Battle for bucks

Category: 300 News | Posted by: maryp
Article Date: March 14, 2007 | Publication: Ottawa Sun | Author: Michael Rechtshaffen
Publication/Article Link:Ottawasun.canoe.ca

Sequel possible as 300 producers look to cash in on surprise success

HOLLYWOOD -- Prior to this past weekend the number 300 didn't hold a lot of significance for most folks here.

Of course, all that has changed since a film with that very title chronicling the ancient Greek Battle of Thermopylae (rhymes with monopoly) stormed the North American box office with a head-twisting take of $70 million US.

The ultra-violent release set a March opening record and claims the third-highest debut ever for an R-rated film, behind The Matrix Reloaded and The Passion of the Christ.

Not too spartan for a movie with no big names, a non-descript title and a conflict that you may have blinked and missed in history class.

While Warner Bros. was relying on the comic geek/fanboy contingent to guarantee a take in the $40-million range -- 300 is inspired by the graphic novel by Sin City creator Frank Miller -- they hadn't counted on such a strong female turnout.

Whether the big distaff attraction had to do with the presence of a strong female character (Lena Headey as the fearless Queen Gorgo) or a hunky male lead (The Phantom of the Opera's Gerard Butler as the relentless King Leonidas), the producers are now scrambling to figure out how they can come up with a sequel.

CRUNCHING NUMBERS: Not every movie with a number in the title has translated into big digits at the turnstile. For every 300 or Se7en there has been a Number 23 or 8MM, both of which were directed by Joel Schumacher.

Following are scheduled 2007 releases with numbered titles (sequel numerals not included) looking to get a piece of that 300 action.

BEST BETS:

- 10,000 BC, a pre-historic epic directed by Roland (Independence Day) Emmerich.

- 1408, a John Cusack-Samuel L. Jackson thriller based on a Stephen King story.

- 28 Weeks Later, sequel to the hit 2003 horror film 28 Days Later.

REMAINS TO BE SEEN:

- 3:10 to Yuma, a remake of the 1957 Western, starring Christian Bale and Russell Crowe.

- 30 Days of Night, a Josh Hartnett vampire picture set in Alaska.

- 88 Minutes, an Al Pacino thriller about a college professor who has 88 minutes to prevent his murder. Gee, wonder what the running time will be?