hi-res-still-from-noah-movieThe dark epic Darren Aronofsky film Noah got off to a good start domestically last night in late nights that started at 7 PM taking in an estimated $1.6M for Paramount and New Regency. Also, word is from distributors that the early matinees in N.Y. look good. The opening of Noah doesn’t reflect the numbers or the group sales that Son of God had for Fox. That faith-based pic surprised everyone last month when it took in $1.2M from shows that began at 10 p.m. So, in other words, Noah is opening more like a mainstream studio movie, which is not surprising given that it stars Russell Crowe and Jennifer Connelly. The demo on the picture is definitely skewing older and Paramount is comparing it to Gravity, noting that Noah is playing just above it — Gravity made $1.4M in late nights. However, Gravity started at 10 p.m. for Warner Bros. so had less playtime and neither its opening weekend nor its gross is expected to touch Gravity, which opened to $55M and went on to make $273.1M domestically. Tracking has it anywhere between $40M and $45M for the 3-day domestically but others have it in the high 30s, so after more grosses come in tonight, everyone will have a better estimate.

Noah already opened overseas in Mexico (where the Catholic faith is prominent) and Korea to a combined $14M. The movie grossed $8.3M at 500 dates for the No. 1 spot in Korea, 14% ahead of Gravity and 37% ahead of Skyfall’s 2012 bow. 1370949183_20121026-ten-arnold-schwarzenegger1Russia and Australia have just opened in tandem with this weekend’s domestic debut. To see those results, read Nancy Tartaglione’s International Box Office report. Divergent (LGF) is expected to come in second in the low 20s at the moment for Summit, depending on its second weekend percentage drop. It has taken in $68.7M to date (as of today). Meanwhile, the Arnold Schwarzenegger-starring Sabotage from Open Road Films is going to be in a battle with The Grand Budapest Hotel for third place this weekend as Budapest Hotel expands after a stellar three weeks in limited release. The Wes Anderson pic is already at $15.6M as of today and early estimates has it taking in around $9M this weekend for Fox Searchlight. Jason Bateman’s Bad Words also expands this weekend from Focus Features. Also opening is Cesar Chavez from Pantelion (a partnership between Lionsgate and Grupo Televisa). Participant Media is helping to support advertising efforts for Pantelion.