Box Office: 'Exodus' Marching Toward $25 Million Debut

Exodus: Gods and Kings Still 4 - H 2014
Kerry Brown/Twentieth Century Fox

Exodus: Gods and Kings Still 4 - H 2014

The Biblical epic starring Christian Bale will take the No. 1 spot from holdover "The Hunger Games: Mockingjay"

Exodus: Gods and Kings is on track to earn north of $8 million Friday on its way to topping the North American box office this weekend, taking the No. 1 spot from The Hunger Games: Mockingjay — Part 1, which has reigned for the past three weekends.

The film, an epic based on the story of Moses (Christian Bale), earned a decent $1.2 million in late-night showings Thursday and will likely take in $23 million to $25 million in its domestic debut. Directed by Ridley Scott, Exodus is opening in 3,503 theaters this weekend.

The 20th Century Fox and Chernin Entertainment film features a strong cast, including Joel Edgerton, John Turturro, Aaron Paul, Sigourney Weaver and Ben Kingsley. While a mid-$20 million debut is a softer start, films opening in December have longer legs than most of the year, and insiders expect the film to hold up well over the holidays, especially because of the story's biblical ties.

Fellow biblical epic Noah earned $43.7 million in its debut earlier this year. (Noah collected $1.6 million in its Thursday night opening-weekend showings.) Exodus is not expected to earn as much in its debut but should hold up over the holidays.

This weekend's other new release, Chris Rock's comedy Top Five, is on its way to earning $2.5 million to $3 million Friday for a domestic debut of around $8 million.

The film, which Paramount acquired in September at the Toronto Film Festival, follows a comedian (Rock) who is determined to reinvent himself as a serious actor. It took in $191,324 in evening shows Thursday night.

Top Five, written and directed by Rock, is opening in 979 locations this weekend. After screening in Toronto, the film received strong reviews (a 90 percent fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes) and stars several well-known actors and comedians, including Rosario Dawson, Gabrielle Union and Kevin Hart.