The biblical epic "Exodus: Gods and Kings," starring Christian Bale as Moses, debuted with a solid $1.2 million in ticket sales from Thursday night showings.
The film, directed by Ridley Scott and released by 20th Century Fox, is expected to gross $25 million to $30 million in the United States and Canada through Sunday, according to people who have reviewed audience tracking surveys. It is expected to replace "The Hunger Games: Mockingjay -- Part 1" as the No. 1 film domestically.
"Exodus" cost about $140 million to make. It will look to overseas for much of its box office power, having opened last weekend in 10 countries, including South Korea, Mexico and Spain, taking in $23.1 million. Reviews have generally been mixed-to-negative, evidenced by a 27% positive ratings on the website Rotten Tomatoes.
Meanwhile, the much-lauded Chris Rock movie "Top Five" scored $191,324 Thursday evening from showings in about 800 theaters. "Top Five" is not starting out as widely released as "Exodus." It will open in 979 theaters this weekend, compared with 3,500 for the Old Testament tale.
Rock's film was acquired by Paramount Pictures at the 2014 Toronto International Film Festival for $12 million. The studio expects the film to debut with $6 million to $8 million.
For comparison, Lionsgate's African American-focused drama "Addicted" nabbed $164,000 on its Thursday launch in October, on its way to $7.5 million through its opening weekend.
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