All is not well in the land of Noah post-production. According to The Hollywood Reporter, director Darron Aronofsky is fighting studio Paramount over the final cut of his biblical epic. THR says its unclear whether the director or the studio holds rights to the final cut of the film, but based on rhetoric from Paramount and silence from Aronofsky’s reps, it sounds to us like that power may reside with a studio that simply doesn’t want a public falling out with the director of their $125 million-plus film.
Part of the struggle may simply be written off as Aronofsky’s inexperience with the studio system; with the exception of The Fountain (produced by Warner Bros.), all of Aronofsky’s prior films were made independently, meaning the director had tighter control over the final product.
The conflict may also have been intensified by test screenings in New York, Arizona, and California which yielded mixed audience reactions. Of particular concern is making sure the film appeals to the Jewish and Christian demographics that are expected to comprise the picture’s primary audience.
Noah may end up being the guinea pig for other upcoming biblical epics, including Ridley Scott’s Exodus, due out Deceber 2014 (Noah is inbound in March). The film will certainly have to walk a fine line in its marketing between pandering to a Judeo-Christian audience that may be turned off by reports of the picture’s extreme extrabiblicism and trying to leverage its stars Russell Crowe, Emma Watson, Jennifer Connelly, Anthony Hopkins, and Logan Lerman for mainstream appeal. The film does have some historical guidance to look to. Although not a studio picture, Mel Gibson’s The Passion of the Christ hit near the peak of Gibson’s popularity while directly targeting a Christian audience (albeit with a very closely biblical approach), and did so to the tune of more than $600 million in the worldwide box office.