Noah has swept to success in its debut weekend, having opened in the USA. Darren Aronofsky's controversial new biblical epic took a massive $44 million over the weekend, which sent the film sailing past last week's number one movie, Divergent, according to Box Office Mojo. Russell Crowe takes the titular lead in this big budget hard-hitter, starring alongside Emma Watson, Jennifer Connelly and Douglas Booth.

Noah Russell Crowe
New Russell Crowe Epic 'Noah' Has Swept To Success In Its Opening Weekend.

It hasn't all been plain sailing for the latest movie from the Black Swan director. Noah has faced religious opposition and subsequent bans in certain Middle Eastern countries due to the fear of religious provocation. What's more, early reviewers simply weren't fussed by Aronofsky's lengthy epic, yet this negativity seems to have been turned around since more Noah reviews have flooded in, sending the movie's Rotten Tomatoes rating skywards.

Watch The 'Noah' Trailer:

Last week's runaway debut success, Divergent, looked set to be at the top for the long haul after it outstripped ticket sales of the weekend's second best movie, The Muppets Most Wanted, by more than three times. The weekend simply proved bad timing for Jim Bobin's eagerly anticipated, star-studded Muppets sequel, but the film - sitting comfortably at third place this week - could see a resurgence amongst children after the novelty of Divergent and Noah wears off.

Emma Watson Noah
Emma Watson Stars In Aronofsky's Dramatic Biblical Retelling.

Meanwhile, the hugely successful, former box office victor Mr. Peabody and Sherman was relegated to fourth place this week as its weekend earnings dropped slightly below $10 million, bringing its total gross so far up to a whopping $94.9 million. 300: Rise of an Empire's success has proved fleeting as the movie plunged to ninth and a somewhat disappointing $4.3 million earnings in its fourth week.

Noah Movie Jennifer Connelly
Jennifer Connelly In 'Noah': Darren Aronofsky's Movie Has Weathered The Storm Of Controversy.

The challenge for Noah now will be to maintain its peak position so that it can at least earn back its ginormous budget of $125 million. Rivalled only by the surprisingly pricey Mr. Peabody and Sherman, the film is at a disadvantage and needs to prove the longeivity of its appeal to make a profit. However, with opening in more than half of the film's planned territories still to come, Noah should be on a course for a repeat of its debut box office appeal worldwide.

Released in the USA now, Noah will be out in the UK on the 4th April.

More: Emma Watson shared her hilarious "Biblical" styling tips at last week's press call.

More: 'Noah' depicts a prophet - forbidden in Islam. Find out which countries went for the ban and why.

See Russell Crowe & Jennifer Connelly Arrive At The 'Noah' Premiere: