‘Noah’ Rides Controversy to $44 Million Box-Office Triumph (Video)

Darren Aronofsky's Biblical epic knocks “Divergent” from top spot. Arnold Schwarzenegger's “Sabotage” tanks

The Biblical epic “Noah” rode a tide of controversy to a $44 million opening, sailing past “Divergent” and into the top spot at the domestic box office this weekend.

Darren Aronofsky‘s adaptation of the Old Testament tale surged on Saturday and finished well ahead of expectations that had been tempered by months of negative buzz — mainly from church groups wary of the “Black Swan” director's edgy style and reports that the film strayed too far from Scripture. Distributor Paramount, which backed the film with New Regency, even added a statement at the beginning of the movie noting that it was a dramatic interpretation.

The surprising showing by “Noah” overshadowed a strong performance by Lionsgate's young-adult sci-fi tale “Divergent.” The adventure tale starring Shailene Woodley and Theo James finished second with $27.7 million, just a 49 percent drop from its big opening last weekend, and will cross the $100 million mark in the next day or two.

Also read: ‘Noah’ Reviews: Is Darren Aronofsky's Biblical Vision Divine or Dumb?

The weekend's only other wide opener, the Arnold Schwarzenegger action film “Sabotage,” tanked and wound up in seventh place with $5.3 million. That's the worst opening for the former California governor since he returned to the big screen, behind the debuts of last year's “Escape Plan” ($9.2 million) and “The Last Stand” ($6.2 million).

“Noah” is the biggest opening ever as a leading man for Russell Crowe, who played the ark builder, ahead of “Robin Hood” ($36 million in 2008) and “Gladiator” ($34.8 million in 2000). And it‘s by far the biggest opening for Aronofsky, who co-wrote the script with Ari Handel, and has never directed a film with a budget anywhere near the $125 million that “Noah” cost to make.

The PG-13-rated “Noah” sailed past pre-release projections, which were in the $35 million range. But the poor “C” CinemaScore that it was given by first-night audiences — 74 percent over the age of 25 and equally split between men and women — demonstrated its polarizing nature. About 63 percent gave it an “A” or “B,” 23 percent gave it a “C” and 14 percent gave it a “D” or “F.”

Also read: Louis CK on ‘SNL': ‘Black Jeopardy,’ Obamacare Snoozer Spoof and ‘Dyke & Fats’ (Video)

The critics have been more positive (76 percent on Rotten Tomatoes) on the saga, which co-stars Jennifer Connelly, Emma Watson, Ray Winstone and Anthony Hopkins.

In addition to overcoming criticism from religious groups, Aronofsky and the studio sparred over “Noah.” It was banned in several Middle Eastern countries and the VFX firm that did the effects work lost a bunch of money.

But while the controversy certainly raised awareness, that wasn't the whole story, according to Paramount's head of distribution Don Harris.

Also read: ‘Captain America: The Winter Soldier’ Opens to Huge $75 Million Overseas

“This movie was always meant to be provocative, and it was, but this really was a spectacular piece of filmmaking and that's what really made it work,” Harris told TheWrap.

The Biblical epic got a big boost from its 341 Imax locations, which delivered $6.2 million, or 14 percent of its gross. Eight of the top ten theaters for “Noah” were Imax.

“Noah” is making a splash overseas, where it is available in 3D. It posted the best opening ever for a non-sequel in Russia with $17.2 million, and took in $33.6 million from 22 markets this weekend to raises its foreign total to $51 million in two weeks.

Two kids movies battled for third place. “The Muppets Most Wanted,” back for its second week, beat out DreamWorks Animation's “Mr. Peabody & Sherman,” which is in its fourth week.

Disney's “Muppets” sequel was off just 31 percent from its opening weekend and could hit $11.7 million to raise its domestic total to $33.5 million. ”Peabody” will cross $100 million domestically some time this week, after holding strongly to bring in $9.5 million, just 19 percent down from last weekend.

