A certain segment of Christians might be upset about Noah’s message allegedly straying a bit from the holy source material, but that outrage is apparently nothing compared to the pushback so far in the Middle East. Prior to its release date, the movie has already been banned in several countries and analysts are predicting it will suffer the same censored fate in much of the region.
According to The New York Daily News, Qatar, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates have all given the movie the big ugly axe, and there are currently loud calls in Egypt to do the same thing. The government hasn’t released any kind of official response to the murmurs, but you can check out what a leading Sunni Muslim Institute had to say below…
"Al-Azhar renews its rejection to the screening of any production that characterizes Allah's prophets and messengers and the companions of the Prophet [Mohammed]. Therefore, Al-Azhar announces the prohibition of the upcoming film about the Allah's messenger Noah — peace be upon him."
People often think of the major world religions as existing separate from one another, but the truth is there’s a ton of overlap. Many of the prophets in Christianity, Islam and Judaism are the same people, and many of the oldest stories are found in all three of the religious texts. So, radically altering a story has the potential to piss off a ton of people. That being said, at this point, we really don’t know how much of Noah’s tale has actually been altered.
Some have said the studio and director Darren Aronofsky turned the flood into a commentary about environmentalism, but many of those theories are based on an early script that may or may not have too much in common with what audiences will see. In addition, Paramount has tested numerous cuts of the film, and while executives reportedly decided to go with Aronofsky’s vision, we really don’t know what’s different about his preference.
The success or failure of Noah will likely correspond to whether or not a high percentage of American and Canadian Christians hit up the theater. As such, these countries refusing to show the film are quite an annoyance for Paramount, but they shouldn’t mean the difference between success or failure.
You can remind yourself of what we’ll see with Noah by watching the trailer below…