'Gods of Egypt' becomes year's first big-budget bomb at the box office

Looks like the God of Darkness fell upon the opening-day box office for "Gods of Egypt."

Lionsgate's hopes for a mythical franchise set in ancient Egypt were dashed heading into the Oscars weekend on Friday, as the swords-and-sandals epic starring Gerard Butler as Set, the God of Darkness, bombed with an estimated premiere haul of $4.76 million, for a less-than-godlike $1,527 per-screen average. 

That likely will translate into a three-day gross of $14 million in domestic box office — a puny figure for a movie estimated to have totaled $140 million in production costs. Thankfully for Lionsgate, tax credits from Australia, where shooting took place, plus foreign pre-sales will reduce the studio's exposure to losses.

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Long before its release, "Gods of Egypt" attracted scorn from many quarters for using mostly white actors to play Egyptian characters. Reviewers also refused to bow down to the film; "Gods" earned a scathing score of 23 out of 100 on the critics' aggregation site Metacritic. Moviegoers on Cinemascore, usually lenient graders, gave the film an unimpressive "B minus" rating.

"Gods of Egypt" had to settle for a No. 2 bow on Friday, behind Fox's smash-hit "Deadpool," which piled on $8.95 million starting its third week of release for a cume of $263 million.

Two other major premieres also saw underwhelming box office numbers.

"Triple 9," the thriller from Open Road Films, jockeyed for third place with just $2.14 million, for a subpar $970 per-screen average.

Audiences likewise failed to root for "Eddie the Eagle," Fox's feel-good sports movie starring Hugh Jackman. "Eddie" went downhill, with a $1.93 million take, landing in the No. 6 spot.

Among notable holdovers, Fox's "Kung Fu Panda 3" earned $1.95 million for the No. 4 spot, boosting its total past $121 million, just grazing past Sony/Columbia's actioner "Risen," landing in fifth with $1.94 million ($17.6 million).

"The Revenant," the outback period epic from Fox starring Leonard DiCaprio, is the lone Oscar contender for Sunday's show among the top 10. It added just under $1 million, for a cume that now stands at more than $167 million.

Twitter: @scottcollinsLAT

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