'300: Rise of an Empire' and 'Mr. Peabody & Sherman' try to knock Liam Neeson from top at box office

By Daniel S Levine,

The box office battle this weekend is between two movies that could not be more different. 300: Rise of an Empire, the follow-up to the bloody 2007 hit 300, and DreamWorks Animation’s Mr. Peabody & Sherman, based on the classic Jay Ward characters, are set to go head-to-head. Both will likely knock last week’s champ, Non-Stop, off the box office throne.

Rise of an Empire has a good shot at taking the top spot, despite the failure of this year’s swords-and-sandals movies. Unlike The Legend of Hercules, 300 has a built-in fanbase. Even though Zack Snyder isn’t directing this one, it is actually earning decent reviews from critics.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, Warner Bros. and Legendary are hoping for a $40 million opening, although some analysts are a bit more hopeful for a $45 million start.

Meanwhile, DWA is hoping to turn around its fortunes and is hoping that Peabody becomes a hit. The film is based on the characters that debuted in the Rocky & Bullwinkle shows, but expands the five-minute shorts to 90 minutes. It hasn’t earned strong reviews though and it still has to face The LEGO Movie.

Box Office Mojo notes that Fox, which is distributing the film, is hoping for a modest $25 million to $30 million start. However, that seems a bit low. The film will probably pass $35 million.

Non-Stop, which stars Liam Neeson, should hold in third place with over $15 million. Son of God is expected to make around $13 million in its second weekend. LEGO should round out the top five.

Wes Anderson fans who live in New York and Los Angeles will also get a chance to see his latest, The Grand Budapest Hotel. Next weekend, it jumps to 42 locations.

image courtesy of EPK/DreamWorks Animation



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