“Exodus: Gods and Kings” toppled “The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1″ from its perch atop the box office, but its opening weekend results fell short of heavenly status.
The biblical epic picked up $24.5 million from 3,503 locations. That was in line with projections, but bringing the story of Moses to life carried a hefty $140 million pricetag. The 20th Century Fox and Chernin Entertainment production will need to perform well overseas and will have to build an audience Stateside if it’s going to be profitable.
The debut audience was 54% male and 65% over the age of 25, and the film played particularly well to Hispanic and African-American moviegoers, who made up 18% and 20% of the crowd, respectively.
“We got the religious audience, but the opening audience was much more diverse than just that,” said Spencer Klein, executive vice president of theatrical distribution at Fox.
Its opening also fell short of the launches of other religious-themed films such as “Noah” ($43.7 million), “Son of God” ($25.6 million) and “The Passion of the Christ”($83.8 million). Working in “Exodus’” favor is that films that open in December have a longer runway. The Christmas holidays means many moviegoers are on vacation, allowing films that debut softly to stick around longer than they might at other times of the year.
“This is a great start for us leading into the holiday stretch,” said Klein, adding, “In this play period you get such a big multiple [on a film’s opening weekend].”
Parting the Red Sea and unleashing plagues of frogs played well in premium formats. “Exodus” generated 11% of its opening from premium large screen formats and 44% of its receipts from 3D showings.
The weekend’s other major new entry, “Top Five,” picked up $7.2 million across 979 locations, good enough for a fourth place finish. Chris Rock wrote, directed and stars in the film about a comedian at a professional and personal crossroads, earning some of the strongest notices of his career.
“We got the launch we wanted and the reaction we had hoped for,” said Rob Moore, vice chairman of Paramount Pictures. “We do feel that word of mouth is going to continue to build as we keep expanding.”
Paramount Pictures picked up worldwide rights to the film from the Toronto Film Festival for $12.5 million and, as part of the pact, the studio agreed to pay at least $20 million in promotion and marketing. It will be on roughly 2,000 screens by the end of 2014 and will begin its overseas launch next year…Read More
Source and Original Content by Variety
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