Three movies that were in limited release went wide with varying degrees of success.

Also read: ‘Godzilla’ Roars at Warner Bros’ Big, Bad Marathon review

Fox Searchlight added 673 theaters for Wes Anderson's R-rated ensemble comedy “Grand Budapest Hotel” and it brought in $8.8 million from 977 sites to finish fifth. That's a 30 percent gain from last week and its domestic haul is up to $24 million after a month in release.

“Grand Budapest” averaged roughly $9,000 per screen, and for the first time wasn't the film with the highest gross per theaters. That went to “Noah,” which averaged $12,430 on 3,567 screens. 

 

Also read: ‘Frozen’ Biggest Animated Film Ever at Worldwide Box Office

“God's Not Dead,” Freestyle Releasing's low-budget drama targeting the faith-based crowd, brought in $8.2 million after expanding into 1 ,164 theaters for its second weekend. That's just an 11 percent drop from last week, and it's taken in more than $21 million in two weeks.

“Bad Words,” the dark, R-rated comedy about a guy crashing a kids spelling bee that was directed by and stars Jason Bateman, couldn't crack the top ten. It took in $2.7 million after Focus Features added 755 theaters in its third week.

Warner Bros.’ sword-and-sandals sequel, “300: Rise of an Empire,” passed the $100 million mark and finished ninth with $4.3 million. That was just behind Disney's hot-car video game adaptation “Need for Speed” and just ahead of Universal's Liam Neeson thriller “Non-Stop,” which raised its domestic total to $85 million with $4 million over the three days.

“Cesar Chavez,”the biopic about the iconic labor leader from Pantelion Films and Participant Media, opened to $3 million from 664 theaters. That's a decent $4,518 per screen average, but it's clear the drama isn't going to match the breakout success of “Instructions Not Included,” last year's Pantelion family comedy that became the highest-grossing Spanish-language film ever in the U.S. with $44 million.

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  • Benjamin Roussey

    I would not watch this movie if you paid me. Sorry liberals, you cannot fake the bible.

    • gr689

      Yeah cause the bible is 100% true…. Liberals, guess that one never gets old with morons

      • jesuss shotgun

        GET OUT OF HERE GHOST!!!!! HOPE U LIKE HELL N FAGGITS CUZ UR GUNNA SEA ALOT OF THEM

      • FL

        Hmmmm, the Bible is the greatest selling book of all time by a very large margin and you are completely ignorant of it. Now really, who is the “moron” here?

        • joe blow

          That's because there's a lot of brainwashed idiots who don't like to think for themselves that prefer the comforts of a cult.

    • guest310168

      O, what a great loss. Buzz off.

  • Benjamin Roussey

    I did not know so many white people white perfect white teeth lived 3,000 years ago.

    • FL

      Why does race have to be a part of the discussion? Isn't that racist on your part. Would you post “I don't think so many black people lived during the civil war….” if the cast was predominately black? Of course not, but then you appear to have racist tendencies.

      • ALP

        I don't see where that guy said he was black. Actually, I thought the same damn thing too when I saw the film: sure were a whole lot of white people back in them days!

        • ALP

          Plus, if you read some of his posts below, you'll see he dogs out Obama pretty hard. Maybe he's a pissed off mexicano.

    • manu

      I thought about that too.
      It seems that even now, if you go to an isolated tribe anywhere in the world, who only have a diet based on unprocessed food, they all die with perfect and complete teeth.
      Think about that for a minute.

    • SocietyisScrewed

      Really? Do we need to go there? It's a fictional film for fuck's sake, stop looking for racism in everything.

    • Ann

      The movie co-stars Jennifer Connelly, whose mother is Jewish, and Logan Lerman, who is 100% Jewish. Surely they can play Old Testament characters.

