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Box office preview: 'Exodus: Gods and Kings' storms into theaters

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The Hunger Games‘ days on top of the box office will be over when Exodus: Gods and Kings arrives in 3,503 theaters this weekend, attracting viewers who want to spend their days off watching Christian Bale re-enact biblical sequences.

Along with the bible epic, Chris Rock’s Top Five is also making its big-screen debut on nearly 1,000 screens while Paul Thomas Anderson’s Inherent Vice hits theaters for the first timebut only in five locations, not enough to warrant any box office waves. But here are the movies that should gross enough to earn them spots in the top five:

1. Exodus: Gods and Kings – $22 million

Exodus, based on the story of Moses, has the benefit of being based on the bible, something that will drive faith-based audiences to theaters so they can see how director Ridley Scott’s version of the Book of Exodus plays out onscreen. Just this year, religious film Noah impressed at the box office with a $43.7 million openingproving there’s definitely an audience for bible-based movies. The difference between the $125 million Noah and $140 million Exodus, though, is that Noah opened with some critical buzz and positive reviews surrounding it while Exodus doesn’t have that advantage. But the advantage it does have is the allure of big names: Bale, Joe Edgerton, and Sigourney Weaver are among the actors in the big budget film, and Scott himself is a draw for some fans who are willing to see whatever the Alien director gives them (even if his work hasn’t been the most consistent in recent years).

2. The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1 – $8.8 million

Mockingjay has been holding strong since it’s Nov. 21 opening, but now it finally has some competition (besides Penguins of Madagascar and Horrible Bosses 2, which aren’t exactly big enough to qualify as competition to the big budget series) in the form of Exodus. The new film will definitely knock Mockingjay out of the top spot, and Top Five might even kick Mockingjay out of the top twobut if it continues the trend of decreasing around 50 to 60 percent, it should remain in at least the top three no matter how the two openings do.

3. Top Five – $8.5 million

There’s a lot of hype surrounding Chris Rock’s Top Five, a movie he wrote, directed, and stars inalong with a number of other stars including Rosario Dawson and Kevin Hart. This will help, along with the fact that it’s a comedyand better yet, a well-reviewed comedyduring a period when the weeks-old Dumb and Dumber To and the not-so-well-reviewed Horrible Bosses 2 are the only other options for comedy fans. The film is opening in about 975 theaters so it’ll be impossible for it to reach Exodus-level figures, but it is possible it could beat out Hunger Games — it’s hard to tell though whether audiences will be more interested in Katniss or Chris this weekend.

4. Penguins of Madagascar – $4.4 million

The DreamWorks film hasn’t been exactly impressing at the box office, but it should bring in at least $4 million this time around thanks to families who don’t see Exodus or Top Five (rated PG-13 and R, respectively) as movies fit for their little ones.

5. Big Hero 6 – $3.6 million

The fifth spot in this weekend’s top five is a toss-up with contenders including Interstellar, Horrible Bosses 2and Big Hero 6 — all films that, if they continue on their current paths, should make around the same amount these next few days. But Disney’s Big Hero 6 might be the safest bet because there aren’t any other new films like it opening in theaters this weekend: Exodus will satisfy audiences who want a big budget, loud epic like Interstellar while Top Five, with its positive reviews and A-list cast, might appeal to comedy fans more than Horrible Bosses 2.