Box Office: “Exodus” underwhelms, “Top Five” is more like top ten

box“Exodus: Gods and Kings,” the entertaining, action-packed Ridley Scott epic about the (mythic) Jewish escape from slavery in Egypt, was always going to have a hard time reaching the faithful.

It’s not airy-fairy mystical like “Noah,” but its Biblical literalness isn’t on a par with the Old Testament/King James version of the story, “The Ten Commandments.” And some preachers are going to be railing about the idea that Moses sees and hears the voice of God as a testy, vengeful child — with a British accent.

Others complained about the “all white cast.” Especially amongst the Egyptians. I’m not sure how you avoid that minefield in this day and age. A movie in which a white prophet’s white God drowns tens of thousands of black people in the Red Sea won’t go over, either.

In any event, the effects and all-star cast drew more than the curious as it earned close to $9 million on Friday. projects it to hit $24-25 million by midnight Sunday.  Reviews won’t help it, though I took it at face value and found the God Child thing ingenious.

Overwhelmingly positive reviews didn’t convince Paramount that Chris Rock is box office, so they opened “Top Five,” his best film ever, on under 1,000 screens. It is headed towards a modest $6-7 million at the box office this weekend. Decent for the number of screens, but that won’t cover cameo star Adam Sandler’s green fees or Jerry Seinfeld’s car collection’s oil changes.

“Hunger Games: Mockingjay” is falling off steeply after making a boatload of cash.

“Wild,” the Reese Witherspoon “Eat, Hike, Love” drama about a promiscuous junkie’s long hike to straighten out her life, added screens and cracked the top ten. It’s tied with “Birdman.” “The Imitation Game” and “Foxcatcher” still haven’t rolled out wider after their SAG and Golden Globe nominations. They’re missing the bounce. Maybe next week.

Reopening “”Nightcrawler” last weekend hasn’t paid great dividends, but perhaps audience will build Sat. and Sunday post-Globes/SAG nominations.

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