Los Angeles moviegoers watching Darren Aronofsky's "Noah" thought the movie's special effects were even better than they'd expected when the theater rumbled during the movie's apocalyptic "end of the world" scene.
But the rumbling wasn't part of the blockbuster movie — the ground really was shaking thanks to the 5.1 magnitude that hit much of Southern California just after 9 p.m., just when fans were setting in to for a showing, reports Mashable
No injuries were reported from the earthquake
, which was centered outside La Habra, about 20 miles east of downtown Los Angeles. The temblor did displace at least 50 people in Fullerton, about 5 miles from the epicenter, along with jolting many moviegoers, who took to Twitter to express their delight or dismay at the special feature they didn't expect when they bought their tickets for the flick.
"Just experienced my first earthquake while watching Noah in an IMAX theatre. Best $17.50 ever spent. My heart is still pounding," said Twitter user David Stluka
Other Twitter users, like Philip DeFranco
and Ilaria Urbinati
were delighted with the earthquake's timing.
"Nothing quite like the end of the world scene in Noah starting and 20 seconds later your movie theater starts shaking from an earthquake," tweeted DeFranco.
And Urbinati tweeted: "Um ok so the real life earthquake right in the middle of the animal stampede in Noah sort of freaked me out…"
Naturally, all the Twitter chatter got some rumors started about the "true" nature of the earthquake — that the way the movie tells the biblical story had angered God, reports International Business Times
"Noah" has been banned in the Middle East following complaints that it does not follow the teachings of Islam or Christianity, and its director, a confirmed atheist, said the movie is "the least biblical biblical movie ever. "
And with the timing of the earthquake during the movie's opening weekend, some Twitter users took to the site to ask — probably joking a bit — if the timing involved some divine intervention.
"Lotta theaters showing Noah evacuated in California after the earthquake. The Lord has spoken," tweeted Chris Norseth
But even with the controversy and the coincidental earthquake, "Noah" is not succumbing to the dire predictions of its failure, reports The Hollywood Reporter
The movie's stars, Russell Crowe, Emma Watson, Jennifer Connelly, Ray Winstone, and Anthony Hopkins are drawing in viewers and rave reviews from critics.
But Hollywood Reporter notes that many Christian viewers are turning out in force, and "Noah" is expected to gross a possible $45 million in its domestic launch this weekend.
The movie was reportedly playing well in cities and towns often considered faith-based, including Salt Lake City, Reno, Tulsa, Houston and more.
In comparison, the Christian film "Son of God" grossed $25.6 million on its first week.
"Noah" has also played well overseas, grossing $2.6 million in Russia on its opening day Thursday. The movie also earned a combined $22 million overall in its first week from theaters Mexico, Russia, Australia and South Korea.
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