On another slow weekend at theaters, the biblically inspired epic ‘Exodus: Gods and Kings’ debuted at the top of the domestic box office, according to industry figures reported by movie tracking site Box Office Mojo on Monday. Directed by Ridley Scott and starring Christian Bale as Moses, ‘Exodus’ grossed $24.1 million in ticket sales from Friday to Sunday. The epic is not receiving high praise from film critics or audiences. Only 28 percent of reviewers and 41 percent of moviegoers reportedly like the film, according to movie review site Rotten Tomatoes.
After three weeks in first, ‘The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Part 1’ dropped to No. 2 in its fourth weekend, earning $12.6 million for a total of $276.8 million since opening Nov. 21. ‘Mockingjay, Part 1’ is now the second-highest grossing film of 2014, only behind ‘Guardians of the Galaxy,’ which earned $332.4 million at the box office.
Animated comedy adventure ‘Penguins of Madagascar’ fell one spot to No. 3 in its third weekend, earning $7.2 million for a total of $58.7 million since opening Nov. 26.
Chris Rock comedy ‘Top Five’ opened at No. 4 with $6.8 million. The R-rated comedy is receiving high praise from film critics and audiences. An outstanding 89 percent of reviewers and 75 percent of moviegoers like the film, according to Rotten Tomatoes.
Rounding out the top five is ‘Big Hero 6.’ The animated comedy adventure slipped one notch in its sixth weekend, earning $6 million for a total of $185.2 million since opening Nov. 7.
WEDNESDAY’S NATIONWIDE RELEASE
‘The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies’ opens Wednesday, Dec. 17, with early screenings scheduled Tuesday night. The third ‘Hobbit’ film picks up where ‘The Desolation of Smaug’ ended as Bilbo Baggins finds himself in the midst of an epic war over the treasure of the dwarven kingdom. A respectable 72 percent of early reviews are positive on Rotten Tomatoes, which said the film is ‘suitably grim, epic and action-packed’ and ‘ends Peter Jackson’s second Middle-earth trilogy on a rousing high note.’ Rated PG-13.
FRIDAY’S NATIONWIDE RELEASES
‘Annie’ and ‘Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb’ are opening nationwide Friday, Dec. 19, with early screenings Thursday night. ‘Wild’ is expanding nationwide Friday.
‘Annie,’ starring Jamie Foxx, Quvenzhane Wallis and Cameron Diaz, is a contemporary adaptation of the popular musical family drama about a spunky foster child whose life changes when a wealthy New York mayoral candidate decides to be her temporary guardian. Only 20 percent of early reviews are positive on Rotten Tomatoes with critics calling the film ‘a clichéd mess’ as well as ‘a mildly entertaining and mostly painless family film.’ Rated PG.
‘Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb,’ starring Ben Stiller and the late Robin Williams, is the family comedy adventure sequel to 2009’s ‘Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian.’ In ‘Tomb,’ the powers of a magic tablet are dying, and Larry the security guard embarks on a quest to save the magic before it’s gone forever. Only 44 percent of early reviews are positive on Rotten Tomatoes with critics calling the film ‘a crowd-pleasing mix of inventive ideas, quirky humor and impressive visual effects’ as well as ‘a pretty scattershot family adventure.’ Rated PG.
‘Wild,’ starring Reese Witherspoon, is an R-rated biographical drama about a woman who undertakes an 1,100-mile solo hike along the Pacific Crest Trail to heal herself after divorce, loss and years of self-destructive behavior. A spectacular 92 percent of reviews are positive and 83 percent of moviegoers like the film, according to Rotten Tomatoes, which said the film is ‘powerfully moving and emotionally resonant.’ Based on the memoir by Cheryl Strayed.
TUESDAY’S DVD/BLU-RAY RELEASES
‘Magic in the Moonlight,’ ‘The Maze Runner,’ ‘Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles’ and ‘This Is Where I Leave You’ are among the notable DVD/Blu-ray releases Tuesday, Dec. 16.
‘Magic in the Moonlight,’ starring Colin Firth and Emma Stone, is a romantic comedy about an Englishman who encounters personal and professional complications when enlisted by a friend to help a family under the spell of a mystic who could be a charlatan. Rated PG-13, ‘Magic in the Moonlight’ is written and directed by Woody Allen.
‘The Maze Runner’ is a young adult post-apocalyptic sci-fi action mystery based on the novel by James Dashner. Rated PG-13, the film is about a teenager named Thomas who’s placed with a group of boys after his memory is erased. Thomas soon learns they are trapped in a maze, which requires him to join forces with the other boys for a shot at escape.
‘Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles,’ starring Megan Fox, is a live-action remake of the comic-cartoon heroes who work with a fearless reporter to save New York City from the villainous Shredder and his evil clan. Rated PG-13.
‘This Is Where I Leave You,’ starring Jason Bateman, Tina Fey and Jane Fonda, is an R-rated dramedy about four grown siblings who are forced to return to their childhood home and live under the same roof together for a week in honor of their late father’s last request.