Box Office Guru Wrapup: "300" Reigns Again as Box Office King

by | March 19, 2007 | Comments

Three new competitors were no match this weekend for the mighty action epic "300," which easily defended its box office crown to rule North American theaters for a second straight time. Sandra Bullock reached a new career high with the thriller "Premonition," which debuted in third place while the horror film "Dead Silence" and the Chris Rock comedy "I Think I Love My Wife" opened in the top five with mixed results. "300" grossed as much as all three new releases combined.

It was another decisive victory for Warner Bros. as "300" commanded the top spot with an estimated $31.2M in its second weekend dropping a sizable 56% from its record launch. Averaging a stellar $9,537 from 3,270 locations, the R-rated historical actioner raised its ten-day tally to a remarkable $127.5M making it the top-grossing film of 2007 in a short period of time.

300’s second weekend gross was even bigger than the opening weekends for recent R-rated spring actioners like "Sin City," "Constantine," and "V for Vendetta." Those films all dropped by more than half in their sophomore frames and collected 66-69% of their final grosses in the first ten days. 300 could follow in the same pattern and reach a colossal $180-190M domestically. That would be an impressive tally for a film with an estimated production cost of $60-65M.

Overseas, the Spartan sensation scored number one openings this weekend in South Korea, Turkey, Thailand, Hong Kong, and India and grossed an estimated $15.6M overall from over 1,300 screens in 13 markets. The international total stands at $24.6M with major invasions scheduled this week in Europe and the United Kingdom.

Buena Vista held steady in second place again with the motorcycle comedy "Wild Hogs," which dropped only 32% to an estimated $18.8M in its third weekend. The Tim AllenJohn Travolta hit crossed the $100M mark on Sunday in its 17th day of release pushing the cume to $104M. Despite dreadful reviews, "Wild Hogs" is holding up very well and could find its way to a sensational $150M domestically.

Sandra Bullock scared up the biggest opening of her career with the supernatural thriller "Premonition," which collected an estimated $18M to land in third place. The PG-13 film about a woman who relives a day in her life and tries to prevent the death of her husband averaged a solid $6,358 from 2,831 venues. Reviews were mostly negative for the Sony release. "Premonition," Bullock’s first spooky thriller, beat out her previous best opening weekend performance of $16.2M which was generated by both "Speed 2" in 1997 and "The Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood" in 2002. Adult women as expected led the way for the $20M production with studio research showing that 66% of the audience was female and 61% were 25 or older.

Universal scared up a decent opening for its new horror entry "Dead Silence," which debuted in 1,805 theaters to an estimated $7.8M. Averaging a moderate $4,305 per location, the R-rated film about a ventriliquist’s dummy on a deadly rampage was marketed as being from the director of "Saw," James Wan. Reviews were not too bad for a fright flick not screened in advance for critics and actually scored the best marks of the weekend’s three new releases.

Chris Rock saw a mild opening for his new comedy "I Think I Love My Wife," which bowed to an estimated $5.7M from 1,776 locations for a $3,218 average. The Fox Searchlight release was written, directed, and produced by the former Oscar host who also played the lead, a mild-mannered husband tempted by a lovely young woman. Reviews were mostly negative. The opening for Wife failed to reach the heights of some of Rock’s other spring comedies like 2001’s "Down to Earth" ($17.3M, $6,850 average) or 2003’s "Head of State" ($13.5M, $6,278 average), which he also directed.

Disney’s "Bridge to Terabithia" enjoyed the smallest decline in the top ten dipping just 24% in its fifth weekend to an estimated $5.1M for a solid $74.9M cume. Sony actioner "Ghost Rider" fell 40% to an estimated $4M lifitng the domestic total to $110.2M. Worldwide, the Nicolas Cage film will surpass the $200M mark later this week.

Paramount’s acclaimed serial killer drama "Zodiac" continued to struggle with paying customers tumbling another 54% to an estimated $3.1M giving the David Fincher thriller a disappointing $28.9M in 17 days. The critically-panned Eddie Murphy comedy "Norbit," on the other hand, has been pleasing audiences and dropped 36% to an estimated $2.7M pushing the cume to $92.4M for the studio. Rounding out the top ten was the Hugh GrantDrew Barrymore comedy "Music and Lyrics" with an estimated $2.2M, down 41%, giving Warner Bros. $47.4M to date.

Three films dropped out of the top ten over the weekend. The slave trade drama "Amazing Grace" had strong legs once again and slipped just 17% to an estimated $2M. With $14.4M in the bank, the Samuel Goldwyn/Roadside Attractions release could end its run with $20M or more. Universal’s FBI thriller "Breach" has found success with its moderate release. The R-rated entry grossed an estimated $1.5M, off 42%, for a $31.3M total while playing in roughly 1,500 theaters during the past month. A $34M final seems likely. Jim Carrey‘s horror flick "The Number 23" has grossed $33.5M to date and should finish with a not-so-impressive $35M overall.

In limited release, the best per-theater average once again came from Fox Searchlight’s "The Namesake," which expanded from six to 41 theaters and grossed an estimated $692,000 for a strong $16,874 per location. The total for the well-reviewed Mira Nair film has reached $1.1M and the Indian-American drama will widen to over 100 theaters this Friday. Also doing well in limited play was the foreign language Oscar winner "The Lives of Others," which took in an estimated $839,000. The German film dipped only 2% with no extra theaters and Sony Classics has grossed $4.6M to date.

The top ten films grossed an estimated $98.6M which was up 10% from last year when "V for Vendetta" opened at number one with $25.6M; but off 4% from 2005 when "The Ring 2" debuted on top with $35.1M.

Author: Gitesh Pandya, www.BoxOfficeGuru.com

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