After weathering a sea of controversy, "Noah" arrived in first place at the weekend box office. Paramount's biblical epic starring Russell Crowe in the titular role opened with $44 million, according to studio estimates Sunday.The imaginative take on the tale of Noah's Ark from "Black Swan" director Darren Aronofsky led some religious groups to claim the story had been inaccurately depicted and prompted Paramount to add a disclaimer to marketing materials noting that "artistic license has been taken" in telling the story.The polarizing attention apparently paid off for "Noah," which features such additions to the well-known Bible story as angelic rock creatures and chic wardrobes for Noah and his family.
TOP 10: BIBLICAL MOVIES OF ALL TIME
1) THE TEN COMMANDMENTS (1956): Cecil B. DeMille's final extravaganza is the alpha and omega of lavish biblical epics, as Charlton Heston lets his people go.
2) THE LAST TEMPTATION OF CHRIST ( 1988 ): Forever controversial, Martin Scorsese's meditation on Jesus and his message rewards the serious viewer.
3) MONTY PYTHON'S LIFE OF BRIAN ( 1979 ) : At once an outrageous religious farce and a spry commentary on cant, hypocrisy, bigotry, and turning the other cheeky.
4) THE PASSION OF THE CHRIST ( 2004 ) : Mel Gibson's controversial Aramaic-language, torture-porn marathon was hung out to dry by critics yet validated with three Oscar nominations.
5) BEN HUR ( 1959 ): The Roman-era slave saga features another fine performance from Heston, factors in Christ's Sermon on the Mount as a plot pivot, and delivers one heck of a chariot race that makes up nine of the epic's 212 minutes.
6) THE ROBE ( 1953 ): The Robe is a 1953 American Biblical epic film that tells the story of a Roman military tribune who commands the unit that crucifies Jesus.
7) THE NATIVITY STORY (2006): The Nativity Story is a 2006 epic biblical drama film based on the nativity of Jesus starring Keisha Castle-Hughes and Shohreh Aghdashloo.
8) THE PRINCE OF EGYPT (1998): The film is an adaptation of the Book of Exodus and follows Moses' life from being a prince of Egypt to his ultimate destiny to lead the children of Israel out of Egypt.
9) KING OF KINGS ( 1961): It is a retelling of the story of Jesus from his birth to his crucifixion and resurrection with some embellishments.
10) THE GREATEST STORY EVER TOLD (1965 ): The Greatest Story Ever Told looks at the entire life of Jesus.
The Greatest Story Ever Told looks at the entire life of Jesus. The 1965 movie features numerous cameos as Biblical characters, including Max van Sydow, John Wayne, and Dorothy McGuire.