The first big-budget box office bomb of 2016 has arrived in the form of Lionsgate’s sword-and-sandals would-be tentpole, Gods of Egypt, which opened to an estimated a paltry $14 million domestically with the hefty price tag of a $140 million budget. The mythological fantasy epic led by Gerard Butler and Nikolaj Coster Waldau, which debuted to resounding negative reviews, also failed to resonate with audiences overseas. While Gods of Egypt doesn’t arrive China until March 11th, the film fell flat internationally, grossing an estimated $24.2 million from 68 markets, including Brazil, the Philippines, and Russia, which emerged as the top-grossing market with $3.5 million.
In the wake of their retiring headline franchises The Hunger Games and Divergent, Lionsgate had hoped to build a new film franchise off of Gods of Egypt, a hope that was dashed by this weekend’s grim box office crash and burn.
While Gods of Egypt‘s performance is certainly a disappointment, Lionsgate took preventative measures to mitigate financial risks through a combination of foreign pre-sales and a massive 46% Australian production incentive. All told, that brings the studio’s budget exposure under $10 million, but that number doesn’t include significant investments in the marketing campaign.
“We built a strong financial model so we could take a big swing in hopes of creating a new franchise with very little financial risk,” said David Spitz, Lionsgate’s domestic distribution chief. “The film didn’t work as well as we hoped but fortunately our downside is very limited.”
Elsewhere, 20th Century Fox’s superhero gamble Deadpool continues to soar in its third week, easily taking first place at the box office and grossing $31.5 million from 3,856 theaters domestically. That brings Deadpool‘s domestic haul up to an estimated $285.6 million, making it the third highest-grossing R-rated film domestically behind American Sniper ($350.1 million) and the long-time reigning R-rated box office champ The Passion of the Christ ($370.8 million). With only three weeks in theaters, there’s a chance Deadpool could trump those figures in its theatrical run.
Internationally, Deadpool celebrates crossing the $600 million mark worldwide after this weekend’s returns grossed another $40 million overseas, bringing the foreign total to $324.2 million, and the global total to $610 million.
Kung Fu Panda 3, which placed third at the domestic box office this weekend with $9 million, also has cause to celebrate as the DreamWorks sequel scored the record as China’s top-grossing animated film of all time with $144.2 million. With the domestica tally up to $128.4 million, that brings the animated Jack Black comedy to $314.2 million worldwide.
In other animated animal news, Disney’s Zooptia, which doesn’t arrive in US theaters until March 4th, scored $30 million in 31 markets, bringing the early foreign tally to $81.4 million.
Back on the domestic front, Sony’s faith-based Risen landed in the No.4 spot with $7 million, while newcomer Eddie the Eagle landed the No. 5 spot in a disappointing debut haul of $6.3 million. It’s a significant let down for Fox’s inspirational sports comedy, which cost $23 million to make. Led by Taron Egerton and Hugh Jackman, the film tells the true life story of British ski-jumper and unlikely Olympian Eddie “The Eagle” Edwards, and while the first weekend is a disappointment, Fox hopes that the film’s A CinemaScore will help it find an audience in the coming weeks.
The final new release of the week, John Hillcoat‘s gritty heist thriller Triple 9 also failed to resonate with audiences, earning only $6.1 million in its debut weekend despite its star-studded cast and Hillcoat’s filmmaking prestige. Led by Casey Affleck, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Anthony Mackie, Aaron Paul, Woody Harrelson, Kate Winslet, Teresa Palmer and Gal Gadot, the tale of crooked cops and criminal enterprise cost $20 million, landing in the No. 6 spot for Open Road films.
|2.||Gods of Egypt||$14,000,000||$14|
|3.||Kung Fu Panda 3||$9,000,000||$128.5|
|5.||Eddie the Eagle||$6,300,000||$6.3|
|7.||How to Be Single||$5,155,000||$39.6|