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300: Rise of an Empire tops US box office with $45.1 million debut

300: Rise of an Empire

Story by Jack Foley

SEVEN years after Zack Snyder’s then groundbreaking 300 wowed audiences, its sequel 300: Rise of an Empire has shot straight the top of the US box office with a healthy $45.1 million debut.

The bloody swords and sandals epic beat animated family comedy Mr Peabody & Sherman to the top spot – although that film still performed well by hitting $32.5 million.

As pleased as Warner Bros will be with Rise of an Empire‘s opening figure, it’s worth noting that the sequel opened notably behind the record-breaking $70.9 million US debut of the first 300, which was released on the same weekend in 2007 – although in the rest of the world it is pacing ahead.

Directed by Noam Murro, Rise of an Empire stars Sullivan Stapleton and Eva Green and is set during the second Persian invasion of Greece. Original star Lena Headey also appears, although there is no sign of Gerard Butler.

Time-travel comedy Mr Peabody & Sherman also performed well given the competition on offer this weekend, which included – most notably – runaway animated hit The LEGO Movie, which slipped to fourth in its fifth weekend with $11 million.

Based on the characters from Peabody’s Improbable History, a segment that formed part of the hit 1960s television series The Rocky and Bullwinkle Show, the film features the voice talent of Modern Family‘s Ty Burrell as a dog who adopts a boy.

Fox distribution chief Chris Aronson remained pleased with the debut even though it missed out on top spot. He said: “With spring holidays are ahead of us, and terrific exit polls, Peabody & Sherman will be entertaining audiences for some time to come.”

The remainder of the US top five is comprised of Liam Neeson airborne thriller Non-Stop, which slid to third with $15.4 million and Christian film Son of God, which came fifth with $10 million.

The other big opening weekend news, however, came in the indie market where Wes Anderson’s The Grand Budapest Hotel made history by becoming one of the top location averages of all time for a specialty title.

The star-studded film, headlined by Ralph Fiennes, opening in four theaters in New York and Los Angeles, earning $800,000 for an average of $200,000.

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