Box-office roundup – Dec. 14, 2014 – “Exodus” plagued by weak opening

exodus-gods-kings-joel edgerton and christian bale1. Exodus: gods and kings – $24.5 million [debut week] Ridley Scott’s action take on the Biblical tale had a so-so opening weekend — it was nearly half of similar Bible-skewing action film “Noah (Blu-ray + DVD + Digital HD),” which debuted to $43 million. This is assured a short stint atop the box office as the final installment of “The Hobbit” arrives in theaters next Wednesday further cutting into “Exodus'” chance to make a significant dent in its $140 million budget. Critics savaged the film giving it a 27% freshness rating on and it apparently didn’t connect any stronger with audiences either. Expect this to have a brief stay in the Top 5 as a slew of new movies are coming out in the next couple of weeks.

The Hunger Games - Mockingjay Part 1 - Woody Harrelson as Haymitch Abernathy2. The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1 – $13.2 million [4th week; $277 million] After a three-week reign atop the charts, the third chapter of “The Hunger Games” dropped to second place as it notched over $600 million worldwide and is now the year’s second highest grossing film of the year.

3. Penguins of Madagascar – $7.3 million [4th week; $57 million] Fox’s animated film held on for another week, but is being hit hard by the continued success of “Big Hero 6,” which is remaining strong competition and affecting “Penguin’s” bottom line big time.

4. Top Five – $7 million [debut week] Chris Rock’s comedy had a higher theater per average gross than any film besides “Wild” and with strong word of mouth and solid critical buzz — with 89 percent on — it should have a decent hold in the next few weeks.

5. Big Hero 6 – $6.1 million [6th week; $185 million] Disney’s big animated hit remains a force and only dropped 24 percent. It’s now looking like it should hit $200 million.