‘300’ still the mighty conqueror

Sparring Spartans take in another $31.1 million

Helmer Zack Snyder’s ancient epic “300” ruled again over the weekend, plowing through another $31.1 million to raise its two-frame cume to a hulking $127.4 million.

Disney’s “Wild Hogs” revved its engine yet again behind “300” as new entries had to settle for bows lower down on the charts.

Biz on Warner Bros.’ “300” dropped 56% from its opening frame. Studio brass said that ticket sales on the male-skewing “300” were slightly stunted by the NCAA tourney and St. Patrick’s Day bar-hopping, alternatives competing for guys’ attention over the weekend.

Even so, the graphic novel adaptation had the heftiest per-theater average of any pic in the top 10, at $9,537.

Coming in at No. 2 for the second straight frame, bikers-in-midlife-crisis pic “Hogs” raced to $18.8 million and raised its cume to $103.9 million in three weekends of release.

Pic has been yet another unlikely hit this year, along with “300” and Sony’s “Ghost Rider,” which shot past the $200 million mark worldwide over the weekend.

Meanwhile, Sony’s “Premonition,” which bowed in 2,831 locations, finished third with $18 million — the biggest opening weekend ever for star Sandra Bullock. (Thesp’s previous high was the $16.1 million bow for “Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood” in 2002).

PG-13 pic “Premonition,” from the studio’s TriStar label and budgeted at around $20 million, follows Bullock as a housewife who keeps reliving the day her husband dies. Women comprised 66% of the movie’s aud.

Among other new openers, Universal’s horror pic “Dead Silence,” by “Saw” helmer James Wan, finished in fourth with $7.7 million off 1,803.

Chris Rock’s latest comedy, “I Think I Love My Wife,” took fifth in its Fox Searchlight bow , saying “I do” to $5.7 million off 1,776 for a per-location average of $3,218.

B.O. overall dropped sharply from last frame, when “300” debuted with more than $70 million. But the numbers were still up from last year as 2007 continues to boost biz for Hollywood.

Top 10 pics combined over the frame for $96.4 million, up from $89.7 million over the same frame last year, when “V for Vendetta” opened in the No. 1 spot.

Success of “300” stems in part from boffo biz on Imax screens, dropping just 27% to bring in another $2.6 million. Unit’s execs say they’re seeing lots of repeat biz on the movie in Imax theaters as they target young males into technology.

Among holdovers, Disney saw only a slight slip for its kidpic “Bridge to Terabithia.” Receipts dipped just 24%, the lowest drop in the top 10. Cume is $74.9 million in five weeks.

Paramount serial killer tale “Zodiac,” from David Fincher, took in just over $3 million in its third weekend. Cume is $28.9 million; pic hasn’t particularly popped with auds domestically despite solid reviews. Warners has international rights.

DreamWorks’ Eddie Murphy comedy “Norbit” remained a strong top 10 player. Movie, still in 2,016 theaters after six weeks in release, has taken in $92.3 million and should be the next pic, behind “Ghost,” “Hogs” and “300” to pass $100 million.

Warner’s romantic comedy “Music and Lyrics” continued to hang about the top 10, taking in $2.2 million to bring cume to $47.3 million. Hugh Grant-Drew Barrymore vehicle has sung to $44.2 million overseas.

In more limited releases, last year’s Cannes Palme d’Or winner “The Wind That Shakes the Barley,” by Ken Loach, shook $75,300 for IFC Films. Pic is rolling on nine screens.

The Weinstein Co.’s “Nomad,” an historical epic set in 18th century Kazakhstan, bowed to $12,400 off 30 screens for an average of just $413.

Searchlight’s Mira Nair pic “The Namesake” continued to perform well, taking in $692,000 in its second frame and raising cume to $1.05 million off 41 screens.

Samuel Goldwyn and Roadside Attractions’ period piece “Amazing Grace” also remained impressive. Pic expanded to 1,162 theaters and took in just over $2 million. Biz dropped just over 17% on the pic, which has cumed $14.3 million. “Grace” just slipped off the top 10 charts into 11th place.

Universal’s “Breach” also continued to play above expectations. Pic, finishing 12th, added $1.4 million to its coffers, bringing cume to $31.3 million after five weeks.

Sony Classics’ best foreign film Oscar winner “The Lives of Others” dropped less than 2% in biz from the previous frame. Pic, playing in 163 theaters, has taken in $4.6 million after six frames.

Paramount Vantage’s “Black Snake Moan” slipped 66% in its third frame. Pic from “Hustle & Flow” helmer Craig Brewer has taken in $8.7 million.

ThinkFilm expanded its “Avenue Montaigne” by seven theaters to 24. Cume is $437,000 after five weekends in release.

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