(HOLLYWOODREPORTER) — Exodus: Gods and Kings easily topped the U.S. box office this weekend with a $24.5 million debut, dethroning The Hunger Games: Mockingjay — Part 1, which had held No. 1 for the past three weeks.
While the biblical epic, starring Christian Bale, earned exactly what box office insiders had expected for the weekend, it's not the strongest of starts for the big-budget 20th Century Fox and Chernin Entertainment film. And even though December openings are known for their slower starts and longer burns, Exodus, which cost $140 million to make after tax breaks, will need long legs over the next few holiday weekends to make a solid total. It will face stiff competition as well during a crowded holiday season that includes The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies, family musical Annie, Disney's Into the Woods and Fox's threequel Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb.
While reviews weren't strong and there was some backlash over the casting of mainly Caucasian actors for the roles, Fox points out that Exodus' opening weekend audience was quite diverse, which is promising for the film's future.
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