Gods Of Egypt first big-budget flop this year

LOS ANGELES • Gods Of Egypt, a US$140-million (S$196-million) effects-heavy film from Lions Gate Entertainment, opened in a disappointing second place, making the mythological tale the first big-budget flop of 2016.

The release collected US$14 million this weekend in United States and Canadian theatres, researcher ComScore Inc said on Sunday in a statement. The raunchy superhero movie Deadpool (Fox) was again the No. 1 draw, taking in an estimated US$31.5 million, for a three-week domestic total of US$285.6 million.

It ranks as the third highest- grossing R-rated film on a domestic basis behind only American Sniper (US$350.1 million) and The Passion Of The Christ (US$370.8 million).

Lionsgate, which is trying to fill a void left by the conclusion of the Hunger Games series, had hoped that Gods Of Egypt would start a new franchise.

But like a lot of Lionsgate films lately, including The Last Witch Hunter and Dirty Grandpa, the fantasy epic was a creative failure, receiving breathtakingly bad reviews.

Moreover, Gods Of Egypt, directed by Alex Proyas, became Exhibit A for Hollywood's diversity problem. Even though the movie is set in Africa, Lionsgate and Proyas cast predominantly white actors. An outcry on social media became so intense that the studio and director issued public apologies.

Lionsgate greatly limited its financial risk on Gods Of Egypt through a variety of manoeuvres, including relying on foreign tax credits and bringing in funding partners. Internationally, the film also struggled, grossing an estimated US$24.2 million from 68 markets, including Russia, Brazil and the Philippines.

Misery loved company this weekend. Sports comedy Eddie The Eagle and heist thriller Triple 9 both failed to connect in their debuts.

Eddie The Eagle, starring Hugh Jackman and marketed with a Super Bowl commercial, took in about US$6.3 million. It was made for US$23 million. Triple 9, with a cast that included Kate Winslet, Chiwetel Ejiofor and Casey Affleck and costing US$20 million to bring to the screen, did an anaemic US$6.1 million.

NEW YORK TIMES, REUTERS, BLOOMBERG

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 01, 2016, with the headline 'Gods Of Egypt first big-budget flop this year'. Print Edition | Subscribe