Viewers went to “Noah,” many in pairs, like the creatures in Genesis; but they quickly erupted in disagreement over the film’s action-packed, modernist rendering of the biblical flood.
With an estimated $44 million in domestic ticket sales, including $6.2 million from giant Imax screens, “Noah” (Paramount Pictures) surpassed Lionsgate’s “Divergent,” with $26.5 million, and Walt Disney’s “Muppets Most Wanted, with $11.4 million, to lead the weekend box office. But “Noah” had a soft rating of C by Cinemascore, which gauges audience reaction. That happened as a majority of viewers — 63 percent, according to Paramount executives — gave the movie a positive score of A or B, even while a significant minority judged the film as low as D or F.
“People are getting their arms around, are they comfortable with it?” said Rob Moore, Paramount’s vice chairman. “There’s a small, vocal minority who are not.”
Professional film critics scored the movie with a respectable 68, according to Metacritic.com, which tracks reviews. “This is a Noah for the 21st century, one of the most dazzling and unforgettable biblical epics ever put on film,” Richard Roeper, one of the fans, wrote for The Chicago Sun-Times.
Other viewers were harshly opposed. “If you are looking for a biblical movie, this is definitely not it,” said Glenn Beck, one of many detractors, speaking to Gospelherald.com.
Much controversy centered on the director Darren Aronofsky’s environmental messaging — his Noah appears not to be a meat eater and reprimands his son for picking a flower — and on action sequences that involve Transformer-like exiled angels encased in rock.
While Paramount eased religious leaders into early screenings and landed some cautious endorsements, it never received the kind of support that found church groups buying blocks of tickets to “Son of God,” which became a surprise hit for 20th Century Fox after opening last month.
SOURCE: MICHAEL CIEPLY
The New York Times