300: Rise of an Empire topped the North American box office this weekend, earning $45.1 million in the US and Canada.
The sequel to 2006 hit 300 also took $87.8 million worldwide.
300: Rise of an Empire did not equal its predecessor’s first weekend tally of $70.9 million in North America, but still performed far above expectations.
Set in ancient Greece, the movie depicts a sea battle between Greeks and Persians.
The film only briefly features 300 star Gerard Butler as King Leonidas – leader of the Spartan army who famously held off a vastly superior Persian force – concentrating instead on a female warrior played by Casino Royale‘s Eva Green.
Eva Green’s participation is understood to have boosted the female audience for this male-skewed release to 38% – a 9% increase on the original’s 29%.
Outside North America, the film was also the top draw in Brazil, Russia, Mexico, Germany, Spain, Italy and the UK.
Some $12 million of its opening weekend tally from the 58 markets in which it played came from 3D Imax screenings.
In the US and Canada, Noam Murro’s follow-up to Zack Snyder’s comic book-inspired original comfortably saw off Mr. Peabody & Sherman, its nearest competitor.
The animated title about a time-travelling dog and his human son took $32.5 million between Friday and Sunday, according to studio estimates.
Liam Neeson’s airborne action film Non-Stop – last week’s number one – fell to three in this week’s chart, taking $15.4 million in the US and an additional $12 million worldwide.
Toy spin-off The Lego Movie and the Christianity-themed Son of God rounded out this week’s top five, according to box office tracking firm Rentrak.
North American box office Top 5:
1. 300: Rise of an Empire – $45.1 million
2. Mr. Peabody & Sherman – $32.5 million
3. Non-Stop – $15.4 million
4. The Lego Movie – $11 million
5. Son of God – $10 million
[youtube G3Rzy7YqUVU 650]