By Ronald Grover and Chris Michaud
LOS ANGELES/NEW YORK, March 9 The action film
"300: Rise of an Empire," battled its way to $45 million in
ticket sales to win the weekend box office race, slashing its
way past the animated film "Mr. Peabody & Sherman."
"Mr. Peabody & Sherman," based on the "Peabody's Improbable
History" segments in the 1960s animated TV show starring the
characters Rocky and Bullwinkle, collected ticket sales of $32.5
million at U.S. and Canadian theaters.
Last week's box office winner, "Non-Stop," was third with
$15.4 million in sales. The film stars Liam Neeson as an
alcoholic U.S. air marshal racing to stop a string of murders on
an international flight.
"300: Rise of an Empire," set in ancient Greece, is a
blood-splattered sequel to the 2006 blockbuster "300." It takes
place before and after the earlier film when 300 Spartans
marched to their deaths in a battle against the Persians.
In the sequel, an alliance of Greek city-states wage battle
on the seas against the Persians.
Both films are based on graphic novels written by author
Frank Miller. "300: Rise of an Empire," stars Australian actor
Sullivan Stapleton as the Greek leader Themistocles and French
actress and model Eva Green as Artemisia, the ruthless commander
of the Persian forces.
"This far exceeded our expectations," said Jeff Goldstein,
executive vice president for theatrical distribution at Warner
Brothers, which distributed the film produced by Legendary
The studio anticipated an opening in the range of $35
million to $40 million, "thinking, if we can get to $100 million
(total box office), we'd be in a good place," Goldstein added,
noting that the movie made nearly half that in its opening days.
"Clearly we captured a much broader audience than we
anticipated," Goldstein said.
The film added another $88 million from foreign boxes in 58
markets, Warner Brothers said, and another $12 million from IMAX
"Mr. Peabody & Sherman," which features the talking dog Mr.
Peabody and his adopted boy, Sherman, exceeded studio 20th
Century Fox's expectations for an opening from about
$25 million to $30 million.
"With nostalgia in play, this film was geared toward both
adults beyond the traditional family film audience, while
introducing the characters of Sherman and Mr. Peabody to a new
generation of kids who had never seen them," said Chris Aronson,
president of domestic distribution for Fox.
Aronson said he expected to film to continue to perform well
in the coming weeks, noting "there's not an animated film for
another month, and with spring holidays approaching we're in a
really good place."
The movie was directed by Rob Minkoff, who also directed the
1994 animated film "The Lion King." That film was nominated for
four Academy Awards and won two Oscars for its music.
Minkoff's earlier Walt Disney Co film collected
$987.5 million in worldwide ticket sales, the second most for an
animated film after "Frozen," according to the website Box
"The Grand Budapest Hotel," Wes Anderson's whimsical caper
film starring Ralph Fiennes, Bill Murray and Owen Wilson, set
the box office on fire over the weekend in a limited opening at
only four movie theaters, taking in $800,000.
The $200,000 per screen average over three days for the Fox
Searchlight film set a per location record, according to box
office tracking firm Rentrak.
"The Lego Movie," took the No. 4 overall spot with $11
million, according to Rentrak. The animated hit based on the
colorful plastic building blocks has now totaled $225 million
since its Feb. 7 release.
Rounding out the top five, "Son of God," based on "The
Bible" television mini-series produced by "Survivor" producer
Mark Burnett and his wife, Roma Downey, collected sales of $10
Warner Brothers, a unit of Time Warner, distributed
"300: Rise of an Empire" and "The Lego Movie."
Comcast's Universal Pictures released "Non-Stop."
Fox, a unit of Twenty-First Century Fox, distributed "Son of
God," and "Mr. Peabody & Sherman."