Exodus: Gods and Kings, a retelling of the story of Moses starring Christian Bale and Joel Edgerton. Despite generally dismal reviews--it's currently clocking a mere 28% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes--it's on track to earn somewhere in the neighborhood of $30 million.
Chris Rock's highly buzzed-about Top Five, which was the subject of an intense bidding war after its debut at September's Toronto International Film Festival, is also opening in wide release at 979 theatres. Its appeal isn't as broad as an actioner like Mockingjay's, and it won't be playing at nearly as many theatres, so snagging the number two spot away from presumed runner-up Katniss and her crew is going to be difficult. Still, it's possible--reviews for the film (92% on Rotten Tomatoes) have been positive.
Inherent Vice, an adaptation of Thomas Pynchon's novel of the same name, with some critics pegging it as a muddled mess. Still, the reviews aren't horrible (Rotten Tomatoes: 72%), and it's only opening at five theatres in New York and Los Angeles, which means its per-theatre average will likely be an impressive $40,000 or higher. It's opening weekend for a Paul Thomas Anderson movie, for Chrissakes--it could be Howard the Duck 2, and cinephiles in New York and LA would still go.
Meanwhile, The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies becomes the latest film to open in international markets ahead of its US release; though it doesn't come out stateside until next Wednesday, the last movie in Peter Jackson's Middle Earth series is premiering in 37 international territories, including the U.K., Japan and Russia, this weekend. By the time it gets to us, it'll have money in the bank. Nobody spoil us for what happens, OK? It's not like there's a book that's been out for more than 75 years or anything.
In the realm of limited releases, among the films hitting theatres in New York and/or Los Angeles are Magician: The Astonishing Life and Work of Orson Welles, Maidan, Poker Night and After the Fall. Jean-Marc Vallée's Wild, which earned $606,810 when it opened last weekend, will add 80 theatres and is likely to benefit from star Reese Witherspoon's Golden Globe nomination.