The ripped bodies of 300: Rise Of An Empire are looking to be the big winners by the end of this weekend. The seven year wait for the sequel appears to have no effect as 300: Rise Of An Empire is currently expected to earn over forty million in its opening weekend. The sword-and-sandals epic from Warner Brothers and Legendary Entertainment opened with a strong $3.3 million in late Thursday night showings around the U.S. Also opening wide this weekend is Fox-Dreamworks Animation’s big screen adaptation of Mr. Peabody And Sherman based upon the popular 1960s cartoon characters.
300: Rise Of An Empire arrives in cinemas everywhere seven years after the original film directed by Zack Snyder first opened. 300 was an unexpected box office sensation when it opened to just over seventy million during the same weekend in March of 2007. The R-rated film made a star out of Gerard Butler as it finished with a worldwide gross of $456 million off a modest sixty million production budget. Like the original, the sequel is also based upon a graphic novel by acclaimed and controversial writer Frank Miller, entitled Xerxes. Unlike the original however Zack Snyder is not behind the camera and remains on board solely as a co-writer and producer while Gerard Butler also opted to sit out the sequel. In their place for 300: Rise Of An Empire are Smart People director Noam Murro with Eva Green and Sullivan Stapleton from TV’s Strike Back as the leads. Lena Heady, David Wenham and Rodrigo Santoro though do return to their roles as Spartan Queen Gorgo, Dilios the storyteller, and the Persian King Xerxes respectively. 300: Rise Of An Empire focuses on the Greek general Themistocles’ (Sullivan Stapleton) battle against the Persian invaders much of which taking place at sea. While not as large the unexpected opening of the original, 300: Rise Of An Empire forty million earning opening weekend should put it on a pace to make its $100 million production budget back domestically.
Expected to open in second place for the weekend is the animated family film, Mr. Peabody And Sherman. Based upon the 1960s cartoon segments, Peabody’s Improbable History from The Rocky And Bullwinkle Show, Mr. Peabody And Sherman is about a talking dog who happens to be the smartest being in the world and his adopted boy, Sherman. Together with the help of Mr. Peabody’s WABAC machine, the pair time travel throughout history and run into all sorts of mischief along the way. Directed by The Lion King’s Rob Minkoff and featuring Modern Family’s Ty Burrell as the talking canine, Mr. Peabody And Sherman is expected to take in over thirty million in its opening weekend.
300: Rise Of An Empire expected forty million opening weekend would easily put the film on pace to be one of the biggest earners in this first quarter of 2014. The bloody epic is currently tracking to exceed the original film in international gross as the film opens in fifty-eight markets this weekend. Also opening in New York and L.A. is Wes Anderson’s latest The Grand Budapest Hotel. The large ensemble comedy expands to several more next weekend.
By Benjamin Murray