Paramount just slotted Michael Bay’s anticipated Benghazi siege pic 13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi for early next year, on January 15, setting up a box office showdown with New Line’s comedy sequel Ride Along 2, Open Road’s kiddie follow-up The Nut Job 2 and Sony’s YA franchise hopeful The 5th Wave.
Bay, in a change of pace from the Transformers franchise, directed the action-heavy drama, which unfolds at a U.S. compound in Benghazi, Libya, after an American ambassador is killed during a brutal attack. The cast includes John Krasinski, Pablo Schreiber, Max Martini, David Denman and James Badge Dale.
13 Hours is based on Mitchell Zuckoff’s book 13 Hours: The Inside Account of What Really Happened in Benghazi, about the September 11, 2012 attacks that left U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens, U.S. Foreign Service Information Management Officer Sean Smith and two CIA contractors, Tyrone S. Woods and Glen Doherty, dead. With Bay at the helm, we can expect 13 Hours to be an action movie, but it is still a fact-based account of the incident, which was covered up considerably by the U.S. media specifically with regard to then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s apparent failure to properly secure the compound.
That Paramount would pit the film against three seemingly strong contenders demonstrates a great deal of confidence that it can capture the same massive audiences who made American Sniper a box office smash around the same time period earlier this year.
Still, American Sniper didn’t have competition on this scale. Ride Along 2 again stars Kevin Hart and Ice Cube and is a sequel to a hit comedy. The Nut Job 2 will easily draw in the kiddie crowd and accompanying parents. And Sony is banking on sci-fi The 5th Wave, adapted from a YA bestseller, to do Hunger Games-sized numbers, especially with a stacked teen cast including Chloe Moretz, Nick Robinson, Maika Monroe, Tony Revolori and Alex Roe. 13 Hours has its work cut out for it dealing with all three.