‘300’ sequel has cutting edge at box office

The shirtless warriors of the 300 sequel, Rise of an Empire, ravaged the post-Oscars box-office weekend with an American debut of $45.1m (€32.5m) but an even bigger international haul of $87.8m.

‘300’ sequel has cutting edge at box office

Seven years after the original 300 became an unlikely, ultra-stylish, blood-soaked sensation, Warner Bros’ 3-D follow-up showed considerable might at the box office.

While 300: Rise of an Empire didn’t come close to the North American debut of Zack Snyder’s 2007 original ($70.9m and without the benefit of 3-D ticket prices), it performed like a blockbuster overseas.

The film which, with flexed torsos and R-rated bloodshed, further chronicles the ancient battles of the Greeks and Persians, led a busy box-office weekend that also saw an Academy Awards bump for 12 Years a Slave and one of the highest per-screen averages ever for Wes Anderson’s European caper The Grand Budapest Hotel.

Though 300: Rise of an Empire is excessively macho, Eva Green — the film’s fiercest presence — may have drawn females for what was always going to be a male-centric release. Whereas the female audience for the first 300 was only 29%, it was 38% for Rise of an Empire.

Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst for box-office tracker Rentrak, said the 300 franchise “translates to virtually every culture. Every country can appreciate the visuals of these movies.”

The week’s other new wide release, 20th Century Fox’s animated Mr Peabody & Sherman, opened in second place with $32.5m. Though the performance was better than some expected, it’s a relatively low total for a film that cost about $140m to make.

The film is based on the cartoon about a time-travelling boy and his brilliant dog from The Rocky and Bullwinkle Show. Some of the family film market was likely taken by Warner Bros’ hit The Lego Movie, which added $11m in its fifth weekend.

The Liam Neeson thriller Non-Stop slid to third place with $15.4m after topping the box office last week.

In limited release, The Grand Budapest Hotel made an astounding average of $200,000 on four screens in New York and Los Angeles. Fox Searchlight will expand the film by 65 to 75 cinemas next week.

The studio also celebrated the best picture Oscar win for 12 Years a Slave with a notable bump of $2.2m, even though it was released on DVD and video-on-demand on Tuesday. That was up 123% on the prior weekend for the film.

12 Years a Slave drew even more international interest, where it made $9.1m.

Weekend ticket data

Estimated ticket sales for Friday to Sunday at US and Canadian cinemas:

1. 300: Rise of an Empire, $45.1m ($87.8m internationally).

2. Mr Peabody & Sherman, $32.5m ($21m internationally).

3. Non-Stop, $15.4m ($12m internationally).

4. The Lego Movie, $11m ($9.9m internationally).

5. Son of God, $10m (no international data supplied).

6. The Monuments Men, $3.1m ($3.7m internationally).

7. 3 Days to Kill, $3.1m (no international data).

8. Frozen, $3m ($3.6m internationally).

9. 12 Years a Slave, $2.2m ($9.1m internationally).

10. Ride Along, $2m ($1.3m internationally).

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