On Thursday March 6, 2014 the upcoming Russell Crowe-starring film 'Noah' was attacked by Middle Eastern censorship bureaus.
Paramount Pictures 'Noah', directed by Darren Aronofsky ('The Fountain,' 'Pi') drew the condemnation from censors in Qatar, Bahrain, and the United Arab Emirates and will be prohibited from release in those countries.
The creative new version, which depicts the Biblical odyssey of Noah, is seen by several groups including leading Sunni Muslim institute Al-Azhar, as contradicting the Muslim faith by portraying a prophet other than Allah.
In a statement issued by Al-Azhar, the group "announces the prohibition of the upcoming film about the Allah's messenger Noah-peace be upon him," and that the film is "contrary to the faith and fundamentals of the Islamic Sharia." (Source: The Hollywood Reporter)
Al-Azhar's Sunni Muslim Institute, based in Egypt, called for an outright ban in that country. Other countries such as Jordan and Kuwait are expected to take a similar stance, as Al-Azhar's influence is strong in those countries as well.
Some domestic protests may be expected as well here in the United States, as Aronofsky's film does seem to portray a darker vision of the story of Noah and his efforts to save his family from an impending apocalyptic flood.
'Son of God,' which opened on Friday March 1 and has grossed more than $30 million dollars here in the U.S. is the first of several films with a Biblical theme and will release in theaters over the next year.
'Noah' is set to arrive in theaters on Friday, March 28 and according to sources, many of the film-goers who paid to see 'Son of God' are expecting to be in the audience for 'Noah' as well. Estimates place 'Son of God' audiences at 68% likely to attend Russell Crowe's 'Noah', according to Fandango. (Source: Fandango.com)
Another highly anticipated film depicts actor Christian Bale as Moses, in a 20th Century Fox Christmas release from director Ridley Scott.