Box Office Report: Exodus: Gods and Kings Rules Over Quiet Weekend

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With a solid debut in fourth place was Chris Rock’s critically-acclaimed comedy Top Five, grossing $7.2 million. The film opened in just under 1,000 theaters and Paramount is set to widen Rock’s film over the holiday season. However, with the buzzy R-rated comedy The Interview opening, as well as no Golden Globe nominations to boost its appeal, Top Five will have to run on its good word-of-mouth. This could be the film’s only weekend in the box office top five. Still, a leggy run like the star-driven comedy St. Vincent‘s from earlier this fall would not be a surprise. If Paramount’s R-rated niche comedy Young Adult could finish with around five times its opening against harsher competition in 2009, a total of $40 million seems like a good target for Rock.

Meanwhile, Golden Globe nominee and boffo box office performer Big Hero 6 slid only 24% this weekend, taking in another $6.1 million. With $185.5 million in its coffers so far, the film is days away from surpassing the total of Wreck-it Ralph. Despite the family competition over the holidays, it should easily cross the $200 million mark.

Although the multiplexes were quiet this weekend, specialty and art-house theaters were packed, as audiences wanted to catch up on intriguing new titles and Golden Globe nominees. The Reese Witherspoon-led drama Wild cracked the top 10 from only 116 theaters, grossing $1.6 million, and the film is slated to hit more than 800 theaters next weekend. Witherspoon is considered a major awards contender, but Wild may not stand out in a crowded marketplace. A good goal is outgrossing 127 Hours‘ $18.3 million.

Meanwhile, the very slow expansion of The Weinstein Company’s The Imitation Game continues to impress. The biopic starring Benedict Cumberbatch earned another $875,000 from just 25 cinemas, upping the film’s total to $2 million. With great reviews and many Golden Globe nominations, The Weinstein Company is hoping for a success near the level of true wartime story The King’s Speech. Expect the studio to roll out the film in wider release over Christmas.

Even though it missed out on a Best Picture – Musical or Comedy berth at the Globes, Paul Thomas Anderson fans still came out in droves for his loopy drug-infused trip, Inherent Vice. The film earned a whopping $330,000 from only five theaters. While that is a spectacular result, it was also a smaller per-theater start than the director’s past three films (The Master, There Will Be Blood and Punch-Drunk Love). The film did do slightly better initially than Her, last year’s Joaquin Phoenix flick from Warner Bros., which opened to the tune of $260,000 from six theaters after a Wednesday opening. With its convoluted plot and odd humor, though, Inherent Vice may have a hard time breaking out. A nationwide expansion is still set for Jan. 9.

Here are the numbers for the Top 10 films at the North American box office for the weekend of December 12 through 14, 2014:

1. Exodus: Gods and Kings – $24.5 million (NEW)
2. The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1 – $13.2 million ($277.4 million total)
3. The Penguins of Madagascar – $7.3 million ($58.8 million total)
4. Top Five – $7.2 million (NEW)
5. Big Hero 6 – $6.1 million ($185.3 million total)
6. Interstellar – $5.5 million ($166.8 million total)
7. Horrible Bosses 2 – $4.6 million ($43.6 million total)
8. Dumb and Dumber To – $2.8 million ($82.1 million total)
9. The Theory of Everything – $2.5 million ($17.1 million total)
10. Wild – $1.6 million ($2.4 million total)

NOTE: These numbers are weekend estimates based on Friday and Saturday’s estimated takes. Actual numbers for the three-day weekend are reported on Monday afternoon.

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