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Weekend Box Office: Noah a Force of Nature at the Box Office, Sabotage Trounced

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By Chris Kavan - 03/30/14 at 11:26 PM CT

It wasn't so much a question of whether Noah was going to open first, but whether the controversy surrounding the film would have a noticeable negative impact. For all intents and purposes, those fears were laid to rest, as the biblical story proved its worth. But the news wasn't good for aged action star Arnold Schwarzenegger, whose latest opening suggests maybe the governator should have stuck to politics instead of trying to return to Hollywood.


Despite facing a string of reports about straying from the true Biblical story, Noah weathered the storm to open at a robust $44 million. That opening is better than the combined opening for all previous films Darren Aronofsky has directed. Granted, it's also his most ambitious picture to date as well. It represents the fourth-highest opening of the year, falling just behind the $45 million that 300: Rise of an Empire opened with and also represents a career-best opening for leading man Russell Crowe. The audience was split between male and female, and ran older (74% over 25). They gave the film a "C" Cinemascore (likely mainly due to the face it added more fantasy elements to the "traditional" story) but it will likely hold better than the score suggest. It brought in $6.2 million from IMAX screens (14%), suggesting audiences were happy to see it on the biggest screen possible. Given the opening, the film should be on track to get pretty close to its reported $125 million budget.


Poster for Divergent Proving it has more than just one good week, Divergent dropped one spot in its second week and brought in $26.5 million (off 52%). As expected, the film was not as front-loaded as Hunger Games (which dipped 62% in its second weekend) and should continue holding better over the coming weeks. The film has now brought in $95.26 million and will have no problem topping the $100 million mark in the next few days.


Also dropping one spot from last weekend, Muppets Most Wanted brought in $11.4 million (down 33%). The film did have a slightly better second weekend that The Muppets ($11.1 million) though with the lower opening, it has thus far only made $33.2 million and is still likely going to struggle to top the $50 million mark.


Continuing the pattern, Mr. Peabody & Sherman also dipped one spot and added another $9.5 million (down a light 20%) to give it a new total of $94.9 million. It should also top the $100 million mark by this time next week.


Adding nearly 400 theaters to its count, the faith-based film God's Not Dead had a near even total from last week (down a scant 1.5%), bringing in $9.07 million and giving the film a new total of $22 million. With the success of this film, along with Noah and Son of God it sends a strong message that with the right message, Christian audiences will turn out in force and if you can attract a general audience as well, you're as good as gold.

Outside the top five: Poor Arnold Schwarzenegger is having a rough time trying to gain a new foothold and reclaim his status as an action icon. After The Last Stand oped to just $6.3 million and even teaming up with Sylvester Stallone gaining little interest (Escape Plan - $9.9 million) it turns out Sabotage is not just the latest in a long string of failures, it's one of the biggest mistakes yet. At just $5.5 million, Sabotage represents the worst opening for Schwarzenegger since 1985 and Red Sonja - and that's not even taking into account inflated ticket prices. It's time for him to face the harsh truth that he's never going to capture that same effect he had at the box office in his younger days. Not even a Terminator reboot is going to do it this time.

It was also a bit of a letdown for Jason Bateman, whose Bad Words couldn't muster up much interest with just a $2.6 million opening (13th place) in wide release. It was up 423% - but it should have been much better. It is likely to leave just as quietly as it entered.

Also getting a wider expansion. to much better results, was Wes Anderson's Grand Budapest Hotel. Adding 673 theaters (now in 977 total theaters), the film jumped 30% (from 7th to 6th place) and brought in $8.8 million. That is the best total for an Anderson film making the leap from limited to wide release (topping the $8.5 million of The Royal Tenenbaums) and bodes well as it continues its expansion. So far, it has brought in $24.5 million and still has plenty of gas left in the tank.

Two milestones were also achieved. First, Frozne officially became the highest-grossing animated film of all time (globally) as it passed Toy Story 3 with a $1.07 billion total (and now in the top 10 for all films, ever). Domestically, 300: Rise of An Empire topped the $100 million mark taking in $4.3 million (9th place) for a new total of $101.14 million. It took one of the biggest drops of the week, however, and with even more competition on the way, that's likely the final milestone it will achieve.

Next week we have Marvel's latest film with the arrival of Captain America: Winter Soldier. It is the only film to open in wide release next weekend, and should have no problem claiming top spot at the box office.


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