  • Benjamin Roussey

    “Do you realize that since prayer was removed
    from your schools in 1962, teen pregnancy has increased by more than 500
    percent? SAT scores have dropped 80 points, teen suicide has tripled, the
    divorce rate has tripled and violent crime has increased sixfold? Who convinced
    you that teaching my little ones to pray or learn about who I am would be
    harmful? The opposite if true. The less someone’s heart depends on me for their
    life’s purpose, comfort and love, the more likely they are going to commit a
    crime.

    • guest310168

      F-off to Breitbart, Daily Caller or one of your other loon right wing websites.

    • jesuss shotgun

      AMEN BROTHER PREACH ON!!!!!!!!!! THESE OBAMA WORSHIPPERS NAD FAG SUPPORTERS NEED TO REPENT AND DIE!!!

      • Itsamee

        Well, that's a very Christian thing to say.

        • jesuss shotgun

          its alright ill forgive u when im in heaven n u r in hell burning for all eternity cuz u love fags n killin babies u devil!!!!!!

          • Don Wallin

            Jesuss shotgun is just a troll trolling for troll chum.

          • SocietyisScrewed

            The fact that you have nothing better to do besides troll movie reviews makes me sad. Hope life gets better champ, may buddha bless you.

    • GodIsDead

      Benjamin
      Do you realize MORE MURDERS were caused by religion THAN BY ANY OTHER FACTORS?
      Tens of MILLIONS… If not… HUNDREDS OF MILLIONS of people have been executed, slaughtered and burned at the stake because of your ‘Religion'!
      Babies have been executed because of it….
      We lost ‘treasures’ of history as well as information because of ‘Religion'….
      People have committed suicide because if ‘Religion’
      Violent crimes were committed TEN-FOLD because of religious zealots!
      Women were MURDERED, rather than divorced, because of ‘Religion'.

      That's why I teach my family that your ‘RELIGION’ is bad!

    • Don Wallin

      Prayer has not been “removed” from schools. Anyone can pray anywhere at any time. I'd like the sources for the statistics you quote. Even if they're correct, though, correlation does not equal causality.

    • Zac

      That doesn't mean the two are linked. Using your logic; Since Marilyn Munroe was found dead in 1962, teen pregnancy has increased by more than 500
      percent? SAT scores have dropped 80 points, teen suicide has tripled, the
      divorce rate has tripled and violent crime has increased six-fold?
      Common sense plays an important part in statistical analysis. Did it not occur to you that these changes may have been caused by factors such as an increase in population and population density, parents are getting lazier, relying on schools, the government and church to raise their kids for them, weapons and drugs are much more freely available thanks to globalisation. Most of what you stated applies to the UK as well whose law has changed little in regards to religion over said years. I have seen so many comments made by Americans on the internet that have no logical backbone, and it's getting harder to prevent myself from stereotyping.

  • Benjamin Roussey

    By
    every metric the Obama stimulus failed (no shovel ready jobs, high unemployment
    still remained, more money wasted). It did help America though reach
    $18,000,000,000,000 in debt faster though. It did smash the next generation of
    Americans. So in those horrendous regards, it was a stunning success.

    • Bo

      Do you have any clue how much of a deluded programmed robot you are? Of course you don't. You and the Sarah Palin's of the world are right wing fundamentalist nut bags! I mean, just look at you ranting on and on about Obama being such a liar. They have drummed that into your little brain since day one and need we all forget the lies Bush and Cheney told during their debacle of an administration? You are just a crazed lost soul who believe in fairy tales and wouldn't know the truth if it fell on your head. Thanks the gods there were enough intelligent people in this country to get rid of McCain and Palin and the rest of you crazed and deluded conservatives. Take for example your rant; as if it will do any good to help this country. It's a perfect example of the conservative misguided notions and actions. Pathetic!

      • jesuss shotgun

        GOD HATES U! DEAL WIT THAT U SODOMITE HEATHEN BABY KILLER FAGGOT

        • NSA

          Do your doctors know you've gone off your meds? Poor dear. Mental illness is truly a terrible thing.

