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‘Gods of Egypt’ Takes Expensive Box Office Belly Flop

The $140 million swords-and-sandals epic from Lionsgate will open to roughly $14 million, making it the year’s biggest flop so far

“Gods of Egypt,” the big-budget swords-and-sandals epic from Summit and Lionsgate, is bombing at the box office.

The Alex Proyas-directed action fantasy, which has a steep $140 million production budget, took in just $4.8 million in its first day of release Friday and is heading for around $14 million for the three days. The projected weekend haul — one-tenth of its budget — makes it the biggest flop of the year so far.

It will finish second but well behind “Deadpool,” which stars Ryan Reynolds and will claim its third-straight weekend win. Fox’s tale of the trash-talking superhero with a boulder on his shoulder is heading for $30 million after bringing in nearly $9 million on Friday. Its domestic haul will hit $285 million and its worldwide gross more than $550 million by Sunday.

The weekend’s two other openers, Open Road’s crime thriller “Triple 9” and Fox’s feel-good family film “Eddie the Eagle,” took in $2.1 million and $1.9 million respectively on Friday. That translates to fifth and sixth place and roughly $6 million for each over the weekend.

“Gods of Egypt,” which stars Gerard ButlerGeoffrey Rush and Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, won’t be a financial disaster for Liongate. Nearly half of the production cost was covered in tax credits by the Australian government and foreign licensing deals lowered the studio’s exposure to between $10 million and $15 million. Proyas produced with Basil Iwanyk.

But its clear the early bad buzz over its essentially all-white casting — and a subsequent apology from the studio and director — and the beating it has taken from the critics has taken a toll, and any thoughts of turning it into a franchise to help replace “The Hunger Games” are dashed.

“Gods of Egypt” was at a dismal 11 percent “fresh” on review aggregation site Rotten Tomatoes on Saturday, and soft-grading first-night audiences weren’t much more impressed, giving it a “B-” CinemaScore.

Neither “Triple 9” nor “Eddie the Eagle” tore it up, finishing behind holdovers “Kung Fu Panda 3” from DreamWorks Animation and faith-fueled Christian drama “Risen” from Sony. But Open Road’s ensemble heist drama carries a $20 million price tag, and producer Matthew Vaughn‘s tale of the British Olympic ski jump hero cost $23 million.

“Eddie the Eagle,” starring Taron Egerton, Hugh Jackman and Christopher Walken, received an “A” CinemaScore, even better than the 72 percent positive rating critics have given it on Rotten Tomatoes. That offers hope that it can play steadily behind good word of mouth over the next few weeks.

“Triple 9” is directed by John Hillcoat and features Casey Affleck, Gal Gadot, Woody Harrelson, Anthony Mackie, Aaron Paul, Norman Reedus, Kate Winslet and Chiwetel Ejiofor. It received a “B” CinemaScore and is at 55 percent positive on Rotten Tomatoes.

The overall box office was running about six percent ahead of the comparable weekend last year, when Will Smith‘s “Focus” was No. 1 with $18.6 million.