The calendar year is barely two months old but the first major causality of the 2016 movie year has arrived and well, pretty much dropped dead on arrival. That would be the controversy-laden swords and sandals epic Gods of Egypt which opened this weekend with a hefty production budget of approximately $140 million and will likely only earn around $14 million in its opening weekend. Distributor Lionsgate won’t shoulder too much of the cost thanks to international tax credits and licensing but still this won’t be the start of a new franchise for the studio either. Of which was certainly the hopes for the distributor now without Twilight, The Hunger Games and soon Divergent to keep them afloat.
Gods of Egypt, which was directed by Alex Proyas (Dark City, Knowing) and written by The Last Witch Hunter scribes Matt Sazama and Burk Sharpless, has been a bit of PR problem child for some time now. The mythical Egyptian set fantasy has been hampered with controversy due to its lily white casting (a practically sensitive subject these days) that includes Gerard Butler (London Has Fallen), Nikolaj Coster-Waldau (Game of Thrones) and Brenton Thwaites (The Giver). So much so that director Proyas and Lionsgate separately apologized for the whitewashed casting choices- never a good thing prior to a films’ release. Reviews for the film have been particularly dreadful – the film currently sits at a rotten 13% on Rotten Tomatoes.
Internationally, the film may be able to recoup slightly but likely not nearly enough to make it a success in the end. The film also couldn’t contend with surprise juggernaut Deadpool which will continue to reign the box office in its third weekend. The Ryan Reynolds phenom is expected to earn a nifty $30 million this weekend with a grand total of $280+ likely in the can by Sunday.