          • jesuss shotgun

            THE ONLY MEDICINE I NEED IS JESUS!!!!!!! YOU COULD USE SUM 2 U SATAN LOVING SODOMIZER

          • joe blow

            Oh jesuss shotgun, you're turning me on. I want to sodomize you. I know you'd love it. You and all the other Christians love that.

      • FL

        Bo, your reply doesn't list one fact to support your pompous claim to “intelligence.” And McCain and Palin are obviously more accomplished and intelligent than you are. The OP was right, Obama's drug addiction spending has damaged the US economy and hurt future Americans. Obama has spent more money in 6 years than all other presidents put together. Try to actually think one original thought in your life, it will be an epiphany for you.

    • guest310168

      Shouldn't you be on some right wing nutjob blog like Breitbart? F-off.

      • guest2323

        @guest310168 and @bo…Why are you cracking on this guy for ranting about politics on a film critic site while doing the same thing. Your opinions are different, but please don't get ugly. The truth is this country is falling apart because of the gov, and has been for some time. I'm a Christian and didn't like the embellished movie, but that's just my opinion. My hope is this country can get back to its roots of christianity before corruption sets in all forms of gov and we go bankrupt (highly possible). Just a concerned American praying unity…

        • guest310168

          Thein go do it on a political site please!

          • guest2323

            I feel bad for people who live in such a state of anger that they start aggressive arguments on a “reply page” for thoughts on a movie. I hope you find joy somewhere

          • jesuss shotgun

            I FIND GOY IN GOD N NOWING THAT I AM JESUSS SHEEP AND HIS HOLY SHOTGUNN

          • guest310168

            You are an uneducated, idiot right wing nut job :)

          • jesuss shotgun

            IM ON GODS SIDE UNLIKE U LEFT WING QUEER MONGERING COMMUNIST!!! ABORTION IS MURDER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

            GOD LOVES EVERY LITTLE BABY EVEN THE MUD RACES

      • jesuss shotgun

        YOU WILL BURN IN HELL N I WIULL LAUGH CUZ I KNOW GODS GLORY U FAG LOVER

        • guest310168

          Piss off to hell yourself bigot.

          • jesuss shotgun

            GO BACK TO CALIPORNA U DAMN HIPPY AIDS LOVER

          • guest310168

            I'll leave that to you – you're probably a closet gay. Don't worry, we won't condemn you. You can come out …………. :)

      • FL

        Jesuss Shotgun is not a real Christian he is a plant to make Christians look hateful and stupid. No real Christian would say the things he is saying.

  • Benjamin Roussey

    You believed the Obama lying machine.
    You believed you could keep your doctor and your insurance plan. You believed
    you would have lower health care costs. You believed the website would be
    working and would work. These idiots cannot even set up a website! Hilarious!
    Just like the Germans did in the 1930s who believed an egotistical liar, you
    believed the Obama who continues to lie and earn a Pinocchio every week.

    • guest310168

      Hey, clueless, what does Obama have to do with the movie? Buzz off.

      • jesuss shotgun

        GET OIUT OF HERE YOU GODLESS NIGGER

        • guest310168

          Racist bigot!

          • jesuss shotgun

            THERE R 2 KINDS OF OF PEOPLE. CHRISTIANS AND ATHIEST MONGROLS YOU DAMN LESBIAN SUPPORTING VEGAN

          • FL

            Jesuss shotgun is not a real Christian he is a plant to make Christians look hateful and bigoted. Real Christians don't even come close to saying these types of things.

          • jesuss shotgun

            U NO NOTHING OF THE GRACE OF GOD U FALSE PROFIT HERETIC SATANIST

          • ALP

            Ha! “You damn lesbian-supporting vegan!”

            I'm totally stealing that one.

        • FL

          Geez Jeuss shotgun, would you just go away. You are just pathetic.

