- Associated Press - Monday, March 31, 2014

LOS ANGELES (AP) - “Noah” smoothly sailed into the top spot at the weekend box office.

Paramount’s biblical tale featuring Russell Crowe in the titular role debuted with $43.7 million, making it the third faith-centric film to win over moviegoers this year following the success of “Son of God” and “God’s Not Dead.”

Lionsgate’s teen science-fiction thriller “Divergent” starring Shailene Woodley finished in second place and earned $25.6 million in its second weekend, bringing its domestic total to $94.3 million.

“Muppets Most Wanted,” the globe-trotting Muppet sequel from Disney featuring Tina Fey and Ricky Gervais, captured third place with $11.3 million in its second weekend. The latest Muppet caper’s total domestic haul now stands at $33.1 million.

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The top 20 movies at U.S. and Canadian theaters Friday through Monday, followed by distribution studio, gross, number of theater locations, average receipts per location, total gross and number of weeks in release, as compiled Monday by Rentrak, are:

1. “Noah,” Paramount, $43,720,472, 3,567 locations, $12,257 average, $43,720,472, 1 week.

2. “Divergent,” Lionsgate, $25,619,578, 3,936 locations, $6,509 average, $94,379,586, 2 weeks.

3. “Muppets Most Wanted,” Disney, $11,279,128, 3,194 locations, $3,531 average, $33,116,817, 2 weeks.

4. “Mr. Peabody & Sherman,” 20th Century Fox, $9,070,635, 3,299 locations, $2,750 average, $94,479,448, 4 weeks.

5. “God’s Not Dead,” Freestyle Releasing, $8,797,666, 1,178 locations, $7,468 average, $21,750,684, 2 weeks.

6. “The Grand Budapest Hotel,” Fox Searchlight, $8,539,795, 977 locations, $8,741 average, $24,171,610, 4 weeks.

7. “Sabotage,” Open Road, $5,272,444, 2,486 locations, $2,121 average, $5,272,444, 1 week.

8. “Need for Speed,” Disney, $4,226,216, 2,705 locations, $1,562 average, $37,644,237, 3 weeks.

9. “300: Rise of an Empire,” Warner Bros., $4,209,290, 2,601 locations, $1,618 average, $101,054,704, 4 weeks.

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