Ridley Scott’s $140m ‘Exodus: Gods and Kings’, starring Christian Bale and Joel Edgerton, won the North American weekend box office with a $24.5m haul but there is no course for celebration at Fox. The studio was expecting over $10m more from the debut session and the biblical epic faces a difficult Christmas period after receiving bad reviews – 25% on RT (and 35% with TC’s) – and a below par ‘B- CinemaScore from first night audiences. By contrast, Darren Aronofsky’s ‘Noah’ enjoyed a $47m opening earlier this year from a similar target audience but carried a lower $125m budget. Fox is already relying on the international markets to mitigate the damage.
The weekend’s other wide release, ‘Top Five’, grossed a strong $7.2m from a low 979 theatres. It’s Chris Rock’s third feature in the director’s chair and found favour with the critics, registering 89% on RT (and a stunning 95% with TC’s).
But pride of place this weekend belongs to Paul Thomas Anderson’s ‘Inherent Vice’, which made a massive splash in the speciality market with a stunning $66,000 per-screen average from five theatres. It goes wide on January 9.