Box Office: ‘Noah’ on Course for $35 Million-Plus Opening

Noah

One of the first of many biblical-themed movies to flood the box office in 2014, Darren Aronofsky’s “Noah” is on track for a $35 million-plus Stateside opening later this month.

Insiders predict that the drama could gross upward of $40 million when it hits theaters on March 28, though Paramount is said to be estimating a lower $27.5 million to downplay expectations for the expensive production.

Paramount-New Regency’s $130 million biblical epic, starring Russell Crowe, has proven especially difficult to measure given the flurry of controversy it’s generated in the last couple of months among Christians — one of its targeted demographic groups.

The film, co-starring Jennifer Connelly, Anthony Hopkins and “Harry Potter” star Emma Watson, deviates from the Old Testament story of Noah’s Ark, forcing Paramount to add a recent disclaimer that the film doesn’t directly mirror the biblical tale.

“The film was made for believers and non-believers,” Aronofsky told Variety last week at an art exhibit promoting the film. “I’m more concerned about getting non-believers into the theater or people who are less religious. A lot of people are thinking, ‘Oh. I don’t want to go see a Bible movie,’ but we completely shook up all expectations and people will see that as soon as they sit down and watch the movie.”

Opening less than a month before Easter Sunday (April 20), “Noah” has already been banned in several Middle Eastern countries, including Qatar, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates, on religious grounds. Egypt, Jordan and Kuwait are expected to follow suit.

So far, biblical-themed films are having a good year at the box office.

Earlier this month, Fox’s “Son of God” kicked off this year’s uncommonly large slate of religious wide releases when it opened in theaters to a strong $26 million. The film, based on the five-part History channel miniseries from producers Mark Burnett and Roma Downey,  clearly appealed to underserved faith-based audiences.

“Noah” could draw the same group of theatergoers. A recent Fandango poll of 1,000 costumers found that 76% of the people who bought advanced tickets to “Son of God” planned to see “Noah” as well. A whopping 94% also claimed they want to see more biblical stories on the big screen.

The Big Picture

Unlike Fox’s marketing, which aggressively targeted the faith-based community (Burnett and Downey reached out to Christian and Jewish groups in a grassroots campaign and church groups bought tickets in bulk to organize group outings and theater take-overs), Paramount has reached out to religious groups and the pope, but is taking a broad marketing approach, including a Super Bowl spot.

With the director of arthouse smashes “The Black Swan” and “Requiem for a Dream” behind the camera, the film could draw a more diverse audience than purely religiously targeted films.

Its current projections have the film grossing more than $100 million total at the domestic box office, although insiders suggest the film needs stronger reviews if it wants to wrangle more moviegoers.

The biblical saga, which will have a hard time matching “The Passion of the Christ’s” epic $612 million worldwide gross (or even $371 million domestic), will soon be joined by other religious-themed movies at the box office. Randall Wallace’s Christian drama starring Greg Kinnear and produced by T.D. Jakes, “Heaven Is for Real,” will be released by TriStar next month and Fox opens Ridley Scott’s Moses pic starring Christian Bale, “Exodus,” before Christmas.

Aronofsky said it was a boat, not its religious predecessors, that persuaded the studio to finance the feature.

“I said, it’s at least the second most famous boat if not the most famous boat after the Titanic,” the director laughed. “That was my pitch.”

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  1. Susan says:

    Please know this is not a biblically inspired movie. The name Noah is the only resemblance this movie has to the Bible. NOTHING IN THE MOVIE IS SCRIPTUAL. PLEASE DO NOT ASSOCIATE THIS MOVIE WITH ANYTHING CHRISTIAN.

  2. Emir Smith says:

    are you kidding me? predicting on a comparison of a religious movie that makes a fairy tale dragon story seem more credible? wow someone “insiders” need to change jobs.

  3. B. Hahn says:

    … big name star, large budget, massive advertising campaign, colossal special effects, death & mayhem film of Biblical portions – is on track to make $35 million – plus opening. That doesn’t sound promising. Maybe the headline should be, “Noah Producers Hope (are praying) Film Breaks Even” ?

  4. Johnabroad says:

    Finally a movie that’s actually better than the book.

  5. Bill Brandel says:

    This movie will be awesome. It will generate five million conversations and ten million tweets. I am confident that God knows vow to use all ofthat free publicity. Tok learn more about Noah and the Nephilim, check out this book on AMAZON KINDLE BOOKS,
    “NOAH
    THE LOST TABLETS”

  6. LOL says:

    This film looks crap. It’s looks like a portentous Marvel movie without superheroes.

    Now The Passion of the Christ was a spectacular movie. While Americans saw it in their millions and millions for religious reasons, the rest of us on planet Earth rocked up to watch a good old fashioned torture porn flick. It didn’t disappoint and Mel Gibson is the greatest living director not allowed to make films anymore. Jesus always forgives and H’wood needs to forgive Gibson instead of marooning him on blacklisted Golgotha forevermore.

  7. Julienne says:

    The Special Effects look absolutely amazing. We can’t wait to see it.

  8. kenmandu says:

    i’m rooting for the giraffes and hippos… you go! no-ah!

  9. Mark says:

    hahaha I’m the farthest thing from religious, but I’ll be there opening weekend. Maybe twice. I can’t be the only one.

  10. terry says:

    “1000 costumers polled…” love those opinons!

  11. I hope it’s a huge hit. Sick of ignorant right wing criticism of movies unseen.

  12. Jonathan says:

    Can’t wait to see it. Also I want to see God’s not dead.

  13. Dave Sousa says:

    This film won’t make 100 million. It’s not religious; it’s not secular. Pick a lane, dummy.

    • K says:

      Aronofsky is a dick. Have some respect for other people you pretentious prick. Nice of you to cast incredibly white people as well.

      • Mark says:

        Relax. Being non-religious, Aronofsky might actually cause me to read your “BUY-BULL” story before I watch his film. Show some gratefulness, douche.

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