In the gladiatorial contest between two CGI cartoons about improbable histories, 300: Rise Of An Empire bested Mr. Peabody And Sherman for first place this weekend, earning just north of $45 million. That’s about half what its Zack Snyder-directed predecessor did in its opening weekend seven years ago, when ancient societies were more easily dazzled by slow-motion, soot-streaked violence. But the promise of at least some of that violence tangentially involving women this time was still enough for Rise Of An Empire to best Mr. Peabody—another spinoff whose own introduction of female characters was only good for around $32.5 million.
Their combination of slapstick violence and animated hijinks conspired to knock out about 50 percent of the business of Non-Stop and The Lego Movie, the latter experiencing its first significant tumble since its release. Meanwhile, Son Of God fell 60 percent, having already burned off most of the faith-driven fan base for its own reheated fantasies about the past. And speaking of resurrections, in its post-Oscars victory lap 12 Years A Slave expanded to more than 1,000 theaters and reentered the Top 10—proving some people still like their history real, dear God, far too real.
In limited release, Wes Anderson’s The Grand Budapest Hotel was a whimsically outsized hit, earning $800,000 in just four theaters full of self-consciously dressed people in New York and L.A. Expect to see it make an even bigger splash as it expands to wider release next week, and slowly begins to consume your Twitter and Facebook feeds. And much further down, the tense drama about the long-simmering Israeli/Palestinian conflict Bethlehem ($69,700 in 26 theaters), the “God particle” documentary Particle Fever ($34,800 in three theaters), and the Ed Harris/Annette Bening romance The Face Of Love ($25,800 in three theaters) drew their respectively modest audiences in with their own tales of ancient things colliding.
For more detailed numbers, visit Box Office Mojo.