Paramount Pictures rebuked Variety on Tuesday for a recent article about its upcoming film “Noah,” labeling the story “inaccurate” and accusing the Hollywood trade of drawing false conclusions from a recent survey by Faith Driven Consumers.
The religious organization’s survey found that “98% of its supporters were not ‘satisfied’ with Hollywood’s take on religious stories.” Variety reported the survey was evidence that religious audiences were unhappy with “Noah,” Paramount’s upcoming film about the eponymous biblical figure directed by “Black Swan” filmmaker Darren Aronofsky. Paramount objected to Variety’s inferences about its movie.
“The survey question that had the 98% response rate did not contain any reference to the film “Noah,” despite the fact that the Variety reporting implied that it did, and research from industry leading firms about the upcoming epic paints a very different picture,” a press release disseminated Wednesday stated.
Variety’s online editor Stuart Oldham responded on Twitter by accusing Paramount of being “nervous” and tweeted that their story “is 100% accurate.”
“We simply reported the Faith Driven Consumer survey, which you can find here,” Oldham wrote.
The disagreement comes down to how one interprets the survey. The question posed refers to religious movies in general, asking, “As a Faith Driven Consumer, are you satisfied with a Biblically themed movie – designed to appeal to you – which replaces the Bible’s core message with one created by Hollywood?”
However, the headline of the survey reads “SURVEY: Noah Movie Controversy?,” and below the question there is an overview of the recent articles about the depiction of “Noah” in the film.
It references a recent article in The Hollywood Reporter detailing conflict between Aronofsky and executives at Paramount, particularly after the mixed response of religious audiences in test screenings.
“Friction grew when a segment of the recruited Christian viewers, among whom the studio had hoped to find Noah’s most enthusiastic fans, questioned the film’s adherence to the Bible story and reacted negatively to the intensity and darkness of the lead character,” THR reported.
Both sides now insist any disagreement is behind them, and Paramount’s press release pointed to research that “very religious” moviegoers want to see the film. According to Nielsen’s National Research Group, 83 percent of those religious moviegoers aware of the film have expressed interest in seeing it.