Magnificent Seven will not be joining those ranks, opening to numbers solid enough to take the top spot on the domestic chart.
The Magnificent Seven not only reunites Fuqua with Training Day leads Denzel Washington and Ethan Hawke, but also boasts a cast full of other big names, including Jurassic World co-stars Chris Pratt and Vincent D’Onofrio, The Killing‘s Peter Sarsgaard, American Horror Story’s Matt Bomer, and Haley Bennett, who previously worked with both Fuqua and Washington on The Equalizer. The Magnificent Seven itself is also noticeably diverse, counting South Korean actor and singer Lee Byung-hun (Terminator: Genisys), Mexican actor Manuel Garcia-Rulfo (From Dusk Till Dawn: The Series), and Native American actor Martin Sensmeier (Westworld) among its ranks.
While opening short of some higher-end projections that placed it around the $50 million mark, The Magnificent Seven still earned a respectable $35 million at the domestic box office, easily knocking Tom Hanks-fronted biopic Sully out of the #1 spot after two weeks. This is the best opening of Fuqua’s directorial career, and the third best for Washington as a lead.
Fuqua’s Magnificent Seven revamp managing to not tank with audiences has to be quite the relief for studio MGM, who recently lost a ton of money on another remake of a classic film, that being Ben-Hur. Made on a production budget of $100 million, Ben-Hur (2016) soundly lost this summer’s cinematic chariot race, earning only $26 million domestically and $60 million worldwide. For those keeping score, that means it came up short of even making its budget back, much less recouping its marketing costs. If that had happened again with Magnificent Seven, MGM could have truly been in for a world of financial hurt.
That said, while its $35 million domestic opening is nothing to scoff at, The Magnificent Seven still has quite a way to go before it becomes profitable in theaters. As one might imagine with this many big names involved, Seven had a pretty large budget as well, coming in at around $90 million. However, that may not be as big of a hill to climb as it might seem.
For one, the western remake has received a glowing A- Cinemascore from moviegoers, suggesting that it’ll likely have good staying power in the domestic top 10. Plus, Denzel Washington movies have a history of doing very well overseas. For example, 2014’s The Equalizer – also directed by Fuqua – made nearly $100 million on overseas grosses alone. The wild card here will likely be the western genre setting, which tends not to do so well outside the U.S. While full foreign totals for the weekend aren’t yet available, Seven has at least already brought in an additional $5 million from South Korea, no doubt at least partially owed to Byung-hun’s presence in the film.
Ultimately, it’s hard to imagine that Magnificent Seven won’t at least break even before leaving theaters, it’s really just a question of how much profit will be made before things are all said and done. The numbers so far might not quite be magnificent, but they’re certainly encouraging.
The Magnificent Seven is in theaters now.