The mighty Spartans won a glorious victory at North American theaters as the bloody war epic "300" exploded with a record-breaking opening and powered the overall marketplace to the biggest March weekend in box office history.
For the first time in nearly a month, North America's most popular movie won't be about motorcycles. Warner Bros. goes back in time 2,500 years for the epic war saga "300" which aims to conquer the box office with ease.
Moviegoers rallied behind the star-driven comedy "Wild Hogs," which raced to number one at the North American box office, zooming past all expectations from Disney. Meanwhile, Viacom saw less-than-stellar debuts from its serial killer drama "Zodiac" from Paramount Pictures and the southern fried saga "Black Snake Moan" from arthouse unit Paramount Vantage. Overall, the box office remained healthy and surged well ahead of last year's performance.
Academy Award winner Nicolas Cage ruled Oscar weekend with his skull-on-fire motorcycle actioner "Ghost Rider," which held steady at number one in North America for the second straight time. Moviegoers delivered different verdicts to the handful of new releases led by the Jim Carrey thriller "The Number 23," which fared best and debuted in second place. Overall, the top ten was about even with the corresponding weekends from the last two years.
Hollywood studios opened five new wide releases targeting different audiences and were rewarded with a record-breaking Presidents' Day holiday weekend tally as moviegoers opened their wallets and spread their cash across a variety of films. The comic book actioner "Ghost Rider" led the way with an explosive debut while the family drama "Bridge to Terabithia" was a solid performer in the runnerup spot.
Eddie Murphy scored the 14th number one hit of his career this weekend by playing three eccentric characters in the new comedy "Norbit," which generated the largest opening of any film this year by far.
With the Super Bowl taking males out of the picture, mothers and daughters squared off at the North American box office this weekend with the younger set earning a slim victory. The spooky thriller "The Messengers" opened at number one driven by teenage girls and young women while the Diane Keaton comedy "Because I Said So" bowed close behind in the runnerup position drawing upon older women.
Proving that there's always money in spoof comedies, Fox's "Epic Movie" shot straight to number one over the weekend in its debut frame beating out three other new releases plus a handful of expanding Academy Award contenders. In fact, the immature laugher outgrossed all five Oscar nominees for best picture combined.
Box office sales slumped this weekend as the top ten dipped to its worst level in four months with the college dance pic "Stomp the Yard" holding onto the top spot by a thin margin. Moviegoers ignored "The Hitcher," the frame's only new wide release, which posted an underwhelming fourth-place debut.
Stomping into the number one spot over the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. holiday weekend was the college dance drama "Stomp the Yard," which grossed an estimated $22M in its opening weekend to push three-week champ "Night at the Museum" into second place. Exceeding even the loftiest of expectations, the PG-13 step dancing pic averaged a loud $10,726 from only 2,051 theaters.
Can Ben Stiller and his living artifacts four-peat at the top of the North American box office, or will one of the new releases take the crown over the four-day Dr. Martin Luther King holiday weekend? Ticket buyers will decide.
There was no stopping the runaway smash comedy Night at the Museum which North American audiences picked as their favorite film for the third straight weekend. New releases were met with varying levels of success. Both the futuristic saga Children of Men and the high school drama Freedom Writers earned high marks while playing in moderate national play. However, the animated film Happily N'Ever After and the action-comedy Code Name: The Cleaner were both met with soft openings.