An Old Testament epic will storm theaters this weekend with hopes of attracting a boatload of moviegoers.
An opening in the projected range for the special effects-heavy, big-budget disaster film — starring
"Son of God," a less-expensive New Testament retelling culled from Mark Burnett and
Aronofsky's dark take on the Book of Genesis story of Noah's ark, financed by Paramount and Regency Enterprises, marks a departure for a director best known for lower-budget fare such as
The PG-13-rated film has faced criticism from the outset, both from religious groups that questioned how faithfully it would treat its source material along with conservatives who decried its emphasis on environmental themes. Reviews by film critics have been generally positive, according to Rotten Tomatoes.
The scripture-sourced slate won't end with "Noah." Upcoming religion-themed movies include "Heaven Is For Real," "Exodus," "Last Days in the Desert" and "Mary," all coming at least a decade after the massive success of
"Noah" began its maiden voyage in Mexico and South Korea a week ago with a strong $14 million, and it's likely to play well overseas. Alongside Crowe, the disaster picture's stars include
Last week's chart-topper
In "Noah's" wake,
The new "Cesar Chavez" biopic could bring in around $5 million from 660 locations. Michael Peña plays the civil rights activist and labor organizer in the film directed by
"Bad Words," an R-rated comedy directed by
[For the record: An earlier version of this post incorrectly stated that Jason Bateman wrote "Bad Words." The movie was written by Andrew Dodge.]