'Exodus: Gods and Kings' expected to champion box office

'Exodus: Gods and Kings' is expected to top the weekend box office with a gross of $25 million to $30 million

The biblical epic “Exodus: Gods and Kings” will probably top the box office this weekend, replacing "The Hunger Games: Mockingjay — Part 1" as No. 1.

The film is expected to pull in about $25 million to $30 million in 3,503 locations, according to people who have seen prerelease audience surveys.

“Mockingjay” will probably fall to second in its fourth weekend, adding about $12 million. Meanwhile, Chris Rock’s “Top Five” could open to about $8 million in 975 locations.

Directed by Ridley Scott (“Gladiator”), “Exodus” stars Christian Bale as Moses. The movie, released by 20th Century Fox, has already pulled in about $23.1 million in 10 foreign markets.

It earned a paltry 39% “fresh” rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Fox’s expectations are on par with the $25-million tracking projection.

Like several other religious films released this past year, “Exodus,” which cost about $140 million to make, could see huge success at the box office.

“God’s Not Dead,” which opened March 31, grossed roughly $60.7 million in the U.S. and Canada. The film follows a Christian college student (Shane Harper) who finds his faith challenged by a philosophy professor who believes that God doesn't exist.

Similarly, “Son of God,” adapted for the big screen by husband-and-wife producing team Mark Burnett and Roma Downey, grossed roughly $59.7 million in the U.S. and Canada. The film, which opened Feb. 28, is a retelling of the life of Jesus using footage from the 10-hour History Channel miniseries “The Bible.”

Darren Aronfsky’s “Noah,” released March 28, sailed at the box office as well, grossing roughly $101 million in the U.S. and Canada.

“Top Five” was acquired by Paramount Pictures at the 2014 Toronto International Film Festival for $12 million. The studio expects the film to debut to $6 million to $8 million.

The movie follows New York City comedian and film star Andre Allen (Rock) who has to confront his past and comedic career after doing an interview with journalist Chelsea Brown (Rosario Dawson).

Rock’s previous feature as writer-director-star was 2007’s "I Think I Love My Wife," an adaptation of Eric Rohmer’s “Chloe in the Afternoon.” It opened to about $5.6 million and ultimately grossed $12.5 million in the U.S. and Canada.

The overall box office is down about 4.6% year to date, but upcoming releases such as “The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies” are expected to bring moviegoers to theaters during the holiday season.

As the end of the year approaches, studios and movie chains are hoping ticket sales in the U.S. and Canada will catch up to last year’s record of $10.9 billion.

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