    • jesuss shotgun

      defintely OBAMAnation at its best! we discused this properganga in my BIBLE class adn it is not gods word! obamsa is the antichriste

  • Phil

    @Ben… this movie didn't have to be set 3,000 years ago. The movie itself didn't give a certain time-period. It could have been 3,000 years in the future.

  • Nobozo

    Christians love their fairy tales.

    • jesuss shotgun

      US CHOSEN PPLE LOVE HEAVEN WE DONT LOVVE HELL OR FAGGITS YOU ATHESIT SONG OF A BITCH

      • deepmilk

        Sounds fake. Zzzzzzzzzzzzzz!

      • Itsamee

        Do you Christian people also love bad grammar and spelling? WWJD? Jesus would use spell check and keep his cool.

        • jesuss shotgun

          U DONT KNOW WHAT JESUS WULD DO U WERENT THERE N HE WOULDNY TALK 2 U HOMOLOVING SATANISTS!! MY GOD IS A GOD OF ANGER AND JEALOUSY!!!!!

          • FL

            This guy – jesus shotgun- is a fake plant, he is not a real Christian. He is trying to make Christians look hateful. He knows nothing about who God is – that should be obvious to everyone.

          • Aronofkyhellbound

            He is not hateful, he is pissed off like me at this disgraceful movie. If your not upset at this movie, then obviously you don't know God.

          • Knifed in Venice

            *you're*

            Jesus Christ, where were you schooled? Other than right here, right now!

          • Itsamee

            Anger and jealousy are two of the worst circles of hell. Well I'm sure you won't be alone down there.

        • Aronofkyhellbound

          Your a retarded

          • Knifed in Venice

            *you're

            That mistake PROBABLY implies *tag* you're it…you're not your…get it?

      • Knifed in Venice

        Or correct spelling or grammar, you appear to hate those things too but on the plus side you appear to love being a hateful, bigoted prick…so there's that. Congratulations!

    • Aronofkyhellbound

      Your a retard

      • Andrew Martina

        *You're.

  • Caroline Larimore

    Those moaning that it ‘deviates from scripture'….you need to get out more.

    • jesuss shotgun

      U ARE HELLBOUND CAROLINE THE HARLOTT

      • Don Wallin

        What an elegant and compelling rebuttal.

  • socrates’ cave

    I think the movie was incredible. I think it ultimately presented two significant notions: one, I can not deny that there is a force larger than us (God, god, the universe, etc) that influences us; and two, I can not deny that humanness exists, and that human characteristics (even if influenced by a larger force) can not be removed from our experience.
    The movie was not designed to adequately portray scripture. Rather, it was designed to present a possible scenario of the potential relationship between Noah (the man, not just the inspired man) and his Creator.

    • needhelp

      You have bad taste in movies this was Russell Crowe acting at his worst

    • Aronofkyhellbound

      Read the bible, turn to God, and you'll understand why believers are upset.

  • jesuss shotgun

    naoh is fact you damn hollywired sodomites nd liebrals!! god hates you deal with that!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • Everyone hates ignorance

      Jesuss Shotgun, people may actually take more notice of your rant if you improved a few things, like spelling, punctuation, grammar, content. You aren't doing yourself any favours.

      • jesuss shotgun

        I DONT HAVE TO SPELL ITS IN THE BIBLE U IDIOT

        • jesuss shotgun

          U CANT DENY THE BIBLE ITS FACT U BLASPHMEER

        • FL

          Make no doubt about it, if anyone is going to hell, it will be you.

          • jesuss shotgun

            ILL B LAUGHIN AT U IN HELL FROM HEAVEN U DEVIL WORSHIPER

      • FL

        jesuss shotgun is not a real Christian, he is a plant to make Christians look hateful and stupid. No real Christian would say the things he is saying.

  • No

    You're all crazy.

