The biggest winner at the box office this weekend, slaughtering its competition and coming in at number one, was the bloody historical epic 300: Rise of an Empire (Warner Bros. and Legendary Pictures), the 3-D sequel to 300 (2007). The number two spot went to Peabody & Sherman, the family-oriented animated flick by Dreamworks, and released by 20th Century Fox.
300: Rise of an Empire (R), about the attempts of the Greeks to repel a sea invasion by Xerxes and his Persian forces, in its debut had an estimated North American gross of $45.1 million. That was good enough to be the box office leader this weekend. The movie was directed by Noam Murro, and is based on a graphic novel by Frank Miller, of Sin City fame. Zack Snyder produced the film and wrote the screenplay based on Miller’s graphic novel.
300 was a big hit, with total domestic ticket sales of $211 million. It appealed primarily to an audience of young males. This group — males under the age of 35 — made up over 60 percent of the viewers of 300.
According to Jeff Goldstein, and executive vice president at Warner Brothers, who distributed the movie, more women are making up the audiences for the sequel, 300: Rise of an Empire, than viewed 300. He thinks that this is likely due to the audition of a new female character, Artemisia, commander of the Persian army, played by Eva Green.
300: Rise of an Empire cost $100 million to make, so it has a ways to go still to break even, but it’s off to a good start. By contrast, Zack Snyder’s 300 had a box office debut weekend take of $70 million.
300: Rise of an Empire took over the number one spot from Liam Neeson’s action-packed thriller, Non-Stop (Universal Pictures), which fell to the number 3 position at the box office, with an estimated domestic take of $15.4 million. That brings its total domestic gross so far to $52.1 million.
Mr. Peabody & Sherman, an animate Dreamworks movie about a time-traveling talking dog and a young boy, Sherman, based on the cartoons made for TV, had an estimated domestic box office gross of $32.5 million. Mr. Peabody & Sherman cost $145 million to produce. It made its box office debut at the number two position at the box office, and has received mostly positive reviews from critics.
The Lego Movie is still bringing in audiences, but it fell to the number four box office spot, with ticket sales domestically of $11 million. This brings its total domestic take so far to $225 million.
The New Testament-based movie Son of God that debuted last weekend took the number 5 spot, earning $10 million domestically. Its earnings dropped by by 60 percent.
After 300: Rise of an Empire and Mr. Peabody & Sherman, what movies were in the bottom half of the Top Ten?
The Top Ten Box Office spots were rounded out by The Monuments Men coming in at number six with a domestic take of $3,100,000; 3 Days to Kill at number seven just slightly behind Monuments Men with a take of $3,062,000; Frozen (Disney) the family-friendly animated movie raking in $3,010,000; 12 Years a Slave, after taking the Oscar for Best Picture, earning $2,175,000; and, at number 10, Ride Along, with a box office take of $2,004,000.
12 Years a Slave (Fox Searchlight) earned three Oscars in total, and opened at 1,000 additional theaters this weekend.
The Grand Budapest Hotel, directed by Wes Anderson (Fox Seachlight) opened this weekend on just four movie screens in Los Angeles and New York, but it took in an impressive $800,000, averaging $200,000 per screen.
According to Frank Rodriguez, head of distribution at Fox Searchlight, Budapest Hotel will be released to an additional 65-70 theaters beginning next weekend.
While 300: Rise of an Empire slaughtered its competition at the box office this weekend, Mr. Peabody and Sherman will likely have staying power and continue to do well with family-oriented audiences. What movies have you seen this past weekend? Please leave your comments below!
Written by: Douglas Cobb