Thanks to the heavy criticism surrounding the movie, "Noah" gets the publicity it needed and successfully took the number one position in the weekend box office. The Darren Aronofsky-directed film racked in an estimated $44 million in ticket sales, a number beyond the studio's expectations.
Paramount Pictures initially forecast a $30-million weekend opening for the biblical movie that used $130 million in budget. It actually gained $95 million overseas. "It was a fantastic result," Paramount's president of domestic marketing and distribution Megan Colligan said in a statement. "I think the movie really surprises people and makes them want to talk about it."
The film faced chagrins before its release. Some religious groups claimed the story had been inaccurately portrayed, prompting Paramount to add a disclaimer to marketing materials saying that "this isn't a literal version of the Bible." There was also a debate whether Paramount would release Aronofsky's preferred cut and whether Russell Crowe got to meet the Pope.
Nevertheless, "Noah" had a fair share of male and female audience as well as major turnout among Christians, Catholic Latinos and African American. "There was a pretty good balance of age ranges but a little bit of an older crowd, which we expected," Colligan said.
Coming second in the weekend box office is last week's champion "Divergent" which generated approximately $26.5 million. One of the newcomers in the list was the biopic "Cesar Chavez". Despite well-reviewed, the film only pulled in an estimated $3 million in its opening weekend, sitting at number 12.