Monday Morning Quarterback Part I
By BOP Staff
April 1, 2014
Kim Hollis: Noah, Darren Aronofsky's film about the biblical hero, starring Russell Crowe, earned $43.7 million this weekend. What do you think of this result?
Edwin Davies: I thought that Noah might open a little higher than this, based on the amount of chatter that's been building up around the film in the last few weeks as a result of the very minor controversy around it, but this is still in the ballpark of my expectations. This always seemed like a tough sell, considering that Christian audiences (who were clearly a major part of the intended audience) tend to be wary of Hollywood filmmakers and non-religious, or at least non-fundamentalist, audiences tend to be wary of films that are overtly religious. Aronofsky's non-literal interpretation might have pissed off Glenn Beck (in which case: hurray!) but it seemed to strike the right tone by promising spectacle wedded to an iconic, well-known story, albeit one that could still be played with in an interesting way.
Having said that, this is merely good, not great. Unless it holds up brilliantly in the next few weeks - and we're talking Gravity-style legs - it'll probably tap out at around $120 million, which would not cover the production budget, let alone the marketing. If it craters next week against Captain America, I could even see it shooting under the final total of Aronofsky's last film, Black Swan. The difference might be made up overseas, where disaster movies tend to do bumper business, but even in the best case scenario, I see this one as being a draw once everything is said and done. Then again, considering what a risky venture this was, a draw should probably be counted as a win.
Matthew Huntley: Controversy aside, Noah's opening weekend is indeed very good, but I agree with Edwin, it's not great. When all is said and done, this is a near (if not more) $200 million venture (production budget plus prints and advertising), and with Captain America right around the corner, I have a feeling Noah may struggle to make back half of that stateside. But I also have a feeling Paramount knew this all along and they're banking on the movie's domestic receipts to be merely supplemental to its international box-office. Next weekend will certainly reveal how far it will go, and with Easter coming up in three weeks, it could stick around longer than I'm leading on.
On another note, I was glad to see this earned mostly positive reviews. I haven't seen it yet, but from the get-go, I thought it would be a disaster both critically and commercially. It's nice to see Darren Aronofsky's track record for quality filmmaking is still intact.
Jason Barney: I think this is generally a solid start. Against the reported budget the opening could have been a little better, but I doubt too much consternation is going on at Paramount right now. Noah has already started to perform well overseas, and the domestic box office is not going to disappoint. I think in our analysis of certain projects we often forget how much of a draw certain actors can be outside the United States. To this point, I think a comparable film may be 2010's Robin Hood. That project had a much larger $200 million budget and didn't do so well domestically, but overseas it did fairly well. When all was said and done Russell Crowe as Robin Hood brought in over $320 million. Against the overall budget, maybe that wasn't spectacular, but it maintained Crowe's status as an international draw.
Now we have Crowe as Noah, the international numbers are already starting to come in, and the opening in the US was larger than Robin Hood's. Noah's budget is considerably lower, so I would expect that Noah is going to do just fine. It isn't going to go on any historic film list, but this is a solid opening that will maintain Crowe's status as an overseas draw. With the somewhat positive reviews it won't disappear like films without moviegoers' support.