n Russia, “Noah” scores the biggest opening of all time for a non-sequel, while “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” grosses a huge $75.2 million from its first 32 foreign markets; elsewhere, Arnold Schwarzenegger hits another career low with “Sabotage.”
Darren Aronofsky’s controversial biblical epic Noah has delivered salvation, opening to a stellar $44 million in North America from 3,562 theaters after winning over faith-based and mainstream moviegoers alike, despite the director’s darker take on the story of Noah and his Ark.
Internationally, Noah absolutely dazzled as it landed in Russia, grossing $17 million and nabbing the best opening ever for a non-sequel. It is also the fourth-biggest opening of all time. Noah earned $33.6 million from 21 markets for the weekend, pushing the film’s early international cume to $51 million and worldwide total to $95.1 million.
Overall, the biggest player overseas this weekend was Disney and Marvel’s Captain America: The Winter Soldier, which opened in 32 markets a week ahead of its April 4 domestic debut, grossing a mighty $75.2 million.
In North America, Noah played to Aronofsky’s fans and upscale moviegoers on the one hand, and on the other, to Christian audiences, particularly in southern states. Noah is also doing sizable business among Catholic Hispanics, and African-Americans. In general, the movie drew an equal number of females and males, while skewing older (54 percent of ticket buyers were over the age of 25).
The big question now for Noah is how well it holds, both domestically and overseas, in the face of The Winter Soldier.
Noah, starring Russell Crowe, cost $125 million-plus to make, and received generally strong reviews. The film, however, only drew a C CinemaScore, indicating it did polarize some audiences.
“The movie is very unusual and very unique, so the reactions were very passionate,” said Paramount vice chairman Rob Moore, who noted that only 15 percent gave Noah a D or an F, dragging down the overall grade. Conversely, 65 percent gave it an A or a B.
In the U.S., Paramount went to great lengths to appease concerns among religious leaders and church organizations about the tone of the film. The studio agreed to tweak its marketing campaign in recent weeks to say that Noah — which has a strong environmental component — is inspired by the story of Noah and the Ark, versus being a literal retelling of the wrath-of-God story.
Noah also stars Anthony Hopkins, Jennifer Connelly, Emma Watson, Ray Winstone, Logan Lerman and Douglas Booth.
Title, Weeks in Release/Theater Count, Studio, Weekend Total, Percentage Drop, Cume
1. Noah, 1/3,567, Paramount/New Regency, $44 million.
2. Divergent, 2/3,936, Lionsgate/Summit, $26.5 million, -51.5%, $95.3 million.
3. Muppets Most Wanted, 1/3,194, Disney, $16.5 million, -33.1%, $33.2 million.
4. Mr. Peabody & Sherman, 4/3,299, Fox/DreamWorks Animation, $9.5 million, -19.7%, $94.9 million.
5. God’s Not Dead, 1/1,178, Freestyle/Pure Flix $9.1 million, -1.5%, $22 million.
6. The Grand Budapest Hotel, 4/977, Fox Searchlight, $8.8 million, +30%, $24.5 million.
7. Sabotage, 1/2,486, Open Road/QED International, $5.3 million.
8. Need for Speed, 3/2,705, Disney/DreamWorks, $4.33 million, -45.4%, $37.8 million.
9. 300: Rise of an Empire, 4/2,601, Warner Bros./Legendary, $4.3 million, -49.4%, $101.1 million.
10. Non-Stop, 5/2,515, Universal, $4.1 million, -36.5%, $85.2 million.