300 Rise of an EmpireUPDATE, Friday 4:15: Around the world, Warner Bros and Legendary Pictures300: Rise Of An Empire is grossing huge numbers. In 32 markets, it has taken in a hefty $12.1M over two days in international release, with $9.5M coming from Thursday alone. The film, playing on 1,083 screens, is roughly 20% ahead of the original 300, which took in $7.9M during the same time period in 2007 and grossed a whopping $245.4M internationally by the end of its run.

Driving the box office for Rise Of An Empire overseas was Germany, where it nabbed $1.4M and ended up with a 50% share of the top five films, and Russia with $1.3M on 1,441, taking 73% share of the top five. It also opened to stellar numbers in Korea (918K from 651 runs), Italy ($508K with 45% of the top five) and France for a two-day tally of $3M. In Singapore, it now stands as the biggest opening of an M18 film of all time with a total take of $203K, adding to its $1.4M gross from smaller Asian markets. Rise Of An Empire will open in 25 more markets today – the UK, Spain, Mexico and Brazil are the biggest ones yet to come.

BREAKING: Late-night showings of the second of the 300 films have grossed an estimated $3.3M for Warner Bros and Legendary Pictures, putting the actioner on track for a $40M to $45M weekend. The 3D 300: Rise Of An Empire, which is based on the graphic novel Xerxes from Frank Miller, bowed powerfully on 3,470 screens last night — 3,100 of them were 3D. Thursday night plays started at 8 p.m. and continued through midnight, and that $3.3M take is great for this time of year to boot. The bloody epic from screenwriter Zack Snyder and Kurt Johnstad stars Sullivan Stapleton and Eva Green in a story about a general who is trying to unify Greece and must first battle an invasion from Persia, led by a vengeful mortal-turned-god named Xerxes. The first 300 opened on the same weekend in 2007 to $70.8M and went on to gross $210.6M domestically (worldwide was $456M). Its late night showings, however, tallied $2.5 mil. The distribution team at Warner Bros., led by Dan Fellman, is top notch and truly know how to book and play out their movies, allowing them a little time to breathe in a marketplace that is so dang competitive now.

The Liam Neeson suspense thriller Non-Stop, in its second weekend in play, no doubt  will be impacted by the opening of 300, which is playing to both male and female demos (more male than female). Non-Stop opened last weekend to $28.8M and is now at $36.7M (so it added a decent $7.9M during the week).

Mr.-Peabody-And-ShermanIt will, as previously reported, easily take the No. 1 spot this weekend with Mr. Peabody And Sherman, the $145M+ budgeted animated fare from DreamWorks being unleashed by Fox this weekend for the No. 2 spot. The powers that be smarter than I say it could open to around $30M. The question is will it crossover past the kiddie market?

It’s interesting to note how many animated family films have been in the marketplace this year so far, with Frozen still continuing to play after … wait for it … 16 weeks in release and it still held in the Top Ten last weekend and has grossed $390+ as of this morning (skating past 1B last week). Audiences also saw The Nut  Job which has made $61M+ since being released in January. Following that was the mega-hit The Lego Movie from Warner Bros. which opened in February to a whopping $69M and has grossed a total to date domestically of $213.9M for a worldwide total of around $335M after only 4 1/2 weeks in release. Also, Disney has been rolling out The Wind Rises, slowly expanding the Japanese film from beloved ani director Hayao Miyazaki. There have been so many animated films released since Jeffrey Katzenberg’s early vision for DreamWorks that the marketplace has become increasingly competitive over the years. A good thing for audiences, but tougher for those making the films.

Son-of-God-Diego-Morgado-01-copyAlso, all eyes are  also on Son Of God‘s second weekend to see what the percentage drop might be. The faith-based film from Fox opened to $1.2M in late night showings last weekend, causing everyone to sit up and take notice and went on gross $25.6M its opening weekend. The question is does it have enough of an audience to keep its momentum up? It has grossed a total of $31.4M, up $5.8M during the week.