A stellar opening day for 300's Spartans!

Zack Snyder’s movie marches off with a March record at the US box office

Well, the film is finally out in the States, so the trailer with Gerard Butler screaming, “Madness? THIS! IS! SPARTA!” has stopped playing everywhere, and we can give up finding jokey versions for headlines. But that, along with the leather-thonged warriors and Zack Snyder’s pulsing style, all proved to be winners this weekend as 300 soared to a $70 million opening, smashing the March record of $68 million set by Ice Age: The Meltdown.

Expect director Zack Snyder’s phone to be ringing off the hook with Warner Bros suits telling him he’s got his full greenlight for Watchmen. And then hope that he makes a decent job of it…

Elsewhere, those Wild Hogs still had their snouts in the box office trough, seeing a drop of just 29% leading to a $28 million follow-up weekend in second. Feeling even better was fellow Disney release Bridge To Terabithia, which got an early school holiday bump back up one spot to third, having taken $67 million so far.

Fourth place finds Ghost Rider bringing in the cash, with $6.8 million taken this week, adding to its total of $104.1 million. Not having such a healthy time of it, but still showing some legs in fifth, is Zodiac, with David Fincher’s latest dark tale making $6.8 million this weekend for a $23.7 million total after two weeks.

Sliding down the charts to sixth we find The Number 23, which is gripping for all its worth to the middle. Jim Carrey’s thriller has taken $30.5 million so far. It placed just ahead of Norbit, which is finally on the way down with a hefty $88.3 million purse to date.

At eighth is Music And Lyrics, with a running total of $44 million, just ahead of Breach in terms of the weekend. The FBI thriller has managed $29.1 million so far. And finally in tenth is Ioan Gruffudd as slavery abolition campaigner William Wilberforce In Amazing Grace, with Michael Apted’s historical drama scooping $11.4 million after three weeks of release.

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