Weekend Wrap-Up

Exodus Fails to Get the Holiday Fire Burning

By John Hamann

December 14, 2014

His time spent in makeup was probably a daily nightmare.

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Reviews for Exodus were awful. Only 34 critics out of a possible 121 found something to like here, giving it a rotten rating of 28%. "Top critics" were even lower at 24%. The Cinemascore is a B-, a small step up from Noah’s score, but one that puts any form of legs in serious jeopardy. In fact, if it weren't the holiday season, Exodus would be in even more trouble. Given the effects, the release date and the star power, one of the better comparisons for Exodus may be The Golden Compass, even though the target isn’t quite the same. The Nicole Kidman/Daniel Craig fantasy film opened on December 7, 2007 to $25.8 million and went on to earn $70.1 million stateside. It cost $180 million to make, and was bailed out overseas with a worldwide gross of $372 million. Despite what looks to be a large gross, Compass flopped, as it needed to earn more than a half-billion worldwide to see a profit. Exodus won’t need quite as much, but it will be looking for $400 million to keep Fox out of trouble.

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1 may have benefitted slightly from the poor debut for Exodus. For the first time, Katniss and company were able to keep the drop above the 50% mark, as Mockingjay Part 1 earned $13.2 million, and fell 40%. That’s an improvement over the last two weekends when it fell 63% and 53% compared to the opening and second weekend respectively. Mockingjay is not going to even approach what the first two films did ($408 and $424 million domestically), but will succeed as a standalone. Mockingjay cost $125 million to make, which means it needs at least $375 million worldwide. So far it has earned $277.4 million stateside and $334 million overseas. Given that the holiday season is approaching, I do expect it to get to $300 million domestically, which is more than those damn Twilight films ever made.


Third spot goes to those pesky Penguins of Madagascar. The animated film had a better weekend this time around after getting beat up pretty badly over its first two frames. This weekend, the kid-friendly flick earned $7.3 million, but dropped a somewhat slim 33% compared to last weekend. Penguins is skewing very young (Alvin and the Chipmunks young),as we are seeing multipliers well above 4.0, which means the film is not being seen on Friday, Then, theaters are being overwhelmed on Saturday and Sunday. This one cost a hurtful $132 million to make, which means its needs $400 million worldwide to see a theatrical profit. Overseas numbers are decent ($100 million plus), but a domestic score of 58.8 million so far is going to sink it.

That puts new release Top Five from Chris Rock in the top five this weekend at #4. Top Five, the extremely well-reviewed comedy from Paramount, opened at 979 venues this weekend and earned a respectable $7.2 million. It had a solid venue average of $7,365. Rock goes Woody Allen here, writing, directing and starring in Top Five, and critics went gaga. Top Five is currently 89% fresh at RottenTomatoes, and Rock has a hit on his hands. To be honest, Rock has always been a wasted talent at the movies for me, as I enjoyed him in Nurse Betty way back in 2000, but off the top of my head can’t think I’ve seen him in another movie I’ve enjoyed since. Made for only $10 million (with Paramount acquiring it for $12.5 million), Top Five should see a healthy profit, especially if it can gain some traction and expand over the holidays.

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