‘Gods of Egypt’ is year’s first big flop at U.S. box office

‘Gods of Egypt,’ a $140 million effects-heavy film from Lions Gate Entertainment Corp., opened in a disappointing second place, making the mythological tale the first big-budget flop of 2016.

The release collected $14 million this weekend in U.S. and Canadian theaters, researcher ComScore Inc. said Sunday in a statement. The R-rated superhero movie “Deadpool,” from 21st Century Fox Inc.’s film unit, led the box office for a third weekend with $31.5 million, and “Triple 9,” an Open Roads Films crime thriller with an ensemble cast, landed in sixth place.

Rank Movie Revenue(mln) Pct.Chg. Theaters Avg./Theater Total(mln) Weeks 1 Deadpool $31.5 -44% 3,856 $8,169 $285.6 3 2 Gods Of Egypt 14.0 0 3,117 4,491 14.0 1 3 Kung Fu Panda 3 9.0 -28 3,296 2,731 128.5 5 4 Risen 7.0 -41 2,915 2,401 22.7 2 5 Eddie The Eagle 6.3 0 2,042 3,085 6.3 1 6 Triple 9 6.1 0 2,205 2,768 6.1 1 7 How To Be Single 5.2 -37 3,047 1,692 39.6 3 8 Witch, The 5.0 -43 2,204 2,269 16.6 2 9 Race 4.3 -42 2,387 1,790 13.9 2 10 Revenant, The 3.8 -2 1,645 2,310 170.5 10 Top 10 Films Grosses This week(mln) Year Ago(mln) Pct.Chg. $92.1 $89.3 3.1% All Films Year-to-Date 2016(mln) 2015(mln) Pct.Chg. $1,831.2 $1,769.7 3.5% Source: ComScore Inc.

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The low tally for “Gods of Egypt” has led analysts to question whether Lions Gate will turn a profit on the picture. The studio says it recouped all but $10 million of the production costs by selling overseas rights and obtaining Australian tax subsidies. The stock suffered its biggest drop since 1998 this month after the Santa Monica, California-based company reported third-quarter sales and profit that missed analysts’ estimates because of a shortfall in the movie division and concerns about its future slate.

“Lions Gate is trying to start a new franchise and doing that requires a big investment, and obviously in general trying to start a franchise is a risky endeavor,” Paul Dergarabedian, a senior media analyst at researcher ComScore Inc., said in a telephone interview. “This marketplace is so overly crowded, ‘Deadpool’ has done better than anyone expected, and has become a focal point — audiences just love that movie.”

It’s unlikely the film will turn into a franchise, Matthew Harrigan, analyst at Wunderlich Securities, said in an interview before the results were announced. “Gods of Egypt” was predicted to generate $10 million this weekend and $30 million over its first six weeks in North American theaters, Marci Ryvicker, analyst at Wells Fargo & Co., wrote in a note.

Marketing Costs

While the studio was able to defray the production costs, it still incurred millions of dollars in marketing expenses, including an ad during the Super Bowl this month.

The film stars Australian Brenton Thwaites as the mortal Bek, who teams with the god Horus in an alliance against the merciless god of darkness Set, played by Gerard Butler.

Critics slammed the movie, with only 10 percent giving positive reviews, according to the website RottenTomatoes.com. Even before reviews were posted, the studio and director Alex Proyas apologized for picking mainly white actors to play Egyptians.

“Triple 9” opened with sales of $6.1 million, missing a BoxOffice.com forecast of $11.5 million. The film features Chiwetel Ejiofor, Casey Affleck and Woody Harrelson as a crew of corrupt police blackmailed by Russian mobsters into executing a heist. It got 55 percent positive reviews.

The weekend’s other new release, Fox’s “Eddie the Eagle,” opened with sales of $6.3 million, compared with the $8 million forecast of Box Office Guru. Taron Egerton stars as the real-life British ski jumping star Michael Edwards. The film was also well-received by critics, with positive reviews at 54 percent, according to RottenTomatoes.

“Eddie the Eagle and Triple 9 likely did not have huge budgets and ultimately may be profitable films, but they weren’t trying to create franchises with those,” Dergarabedian said.