Friday, March 28, 2014

'Noah' Hopes for Movie-Goers to Flood the Cinemas This Weekend

It's a weekend where studios are banking on icons from the past to draw out movie-goers. Paramount goes way back to present a Biblical epic that they hope can capture the imaginations of audience like they did back in the 1950s. A smaller studio in Open Road Films only trots back to the 1980s to find their iconic star and hope Arnold along with rising action director David Ayer can bring out the paying customers. Scott looks at the chances of both pictures.

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After months of controversy stirred up from unhappy religious groups, as well as a show of support from other clusters of the religious world, Darren Aronofsky’s Noah comes out in theatres and attempts to claim king of the weekend over Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Sabotage. While Divergent had a very strong opening last weekend, there is little chance that it will able to remain the number one film, although crazy happenings are never off the table.

There has been a lot of talk about Noah over the last number of months, but not so much around the typical hype that a film gets prior to its release. A lot of words have been said from some segments of the Christian faith regarding the lack of biblical accuracy in the film, and they have railed against it fairly hard. Paramount, the backing studio of the film, has responded by adding context to the beginning of their trailers and pointing out that this is an interpreted version of the Old Testament account. They have screened it to a number of church leaders, and there has been some very positive feedback.

If you look at the small amount of source material provided in the bible, it is pretty clear that there needs to be some more put into the story to make it a feature film. Aronofsky, a director with a distinct style with a personal flare, set out to tell a tale that was inspired by the scripture. It was never meant to be an accurate account, and, if anything, all of this commotion that has come out of protesting groups has amounted to an enormous amount of free publicity for the film. Back in the summer, the legal case over the name rights of The Weinstein Company’s Lee Daniel’s The Butler (originally titled, The Butler) was estimated to have increased its gross by over $10 million.

Whether or not it is a good film, it is one that has been discussed on websites and news broadcasts, and that amount of discussion is bound to raise both awareness and curiosity for the movie. While Aronofsky has had major financial success in Black Swan, his name involvement is not likely to be the driving promotional force in this film. As well, even though it stars Russell Crowe there is little stability behind that name anymore. The film will be relying on people’s intrigue in seeing an adaptation of the well-known story, as well as banking on all of the free press that it has gotten from opponents of the film (Note: if you are against a movie, sometimes the best thing to do is not bring a large amount of attention to said movie).

Noah Opening Weekend Prediction - $38 Million

From a man battling the rain we go to Arnold Schwarzenegger battling… well, does it really even matter who he battles in films? Fans just want to see explosions, big guns, and hear charismatic one-liners. Sadly for Arnold, the pool of people desiring those three things from him has declined a lot over the years, and big opening weekends do not seem to be a sure thing for the Austrian. Outside of the ensemble based The Expendables, Schwarzenegger’s The Last Stand opened to only $6 million, and the Escape Plan (where he starred alongside Sylvester Stallone) made just south of $10 million.

Arnold has proven in the past that he is able to turn his career around after it seemed dead in the water when Last Action Hero hit theatres, and then Junior did not do much to help his case either. His future holds a return to multiple franchise roles in The Expendables 3, Terminator: Genesis, Triplets, and The Legend of Conan. While brand recognition may help a bit with some of those titles (I don’t really know how much the world wants a sequel to Twins), he does not have that sort of support to lean against with Sabotage.

Sabotage Opening Weekend Prediction - $8 Million


(Christopher: It is also interesting to note that the once mega-blockbuster king seemingly can't even get his picture into a major wide release as it isn't screening anywhere near where I live with nearby cinemas opting for The Grand Budapest Hotel or Bad Words instead.)

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