'Gods of Egypt': A look at the popularity of action-heavy mythology movies

'Egypt,' which stars Gerard Butler as Egyptian god Set and 'Game of Thrones' actor Nikolaj Coster-Waldau as Horus, looks like the newest film in the mold of the hit 'Clash of the Titans,' which combined mythology with lots of action.

A new trailer has been released for the upcoming film, “Gods of Egypt.”

“Gods” centers on a young man named Bek (Brenton Thwaites) who, along with the other people of Egypt, is living under the rule of the tyrannical god Set (Gerard Butler). Bek asks the god Horus (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau of “Game of Thrones”) to help. 

As with recent films like 2010’s “Clash of the Titans,” “Gods” looks to be light on the traditional mythology and heavy on the CGI and action scenes.

The movie is the newest evidence of pop culture’s fascination with Egypt. Stretching back to Howard Carter’s discovery of King Tut’s tomb and before then, the culture has captivated the world. This has extended to film as well.

The 1932 Boris Karloff film, “The Mummy,” was one of Universal’s hit horror films and the 1959 Hammer take on the story was similarly popular. Writers Lawrence Kasdan, George Lucas, and Philip Kaufman chose to set their 1981 throwback adventure “Raiders of the Lost Ark” in Egypt, where archaeologist Indiana Jones works to keep the Nazis away from valuable antiquities. A 1999 remake of “The Mummy,” starring Brendan Fraser and Rachel Weisz, became a box office hit and spawned sequels and spin-offs. 

This new movie's take on Egyptian mythology is also in line with recent mythology adaptations like the 2010 movie “Clash of the Titans.” “Titans,” which is itself a remake of the 1981 film of the same name, stars actors such as Liam Neeson and Ralph Fiennes as Greek gods. The movie is far from a sober retelling of ancient myths, however – the movie is full of big action scenes and battle sequences. “Gods” seems to be in the same mold, and it’s not surprising those behind the movie would be moving in a similar direction – the 2010 movie “Clash” became a box office hit and did well enough to spawn a 2012 sequel.

Previous successes in this vein also include 2006's "300."

“Gods” is also following the example set by “Clash” in another way. The movie based on Egyptian culture is set to be released this February, which is traditionally a quiet time at the box office. “Clash” came out in April, another somewhat quiet time when it was opening opposite movies such as the animated movie “How to Train Your Dragon” and the romantic drama “The Last Song,” films that most likely attracted very different audiences than "Clash." This led “Clash” to box office success. 

This February happens to be a bit more crowded in terms of action films, however. The movie “Pride and Prejudice and Zombies” opens a couple of weeks before “Gods,” as does the superhero movie “Deadpool.” Similarly, the Sacha Baron Cohen comedy “The Brothers Grimsby” also looks it will have a lot of action and that opens the same weekend as “Gods.” Can “Gods” make itself stand out from the crowd?

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