Noah tops US box office with $44m takings

Darren Aronofsky's 'least biblical biblical film ever' storms to number one

Despite controversy surrounding "the least biblical biblical film ever made", Darren Aronofsky's Noah has topped the US weekend box office with opening sales of $44 million (£26 million).

The blockbuster, starring Russell Crowe, Jennifer Connelly and Emma Watson, cost an estimated $130 million to make and has already grossed more than $95 million abroad.

Megan Colligan from Paramount Pictures described the success as a “fantastic result”. “I think the movie really surprises people and makes them want to talk about it,” she said. “There was a pretty good balance of age ranges but a little bit of an older crowd, which we expected.”

Aronofsky’s film has been banned in several Middle Eastern countries for its depiction of a religious prophet. A whole chapter in the Koran is devoted to Noah, who builds an ark to save his family and animals from the great flood.

 

In response to criticism, the studio edited Noah ’s promotional materials to include a disclaimer making it clear that the movie is an imaginative adaptation of the Bible story and not a literal one.

“While artistic license has been taken, we believe that this film is true to the essence, values and integrity of a story that is a cornerstone of faith for millions of people worldwide,” Paramount’s statement read.

Aronofsky has defended Noah , dismissing the controversy as “all about the unknown and about the fear of people trying to exploit a Bible story”. “It will all disappear as soon as people start seeing the film,” he told Variety.

Neil Burger's Divergent about a young woman struggling for freedom in a dystopian world is at number two state-side, while Disney’s Muppets Most Wanted is third.

Read more: Noah is "the least biblical biblical film ever made"
Emma Watson defends Aronofsky's Noah
Noah: Perhaps the end is nigh for biblical stories on screen

Arnold Schwarzenegger's action thriller Sabotage, the other big new release, earned a disappointing $5.33 million over its debut weekend.

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