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Weekend Estimates: Exodus Leads with Lackluster Debut

December 14th, 2014

Exodus: Gods and Kings poster

Big budget bible epic Exodus: Gods and Kings is probably the riskiest studio bet this Holiday Season. The $140 million-budgeted film will need to do considerable business domestically and internationally to earn a profit, and biblical epics haven’t had the best of track records in recent years. Early signs aren’t great, with Fox projecting a $24.5 million opening weekend, well behind the $43.7 million earned by Noah earlier in the year. There is room for the film to recover though, as it will almost certainly be able to keep playing in a lot of theaters through the New Year. $100 million seems like the top end of domestic expectations at this point, and its international performance so far doesn’t suggest overseas coin will help make up the difference.

The weekend’s only other new wide release, Top Five, is doing marginally better business from far fewer theaters. Paramount predicts it will earn $7.2 million from 979 theaters for an average a bit over $7,000. Good reviews should lead to good word of mouth and the film could prove to be something of a sleeper hit.

Generally, this is proving to be a decent weekend for returning movies, with The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 1 off a relatively modest 40% to $13.2 million for the weekend and $277 million to date. Penguins of Madagascar will be down just 33% to $7.3 million, although its $58.8 million total so far is somewhat disappointing.

Among the Oscar hopefuls, The Theory of Everything leads the pack again this weekend, with $2.525 million projected from 1,220 venues. More impressive, however, is Wild’s entry into the top 10. It is set to post $1.55 million from just 116 theaters this weekend for an average of $13,400. Two other films with Oscar aspirations are posting even better averages: The Imitation Game will pick up about $875,000 this weekend from 25 theaters for an average of $35,000, and Inherent Vice debuts in five locations with an average of $66,000, making it one of the best opening performances of the year.

- Weekend Estimates

Bruce Nash bruce.nash@the-numbers.com

Filed under: Weekend Box Office, The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 1, Penguins of Madagascar, Exodus: Gods and Kings, Inherent Vice, The Theory of Everything, The Imitation Game, Wild, Top Five