‘Noah’ rises to top of box office with $44M debut

FILE - This image released by Paramount Pictures shows Jennifer Connelly, left, and Russell Crowe in a scene from "Noah." After sparking controversy among conservative Christians in the U.S., officials across parts of the Muslim world say they do not expect the Hollywood film Noah will be shown in local theaters because it depicts a prophet and could offend cinemagoers. Director of media content at the National Media Center in the United Arab Emirates, Juma Al-Leem, told The Associated Press on Thursday, March 13, 2014 that the movie will not be allowed in cinemas because it contradicts a generally agreed upon taboo in Islam by depicting a prophet. (AP Photo/Paramount Pictures, Niko Tavernise, File)
FILE - This image released by Paramount Pictures shows Jennifer Connelly, left, and Russell Crowe in a scene from "Noah." After sparking controversy among conservative Christians in the U.S., officials across parts of the Muslim world say they do not expect the Hollywood film Noah will be shown in local theaters because it depicts a prophet and could offend cinemagoers. Director of media content at the National Media Center in the United Arab Emirates, Juma Al-Leem, told The Associated Press on Thursday, March 13, 2014 that the movie will not be allowed in cinemas because it contradicts a generally agreed upon taboo in Islam by depicting a prophet. (AP Photo/Paramount Pictures, Niko Tavernise, File)

LOS ANGELES (AP) — After weathering a sea of controversy, “Noah” arrived in first place at the weekend box office.

Paramount’s biblical epic starring Russell Crowe in the titular role opened with $44 million, according to studio estimates Sunday.

The imaginative take on the tale of Noah’s Ark by filmmaker Darren Aronofsky led some religious groups to claim the story had been inaccurately portrayed and prompted Paramount to add a disclaimer to marketing materials saying that “artistic license has been taken” in telling the story.

Lionsgate’s teen science-fiction thriller “Divergent” starring Shailene Woodley earned $26.5 million in its second weekend.

Disney’s globe-trotting Muppet sequel “Muppets Most Wanted” featuring Tina Fey and Ricky Gervais came in third place with $11.4 million in its second weekend.

 

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