Monday Morning Quarterback
By BOP Staff
March 11, 2014
Kim Hollis: 300: Rise of an Empire, the sequel to the 2007 blockbuster, opened to $45 million domestically and has accrued $88 million from overseas venues. What do you think of this result?
Edwin Davies: This feels like it's towards the upper-end of expectations, but that just shows that expectations weren't exactly sky high to begin with. I mean, if they had put together a 300 sequel and put it out in 2009 or 2010 - and considering that the sequel has been in the works for so long that could have realistically happened - we'd be expecting it to improve on the original's record-breaking opening weekend, with a $100 million opening not being completely crazy. Instead, we'd looking at a considerably lower one (not to mention hugely depleted attendance, since inflation and 3D prices hide the fact that Rise of an Empire sold only half as many tickets as 300 did) against a much higher budget. Clearly, there is still an audience for these films, but it's been so long that much of the original audience has drifted away, or been put off by how many derivative films emerged in 300's wake. What was once fresh and exciting now looks painfully standard, and very little in the ads suggested that the film was going to have the same clear, visceral story that the original had. This is good enough that the film will probably see a profit once all is said and done, but it's easy to imagine a dozen scenarios in which a sequel to one of the most influential action films of the past decade does better than this.
Jason Barney: I do believe this film will make money in the end, but it suffers from where we are in perceptions of sequels and our expectations of how well follow ups should do. I always thought the opening for 300 caught lightening in a bottle. That film blew expectations out of the water, caught the box office by storm, and did really, really well. The timing of this sequel, with our current world view, is a bit delayed; the math behind the two openings did not make much sense. What it all comes down to is how much money this film will make, and I personally don't think there was ever anticipation that this film would come anywhere close to the original. 300 was a smash hit and made money. This one will take its sweet time making it to profitability, but it will get there. It will have to rely heavily on international receipts a lot, but in this marketplace, that is part of the plan.
Felix Quinonez: I believe if you think of the traditional sequel behavior, (bigger opening weekend/less staying power) this might seem like a bit of a disappointment. But I believe this is a different situation. Seven years is a long time and audience interest was bound to fade. And although 300 was unquestionably a hit, I don't really think too many people consider it a classic by any means. We shouldn't underestimate how paramount the visuals were to the success of the first film. But now, seven years later, the look isn't a selling point anymore. And when you consider that the trailers for 300: Rise of an Empire didn't do a great job of making this seem like a must see, and the reviews can be very generously described as tepid, it could have easily done a lot worse.
Even though the budget is unsurprisingly bigger this time around, at $110 million, it is still relatively low for a special effects driven movie. With this opening weekend the movie has a very good shot, though it's not guaranteed, to make back its budget domestically alone. And judging by its even stronger overseas opening weekend, this will turn out to be a hit.