Global Box Office: 'Exodus: Gods and Kings' Delivers $23 Million in Early Foreign Launch

Twentieth Century Fox

Release date: Dec. 12
Ridley Scott's religious epic stars Christian Bale as Moses, who leads the Hebrews out of Egypt. The pic will also star Joel Edgerton, Aaron Paul, Ben Kingsley and Sigourney Weaver.

Ridley Scott's biblical epic opened in select foreign markets a week ahead of its U.S. debut

Starring Christian Bale as Moses, Exodus: Gods and Kings marched into its first 10 foreign markets this weekend, grossing a pleasing $23 million as Hollywood once again tests the global appetite for biblical epics.

The 20th Century Fox tentpole, directed by Ridley Scott, fared well in all. Some are heavily Catholic markets, including Mexico, where the film grossed $4.7 million. That was somewhat less than what Darren Aronofsky's Noah scored in its debut earlier this year ($5.7 million), but Exodus was 41 percent ahead of Scott's last film, Prometheus. Conversely, it came in 40 percent ahead of Noah in Spain, earning a dazzling $3.7 million.

Exodus also impressed in parts of Asia, including South Korea, where it secured a first-place finish with an impressive $6.2 million, the biggest opening to date for Scott. The combination of spectacle and biblical themes — there's a strong Catholic population in much of the Asia-Pacific region — also paid off in Hong Kong ($1.2 million) and Thailand ($1.15 million).

Read more North Korea Denies Responsibility for Sony Hack

Made for a hefty $165 million, Exodus also prospered in India with $1.6 million. The tentpole, produced by Chernin Entertainment, opens in another 19 foreign markets next weekend; it rolls out everywhere else at the end of the month and in January in order to avoid a direct confrontation with Peter Jackson's upcoming The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies.

Exodus took the No. 4 spot on the foreign box office chart after holdovers The Hunger Games: Mockingjay — Part 1, Chinese romantic drama Fleet of Time and DreamWorks Animation's Penguins of Madagascar, according to Rentrak.

Mockingjay earned another $31.6 million from 87 markets to cross the $300 million mark internationally, finishing Sunday with $302.8 million in foreign ticket sales. The Lionsgate film also remained No. 1 in North America, pushing its world total to $560.5 million.

Based on the popular novel by Chinese writer Jiu Yehui, Fleet of Time opened to $29 million in China. The romantic drama, directed by Zhang Yibai, follows a group of high school friends as they become adults.

Read more J.K. Rowling Releasing More 'Harry Potter' Short Stories Soon

Penguins of Madagascar marched to $23.5 million from 50 markets for an international total of $94.5 million and worldwide cume of $144.1 million (the film has come in behind expectations domestically). Overseas, the spinoff opened in another eight territories over the weekend, including the U.K. ($2.4 million). It stayed No. 1 in Russia and Italy, as well as enjoying strong holds in Germany and Spain.

Another family film making the rounds in Europe is StudioCanal's Paddington, which grossed $13 million from 19 markets as it ventured outside of the U.K. for an early total of $15 million. The indie movie doesn't open in the U.S. until mid-January.

Approaching the $600 million mark globally is Christopher Nolan's Interstellar. The space epic stayed high up on the foreign chart, earning $22.8 million from 64 markets to come in No. 5. Interstellar has earned a formidable $434.4 million overseas, including a record-breaking $119.2 million in China, for a global haul of $593.1 million. And it has now amassed $72.8 million in South Korea. In both China and South Korea, it is the highest-grossing Hollywood 2D title of all time, while in South Korea, it is also the highest-grossing Warner Bros. film of all time.