300: Rise of an Empire speared its competition and kept on raking in the dollars on its opening weekend.
Warner Bros. and Legendary’s hyper-stylized 3-D sequel earned an estimated $45 million from 3,470 theaters. Despite lackluster reviews, audiences turned out in droves to watch Eva Green’s Atremisia and the rest of the scantily clad warriors take to the sea for battle in the $108 million pic. Smart People director Noam Murro took the helm from Zack Snyder this time around — though Snyder produced and wrote the film. Audiences (62 percent male) slapped the epic with a B Cinema Score.
The lure of IMAX helped. The 342 IMAX screens brought in $6.8 million (or 15 percent) of the film’s weekend earnings, while 3-D showings accounted for 63 percent of the grosses. 300: Rise of an Empire is also performing quite well internationally with $87.8 million from 58 markets. Still, it doesn’t even come close to Zack Snyder’s $70 million March 2007 opening for 300. Nevertheless, the sequel should enjoy a healthy box office life.
DreamWorks Animation’s Mr. Peabody and Sherman (Cinema Score: A) opened in the No. 2 spot this weekend with an estimated $32.5 million from 3,934 theaters, exceeding studio and analyst expectations for the $145 million movie. Audiences were slightly more female (54 percent) and 52 percent were over 25. Despite the stellar A Cinema Score, it seems younger audiences were even more enthusiastic: The 25 and under crowd gave it an A+. The brilliant dog and his eager young companion will likely enjoy at least one more good weekend at the box office before Muppets Most Wanted screams into theaters on March 21.
Liam Neeson’s tense thriller Non-Stop snagged the third place spot with $15.4 million — a 46.7 percent drop from its debut. The Jaume Collet-Serra pic now boasts a $52.1 million domestic total. Meanwhile, The Lego Movie dropped 47 percent and claimed the No. 4 spot with $11.1 million. The animated building blocks have made about $225 million domestically in five weeks in theaters. Finally, in fifth place, Mark Burnett and Roma Downey’s biblical epic Son of God fell 60 percent and took in an estimated $10 million in its second weekend in theaters, bringing its domestic total to $41.5 million.
Here’s the top five:
In the speciality box office world, Wes Anderson’s art caper The Grand Budapest Hotel earned an estimated $800K from four theaters. Its $200K per-screen average is the highest ever for a live-action film. According to Fox Searchlight, sell-out crowds even caused extra showings to be added on the spot. For those not in New York or Los Angeles, the film will open in 17 new markets this weekend.
Paul Thomas Anderson’s The Master was the previous record-holder with $147K per theater. Budapest’s debut also pushes Wes Anderson’s Moonrise Kingdom (opened to $130k per theater average) to the No. 3 spot.
Best Picture winner 12 Years a Slave also expanded into 1,000 theaters this weekend, earning $2.2 million and a spot in the top 10.