“300: Rise of an Empire” has waged war on its box office competition with a projected $42 million-plus opening weekend according to Variety.
Warner Bros.-Legendary Entertainment’s actioner muscled $17.7 million Stateside on Friday, including an impressive $3.3 million in late-night showings on Thursday.
Meanwhile, Fox-DreamWorks Animation’s “Mr. Peabody & Sherman” scored $8 million Friday. It will likely be relegated to second place with a $31.5 million weekend debut.
The toon, which reportedly cost $145 million to make, is based on characters from the 1960s TV show “The Rocky & Bullwinkle Show.” The animated pic is on track to overtake the company’s last film, “Turbo,” which disappointed domestically, grossing $83 million. However, it more than doubled that figure overseas.
Despite the solid openings, the two films are expected to fall short of “Oz the Great and Powerful,” which bowed to a magical $79 million this time last year.
“300: Rise of an Empire” comes seven years after the Gerard Butler-starrer “300” hit theaters, debuting domestically to $71 million on the same weekend in 2007 and ultimately amassing $456 million worldwide. The ancient Greek epic — directed by Noam Murro and based on Frank Miller’s graphic novel “Xerxes” — stars Aussie actor Sullivan Stapleton and Eva Green. Lena Headey and Rodrigo Santoro reprise their roles as the Spartan Queen Gorgo and the Persian King Xerxes, respectively.
The film earned $12.1 million from 32 markets in its first two days and opened at No. 1 in France and Germany. “300: Rise of an Empire,” which reportedly cost $108 million to produce, launched in 25 more markets on Friday.
WB pushed back the release by seven months in order to allot time to convert the film for 3D and Imax.
Another newcomer, Wes Anderson’s eighth feature film, “The Grand Budapest Hotel,” checked into four locations in New York and Los Angeles with $260,477. Following “Moonrise Kingdom”s lead (a record-setting $130,749 theater average with help from a Memorial Day weekend berth), the dramedy took in an estimated $65,119 per screen on Friday night.
The rulers of last week’s domestic B.O., “Non-Stop” ($4.7 million on Friday), “Son of God” ($2.7 million on Friday) and “The Lego Movie” ($2.5 million on Friday) will fall to third, fourth and fifth place, respectively.
Best picture Oscar winner “12 Years a Slave” stands to return to the top ten at ninth place, pulling in $585,000 on Friday after expanding nationwide to more than 1,000 screens.