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US audiences flood to Noah for $44 million opening weekend


Story by Jack Foley

AUDIENCES in America have flooded to religious epic Noah and helped the film to take $44 million on its opening weekend.

The film, which had been plagued by pre-release scepticism, stars Russell Crowe and Emma Watson and is directed by Darren Aronofsky.

It played both to fans of the director (whose past work includes Requiem For A Dream and Black Swan) and Christian audiences, particularly in southern states.

Elsewhere at the US box office, another Christian film, God’s Not Dead, also continued to do strong business.

Having secured $9.2 million in its first weekend last week and fifth spot at the box office, the film grossed a further $9.1 million this weekend to keep hold of its position. That film, based on the book of the same name by Rice Broocks, follows a college student whose philosophy professor forces him to sign a declaration that “God is dead”. When the student refuses, he’s ordered to prove his position that God exists in a series of debates.

While the Christian audiences helped Hollywood to enjoy another robust weekend and reward its faith in making such films, movie-goers in general weren’t so gracious towards Arnold Schwarzenegger, whose latest attempt to resurrect his career post-Californian governorship, falled flat yet again.

Sabotage, directed by David Ayer and co-starring Sam Worthington, Terrence Howard and Joe Manganiello, could only muster $5.3 million despite opening in 2,486 locations.

The figure, somewhat worryingly for Arnie, marks his worst opening in nearly three decades and the worst ever for a title opening in more than 2,000 theaters, not accounting for inflation.

The flop follows Escape Plan and The Last Stand as two more examples where Schwarzenegger has faiuled to recaptiure past box office glory.

The remainder of the US top five was rounded out by last week’s box office champ, Divergent, which trailed Noah a distant second with $8.1 million, headed toward a $25.3 million total in its second weekend.

And Muppets Most Wanted enjoyed a strong second weekend, taking $9 million to place third.

Wes Anderson’s The Grand Budapest Hotel also continued to gain momentum as it expanded to even more cinemas, taking $8.4 million to land fourth spot.
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