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March 30, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

That ark had some launch over the weekend — Noah‘s, that is. Exceeding all expectations, the Darren Aronofsky epic opened with a gusty $44 million, a testament to strong story-telling, performances and marketing. It defied a backlash by conservative Christians who angrily damned the film for presenting a revisionist version of the biblical tale that failed even to mention the name of God. “If you are looking for a biblical movie, this is definitely not it,” said conservative commentator Glenn Beck on his radio talk show last week. Friday-night moviegoers gave the film a C Cinemascore rating, but 63 percent gave it an A or B rating, while 23 percent gave it a C and 14 percent gave it a D or F. observed that it marked the highest debut ever for a film starring Russell Crowe in a leading role and that it already has earned more than Aronofsky’s first four movies combined. All in all, it was a big weekend for the bible. In its second week, God’s Not Dead expanded to 1,164 theaters and brought in an estimated $8.2 million, representing a tiny 11 percent drop from last week, placing it fifth at the domestic box office. Costing just $2 million to produce, it has now taken in more than $21 million in two weeks. (By contrast, Noah cost $125 million.) In its second week, Lionsgate’s Divergent dropped a modest 49 percent to about $27.7 million, bringing its 10-day total to just under $100 million. Also in its second week, The Muppets Most Wanted dropped just 31 percent. With $11.7 million in ticket sales the movie has raised its total to $33.5 million. Another animated family film, Mr. Peabody & Sherman, was off just 19 percent from last weekend, bringing in $9.5 million. It, too, should cross the $100-million mark by next weekend. And then there’s the Arnold Schwarzenegger movie Sabotage. It was expected to flop but not on the scale that it did. It opened in seventh place with a dismal $5.3 million. The film cost $35 million to make.

The top ten films for the weekend, according to studio estimates compiled by Rentrak:
1. Noah, $44 million); 2. Divergent, $26.5 million; 3. Muppets Most Wanted, $11.4 million; 4. Mr. Peabody & Sherman, $9.5 million; 5. God’s Not Dead, $9 million; 6. The Grand Budapest Hotel, $8.9 million; 7. Sabotage, $5.3 million; 8. Need for Speed, $4.3 million; 9. 300: Rise of an Empire, $4.3 million; 10. Non-Stop, $4.1 million.