Box Office Predictions: 'Noah' Opens Amidst Controversy, 'Muppets' Craters

Noah, easily the year's most controversial mainstream release, finally bows. Can it now deliver box office numbers, or will it simply fade away?

To recap, Divergent did go big last week, and Sensei hit his first "big call" of the year when the opening of Muppets Most Wanted greatly disappointed. Sensei originally made that prediction in his yearly prediction column a few weeks ago. Now, on to this weekend.

Sensei's weekend predictions and revenue results are as follows:

1. Noah ($34 million) - Controversy sells, sure, but that only goes so far. Russell Crowe isn't the box office draw he used to be, and the film doesn't seem to have much of the religious audience on board (too bad). That means its future will have to rely entirely on audiences who are intrigued by the visual effects and Emma Watson. With Captain America set to return next week, film better get what it can.

2. Divergent ($23 million) - And just like that, we have our newest film franchise. Congrats on the solid opening last week. On an interesting note, audiences rated the film high (in the grade 'A' range), while critics blasted the film. Funny how that happens, right? This film--oops sorry--I mean, this franchise starter will easily earn back its production budget this week ($85 million). Onward to the sequel.

3. Muppets Most Wanted ($10 million) - Easily, the most mail Sensei is receiving comes from those asking how he knew this film would greatly disappoint last weekend. Again, Sensei felt this project was doomed when its A-list talent (Amy Adams) abandoned ship amidst the film's controversies. Film even opened well below Sensei's "lowball prediction"--another hard lesson in how politics and children's films are not a smart combination, especially if you want the big stars in it. Looking ahead, film will not equal the original Muppets domestic gross. Unlike Divergent, this franchise looks to be dead.

4. Sabotage ($8.2 million) - Arnold Schwarzenegger returns with his latest action outfit. This one has a stronger pedigree with David Ayer helming (End of Watch), but Sensei still feels a low opening is inevitable. Look for an Escape Plan-like number here.

5. Mr. Peabody & Sherman ($8 million) - As expected, this one stole numbers away from Muppets last week, taking advantage of that film's troubles. Film continues to fight its way to that $100 million domestic mark, but will that be enough to be considered a success?

In other calls:

God's Not Dead and The Grand Budapest Hotel could easily sneak into the top five. Look for God's Not Dead to pull another $7 million and Grand Budapest to pull around $8 million off expansion.

300: Rise of an Empire will break the $100 million domestic mark, while the political Cesar Chavez will come in low at around $4 million.

Those are Sensei's calls. Enjoy the weekend.


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