(WJLA) - Superbowl fans noticed the splashy commercial for Noah during the year's biggest TV show, promising a big-budget, action-adventure Bible story, with Russell Crowe as the man who builds an arc to save civilization after a great flood.
But test screenings for religious groups touched off criticism.
Rebecca Cusey, who manages the entertainment section of the faith-based website Patheos.com, said she thinks some of the criticism goes a bit beyond what she'd expect.
"I think they wanted Noah to be perfect, and he's the conflicted hero of this story," she said. "They're objecting to the depiction of the earth before the flood and to an environmentalist twinge -- I've seen the movie and I think their reactions are too strong."
Paramount Pictures skipped the usual mass media previews in favor of selective screenings. A "cold open" sometimes signals a studio's lack of confidence, but so far, major reviews are trending positive.
"There were a lot of people who saw the early screenings that liked it," Cusey added. "I think another aspect of this controversy is that sometimes, the loudest voices get all the attention."
This past weekend, Divergent won the box office with $56 million -- just enough to guarantee the start of yet another young-adult franchise.