The Battle of the Bible Films — the article’s up!

My article on the Bible-movie revival is now up at the Christianity Today website; it will also be in the print edition of the magazine. The article looks at the fitful attempts made by the studios to cash in on the success of The Passion of the Christ since it came out a decade ago, it looks at the three Bible movies coming out this year — Son of God, Noah and Exodus: Gods and Kings — and it looks at what might be next if Noah and Exodus are big-enough hits. It also includes soundbites from publicist Jonathan Bock, director Darren Aronofsky (Noah) and screenwriters Stuart Hazeldine (Paradise Lost, Gods and Kings) and Barbara Nicolosi (Mary).

Box office update: Noah slips in N. America but stays strong overseas, while God’s Not Dead sets a new record

As expected, Noah is faring quite better overseas than it is in North America.

The film, which opened two weeks ago, is estimated to have earned $7.5 million in North America between Friday and today, bringing its total up to $84.9 million.

That represents a slip of 56.3% since last weekend, which is a steeper drop than Son of God had in its own third weekend last month. Both films dropped about 60%, give or take a percentage point, in their second weekends; but Son of God dropped only an additional 46.7% in its third weekend.

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On asking questions, not assuming answers, about Noah

Brian Godawa has now updated his post on the Noah serpent — twice! — in response to posts of mine in which I debunked the claim that Noah is Gnostic and tried to untangle just what the snakeskin represents, both in Judaism and within the film specifically.

Brian’s a good guy, and he’s done a lot of research into the Noah story, and I have found his posts on that subject very informative. But when it comes to his analysis of Darren Aronofsky’s film, it seems to me that he has certain blind spots, or that he insists too strongly on filtering his experience of the film through a certain worldview without fully engaging with the film on its own terms.

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Noah news round-up: New images, a Mexico City premiere, a Muslim ban, some unusual merchandising, and more

For a film with no Latin American stars, Darren Aronofsky’s Noah sure seems to be getting a fairly major push in the Latin American market. In an earlier post, I looked at a Brazilian trailer that seemed to be different from all the other trailers that had been released up to that point; and now, the Brazilian website Cinemarcado has a bunch of new images from the film. In addition, Aronofsky himself has tweeted that the film will have its world premiere in Mexico City this coming Monday.

One region where the film might not get so much love is the Middle East. The biblical Noah is regarded as a prophet by Muslims, and not just any prophet but as one of the top five, along with Abraham, Moses, Jesus and Mohammed — and today it was reported that Al-Azhar in Egypt is urging Muslim authorities to ban the film:
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Is seeing a Bible movie on opening weekend more important than going to church? Is it a way of “honouring God”?

How eager were certain people to make Son of God a box-office hit? Pretty eager, I’d say.

Rick Warren declared, in a video touting one of the “theatre takeovers” that took place Thursday night, that Christians should “skip church and go see” the film on opening weekend, because “it’s that important.”

And on Saturday, Paul Lauer at Motive Entertainment, a Christian marketing firm, sent out an e-mail telling people: [Read more...]

Paramount comes out swinging against Variety’s Noah story

Well this is unusual. Paramount, the studio producing Darren Aronofsky’s Noah, has just issued a press release responding to yesterday’s story in Variety which claimed that an online survey had found that the film was not appealing to religious audiences.

The studio notes, rightly, that Variety overinterpreted the survey results in its headline, and that the survey question itself is so vaguely worded that it never actually refers to Noah (though the webpage hosting the survey does make the connection explicit).

The studio then goes on to cite studies by secular and Christian research groups which indicate that over 80% of the self-defined Christian or “very religious” people who are aware of the film are interested in the film or would recommend it to their friends.

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