Welcome to our Box Office Report, where Darren Aronofsky and Russell Crowe’s biblical epic Noah, which arrived in theaters after several teacup storms over its commercial prospects and its very specific take on religion, stormed past its opponents for a very healthy first weekend. Below the top 5, Wes Anderson’s The Grand Budapest Hotel continues to grow, adding 673 theaters and taking $8.8 million to bring its total haul to nearly $25 million as it continues to expand. Meanwhile, Arnold Schwarzenegger’s latest comeback effort Sabotage laid an egg with $5.3 million for seventh overall, although its cult status already seems assured.
1. Noah (Paramount): $44 million in 3,567 theaters
Too long! Too gloomy! Too weird! Noah had a lot of strikes against it, and it also stirred up some controversy with Christian groups over its take on the Old Testament tale (to be fair, that’s pretty much guaranteed by every take on the Bible) but its estimated $44 million haul is higher than the $35 million tracking pegged it at a couple weeks back. Whether it has any real word of mouth remains to be seen (it has a crappy C CinemaScore), but coupled with a decent international take so far, Paramount won’t be too distressed. This is easily Aronofsky’s highest opening ever (his only other wide release film, The Fountain, took $3.7 million in 2006), but Noah will need $107 million to top Black Swan’s grand total.
2. Divergent (Lionsgate): $26.5 million in 3,936 theaters
A 51% drop for the YA hit means a total take of $95 million in two weeks, nothing to sneeze at especially given the relatively comfortable $85 million budget. Prepare for the sequel Insurgent pretty much one year from today.
3. Muppets Most Wanted (Disney): $11.3 million in 3,194 theaters
A strong 33% hold, not unusual for a kid-focused movie, gives the Muppets a total of $33 million after two weeks (the budget on this sequel was $50 million). Another couple decent holds plus whatever international coin this thing can scramble together will mean the whole endeavor wasn’t a big loss, but still, this might be the last time we see the Muppets on the big screen for a while. Maybe they’ll return to their original home, the friendlier shores of television, as a result.
4. Mr. Peabody and Sherman (Fox): $9.5 million in 3,299 theaters
This thing has made as much as Divergent ($95 million total) over the last month. It’s posting remarkably good holds (only a 19% drop this week). Unfortunately, it cost a ridiculous amount to make ($145 million) and Rio 2 is out in April. It can only hold on for so long.
5. God’s Not Dead (Freestyle): $9 million in 1,178 theaters
The under-the-radar religious hit added 398 theaters and made about the exact same amount as last week. After beating off Aaron Paul and his muscle cars last week, it trumped Arnie and his cracked-out DEA squad in Sabotage this week.