CBR News has been providing readers with extensive coverage of the latest comic book to film adaptation, Frank Miller’s “300,” from our early review of the film to the our multitude of interviews (just check out the Comic Reel archive). But even we couldn’t have predicted that thousands of years later, those warring Spartans would still be making history, as “300” broke records this weekend. The Warner Bros film pulled in an estimated $70 million dollars over the weekend, exceeding the film’s own estimated cost of 65 million dollars and expected returns of $40 million tops. If that phenomenal performance 3103 theaters wasn’t astounding enough, “300” also proved they were more powerful than even Superman, shattering “Superman Returns'” IMAX opening record, with $3.4 million dollars (included in the overall box office).
Still, all wasn’t peachy for the epic flick, which received mixed reviews from “Entertainment Weekly,” “The New York Times” and other media outlets. This is particularly interesting for comic book fans, as the last comic book related film that found itself amid mixed reviews was February’s “Ghost Rider,” which turned out to rule the world box office for two weeks and provide star Nicholas Cage with his highest opening of all time. “300” didn’t have the advantage of a huge “name” star, eschewing that trend in favor of respected actors such as Gerard Butler, whose gruff call to his “Spar-taaaans!” appealed to more than just his troops.
|(Top) Zack Snyder on the set of “300” and (bottom) Frank Miller enjoys a moment on the set.|
The cast of rising stars surely has reason to cheer, but one can’t forget director Zack Snyder, who impressed die-hard comic fans and “300” author Frank Miller with his adaptation of the film. Snyder is attached to direct the film based on the seminal “Watchmen” graphic novel written by Alan Moore, an author whose work has been adapted with mixed results, from the coldly received “LXG” to the more popular “V For Vendetta.” This success will likely open up many avenues for Snyder in brining the epic tale of superheroes to life, though it remains to be seen how the success of “300” affects “Watchmen,” but all signs look positive at this point.
One should not forget Frank Miller, for he’s seen two of his most popular tales – “Sin City” and “300” – adapted in commercial and critical successes. The success of his sword and sandals epic all but confirms that Miller is a bankable property in the fickle industry we call Hollywood, perhaps allowing for the confirmed “Ronin” film to be put on the fast track and Miller’s own “The Spirit” to move forward at top speed. Add in the anticipated “Sin City 2,” Frank Miller may just be on pace to conquer another medium.