The ultra-bloody warrior film “300,” about a legendary battle between the Spartans and Persians, seemed headed for U.S. box-office glory on Friday with sell-out crowds flocking to early showings.
Imax, the giant-screen movie chain, reported that all 57 of its 12:01 a.m. Friday screenings of the Warner Bros. film had sold out as its advance ticket sales for the weekend hit a new record for the month of March.
“We had the most amazing night,” said Greg Foster, chairman and president of Imax Filmed Entertainment, adding that many Imax theaters arranged 2:30 a.m. shows at the last minute to accommodate fans who failed to get into the midnight showings.
Many of the rest of the nation’s 600 theaters with early morning shows also played to capacity crowds, said Dan Fellman, domestic distribution president for the Time Warner Inc.-owned studio.
“They were flocking everywhere, not just to Imax,” he told Reuters.
While overnight business accounted for a fraction of the more than 3,100 North American theaters where “300” was opening on Friday, the early surge at the multiplex was a strong indicator that the film was poised for a robust first weekend.
Some box-office analysts predicted “300” could finish the weekend in the $50 million range, an impressive achievement for a March opening given the film’s “R” rating and lack of stars.
A friend of mine in New York just sent me an IM saying he is going to see it. I have a feeling it could be in for a massive opening weekend.