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300 rakes in $70 million

It is is now official – 300 looks set to be 2007’s first blockbuster as it took $70 million at the US box office this weekend.

David Germain of the AP reports:

The ancient battle of Thermopylae was the stuff of 2007’s first certified blockbuster as the bloody action tale “300” debuted with ticket sales of $70 million over its opening weekend, according to studio estimates Sunday.

That’s about $233,000 for every one of the legendary 300 Spartan soldiers who fought off a much larger Persian force in the epic battle.

“On a Spartan-by-Spartan basis, that’s a lot of money,” said Paul Dergarabedian, president of box-office tracker Media By Numbers. “Summer came a little early, because this is a summer-style opening.”

The number of movie-goers for the Warner Bros. epic “300” outnumbered crowds for the rest of the top-10 movies combined. If the estimate holds when final numbers are released Monday, “300” would break the record for best March debut ever, topping the $68 million haul for “Ice Age: The Meltdown” last year.

“300” played in 3,103 theaters, about 850 fewer than the “Ice Age” sequel, making its box-office performance even more notable. It averaged $22,567 a theater, a whopping number for a wide release.

There will be high fives all around the offices at Warner Bros. Not only is it a much bigger hit than they dared to hope for but given the relatively low production costs (compared to recent big budget films like Superman Returns and Poseidon) it could turn out to be one of the most profitable films in their history.

I’m seeing it again tonight and I’ll post some thoughts later but if you’ve seen it already then feel free to post what you think of the film in the comments section below.

> Box Office Mojo on 300’s weekend haul
> Cinematical have a breakdown of the weekend’s box office

By Ambrose Heron

Editor of FILMdetail