Monday Morning Quarterback
By BOP Staff
December 16, 2014
Kim Hollis: Exodus: Gods and Kings, the Ridley Scott biblical epic, debuted with $24.1 million this weekend. What do you think of this result?
Matthew Huntley: This is a disappointing figure to say the least, and not just because Ridley Scott's epic carries a $140 million price tag, but because the time of year suggests it should have done better (granted, the story of Moses is hardly a Christmas-oriented, but the religious theme in general should have enticed a broader viewership). What's also disconcerting is the level of competition coming up, so this weekend was the only one Exodus had all to itself, and from here on out, I think it will struggle to reach even $100 million domestically. Plus, with poor reviews, this will go down as one of Fox's few low spots of the year.
Edwin Davies: Even taking into account the way that December weekends are always lower than other times of the year, this is a very weak result. The only hope it has of saving face domestically is if it holds up over the next few weeks, and while we're fond of saying that the holiday box office is the rising tide that lifts all ships, I can't help but think that Exodus is the one ship with too many holes. The bad press surrounding the alabaster casting probably didn't help, but I think that this, along with Noah, shows why the religious films that have done well over the last 12 months have generally not been Hollywood productions. They can't be seen as too religious for fear of alienating a broader audience, so it comes off as inauthentic to the people they could get to come out in force.
Jason Barney: While I am usually one to urge critics to take a breath and settle down with the sky is falling talk about certain movies, here it might be warranted. For a film that has this sort of budget, $140 million, it needed a much larger opening. $24 million would be great if Exodus was made for half of the actual budget, but this is going to be a significant bomb.
The formula for success is not a bad idea here. Studios may never be able to replicate the success of The Passion of Christ, but the possibility of copying some of that film's run is part of what brings on biblical projects like Noah and Exodus. Releasing it right before X-mas really wasn't a bad idea.
However, the reviews are going to drag this film down. The RT score of 28% fresh is just dreadful, and pretty much ensures there will be NO positive word-of-mouth. A film with a soft opening needs buzz, but Exodus isn't getting the kind of talk it needs.
Kim Hollis: It’s a pretty terrible result, particularly given the excessive budget and the fact that it comes from Ridley Scott, a director whose name can be enough to get people into theaters. International box office may help, but probably not enough to really call it profitable. It’s going to be one of those rare films that falls off in December rather than having an extended run.