‘Exodus’ Earned $8.6 Million Friday, Set To Topple ‘Mockingjay’ With $25 Million Debut

The Bible-based film Exodus: Gods and Kings, launched to an estimated $8.6 million Friday at the U.S. box office and is set to clinch the No.1 domestic spot for the weekend.

Ridley Scott’s Exodus: Gods and Kings, an action-drama movie, is on track to earning a total of about $25 million in its opening weekend, pushing The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1, now in its fourth week, down to second position.

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1, a Lionsgate YA adaptation, starring Jennifer Lawrence, which has topped the box office in three consecutive weekends, was in second place Friday, earning an estimated $3.8 million. It is set to post a weekend cumulative of $12.5 million, bringing its gross earnings to $276 million, still over $50 million less than Guardians of the Galaxy.

While Exodus: Gods and Kings, a 20th Century Fox and Chernin Entertainment film, based on the biblical story of Moses, starring Christian Bale as Moses and Joel Edgerton as Ramses, will not open to a debut as big as its biblical epic counterpart, Paramount’s Noah, which earned $15.183 million in its opening Friday, and $43.7 million in its opening weekend, it is expected to deliver strong multiple showing due to the December holiday season.

Exodus: Gods and Kings also falls far below the earnings standard of last year’s The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, which launched to $73.6 million. The Battle of the Five Armies, the final installment of the The Hobbit trilogy, will debut in the U.S. next Friday.

Early reviews of the movie have been mixed, earning 28 percent on Rotten Tomatoes, compared with Top Five (Chris Rock’s new film) which earned 89 percent.

Exodus has been involved in controversy. The movie has been severely criticized for its all-white cast which Fox CEO Rupert Murdoch reportedly defended questionably, arguing in a tweet, “Since when are Egyptians not White? All I know are.”

Paramount’s Chris Rock comedy, Top Five, was in third place on Friday with an estimated $2.5 million from 979 theaters, according to Hollywood Reporter. The film, about a comedian striving to reinvent himself, is expected to hit a $7 million domestic debut, likely placing it fourth behind Mockingjay and Fox’s spin-off Penguins of Madagascar by Sunday.

The family film Penguins of Madagascar, in its third week, earned $1.6 million Friday, placing fourth behind Top Five. It is expected to move to third place Sunday, earning a little over $7 million.

Christopher Nolan’s Interstellar, a space epic, took fifth Friday, earning $1.5 million, while Disney’s Big Hero 6 came sixth, earning $1.4 million Friday. However, Big Hero 6 is expected to finally take the fifth place with a weekend cumulative of $6.2 million and hit a gross of $185 million at the box office.

Exodus: Gods and Kings debuted last weekend in foreign markets, including South Korea and Mexico, earning $23.1 million, and $32 million by Wednesday, Variety reports.