‘Noah’ Rides Epic Wave to Top of Box Office!

Noah, the biblical epic starring Russell Crowe, sailed to the top at theaters this weekend, unseatingDivergent after just one week at No. 1 and clobbering Sabotage, Arnold Schwarzenegger’s third straight flop.

Noah cruised to $44 million, according to studio estimates from Rentrak.

Analysts expected $30 million from the film, the latest in a raft of faith-themed movies out this year. Son of God ($57.9 million) and God’s Not Dead ($22 million) eclipsed projections — and God’s Not Dead remains in the top five. Heaven Is for Real (April 16) and Exodus (Dec. 12) remain on tap.

Analysts say that Noah‘s audience expanded beyond the religious because directorDarren Aronofsky added plenty of Hollywood touches to give the $125 million picture the feel of a mainstream disaster flick.

“It certainly feels like the ‘biggest’ film of 2014,” says Tim Briody, analyst for Box Office Prophets.

But how long will it reign? Noah finds itself in rarefied air: a special-effects movie that pleases critics — but apparently not fans.

About three-fourths of reviewers gave the movie a thumbs-up, according to Rotten Tomatoes. But only 49% of moviegoers liked it, the site says. And the movie earned a C from pollsters CinemaScore, imperiling its long-run box-office prospects.

Ray Subers of Box Office Mojo says that the movie may have alienated Christian audiences anticipating the film would hew closer to the Bible and not the “unexpected fantasy elements in the movie.”

Still, Noah collected plenty enough to dethrone Divergent, which took second with $26.5 million. The best-seller adaptation has collected $95.3 million in 10 days, and two sequels are in the works.

Muppets Most Wanted claimed third with $11.4 million, followed by Mr. Peabody & Sherman with $9.5 million.

God’s Not Dead was fifth with $9.1 million, marking another Hollywood rarity: two Christian-themed films in the top five.

Sabotage, Schwarzenegger’s latest and the only other major newcomer of the weekend, claimed seventh place with $5.3 million, about $3 million below expectations. The film comes on the heels of two box-office disappointments last year:Escape Plan, which collected $25 million, and The Last Stand, which mustered only $12 million.

Oblivion: #1 at the Box Office

Oblivion was the only major release this weekend, so it’s no surprise that it ended up in first place at the box office. The Joseph Kosinski sci-fi thriller earned $38.2 million over its first three days in theaters.

The film is definitely worth a watch.

The release of Oblivion displaced last weekend’s winner, 42, into second place, earning $18 million to bring its total to $54.1 million.

Check out the weekend box office top 10:

Box office top 10:

1. Oblivion, $38.2 million
2. 42, $18 million
3. The Croods, $9.5 million
4. Scary Movie 5, $6.3 million
5. G.I. Joe: Retaliation, $5.8 million
6. The Place Beyond the Pines, $4.7 million
7. Olympus Has Fallen, $4.5 million
8. Evil Dead, $4.1 million
9. Jurassic Park 3D, $4 million
10. Oz: The Great and Powerful, $3 million

“Warm Bodies” storms US box office!

Warm Bodies has topped the US box office with takings of $20m (£14.7m) in its opening weekend.

The zombie romantic-comedy stars Skins actor Nicholas Hoult and Teresa Palmer.

It bumped Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters down to second place making $9.2m (£6.8m), while Silver Linings Playbook moved up a spot to third position with sales of $8.1m (£5.9m).

Two films starring Jessica Chastain, Mama and Zero Dark Thirty, took up fourth and fifth place.

The horror picture Mama made $6.7m, ahead of Zero Dark Thirty, a thriller charting the killing of Osama Bin Laden, earning $5.3m.

Teen crowd

Females made up for 60% of the audience watching the adaptation of Isaac Marion’s book Warm Bodies over Super Bowl weekend, which usually sees a slump in movie-going from Saturday to Sunday.

However, teenage fans were still seduced by the film, which references Romeo and Juliet and was produced by Lionsgate, the film company behind the teen saga Twilight.

“They’ve definitely cracked the code on how to attract that teen audience with films like The Hunger Games, Twilight and something like Warm Bodies, which definitely plays right into the sweet spot of that demographic,” said Hollywood.com box-office analyst Paul Dergarabedian.

R-rated action films, which mean under-17s require an accompanying parent or adult guardian, have not fared so well in 2013.

Sylvester Stallone’s Bullet to the Head opened with just $4.5m (£3.3m) for Warner Bros, while Parker, starring Jason Statham, has now earned a total of $12.4m (£9.1m) in two weeks for FilmDistrict.

But the latest Die Hard movie with Bruce Willis, titled A Good Day To Die Hard, opens on 14 February and is expected to buck the trend.