Did Darren Aronofsky’s anti-God “Noah” scare faith-based moviegoers away from giving Ridley Scott’s $185 million “Exodus: Gods and Kings” a chance at box office success? According to Deadline, one box office expert thinks so, “I think Noah poisoned the well, and the Faith-based crowd, once they’re burned, they’re twice shy.”
While it might still might eke into profit overseas, here in North America Scott’s biblical retelling of Moses the Lawgiver is shaping up to be a financial catastrophe. Boasting a $185 million budget, after two weeks it has grossed only $39 million after collapsing a disastrous –67% in its second weekend.
It certainly didn’t help matters that in the run up to the release of “Exodus,” Scott bragged about his own atheism and the actor portraying Moses, the ironically-named Christian Bale, told The Hollywood Reporter that Moses was, “[L]ikely schizophrenic and was one of the most barbaric individuals that I ever read about in my life.”
Until we got an actual look at the anti-God “Noah,” its $44 million opening weekend last March proved that plenty of Faithful Americans were hungry for a biblical epic and still trusted Hollywood to deliver one in a respectful way. But once the word got out that Aronofsky turned Noah and God Himself into an anti-human, tree-hugging environmental terrorist, the box office collapsed -61% the following weekend.
The word-of-mouth damage to “Noah” was so severe that even though it opened to $44 million, boasted a Big Star, and enjoyed enormous publicity, it barely limped over $100 million domestically. Worldwide, “Noah” hit $362 million, and with a total budget of $175 million that means it might have barely broke even.
Once burnt, twice shy, indeed. CGI spectacle, a much-beloved story, a big-name director, a ton of publicity, and the star of “The Dark Knight” couldn’t open “Exodus” to even $25 million. The trust among the Faithful was gone even before “Exodus” opened, and there’s no question disappointment with “Noah” was a primary contributor.
Now “Exodus” is in real trouble for reasons of its own: Scott’s heart just isn’t in it. One of the most inspiring and moving stories ever told is both boring and disrespectful to God (until the end, He’s portrayed as a psychotic child).
Had “Exodus” delivered what the faithful were looking for, despite “Noah,” the blockbuster might have grown some legs and blockbusted. Instead it just busted.
Just like that, arrogant, anti-Christian, provincial Hollywood lost the trust of the tens of millions of Americans who made “The Passion” a cultural and financial phenomenon, and were hungry for more.
And with the Faithfull’s trust went hundreds of millions of dollars.
Nothing personal, Hollywood. We’re just hating you back.
Follow John Nolte on Twitter @NolteNC