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Deadpool trounces Gods of Egypt at US box office


Story by Jack Foley

FOUL-mouthed superhero movie Deadpool has remained at the top of the US box office for a third straight weekend, thereby trouncing big budget new release Gods of Egypt in the process.

The superhero sensation, starring Ryan Reynolds, bagged another $31.5 million to bring its US total to a whopping $285.6 million.

Gods of Egypt, by contrast, took a paltry $14 million despite a hefty $140 million budget, effectively writing off any chance of a potential new franchise for Lionsgate. If anything, it could become one of the year’s costliest flops.

The ancient fantasy epic, starring Gerard Butler, also bombed overseas, where it opened to $24.2 million from 68 markets for a world-wide start of $38.2 million. It fell flat in Europe, where its top-grossing market was Russia with $3.5 million.

Ironically, Lionsgate chose to open Gods of Egypt in the same weekend as the Oscars – with both bring criticised for its white-washing tendencies. Where the Oscars have been forced to endure a social media mauling behind the hashtag #OscarsSoWhite, Gods of Egypt has come under fire for boasting an all-white cast in a film set in ancient Egypt.

Lionsgate distribution chief David Spitz was forced to concede: “We’re disappointed with the results. It was certainly below expectations.”

Directed by Alex Proyas (of I, Robot fame), Gods of Egypt stars Butler as god of darkness Set, whose rule has forced the Egyptian empire into chaos and conflict, thereby paving the way for a mortal hero, played by Brenton Thwaites, to team up with the god Horus (Game of Thrones‘ Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) to save the empire.

The other two newcomers at the box office, the Matthew Vaughn-produced Eddie The Eagle and indie crime-thriller Triple 9, also failed to impress.

Eddie The Eagle, a loose re-telling of the true story of British ski jumper Eddie “The Eagle” Edwards starring Taron Egerton and Hugh Jackman, opened to $6.3 million to come in fifth.

While Triple 9, a tough corrupt cop drama directed by John Hillcoat and starring Chiwetel Ejiofor, Casey Affleck and Kate Winslet, opened to an estimated $6.1 million to place sixth.

Back in the top five, Kung Fu Panda 3 placed third after Deadpool and Gods of Egypt with $9 million for a US total of $128.4 million, while Sony’s faith-based Risen came in fourth in its second outing with $7 million for a US total of $22.7 million.

Of the Oscar nominated films hoping for a pre-awards box office bump, The Revenant grossed $3.8 million to clear the $170 million mark in the US, which means that if it prevails at Sunday’s Academy Awards ceremony, the film will be the top-grossing best picture winner since The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King in 2003.