Cape Town - Noah the movie hit the number one box-office spot in the US, taking in more than R450 million on its opening weekend.
But the controversial picture based on the Bible story, has courted much controversy over whether or not it depicts the true story of Noah. And although the film-makers have repeatedly insisted their story was in fact fictional, Islamic countries and other religious organisations around the world have continued to criticise the film, starring Russell Crowe.
The film opened in South Africa on Friday night.
But it has already been banned in the United Arab Emirates, Qatar and Bahrain for depicting the Prophet’s messenger. And on Friday Malaysian censors also banned the Hollywood blockbuster from the predominantly Muslim South-East Asian country for depicting one of Islam’s prophets, an official said.
“Noah contravenes one of the guidelines, which is that the face of a prophet cannot be shown,” said Abdul Halim Hamid, chairman of the country’s Film Censorship Board.
The film is based on the biblical story of the patriarch who built an ark ahead of the great flood. Noah also features as one of the most significant Islamic prophets in the Qur’an.
“Any depiction of any prophet is prohibited in Islam,” Abdul Halim said.
Meanwhile, In South Africa, the His People’s Church have urged movie-goers not to spend their hard-earned money to go see Noah in cinemas.
“Noah the movie is not based on the Bible at all. It is based on mystical and esoteric traditions arising from the Gnostics of 2nd Century AD who compiled a book called the Kaballah,” the church said in statement.
“While these mystical re-interpretations of Noah have Genesis as their original source, their main purpose is to subvert the original story.
“Director Darren Aronofsky, a self-professed atheist, admitted to it when he said that he set out to make the least biblical movie. But he could have been more honest by saying he used the Kaballah as his primary source text.”
The church claims the co-screenwriter, Ari Handel, also blatantly lied to con Christian audiences when he said that they tried to stay as true to the biblical text as possible.
“Ster-Kinekor and Nu Metro promote the movie as a ‘biblical epic’ and they and the movie trailers are deliberately misleading people.
“We do not believe the movie is worth the time or money needed to see it. The movie is disturbing and blasphemous and shows disrespect to members of the Jewish and Christian communities. We believe it is an abuse of artistic licence. We would recommend people read the Bible for the true story of Noah.”