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'300' Sequel & 'Mr. Peabody' Open Strong, 'Grand Budapest Hotel' Breaks Record in Two City Release

Photo of Tom Brueggemann By Tom Brueggemann | Thompson on Hollywood March 8, 2014 at 8:07PM

As expected, two $100-million-plus tentpoles, "300: Rise of an Empire" and "Mr. Peabody and Sherman," opened Friday at #1 and 2 with $17.7 million and $8.0 million respectively.
'300: Rise of an Empire'
'300: Rise of an Empire'

As expected, "300: Rise of an Empire" (Warner Bros.) and "Mr. Peabody and Sherman" (Twentieth Century Fox) opened Friday at #1 and 2 with $17.7 million and $8.0 million, respectively. (Both include Thursday evening shows.)  "Mr. Peabody and Sherman," a Dreamworks Animation production, should benefit from good word of mouth (it earned an A Cinemascore) and matinees to reach around $30 million for the three days. "300" should hit around $40 million, although its B score suggests more mixed initial audience reaction.

Both films have already opened overseas, with "300" in its initial two days taking in $12 million in selected markets, above the returns for the first film. The opening weekend domestic take looks to be considerably below the $71 million last time around in 2007, so improved results internationally will be essential to boost its chances at profit (the budget was around $100 million). "Mr. Peabody" has been playing longer elsewhere, and already has grossed $40 million. Coming in at an expensive $140 million or more in cost, it is going to need to sustain a long run if Dreamworks is to avoid a repeat of the small write-off needed for their last animated feature "Turbo."

Fox Searchlight continues to have a great month - their Oscar Best Picture winner, despite becoming available for sale on DVD on Tuesday, returned to the Top 10 for the first time since November at #9, grossing $585,000 in 1,065 theaters. Meantime, their newest release, Wes Anderson's acclaimed "The Grand Budapest Hotel," opened to a staggering $260,000 for the day in only 4 theaters. This is the best non-event opening gross ever for a New York/Los Angeles platform opening (several Disney films with stage shows and Kevin Smith's Radio City Music Hall live appearance presentation of "Red State" did better). Most significantly, it is 50% better than the strong debut for Anderson's "Moonrise Kingdom," which went on to a domestic gross of $45 million.

Last weekend's two openers - which were very close on last Friday - fared differently this week. #3 "Non-Stop" (Universal) grossed $4.7 million, and looks for the 3 days to fall about 40%, a decent hold. "Son of God" (Fox) at #4 took in $2.7 million, a much steeper decline, and should drop a notch as last night's #5 "The Lego Movie" (Warner Bros.) leaps ahead after a $2,660,000 Friday.

The rest of the Top 10 all grossed under $1 million, with "Monuments Men" (Sony), "3 Days to Kill" (Relativity), "Frozen" (Buena Vista), "12 Years a Slave" and "Ride Along" placing #6-10.

This article is related to: Box Office, Box Office, Box Office, 300/Xerxes

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Born and raised in Manhattan, Anne Thompson grew up going to the Thalia and The New Yorker and wound up at grad Cinema Studies at NYU. She worked at United Artists and Film Comment before heading west as that magazine's west coast editor. She wrote for the LA Weekly, Sight and Sound, Empire, The New York Times and Entertainment Weekly before serving as West Coast Editor of Premiere. She wrote for The Washington Post, The London Observer, Wired, More, and Vanity Fair, and did staff stints at The Hollywood Reporter and Variety. She eventually took her blog Thompson on Hollywood to Indiewire. She taught film criticism at USC Critical Studies, and continues to host the fall semester of “Sneak Previews” for UCLA Extension.