"300" Sweeps Weekend Box Office - Again

LOS ANGELES (AP) - Spartans continued to fend off the box-office
competition as the battle epic "300" took the No. 1 spot for the
second-straight weekend with $31.2 million, according to studio
estimates Sunday.

The Warner Bros. movie, the story of vastly outnumbered Spartans
defending against Persian invaders, shot past the $100 million mark
after just a week in theaters, bringing its total to $127.5

Disney's road comedy "Wild Hogs" also crossed the $100 million
mark, remaining the No. 2 movie with $18.8 million to lift its
total to $104 million.

Sony's paranormal thriller "Premonition," starring Sandra
Bullock as a woman whose husband is killed one day but turns up
alive and well the next, debuted in third place with $18 million.

The weekend's two other new wide releases had modest openings.
Universal's fright flick "Dead Silence" - the tale of a maniacal
ventriloquist dummy, from director James Wan and screenwriter Leigh
Whannell, the team behind the original "Saw" horror hit - debuted
at No. 4 with $7.8 million.

Fox Searchlight's "I Think I Love My Wife," a romance starring
Chris Rock as a bored hubby drawn to a temptress (Kerry
Washington), premiered in fifth place with $5.7 million. Rock also
co-wrote and directed the movie.

In limited release, IFC's Irish historical drama "The Wind That
Shakes the Barley" opened solidly over St. Patrick's Day weekend
with $75,311 in nine theaters. The top prize winner at last
spring's Cannes Film Festival, the movie is directed by Ken Loach
and stars Cillian Murphy in the story of two brothers on opposite
sides of Ireland's civil war in the 1920s.

Bad weather on the East Coast and the NCAA basketball
tournament, combined with traditional partying on St. Patrick's
Day, put a bit of a damper on the box office, particularly among
young males who are the main audience for "300."

In Boston, with its heavy Irish-American population, crowds for
"300" were down 70 percent on St. Patrick's Day compared to the
previous Saturday, while the drop in the rest of the country was
just 49 percent, said Dan Fellman, head of distribution for Warner

Even so, overall box office rose, with the top-12 movies taking
in $102.4 million, up 10.5 percent from the same weekend last year.
Movie attendance this year is up 3.5 percent compared to 2006
admissions, with hits such as "300" and "Wild Hogs" giving
Hollywood an early start on what is expected to be a huge summer

Among summer's blockbuster sequels are "Shrek the Third,"
"Spider-Man 3," "Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End" and
"Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix."
"`300' and the other late-spring hits have put us in a
fantastic position heading into the homestretch leading up to
summer," said Paul Dergarabedian, president of box-office tracker
Media By Numbers.

Estimated ticket sales for Friday through Sunday at U.S. and
Canadian theaters, according to Media By Numbers LLC. Final figures
will be released Monday.

1. "300," $31.2 million.
2. "Wild Hogs," $18.8 million
3. "Premonition," $18 million.
4. "Dead Silence," $7.8 million.
5. "I Think I Love My Wife," $5.7 million.
6. "Bridge to Terabithia," $5.1 million.
7. "Ghost Rider," $4 million.
8. "Zodiac," $3.1 million.
9. "Norbit," $2.7 million.
10. "Music and Lyrics," $2.2 million.