'300' Bleeds But Leads

by Brandon Gray
Michael Fassbender in 300
March 19, 2007

More than half its audience was hacked off from its opening, but 300 handily dominated the box office again and led overall business to a ten percent improvement over the same frame last year when V for Vendetta claimed the top spot.

300 hemorrhaged 54 percent to $32.9 million, which was steeper than similar pictures like Troy and Gladiator but within the typical range of comic book adaptations. The $65 million digital battle picture, though, towers over its predecessors at the ten-day point with a $129.2 million tally and will soon surpass Troy's $133.4 million final gross.

Following 300 past the $100 million mark, Wild Hogs continued to rev highly, down 31 percent to $19.1 million for $104.2 million in 17 days.

Among new releases, Premonition was most prominent. The supernatural thriller saw $17.6 million at 2,831 theaters, and distributor Sony claimed the picture cost $20 million to make. The debut was the highest-grossing start of star Sandra Bullock's career, though it ranks ninth for her adjusted for ticket price inflation. Bullock has been a consistently solid draw since her Speed breakout in 1994, even if most of her movies haven't gone the distance.

Sanda Bullock in Premonition
Sony clearly marketed Premonition's time-scrambled story of a wife learning her husband died and then waking up seemingly the next day to find him alive and back and forth. These contrived "what if?" scenarios are frequently popular when they play on relatable fears, such as The Forgotten or The Butterfly Effect. Sony's exit polls indicated that Premonition's audience was 66 percent female and 61 percent over 25 years old.

Dead Silence opened with a peep: $7.8 million at 1,805 locations. Universal Pictures' under-$20 million dummy-themed horror movie attempted to create a new scary legend about a vengeful ventriloquist ghost but was largely met with indifference, in part due to a lack of a noticeable protagonist as an entry point. Universal said that 73 percent of moviegoers were under 25 and 57 percent were female.

Few committed to I Think I Love My Wife, which attracted a scant $5.7 million at 1,776 sites. Chris Rock's remake of the 1972 French movie Chloe in the Afternoon had a tame marketing campaign, with a pedestrian premise of a husband thinking of straying from his wife and tired marital humor, and Rock hadn't previously been established as a romantic lead. Though people may enjoy him in television appearances or in comedy concerts, Rock has only carried one successful movie (Down to Earth in 2001) and his most popular movies have been supporting roles (The Longest Yard, Lethal Weapon 4).

3/20/06 - 'V for Vendetta' Bombards the Top Spot (Same Weekend, 2006)
3/21/05 - 'Ring Two' Opens Well (Same Weekend, 2005)

Weekend Box Office Results
Showdown: '300' vs. 'Troy' vs. 'Gladiator'

NOTE: This report was originally written on Sunday, Mar. 18 and was revised on Monday, Mar. 19 with actual grosses.

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