Weekend Box Office: Jesus Stomps Schwarzenegger

In a pun headline writer’s dream, Noah drowned its sodomite competition over the weekend, taking in $44 million in estimated domestic box office, the fourth highest opening of the year (behind The LEGO Movie, Divergent, and 300: Rise of an Empire). It was the biggest opening ever for a Russell Crowe movie, and has already made more than the total gross of Darren Aronofsky’s first four movies combined.

As I mentioned in my review, Paramount seemed terrified about what people might write about Noah, so they screened it late, without the usual roll out. Now it seems like they got to have it both ways, where the controversy drove people to the theater, even if most of them didn’t end up liking the movie.

Noah received a “C” CinemaScore, which is probably a result of Paramount keeping the stranger fantasy elements out of the marketing campaign. This doesn’t necessarily mean the movie is going to fall off quickly: The Wolf of Wall Street is a recent example of a controversial movie that bombed with CinemaScore but held well. At this point, it’s safe to say that Noah will earn at least $110 million total. [BoxOfficeMojo]

I actually saw a trailer that called it “Gladiator meets Titanic,” which I guess is true insofar as it starred Russell Crowe and had a big boat. Regardless, the rock monsters were legit, and that people didn’t like them simply proves once again that we wouldn’t have anything cool if it were up to a focus group.

The other film opening in wide release this weekend was Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Sabotage, which earned just $5.3 million domestically. That was worse than all but two Schwarzenegger movies, Red Sonja in 1985, and The Terminator in 1984. And that’s without adjusting for inflation.

If this film, helmed by critic-fave David Ayers and filled with recognizable character actors, can’t at least crack $10m over its opening weekend, then I think it’s time for us to finally admit that Schwarzenegger’s days as a top-billed action star are done. The Expendables franchise will survive thanks to its added value cast additions each time out, but Arnold the action star is a relic of a bygone era. [Forbes]

The problem is, all Arnold’s movies these days look like tweeners. When people go to a Schwarzenegger movie, we want to see something either legitimately good or so over-the-top ridiculous that it’s amazing. We want a Terminator or a Commando, and the studios keep pumping out 6th Days.

Elsewhere, God’s Not Dead, a Christian fundie-funded film from the incredibly named creative team of Harold Kronk and Chuck Konzelman (Kronk & Konzelman!), nearly out-did their shocking first weekend gross of $9.1 million with another $9.08 million this weekend. All while playing on a third as many screens as the big releases. The film stars Kevin Sorbo as an atheist college professor who asks his students to sign an admission that God is dead. When ONE STUDENT, filled with THE LIGHT OF JESUS refuses, he goes on a semester-long quest to prove that God is indeed real, and his dick is humongous. I hope it ends with the kid torching the school library as he walks away with the Bible, “the only book I need,” as a sweet Jovi track plays.

I also enjoyed this Thought Catalog writer’s take on it:

Surely inspired by God’s Not Dead, that post was posted to ThoughtCatalog (who, I believe, just publishes everything) by a contributor named Nicole Mullen, whose bio describes her as “Just a fun mom and a teacher at a retarded school. I like recipes and my kids.”

Seeing a Kevin Sorbo movie earn twice as much as an Arnold Schwarzenegger movie makes me wonder if God really is dead, but I would definitely Kickstart a Marine Todd trilogy. Preferably with PFT Commenter on as co-screenwriter.

1. Noah $44 million
2. Divergent $26.5 million ($95 mil.)
3. Muppets Most Wanted $11.3 million ($33. 2 mil.)
4. Mr. Peabody & Sherman $9.5 million ($94.9 mil.)
5. God’s Not Dead $9 million ($22 mil.)
6. The Grand Budapest Hotel $8.8 million ($24.4 mil.)
7. Sabotage $5.3 million
8. Need For Speed $4.3 million ($37.7 mil.)
9. 300: Rise Of An Empire $4.3 million ($101.1 mil.)
10. Non-Stop $4 million ($85.1 mil.) [Indiewire]

[via Forbes, BoxOfficeMojo, ThoughtCatalog]