Moses and the Pharaoh have swords in new Exodus posters

The first posters for Exodus: Gods and Kings are here — and for a film that is supposedly going to be promoted as the next big battle epic from the director of Gladiator, it’s striking to see how sombre and lacking in action these first promotional images are.

They’re also strangely colourless. As you can see from the main poster to the right — which shows Christian Bale as Moses and Joel Edgerton as Ramses kind of glaring at each other while they touch their swords — the images are essentially black-and-white, except for gold-tinted highlights and just a hint of blue.

I also can’t recall ever seeing a Moses movie that made a pyramid as central to its imagery as this poster does. It gives the poster an Illuminati-esque feel, and I’m afraid the first thing it brings to mind is the fact that Exodus director Ridley Scott is attached to an HBO series which will play on the idea that the ancient Egyptian civilization was built in part with help from aliens.

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Box-office update: Edge of Tomorrow “wins” or “loses” the week depending on how you look at it, and more

Depending on how you look at it, Edge of Tomorrow either “won” or “lost” at the box office this past weekend.

That’s right, you can actually argue that Edge of Tomorrow “won”. Most reports have focused on the fact that the $28.8 million that the film opened to in North America last weekend fell well behind the $48 million that the low-budget romance The Fault in Our Stars opened to, and it even fell a bit behind the $34.3 million that Maleficent earned in its second week. But Edge of Tomorrow actually won the weekend overseas and thus worldwide.

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Box-office update: Angelina Jolie, X-Men set new records, while God’s Not Dead passes Son of God in N America

The big news this week is that Maleficent, Disney’s revisionist take on the Sleeping Beauty story, ruled the North American box office with $69.4 million.

That’s smaller than the openings for other recent Disney live-action fairy tales like Alice in Wonderland ($116.1 million) and Oz the Great and Powerful ($79.1 million), but bigger than the opening for Snow White and the Huntsman ($56.2 million), which was produced by Universal.

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The Ascension of Christ in film: literalism, symbolism, etc.

Today is the Feast of the Ascension, when Christians remember how Jesus was taken up into heaven 40 days after his Resurrection. It’s one of the stranger bits in the Gospels — both difficult to understand, given our modern cosmology, and difficult to pull off visually — and most of what we know about it actually comes from the Book of Acts. So it’s not too surprising that most films about Jesus have tended to skip this episode.

Nevertheless, a few films have depicted the Ascension, often by mixing it with elements from other stories in the gospels, and even those that don’t depict it have often made a point of ending on a note that suggests Jesus has transcended this life in some way that parallels the Ascension. Here are a few examples.

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Box-office update: Is the “faith-based” streak almost over?

Ever since Son of God opened in theatres on February 28, there has been at least one “faith-based” movie in the North American top ten every week — and sometimes there have been two. But that streak could end after this week.

Heaven Is for Real, which is now in its sixth week, landed in the #10 spot this weekend with an estimated $1.95 million, thus raising its domestic total to $85.8 million. The film has earned another $2.5 million overseas, for a worldwide total of $88.2 million.

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Box office update: Noah passes The Passion overseas

It’s official: Noah is now the top-grossing Bible movie ever overseas, in unadjusted dollars.

As of this weekend, the film has grossed $243 million overseas, which is more than the $241.1 million that The Passion of the Christ grossed overseas ten years ago.

The film also grossed an estimated $210,000 in North America this weekend, raising its domestic total to $100.3 million. This is well, well behind the $370.8 million that The Passion grossed in North America, and slightly behind the $101.4 million that The Prince of Egypt grossed in North America in 1998 and 1999.

Noah is currently playing in over 40 territories and has earned $343.3 million worldwide so far. It opens in Japan next month.

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