Paramount to Release 'Noah' in 3D in Foreign Markets (Exclusive)

6:31 PM PST 02/05/2014 by Kim Masters

While the studio will distribute Darren Aronofsky's biblical epic in 2D in the U.S., it is prepping a 3D version to sell the movie's spectacle to audiences abroad.

In an attempt to mop up in overseas markets, Paramount Pictures is preparing a 3D version of Darren Aronofsky’s epic Noah to release in 65 foreign countries, including Russia, all of South America and most of continental Europe. The film will be released on Imax in 32 of those markets.

The studio is hopeful that overseas audiences will respond to the effects-laden production, which includes the spectacle of the flood, some supernatural elements and a cast of computer-generated animals.

VIDEO: 'Noah' Trailer: Here Comes the Flood 

According to an insider, Noah will be released exclusively in 2D in the U.S, the U.K., Australia and France, where Paramount believes the audience will respond to "the combination of the pedigree of the director and the cast and the dramatic elements of the story."

The film, which stars Russell Crowe, Emma Watson and Jennifer Connelly, cost more than $125 million. The studio is spending another $10 million to create the 3D version.

Paramount has been through a challenging process with Aronofsky, an auteur indie filmmaker, testing multiple cuts in an attempt to create a version that will lure the broadest possible audience. After extensive testing, the studio and Aronofsky have reached agreement on a cut, and the film will open in the U.S. on March 28.

STORY: Darren Aronofsky Screens 'Noah' Footage for Church Conference

While the film appears certain to draw fire from some in the Christian audience who will object to Aronofsky’s take on the story, a Paramount executive says the studio has been encouraged by early tracking in some foreign markets, where the action/adventure elements have strong appeal. About the decision to opt for the 3D version, an insider cites the worldwide performance of Fox’s Life of Pi, which grossed $125 million domestically and $484 million abroad.

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