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300 Marches into Theaters

March 8th, 2007

One of the most talked about March movies opens this weekend, but there are some concerns regarding 300's ability to turn this talk into box office dollars. Should it fail to do so, Wild Hogs will be right there looking to become the second biker movie in a row to repeat at the top of the charts.

300 is the only real wide release this weekend, and it is the comfortable favorite for first place. Expectations for the film are incredibly high, with some predictions going as high as $50 million, but I just don't see it doing that well. On the one hand, there has been a lot of buzz about this movie, but mainly on the Internet, and in a way very reminiscent of Snakes on a Plane. Both films had huge buzz and good reviews, but we all know what that meant for Snakes. A $50 million opening for 300 seems unrealistically high, and even $40 million seems out of reach — I have a hard time believing that this film will earn more in one weekend than Alexander did in its entire run. That film had a bigger cast, bigger budget, and better release date. Earlier in the month, I figured the film would take in just under $20 million over the weekend, but the tracking is better than I was expecting, but I still think $30 million is the top level. However, that would still top the previous Frank Miller adaptation, Sin City. And even if the film only makes $20 million it will still be on its way to profitability.

Agree? Disagree? Think you could lead an army of 300 against hundreds of thousands of Persians? Then check out our latest box office contest. And while you are at it, check out the Corman Cult Online.

Next up is Wild Hogs, which was a surprise hit last weekend. It's not a surprise that it finished first, but the size of its opening was greater than expected. Given the older target demographic, it should be able to hold on better than most films, even with its poor reviews. Tracking has the film managing a roughly 40% drop-off and that would give it $24 million this weekend, give or take $1 million. That would take it to $73 million after just 10-days and make a $100 million final gross academic.

The rest of the top five is well back with Zodiac, Bridge to Terabithia, and Ghost Rider all tracking within striking distance of each other.

Zodiac has the best shot at third place with the best reviews of the year. A sub-40% drop-off this weekend is a possibility and that would give the film $8 million, but $7 million is a little more likely.

Most have Ghost Rider as the odds on favorite for fourth place, but it is losing a significant number of theaters this weekend while Bridge to Terabithia is adding a handful more. This, and the film's vastly superior reviews, could be enough to give Bridge to Terabithia a slight edge, but both films should pull in roughly $6 million.

The only other wide-ish release this week is The Ultimate Gift, the latest release from Fox Faith Studio. Their last release, The Last Sin Eater crashed and burned, badly. This film should do better as it is earning better reviews, but will still have difficulty attracting audiences outside its target demographic. It will probably need only $2 million to enter the top ten, and with a theater count of 800 that is certainly doable. It might even score more than $3 million if it can take advantage of Abigail Breslin's Oscar buzz, but that's likely the most the film will take in.

Finally, The Last Mimzy is having sneak peaks this Saturday in more than 700 theaters. Check you local listings for details.

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Filed under: Wild Hogs, Ghost Rider, Bridge to Terabithia, Zodiac, The Last Mimzy, The Ultimate Gift, 300