B.O. Roundup, March 28-30: 'Noah' Brings the Thunder

Sunday, 30 March 2014 09:35 Written by  iamrogue
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B.O. Roundup, March 28-30: 'Noah' Brings the Thunder

Let's not bury the lead: a Darren Aronofsky movie opened at the top of the box office this weekend.

Noah, an Old Testament epic from the auteur, provided Russell Crowe with the biggest debut of his career as a leading man, earning an estimated $44.0 million from 3,567 locations in North America.

Between its often-inaccessible director/co-writer, its potentially controversial religious content, word of Paramount testing alternate cuts, and that huge budget, Noah had some box office prognosticators waiting for a commercial disaster.  Paramount Pictures seemed a bit nervous, setting official expectations for Noah's opening at around $30 million.

So Aronofsky's take on the Genesis tale of the ark and the apocalyptic flood surpassed expectations and slipped past American Gangster's $43.5 million debut to become Crowe's biggest opening as the star rather than a supporting player.

Between Noah and God's Not Dead, there are two Christian-themed movies in the top five this week.  God's Not Dead retained fifth place and managed to decline just 1.5% thanks to its expansion from 780 to 1,178 theaters.  Don't expect that kind of hold from Noah, however, as its proving divisive among audiences, with some turned off by its epic fantasy elements and others by its religiosity.  With an exit-poll grade of C from audiences, Noah will be taking a backseat to Captain America: The Winter Soldier next week, along with the rest of the top ten.

Opening in seventh place is Sabotage, the latest commercial disappointment from Arnold Schwarzenegger since his return to acting.  The hard-R-rated, David Ayer-directed thriller opened in 2,486 theaters, from which it hauled in an estimated $5.3 million.  Not only is that smaller than the debuts of The Last Stand and Escape Plan, but it marks the Austrian Oak's slowest opening weekend since Red Sonja back in 1985.

Cesar Chavez, the biopic from Diego Luna, opened in 664 locations and just missed the top ten.  The film, which stars Michael Pena as the labor leader and civil rights activist, earned an estimated $3.0 million.  Also in limited release at a mere seven locations, The Raid 2 grossed $177,000 for a fantastic per-theater average of $25,286.

Check out the top ten movies in North America for the weekend of March 28th:

1. Noah......................................................$44.0 million..............New Release

2. Divergent..............................................$26.5 million..............$95.2 million

3. Muppets Most Wanted.........................$11.3 million..............$33.2 million

4. Mr. Peabody & Sherman......................$9.5 million................$94.9 million

5. God's Not Dead....................................$9.0 million................$22.0 million

6. The Grand Budapest Hotel..................$8.8 million................$24.4 million

7. Sabotage..............................................$5.3 million................New Release

8. Need for Speed....................................$4.3 million................$37.3 million

9. 300: Rise of an Empire........................$4.3 million................$101.4 million

10. Non-Stop............................................$4.0 million................$85.1 million

While a number of interesting films open in limited release this coming Friday, Captain America: The Winter Soldier is the only wide release.  The latest from Marvel Studios is expected to clean up thanks to audiences already primed for summer-style action.

Until next weekend, let's commemorate Arnold's latest with this classic from the Beastie Boys (directed by Spike Jonze):

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