Gods of Egypt: Silly Epic is Colossal Box-Office Flop

Gods of Egypt, Gerard Butler’s $140 million sword-and-sandal tentpole is headed for an epic flop, set to open with about $12 million.

In contrast, Ryan Reynolds’ Deadpool will beat the competition for the third weekend in a row, with a projected $30 million, early box office results show Friday.

Lionsgate’s Gods of Egypt, which will play on 3,117 screens, already represents a major setback for the studio — although it is performing respectably in international markets, with first-place launches in Russia, Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore and the Philippines, as well as a strong Latin American debut. It’s bowing in 68 foreign markets this weekend.

Lionsgate hoped that Gods of Egypt would become a franchise starter.  Studio CEO Jon Feltheimer asserted at that point that the studio’s exposure was under $10 million, due to pre-sales of foreign rights and Australian tax incentives.  But the poor opening weekend, which trailed recent forecasts of $15 million, hurts Lionsgate-Summit’s reputation for starting franchises — which had been burnished by the successes of Twilight and The Hunger Games.

Directed by Alex Proyas (I, Robot), Gods of Egypt centers on a mortal hero, played by Brenton Thwaites, who allies himself with a god in order to save the world, which has been plunged into chaos by Butler’s god of darkness.

Critics have panned the movie, which has a low (12%) rating on Rotten Tomatoes, meaning that most reviews have been negative.

By contrast, audiences have continued flocking to Ryan Reynolds’ Deadpool. If projections hold, Fox’s R-rated hit will near $290 million domestically by Sunday.