Warner Bros.-Legendary Pictures’ swords-and-sandals epic “300: Rise of an Empire,” tracking in the low-$40 millions, and Fox-DreamWorks Animation’s “Mr. Peabody & Sherman,” which should gross somewhere in the $30 millions, will keep the overall box office healthy, though likely not muscular enough to compete with this time last year, when “Oz the Great and Powerful” scored a robust $79 million opening.
By mid-afternoon Thursday, “300″ continued to hold onto a notable edge over “Peabody,” based on the 1960s TV kids series. Though “Peabody” should appeal to tots, it’s not clear how many non-parents the toon will attract since the demographic that most recalls the series is mostly over 40.
Fox Searchlight gives Wes Anderson his first springtime release in many years with “The Grand Budapest Hotel,” since the director’s feature debut “Bottle Rocket” bowed around this time nearly two decades ago.
“Budapest Hotel,” which just premiered at the Berlin Film Festival garnering solid reviews, should see a big per-screen average from four locations in New York and L.A. The prolific director’s previous film, “Moonrise Kingdom,” scored a record-setting $130,749 theater average, though that was during Memorial Day weekend following its Cannes Film Fest opening slot in 2012.
A month ago, “The Lego Movie” overperformed with a boffo $69 million opening, thanks to its sizable fanboy following.
“Peabody & Sherman” is the first DWA film based on a previously existing property since “Rise of the Guardians” in 2012. The company’s last film, “Turbo,” wound up a considerable box office disappointment domestically, grossing just $83 million, though it more than doubled that overseas. So far, Fox has released “Peabody & Sherman” in 54 international territories, where it has grossed just $39 million. (Pic still has major markets in Europe and Asia, including China, yet to go.)
“300,” meanwhile, launches day-and-date in 58 countries, including all major markets, except Japan and China. The film opened at No. 1 in France, with a stellar $1.8 million, ahead of local superstar Dany Boon’s latest comedy “Superchondriac.”
The sequel, which cost $108 million to produce, according to sources, needs to secure a solid footing overseas as Stateside pundits anticipate the film will have a relatively short lifespan in domestic theaters, even with higher-priced 3D. The original became a cult hit grossing more than $456 million worldwide, though that was seven years ago when star Gerard Butler was at the height of his career. This film stars lesser known Aussie actor Sullivan Stapleton (TV’s “Strike Back”), with strong female support from Eva Green and Lena Headey.
Warner originally planned to release the film last August but bumped it back to allow time to convert the film for 3D and Imax, of which screenwriter-producer Zach Snyder (who helmed the first film) is a big supporter.
The two wide releases will have support from holdovers “Non-Stop” and “Son of God,” both of which look to leg out after decent openings last weekend. Universal’s Liam Neeson action pic crossed $35 million through Wednesday; Fox’s religious film hit the $30 million mark domestically. Both films should land somewhere in the low-to-mid teens each through Sunday.