  • CNU

    There's far too much focus the box office dollar amount, especially if you factor in inflation. Trumpeting that Noah brought in more then Gladiator sounds cool until you account for inflation and realize the 2000 opening day take would be worth about $47mil in today's money also if we went by the number of ticket sales and factored in the lower ticket prices in 2000, it'd be obvious that Gladiator had a far more successful opening than Noah.

    • deepmilk

      Exactly. Every year the box office sets a new record as far as money despite selling fewer overall tickets.

    • FL

      I am not sure I agree. Noah took in over $10 million more than Gladiator according to the article. That seems to adjust for inflation quite well. Noah, is very successful by any objective measure.

  • CraigK

    I saw Noah earlier today and I saw no such disclaimer before the film started. Are you sure they went ahead with that?

  • Remove the Offensive Post

    PLEASE REMOVE THE POST BY jesuss shotgun below.

  • FL

    It's interesting, Noah takes place during in a fallen world full of the worst kinds of evil and film critics are just throwing fits about it.

    Whether you believe in the accuracy of Biblical account or not (science has confirmed a world-wide flood did occur), to tell the Biblical story accurately – the evil of that time has to be shown.

    These same hypocritical film critics would tear apart a film about black history that did not accurately show the story that it was portraying. Really MSN and Todd Cunningham are just bigots, which is just sad if you think about it.

  • CharlesWilliamMorganJr

    Those who manage the blogs need to again make it possible to vote “negative” and tabulate the negatives! When the ability to vote “down” was removed, it removed our freedoms! Now, you either vote “yes” or not at all, which is the same as in North Korea and other totalitarian societies! CHANGE IT BACK!

  • john zambales

    This is not your daddys noah

  • Aronofkyhellbound

    Anyone whom thought this was a good movie, will most likely suffer the same fate as those in “Noah”, except with fire. Unless you repent and turn to God. God bless to my fellow believers, and good luck to you non believers.

  • Lizard King

    I'm just laughing at all idiots that believe in some higher being that made this planet lol.Took him 6 days apparently.How long did it take him to make Jupiter or the other planets in the solar system?Or the 200 billion stars in our Milky Way?If god exists why put super massive black holes at the centre of all the known galaxies?lol.The bible is a fairy story book believed by primaries minds.As for the film I'm sure it's action packed and exciting pmsl.

  • Lizard King

    Primitive not primaries ;)

  • rsp

    I hope Jesuss shotgun has a gay child, mother, brother, father, sister , brother, cousin, friend and then he would MAYBE understand being gay is not sinful. Why is homosexuality even a factor in this conversation. Very ignorant person blinded by “faith”.

  • Jesus

    Don't argue about me my children, I love u all. leave the judgment to me, you love each other as you love your self.

    • jesuss shotgun

      DONT WORRY I GOT YO BACK MY ALMIGHTY GOD-LORD JESUS! I WONT LET THOSE DAMMED AIDS INFESTED HOMOQUEERS NEAR YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Cyclops

    I remember Aronofsky beiing attached to “The Wolverine.” But he dropped out of that big-budget picture, in spite of his friend's (Hugh Jackman) attchment to the project.

  • Cyclops

    If adjusted for inflation, I am fairly certain that at least one and probably both of Crowe's earlier successes (Robin Hood and Gladiator) would top the opening for this one.

  • Cyclops

    For “Budapest Hotel” and “God's Not Dead:” both added several hundred theatres, which would pollute the loss percentage shown. What would have been the gain/loss if they had retained the same number of theartres as last week?

  • http://www.freestylereleasing.com Mark Borde

    Yea GODS NOT DEAD!!!

  • SocietyisScrewed

    The comments on this review is exactly why I have that username. People are so depressingly disappointing.

  • Joe Mahma

    .
    No thanks.
    .

  • theonequander .

    since when have hollywood worried about sticking to facts,they change everything if it means bigger profits,the truth just doesnt give them big enough profits