March Madness weekend kicks off with ''300'' once again defeating ''Wild Hogs'' and all newcomers

By Joshua Rich
Updated March 18, 2007 at 04:00 AM EDT


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Forget about Sandra Bullock for a moment, because I have a premonition: 300 will repeat as box office champ this weekend. The bloody and stylized period epic shocked Hollywood last time around with the biggest March opening ever. And there’s no sign that it’ll slow down, even with three new big releases contending to steal King Leonidas’ crown; neither Dead Silence, nor I Think I Love My Wife, nor — okay, you can remember Sandra Bullock again — Premonition will win this battle. Read on, Spartans (and make your own prediction of this weekend’s box office champ below)!


Warner Bros. · R · 3,270 theaters · 2nd weekend
What a difference a week makes! Here I was writing in this space seven days ago, saying that there were all these reasons why 300 might have failed. And then look what happened: a record-breaking $70.9 million bow. The question now is whether the graphic-novel adaptation will have legs. Certainly, it’s midweek daily average of about $6.5 mil bodes well for its future; in just one week, the movie has cleared $90 mil. A march beyond the century mark is guaranteed to come Friday, but what then? Big-opening blockbusters have dropped anywhere from 30 percent (Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King) to 55 percent (The Da Vinci Code) or more in recent years. Still, you know, I’m done with underestimating this flick — I say that it’ll fall a respectable 45 percent and will win, once again, by a mile.
Weekend prediction: $39 million

Wild Hogs
Touchstone · PG-13 · 3,360 theaters · 3rd weekend
Even John Travolta is surprised by the ongoing success of his family comedy, which will also pass the $100 million plateau this weekend. No wonder they’re mulling a sequel.
Weekend prediction: $18 million

TriStar · PG-13 · 2,831 theaters · NEW
Sandra Bullock is a huge A-list star, but, amazingly enough, she’s never been much of a first-weekend draw. Her biggest opening to date is the $16.2 mil that The Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood earned back in 2002. In fact, 11 of her movies have debuted in the $13 million to $17 million range. Still, if this film — in which the leading lady plays a housewife who can’t figure out if her husband (Nip/Tuck‘s Julian McMahon) is alive or dead — is as cool as its eerie abstract poster, it could buck the trend.
Weekend prediction: $15 million

I Think I Love My Wife
Fox Searchlight · R · 1,776 theaters · NEW
Chris Rock wrote and directed this remake of 1972’s French romance Chloe in the Afternoon, which costars one of my favorite actresses, the gorgeous Kerry Washington. The comedian’s recent headlining efforts Down to Earth and Head of State opened in the mid-teens, but this one could have a little trouble overcoming strong competition, a moderate theater count, and an R rating. Not to mention the fact that Jude Law and Sean Penn probably won’t be buying tickets.
Weekend prediction: $11 million

Dead Silence
Universal· R · 1,803 theaters · NEW
More horror, this time from some of the fellas behind Saw. The movie has to do with, like, a psycho ventriloquist, which sounds spooky — though I’m more scared about its box office prospects, given its low buzz and the fact that fright flicks have been getting slaughtered at the box office lately. Scary indeed.
Weekend prediction: $5 million

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