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Weekend Predictions: Will the Box Office Exodus End?

December 11th, 2014

Exodus: Gods and Kings poster

The box office has been struggling the past few weeks and / or months. It really depends on how you look at things. This weekend there are two films hoping to help 2014 get back into the win column: Exodus: Gods and Kings and Top Five. Exodus will win the weekend with relative ease, but it might not earn more than $20 million in the process. Top Five would like to earn second place with just over $10 million, but it will probably fall short finishing just behind The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Part 1. This weekend last year, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug led the way with $73.65 million. That's more than the top five will make in total this year. It might be more than the top ten earn. Even last year's second place film, Frozen, might make more than the top film this year will earn. 2014 is going to lose in the year-over-year comparison by a large margin.

Exodus: Gods and Kings was expected to be a big hit this month, but that no longer appears to be the case. Firstly, the buzz hasn't really grown like it should have. Secondly, the reviews have gotten much worse. At the beginning of the month, the film's Tomatometer Score was in the 60% to 70% range, which is good for a wide release. However, at the moment, this has fallen to just 32% positive. This would be bad for all but the most critic proof genres (mindless action films and cheap horror movies). It still might surprise and earn close to $30 million, but it could also fail to reach $20 million. I'm going with $23 million, but I'm not very confident in that number.

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Part 1 will be the biggest hit of the fall, but if it wants to be the biggest hit of the year, it will need to get a boost from Christmas. In order to do that, it will need to remain in at least semi-wide release through the new year. This weekend will go a long way in determining if that happens. If it falls below $10 million, which is possible, then those hopes are nearly over. Even its best case scenario is between $12 million and $13 million. The competition is weaker than expected, so I think it will finish on the high end with between $11 million and $12 million.

Top Five's reviews are outstanding and have actually improved since the beginning of the month. On the downside, its buzz is more or less the same and its theater count is just shy of 1,000. There are some who think it will top $10,000 on the per theater chart and it would be wrong to completely dismiss the possibility. That said, I think it will just miss that mark with $9 million. For a film that cost just $10 million to make, that's not a bad start. Thanks to the long legs December releases usually have, it will have no problem topping its $30 million combined budget and if it can get to $50 million, it will break even early in its home market run.

Penguins of Madagascar should be next with $6 million over the weekend for a running tally of about $58 million. It is performing better internationally, which is good news, because it cost $132 million to make.

Horrible Bosses 2 should round out the top five with $5 million over the weekend. It wasn't too expensive to make, but it is also not performing very well at the box office. I expect it to break even, eventually, but the studio was obviously expecting more.


Filed under: Weekend Preview, The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 1, Penguins of Madagascar, Exodus: Gods and Kings, Horrible Bosses 2, Top Five