13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers Of Benghazi

  • 13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers Of Benghazi
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    [Total: 8 Average: 3.5]
  • Directed By: Michael Bay
  • Written By: Chuck Hogan, Mitchell Zuckoff
  • Release Date: January 15, 2016
  • Domestic Distributor: Paramount
  • Cast: John Krasinski, James Badge Dale, Pablo Schreiber

Box Office Info:
Budget: $50 million Financed by: Paramount
Domestic Gross: $52,853,219 Overseas Gross: $16,558,151

The budget for 13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers Of Benghazi was $50 million and it was financed by Paramount and the project was greenlit to keep Michael Bay in the Paramount/Transformers business.  Despite Bay claiming the movie is apolitical, 13 Hours was seized by pundits and political figures.  During the 2016 dumpster fire primary season, Republican candidate Ted Cruz championed the film and Donald Trump in response held a free screening in Iowa and the pic was screened to numerous key GOP figures.  For better or worse, 13 Hours became a topical film that played strong in red states and played poorly in the northeast and northwest.  Paramount’s expensive marketing campaign tapped into the conservative zeitgeist, which included heavy coverage on FOX News, screenings at military bases and the three surviving contractors from the attack were sent out on a 19 city press tour at churches, sport events and military base visits.

Going into release Paramount spent $25.8 million on national TV spots and millions more after its opening, plus millions spent on radio, print, online, poster, etc — with a domestic P&A spend far north of $40 million.  13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers Of Benghazi was scheduled to open over the Martin Luther King Jr holiday frame, which saw massive success in 2015 with American Sniper.  Other January war pics that saw success like Lone Survivor, Zero Dark Thirty and Black Hawk Down had strong reviews and Oscar campaigns behind them that broadened their appeal, but 13 Hours received mixed reviews and was also seeing direct competition with The Revenant which was over-indexing in the heartland.

Paramount booked the pic into 2,389 theaters against Ride Along 2 and the animated Norm Of The North and it was tracking for a debut just over $20 million.  It came in just under expectations with $16,194,738 for the weekend and $19,225,923 for the 4-day holiday frame — placing #4 behind Ride Along 2, The Revenant and Star Wars: The Force Awakens.  41% of its opening gross was from theaters in southern states.  Despite the polarizing response, audiences gave the movie a solid A cinemascore, but its box office was negatively impacted the following weekend by Sunday’s NFL championship and it declined 44.2% to $9,030,400.  It held on well in its third frame, declining only 30.5% to $6,274,244 but the pic closed its run with $52,853,219.  Paramount would see returned about $29 million after theaters take their percentage of the gross — leaving part of their P&A costs in the red and the budget untouched.  Troubling numbers since 13 Hours would be dependent on the domestic market.

Overseas, the patriotic American war theme translated into a miserable $16.5 million cume, with most markets posting grosses under $1 million in ticket sales.  And the movie predictably caused an uproar in Libya, seeing how Libyans had not been so maligned on screen since Back to the Future.

The movie sold very well on home video, racking up over $40M in sales (less after reseller’s take their cut and manufacturing costs), which would bring 13 Hours closer to a break even point.


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  1. This movie did insane business on home video which brought the film into profitability. Not sure why this important piece of info isnt written here.

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