Fox's Exodus: Gods and Kings bowed to $8.63 million on Friday, including Thursday's $1.2 million evening gross. Not only does that fall behind Noah's $15.2 million opening day, it also trails the $9.5 million first day take of Son of God (also from Fox).
All things considered, this is a slow start for the estimated $140 million production, although it can be argued that holiday legs and overseas returns still have some potential to help out matters. Unfortunately though, early word of mouth is struggling with a 40 percent Rotten Tomatoes user score and an even weaker 28 percent from critics. Given the slew of competition ahead in the coming weeks, Exodus may struggle to reach $100 million domestically before the end of its run.
This early performance could be indicative of some push-back from faith-based audiences, who were turned away by the controversial Noah flick after a string of other Christian-themed box office hits this year. Most notably, the most "Hollywood" of these faith-based films have proven to be the ones dividing audiences.
For Exodus: Gods and Kings' opening weekend, BoxOffice is currently projecting $24.4 million. In fairness, that's not too far below pre-release industry expectations.
In second place yesterday, The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 1 added $3.79 million, off 43 percent from last Friday. The blockbuster's total now stands a hair under $268 million. BoxOffice projects a $12.5 million frame.
Paramount's Top Five started with a solid $2.5 million from 979 locations yesterday. The Chris Rock pic has garnered very positive reviews (89 percent), and early word of mouth (78 percent audience score) suggests the film could be finding an audience as well. BoxOffice projects a $7 million opening weekend. Paramount plans to expand the film over the next two weeks, at which time CinemaScore demographic information will be provided.
Penguins of Madagascar took in $1.57 million to start its third weekend, down 35 percent from last Friday. The toon spin-off's domestic haul now stands at $53.1 million. BoxOffice projects a $7.1 million weekend.
In fifth place, Interstellar added $1.49 million yesterday. Christopher Nolan's film now stands at $162.8 million domestically. BoxOffice projects a $5.4 million weekend.
Meanwhile, The Theory of Everything expanded into semi-wide release in 1,220 locations and pulled $737,000 on Friday. Its current total is $15.36 million. BoxOffice projects a $2.5 million frame.
The Imitation Game moved into 25 locations yesterday and took in $247,000 or a healthy $9,880 per-theater average. The film's total now stands at $1.37 million. BoxOffice projects an $890,000 weekend.
Last but not least, Paul Thomas Anderson's Inherent Vice bowed in 5 locations to the tune of $128,000 for a $25,570 per-theater average. That's noticeably behind The Master's $242,127 opening day in 5 theaters two years ago, but generally in line with Birdman's $135,602 first day (4 theaters) back in October. BoxOffice projects a weekend close to $390,000.
Follow BoxOffice on Sunday for official studio weekend estimates.