After director Darren Aronosfsky’s “Noah” opened in March to a massive $44 million weekend — despite the fact it depicts God as a anti-human enviro-terrorist — anti-God Hollywood probably figured they had cracked the code: sell the movie to the rubes as biblical, sucker punch them after the ticket purchase, laugh all the way to the bank. This is what’s known to the bigoted as a win-win.
This oh-so brilliant plan worked for exactly one weekend. In its second weekend, after we rubes spread the word, “Noah” took a dive so steep that despite a $44 million opening domestic haul, it would barely crack $100 million. Worldwide the news was a little better. A total gross of $362 million on a $175 million budget might mean a tiny profit but one that was hardly worth anyone’s time and investment.
Eight months later, enter director Ridley Scott’s $185 million “Exodus,” and a disastrous opening weekend that failed to hit even $25 million. Those who had been burnt by “Noah” knew another Hollywood sucker punch when they saw one, especially after the director bragged openly about his atheism and star Christian Bale described Moses the Lawgiver (his character) as “schizophrenic” and “barbaric.”
Proving the American Faithful are not as dumb as Hollywood had hoped for and counted on, it is now safe to say that domestically “Exodus” probably won’t reach $70 million. In worse news for Hollywood, according to The Hollywood Reporter the worldwide Faithful have also refused to be fooled again. Scott’s duller-than-dull retelling of the Moses story (complete with God portrayed as a petulant child) will die out worldwide with a take of somewhere around $250 million, which means it will lose money. Lots of it.
Big director. Big budget. Big special effects. Big stars. One of the most beloved stories among the Faithful released around a major religious holiday… Only the small-minded provincials who run Hollywood could blow a sure-fire money-printing operation like that.
There were films aimed at the Faithful in 2014 that did print money: On an (estimated) $5 million budget, “God’s Not Dead” grossed $64 million. On a $35 million budget, “Heaven Is for Real” grossed $101 million. The re-warmed miniseries “Son of God” grossed $71 million. The $105 million “Unbroken” has grossed $95 million in just 11 days.
The effort and financial investment that went into “Noah” and “Exodus” would have paid off handsomely! enormously! hugely! gigantically! and awesomely! if the filmmakers had simply been broad-minded enough to respect of the source material and its audience. Instead, they chose to arrogantly mock God and His followers.
Hollywood might someday learn that hate is a poison you drink yourself.
Meanwhile, those of us they hate are just pointing, laughing, and spending our money elsewhere.
John Nolte on Twitter @NolteNC